Last week, on the night of Super Tuesday, one of my brothers who lives in Memphis, Tennessee called me up to talk about the presidential primaries. The conversation turned lively in a hurry as we went from politics to talk of the “revolutions” now underway in our nation.
Let me begin by telling you about this brother of mine. Don McDonald is a successful psychiatrist in his 60s. By Southern terms, he’s not a redneck, but if you’re not from the South you might think otherwise. He hunts, fishes, has an old pickup and is frequently politically incorrect, but he also owns a Toyota hybrid, lives in the heart of a big liberal city and is just too damn independent and progressive in his thinking to be a pure-blooded redneck. As far as I can tell, when they made Don they threw away the mold.
He’s also an old jock, a man whose love for sports is eclipsed only by his desire to feel the burn. I’ve said it often before: Don’s addicted to adrenaline, and, these days, he gets his fix mainly through weightlifting and cycling. He’s a tough, tough guy, but now we’re circling back around to his political incorrectness, so let’s move on.
He’s also voted Democrat through most, if not all, of his life, which is why I was a bit taken back by his praise for Donald Trump.
According to my brother, Trump is succeeding because he speaks truth to power, and people are finding that to be refreshing—a big attraction in a field full of professional politicians. My brother doesn’t necessarily believe what Trump is saying. In fact, he told me that if Trump were to truly seek to repeal Obamacare, as he says he would, he wouldn’t support him, since my brother, the doctor, says it’s helping the working poor get the coverage they need.
But my brother believes Trump’s pragmatism would “trump” his own rhetoric if he really were to be elected president.
I don’t see it that way, and I told him so. I ranted for a moment about the dangers of his nationalistic and prejudicial rhetoric, and Don didn’t really disagree. Instead, he simply said he likes him anyway, because he’s the only one telling it like it is.
Then he dropped another bombshell on me. “I voted for Bernie Sanders,” he said.
What the hell? Here’s an independent-thinking, liberal-leaning, Southern white man who is attracted to both of this year’s party extremes. Talk about an unconventional year.
Both Trump and Sanders, Don argued, are leading “nonviolent revolutions” that America needs during these dysfunctional political times. Sanders is taking on Wall Street and that needs to happen, he said, and he gets away with calling himself a democratic socialist because people are tired of candidates who don’t tell it like they truly see it.
To illustrate that point, Don pointed to the fact that, during this campaign, Trump has criticized that decision to invade Iraq so many years ago. Trump has pointed out that there were no weapons of mass destruction, so George W. Bush started that war without any real justification.
Trump’s right, my brother pointed out, but that’s not even something Hillary Clinton is willing to say.
He’s got a point. In this instance, Trump is indeed speaking truth to power.
So how will my bro vote if it comes down to Trump vs. Clinton? “Probably for Hillary,” he said, because he disagrees with Trump’s rhetoric on most of the issues, and he really isn’t qualified to be president. And Hillary’s clearly qualified, he said, so that would probably sway him in her favor.
Another interesting turn of thinking: I wonder how many current Trump supporters will vote for him in the general election, after they thoroughly consider his temperament, his hyped-up rhetoric and his glaring inconsistencies.
I wonder if my brother is the only Trump-Sanders supporter out there. He certainly has a point about the revolutions taking root on both the left and the right.
A while back, I wrote about the similarities between the tea party and the occupy movements. Both focused on institutional problems in our country that they felt had to be addressed—but the tea parties blamed it all on big government, while the occupiers blamed big corporations.
Seems Trump and Sanders have come to personify those movements. Whether they can turn them into true revolutions remains to be seen.
As for my brother, crazy as it might seem, a Trump-Sanders ticket would certainly get his vote.
Tom McDonald is founder and editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange and editor of the Roswell Daily Record. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.