The approval rating numbers have suggested for some time that as many as one-fifth of the people who supported Donald Trump in January have now quietly given up on him (link). Now we’re seeing a rash of Trump voters admitting they blew it, such as this one in the New York Times (link). My first instinct is to tell them that it’s too little, too late. But that instinct is wrong and counterproductive.
I personally resent the hell out of anyone who voted for Trump. He spent a year and a half demonstrating precisely what he was: an overtly racist, pathologically lying, mentally unstable con artist. People knew exactly who they were voting for or against. And now we’re all stuck dealing with this national nightmare because of how others voted. But you know what? This is war. It’s not a time to be cute or self superior. We need all the allies we can get.
So if some Trump voters are willing to stand up and admit they got it wrong, that’s fantastic. Their words will help encourage other regretful Trump voters to give up on him as well. Shutting him down and ousting him is largely a matter of enough people turning against him that those in power have no choice but to push him out. If we begin trying to humiliate anyone who steps up and admits they blew it by voting for Trump, we’ll only serve to make others afraid to admit the same. And that would hurt our cause.
As much as I’d like to really stick it to those people who made what I consider an unconscionable mistake by voting for Donald Trump, we can’t afford to shun them when they now say they’re willing to speak out against him. It might make us feel self righteous to rub their noses in their admitted mistake. But while we can each judge them however we like, the cold reality is that if they’re now willing to join our side, we need them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report