If you’re a Democrat who occasionally talks to Republicans, you might have heard this response when you point to the ridiculous charges that have been waged against President Obama: “Democrats did the same thing to George W. Bush when he was president.”
What can ring true about a statement like that is that a lot of Democrats thought that things like invading a country based on lies, sanctioning the use of torture, and skirting Constitutional processes by setting up a prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were actions that are antithetical to our values as Americans. Now listen to how Frank Luntz describes what Trump supporters think about President Obama:
…just about all of them think he does not reflect the values the country was built upon.
For those of you who think I’ve lost my mind by making that comparison, stick with me. I have a bigger point that I want to make beyond a question of whose argument is more grounded in reality.
It is true that liberals/Democrats were incredibly angry at the direction George W. Bush took this country. And so it is interesting to note who they looked to for leadership to change all that. They picked this guy:
Regardless of how you feel about the “values” that are/are not being threatened today, it is crystal clear that the direction Republicans are going these days with their anger is the opposite. As Luntz says, “Trump voters are not just angry – they want revenge.”
The anger these voters are feeling goes to something a lot deeper than what Luntz suggests with this:
His [Trump’s] support denotes an abiding distrust in — and disrespect for — the governing elite. These individuals do not like being told by Washington or Wall Street what is best for them, do not like the direction America is headed in, and disdain President Barack Obama and his (perceived) circle of self-righteous, tone-deaf governing partisans.
That pretty well captures how a lot of Democrats felt after the Bush/Cheney era. But it does very little to explain why so many Republicans are thrilled with Donald Trump’s ravings against Mexicans, Muslims, women, African Americans, etc. Nope…there is something much deeper at work here. I described it as a world view in its death throes.
So the next time a Republican tells you that their reaction to 8 years of a Democratic president is no different than yours was to 8 years of a Republican president, remind them of how differently Democrats handled that anger. Republicans are looking for revenge. Democrats elected the guy who reminded us about “e pluribus unum.”