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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Being a Trump Supporter in our Free & Open Society

Lisette Tarragano speaks at a Trump Press Conference in Philadelphia.  Tarragano is one of several witnesses in the case Rudy Guiliani's filing against Philadelphia for voter fraud.  

In his interview with Megyn Kelly just before the election, Robert Cahaly of Trafalger Polling, one of the few pollsters who correctly predicted Trump's win in 2016, insisted on the existence of a shy Trump voter. “I think (the shy Trump vote) has absolutely grown...if I had to give the top demographics for shy Trump voter it was first suburban white women of higher income, second was black men under 50, and the third was suburban men of higher income.” 

And this voter did turn out; the election was in fact way closer than the Biden landslide most polls predicted.

In a country that prides itself on free speech, what makes citizens guaranteed this right under the First Amendment reluctant to simply tell a pollster who they plan to vote for?

Charles C.W. Cooke, in another Megyn Kelly interview, reflects on this phenomenon:

One of the topics that has been dear to National Review’s heart of late is this illiberalism that you have begun to see in the media, in the Academy, in Hollywood, that drives people who disagree with whatever prevailing cultural sentiments it is assumed they should believe out of the public square; either that silences them preemptively by raising the cost of them saying what they really believe, or by trying to get them fired or to participate in a struggle session.

And that’s bad enough but I think where it gets really sinister and really totalitarian is that those who have inflicted this illiberalism on the country seems simultaneously to believe that its results are real.

And so you’ve got a real social cost to anyone who supports Donald Trump or thinks that his message should resonate…but also this disbelief from those who are imposing that social cost that the people upon whom it’s being imposed actually don’t really believe it.

They’ve convinced themselves over time that they’ve won, that they’ve re-educated the population.

But of course you can’t take that social pressure into the voting booth.  Megyn Kelly, Election VOertime, Nov 4th, Minute 14ish)

What specifically does this social cost which vocal Trump supporters pay look like?  Here's what Scott Adams, longtime supporter of the president, has to say:

I’m having the weirdest experience in the aftermath of this election: a weird mixed feeling.  If you were a Trump supporter and you believe he lost the election, what was your baseline happiness change?  Did you find yourself going into a depression that you think will last?  Because that’s what happened with the Democrats.  Have any of you experienced that?  Because I experienced the opposite. What I experienced was 'oh, I wanted it go to the other way.'  That was my brain.  My brain was, 'oh darn it, I expected it to go the other way.  I feel like it would have been better if it went the other way.'  And then my body weighed in.  And my body had the opposite opinion.  My body actually felt better.  My baseline happiness is really, really high right now.

And it’s not just because I think there’s a high likelihood the vote will be overturned. I'm not looking forward to that, I think it could be a destabilizing thing.  You realize that even being a Trump supporter and even when things are going your way, there’s a certain level of stress that comes with that.  I walked outside for the last few days feeling that people didn’t want to kill me.  And I mean that, literally.  I mean that, if Trump is out of office, that whatever severe irrational hatred people had for me, as a presumed supporter of the president, that they would lose that fire of hatred.  They’ll never forgive me, but there’s difference between 'ah, you did something that year and we didn’t like it but we’ve sort of forgotten it' versus ‘I want to kill you right now because I am in mental distress over your president; you support him; I fricking hate your guts’.  I feel like I was living in a world where I was severely hated just for existing.  Coffee With Scott Adams Podcast, November 8th, minute 64

Not at all the account of someone frolicking in the free and open pastures of free speech.

What other expressions does this sinister illiberalism that Cooke speaks of take?  At a Trump Campaign Press Conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, several witnesses spoke in Rudy Giuliani's federal lawsuit against Philadelphia for voter fraud.  

Here's what lawyer and longtime Philadelphia resident Lisette Tarragano had to say:  

I got really hepped up about watching voter freedom, freedom of speech, and being able to say the words 'Donald Trump' without getting pushed in the corner.  And when I really got exited about being asked to observe ballots, was when I felt that my way of life is being put in jeopardy.  The American way of life; being put down for things I say, who I like, and it’s not fair.

I am the child and granddaughter of both Holocaust victims and survivors, and I’m the daughter of a WWII veteran who fought for and or ran away from horrible, horrible times where people are repressed and sent away.

When I was brought in to be a poll watcher; I was never brought in actually— I never got in past the first identification stage. They kept saying that mine as well as 5 or so other Republicans, their names hadn’t been entered into a system.  The first time it happened, the second time it happened, I had no second thoughts about it….but after a while, what I witnessed, …..I felt insidious fraud going on, I felt that we were kept away from doing our civil duty. Everybody on both parties should be upset about.  This is horrible, we’re being restricted, we’re being restrained.  I see this as the insidious nature of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania governments who are keeping us away from doing what we were meant to do.

Who's to Blame?

Who, specifically, are the proponents of this closed society? The real enemies to, as Lisette put it, the American way of life?

Well, hm. Here’s a recent tweet from WA Post contributor Jennifer Rubin:

Ah, so employees of our “free press” explicitly advocates putting people onto lists and excluding them from society.  Looks like we might be on on a dead end road.  (This is same Washington Post that spent the last four years reporting baseless claims that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.)

If we were once a society that genuinely advocated and cultivated free speech, those days are completely gone, over—no turn around.  

And what have we become?  Perhaps Lisette Tarragano’s reference to “horrible, horrible times where people are repressed and sent away” provides glimpses.

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