74 Million People Voted for Trump. What Happens When It’s Someone You Know?
It has come to the Internet’s attention that Euphoria actress Sidney Sweeney wore a hat at her mother’s 60th birthday. The red hat, which her mother had custom-made for her guests, was emblazoned with the slogan “Make Sixty Great Again.”
I do not know what Sweeney’s personal politics are but no one else seems interested in finding out so I’m not sure why I should find out either. As with every other fight on the Internet, this conflict has little to do with people at the center of it and everything to do with some larger and intractable social issue. In this case, the real problem is that 74 million people voted for Trump in 2020 and, statistically speaking, a lot of us are related to them.
What do we do about that?
I have called the far right movement proto-fascist for years. What I called far right two years ago is now clearly conservative and increasingly the “proto” drops off of my descriptor. Trump and his propagandists have whipped Republicans into a frenzy. 70 percent of Republicans believe Trump won the election even though every claim of widespread voting fraud has been thoroughly debunked. “Debunked by liberals,” someone retorted on the CPAC stage recently without elaboration: a successful way to dismiss all evidence and continue to believe a lie.
My job involves consuming a lot of conservative media and attending political events and I can tell you I’m as frightened as I’ve ever been. Halfway through watching Trump’s CPAC speech, surrounded by his screaming fans, I realized I am not going to stick around for the thing that’s coming. I do not want to fall silent at the hands of 74 million of my fellow Americans. I am farther down the list of People Who Are Problems than my queer and trans friends, and I worry about those friends every single day. I am urging everyone in my life to think about an exit plan.
74 million people. Most of us came of age in a world where Nazis were a handful of sick weirdos who did a parade once in a while and could, in fact, all be punched. You can solve the problem of hundreds or even thousands of dangerous people by banishing them from polite society, but you cannot solve the problem of 74 million that way. I do not mean…