An Open Letter to Trump Supporters

Trump lost and it was pretty predictable he would in retrospect

Robert A Stribley

I imagine I have a few friends who perhaps think Donald Trump won the 2020 election and there’s some sort of fraud involved in Biden winning. I want to make a few quick points, not be to be argumentative, but primarily because I think the rhetoric in some quarters (elected officials, QAnon types, Rudy Giuliani, Trump himself) is getting down right dangerous to the point that it could incite violence. Considering that many have been receiving death threats and QAnon organized placing a noose outside one 20-year-old Dominion employee’s Georgia home, I’d say we’re already there.

Trump didn’t win and it wasn’t difficult to predict he probably wouldn’t in advance. (Though, certainly, no one could say for sure, in the days leading up to election.) But as a lot of misinformation is getting tossed around right now, I think we should keep the following in mind to avoid something awful happening here.

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The approval ratings for previous U.S. Presidents in their re-election years.

1. Trump was always been a historically unpopular President. He’s the least popular President since Ford. That means Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. were more popular than him and they were both one-term Presidents. Carter’s dipped lower by Election Day, but he still averaged higher overall than Trump.Only one president in recent history was more unpopular on the first day of his reelection year…While he’s close, Donald Trump is not the least popular president heading into his reelection year, and the MAGA crowd…www.marketwatch.com

2. The polls pretty consistently showed Trump losing to Biden in the lead up to the election, even if the days around the election seemed fraught with the unknown.Final Polls before Election Show Biden with National Lead, but Battleground States Tightening |…Final polls of the presidential race before election day give Joe Biden a commanding lead nationwide, but with gaps…www.nationalreview.com

—Article from The National Review, leading conservative publication

3. Biden lead Trump in 6 swing states before the election, including every one he’s been contesting since election day (except the surprise one, Georgia).Biden narrowly leads Trump in six swing states before Election Day, poll showsDemocratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds narrow leads over President Donald Trump in six states the president…www.cnbc.com

4) Trump actively discouraged his supporters from voting by mail while the Democrats encouraged their voters to do so as a safer way of voting during the pandemic. This dynamic lead those watching the upcoming election to predict there would be a “blue shift” or “red mirage” where it looked like Trump lead in some places election night, but that the results would change as votes continued to roll in. This dynamic was predicted well in advance of the election and had been described even in previous elections. Trump and some of his most avid supporters are trying to present this as evidence of fraud. It’s simply not.

“The ‘Big Blue Shift’ That Could Decide the Presidency,”—Mark Niquette and Laurence Arnold, Bloomberg, 2 October 2020 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-02/the-big-blue-shift-that-could-spell-election-mayhem-quicktake

5) Trump has always suggested (in advance) that if he lost, it’d be because of fraud. He did this in the lead up to the last election, too, when he ended up winning against Hillary Clinton. This is a technique he’s used repeatedly to reassure people that he couldn’t actually lose. But that doesn’t make it true. In fact, this all fits the pattern for Trump, a man, who many of us have warned for years is not one who pays much allegiance to the truth.PolitiFact – Donald Trump’s Pants on Fire claim of ‘large scale voter fraud’Donald Trump tripled down on his baseless claim that the U.S. election system is rigged against him, capping a weekend…www.politifact.com

— Note: This article is from 2016, not 2020

Now, I know these thoughts won’t change too many minds. But I offer them to reasonable folks who may be on the fence or, perhaps, who do believe Trump should have won, but are open to considering all the angles. It was not likely that Trump would win this election. All signs pointed to the likelihood he wouldn’t. And, in fact, he didn’t.

Folks often joke that we New Yorkers live in a liberal bubble. And we do. But we all live in our bubbles. And I understand how, if you’re living in a situation where most of your friends are Trump supporters, most of your fellow church-goers are Trump supporters, many or most of your co-workers are Trump supporters, then you might think he won.

But he didn’t. And the rhetoric is getting dangerous. Michael Flynn, who Trump recently exonerated, is among a group of people suggesting that Trump should utilize the military to “suspend the Constitution” and hold a new Presidential election. This is dangerous stuff. I doubt it will happen. But it’s the sort of thinking Trump himself, sadly, encourages. And that could lead to violence and even death.

Help us make that stop.

This article first appeared in Medium.com

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