Tips for decent Republicans who are a bit ashamed of backing Trump
The vote that dare not speak its name
President Trump and his flailing reelection campaign declare that polls forecasting a Biden blowout are wrong because of “a silent majority the likes of which nobody has seen” and the “hidden Trump voter.”
Why the silence and hiding? “There are many people who are voting for Trump who are in environments where it’s politically untenable to admit it because he’s become so toxic,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres told Time.
Those “environments” may include family, friends and neighbors; potential dates and mates; co-workers, bosses and teams; clients, investors and business partners; and others whose respect we need, seek and cherish.
And by “people,” we’re not talking about loud, proud, die-hard MAGAs who love and goad Trump’s indecency and destruction. Rather, we mean decent, sensible Republicans who are aghast at Trump’s behavior but — with striking cognitive dissonance and compartmentalization — are voting their wallets.
(Even though, contrary to hoary assumption, Democratic presidents are better for the economy and stock market, and Wall Street believes Biden will extend that historic trend.*)
Psychotherapists say the most painful human emotion of all is shame.
So my heart goes out to mainstream Republicans who plan to squander their vote on Trump even as many self-respecting GOP voices and candidates in tight races increasingly distance from him (and not just because he’s shedding Covid).
A Trump vote indeed is worse than a bad bet. It means spending the rest of your life too embarrassed to admit you’re in the same camp as idiots who scream hate at Trump rallies, refuse to mask, or follow QAnon conspiracies. People also might assume you’re a secret bigot or at least tacitly ignore or accept racism.
You know, lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. No offense to dogs or fleas.
This could get awkward at upcoming Thanksgiving dinners, workplace holiday parties and other polite and mixed social gatherings, even on Zoom, which cannot filter out the guilt.
To help decent Republican Trump voters bat this sticky wicket, here are several possible responses if someone asks, “So, who did you vote for?”
Throw in some captivating political trivia to detour the conversation. Like, “I wrote in Rutherford B. Hayes because he was the first president to have a typewriter and a telephone in the White House.”
Declare voter privacy
Say it’s none of anyone’s bee’s wax who you voted for. In high dudgeon, thunder something like, “To quote Winston Churchill, my idea of democracy is that the plain, humble, common man marks his ballot in strict secrecy.”
Skirt the question
Stuff an entire canapé in your mouth and chew it thoughtfully until someone interrupts your long pause and takes the attention away from you. If that doesn’t work, pretend to be choking and spew the chewed canapé on the asker’s prep school repp tie.
Divert to the whattabout
Ask, for example, “What about Hunter’s emails back and forth with AOC about secretly funding Antifa, according to QAnon?”
Duck it all
Pre-arrange with spouse to phone you when you signal “SOS” and say, “Sorry, it’s the sitter — she only calls in emergencies — I have to take this.”
Change the subject
E.g., “Wow — these canapés are to die for. Can I get the recipe? Speaking of cooking, have you ever tried sous vide? It’s really amazing. Changed my life.” Then explain at great length what sous vide is. People will walk away.
Turn defense into offense
Blow up and loudly attack the asker for asking. Anger can get awkward in convivial social gatherings and leave touchy subjects like the 2020 election off limits. People might also assume you’re quite drunk and leave you alone.
See above about being left alone, plus drunkenness helps both ease the shame pain and allows you to answer with slurring incoherent gibberish.
Wear a fake hearing aid
Fiddle with it when the subject of Trump comes up and say something like, “Eh? Sorry. Just got this goddamn thing.”
Stride with pride
When all else fails, forget shame. Don’t admit you voted Trump and seek forgiveness — sing it loud and proud. For example, start a chant, “We’re Trump, you chumps, get used to it.”
The upside is people will assume your investment portfolio is huge and secretly admire, even envy, you. Because deep down, Republican, Democrat, Independent or apolitical, we’re all fond of money. No shame in that!
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.
*“From 1952 through June 2020, annualized real stock market returns under Democrats have been 10.6% compared with 4.8% for Republicans,” a Wharton finance professor found in his study cited by Forbes. A leading independent research analyst told CNN Business, “The market does do better under Democratic presidential control.”
Continuing the trend, Goldman Sachs and other major banks have forecast that a Biden-led electoral blowout would boost stocks. Reasons? A Biden Blue Wave would a) end Trump’s mayhem and bring certainty and stability to the market; and, b) combine more Covid stimulus with long-term investments in infrastructure, clean energy, healthcare and education funded by taxes on the topmost rich who can easily afford and have the greatest incentive to invest in a strong economy.