January 15, 2018

A lot of parsing going on this morning as a couple of Morning Joe talking heads insist people didn't support Trump because he was racist.

"The first time I campaigned for Congress, every door you knocked on somebody was either on the side of John Wayne or Jane Fonda," Joe Scarborough said. "That was in 1994. In 2017 that split is even more dramatic."

"But Joe, you're talking about Georgia and I just saw a poll of President Trump's approval rating in Georgia that it was in the mid-30s, I believe," Elise Jordan said. (It was 37%.)

"There should be no question that a Republican president one year in is pretty popular in Georgia. And I think that although Trump has been very successful waging this cultural war, I think there is going to be a lot of blowback. And you look at my family in Mississippi who voted for Donald Trump and they don't want to talk about him anymore. They want to ignore the antics, they're sick of it, they're sick of the foul language, it's embarrassing, they don't approve of it at all.

"He was the lesser of two evils and we have to remember that this was a really close election, that it wasn't necessarily that Donald Trump managed to sweep the entire country, unlike what he likes to tell you. So he did not come in and decide to approach his first year in a conciliatory manner and reach across the aisle like President Bush did, pursuing legislation like No Child Left Behind, education reform, so he went in all.

"Everything's on fire and that's what's happening right now and he is going to see the consequences in November of 2018."

"He most certainly is, and that -- the Georgia poll is one of the data points that I was thinking about this weekend as I was talking to my friends, I was proving the point that they voted for him for one reason but even though I was saying a couple minutes ago they won't stand by and defend him when standing by and defending him, Katty Kay, requires that they stand by and at least quietly defend racially insensitive racist remarks -- which is why my friends this weekend said enough," Scarborough said.

" 'Why can't Mike Pence be president? I didn't vote for this.' I was trying to explain why some people did vote for him who weren't racially insensitive. The Atlanta Constitution poll shows him with a 37% approval rating."

You know, I really do get the need to rationalize the humanity of people who voted for an obvious racist. I grew up with people like these, I live in one of the most solid Trump areas in a blue city. I don't want to paint them as less than human. People are complex.

But are they racist?

Hell, yeah. Even a casual conversation proves it.

And when the same Republican voters are so very morally fastidious about rejecting anything having to do with gay wedding cakes, birth control or abortion coverage, I have to assume that they do know how to make a moral calculus. It's that they've made one, and they've simply decided that they're okay with racism.

There's no getting around that.

Thirty-seven percent of voters, all of them Republicans, still support Trump. People like Scarborough and Jordan happily see that glass as half empty. I still see it as almost half full.

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