Readers React: Trump’s hateful rhetoric woos a lot more voters than the GOP’s damaging economic policies

BESTPIX - Donald Trump Hold MAGA Campaign Rally In Southwest Florida
President Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Estero, Fla., on Wednesday.
(Joe Raedle / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg says that while President Trump’s rhetoric is unhelpful, “not everyone who jumped aboard the Trump train is a bigot.”

But if Trump had never appealed to people’s latent bigotry, the Republican Party’s economic policy would not have brought enough voters on board for it to win elections. Activating fear and anger toward minority populations distracts voters from the fact that GOP policy hurts them.

If voters were not driven into an unrealistic panic over foreigners coming to the U.S., they would notice that the death toll of the 9/11 attacks is dwarfed every year by the number of people who die prematurely because of pollution or lack of access to healthcare. They would suspect that tax and economic policy explains why economic gains in recent years have gone chiefly to people who were already wealthy.

Competition with immigrants for low-wage jobs cannot explain increasing inequality.


Stuart Meisner, Santa Monica


To the editor: Goldberg is not someone I often agree with, but he’s right on the mark when he explains why the president’s words and beliefs matter. By continuing to feed his base red meat, Trump amps up emotions on both sides.

The problem is that Trump has no reference point. He does not know anything about history or about how his rhetoric echoes past despots who spawned reactionary behavior and chaos.


We need a leader as president who understands that what he says and how he says it is very important to the way people treat each other.

James Bandy, Sonoma


To the editor: Buried close to the bottom of his column, Goldberg takes a swipe at the media, which he claims is biased (as opposed to “fake” or the “enemy of the people, as Trump says).

The Los Angeles Times has long been seen as a liberal newspaper. Goldberg is a famous conservative writer, and yet The Times publishes his work even though he criticizes the media for its bias.

That is rich.

Joan Walston, Santa Monica

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook.


A cure for the common opinion

Get thought-provoking perspectives with our weekly newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.