Readers React: How rural America is the source of Trump’s power — and might empower the next authoritarian president

Donald Trump
President Trump arrives for a ceremony for new Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court on Nov. 8.
(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

To the editor: In American politics we think we have a Trump problem, but President Trump is a mere blemish on the face of the real monster.

The cancer that is destroying us from within is a rural America that is being left behind. The economies, education systems and overall health of those outside the cities and suburbs are on the decline, and their best and brightest are fleeing in droves.

Republicans propose no real solutions for these people, but they are able to identify with them and convince them that they feel their pain. The fact that these voters support Trump is just a symptom of their desperation. They prefer to be led by a charismatic con artist on the right rather than by those on the left who sneer at them.

If progressive Democrats cannot figure out how to speak to these voters and create a compelling, hopeful narrative, we will only be empowering the next authoritarians who follow in the current president’s footsteps.


John Bauman, Los Angeles


To the editor: Trump’s conduct is clearly inappropriate and unbalanced. Many of Trump’s supporters understand his “issues,” but they are so angry at our government that they willfully ignore his misbehavior as long as he speaks up for them.

So, the real issue is trying to find a way to address the concerns of his followers. This is absolutely crucial if we are to stop Trump.


It is easy to argue that Trump’s supporters are ignorant and shallow minded, but that would be as inappropriate as the president’s conduct at his news conference on Wednesday. If we can resolve the anger of his supporters, he will lose them and his ship will no longer sail.

However, if we do not address their concerns, then as a society we will travel down the path of self-destruction.

Dennis G. Cosso, Arcadia


To the editor: When Jacksonian democracy defiled the genteel customs and traditions that preceded the turmoil, those who practiced a more refined brand of governance were repelled by the new age of the common man.

Henry Adams, great-grandson of our second president and grandson of the sixth, wrote in his autobiography, “Duty implied not only resistance to evil, but hatred of it.” In fact, those engaged in the struggle learned, as Adams wrote, to love the pleasure of hating, and described politics as the systematic organization of hatreds.

Little has changed since Trump became president. He delights in a brand of politics that many voters, even his own, find repugnant. And, he is impervious to the hatred of critics, even trolling for targets.

Will he desist now that Democrats have won control the House and can, if they wish, pursue a panoply of punishments? The odds are slight, for smash-mouth politics keeps the bright spotlight focused on his comfort zone and, as important, rankles the haters.


Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati


To the editor: What if Trump had a news conference and no one showed up? Why do professional journalists need to be humiliated, characterized as “the enemy of the people,” disrespected and ordered to “be quiet” and called “rude and terrible” people?

Personally, I fail to understand why these men and women do not just walk out — after all, we hear the same lies and denials every time this man speaks. Why even bother to listen to another one of his temper tantrums?

Trump should apologize to our hardworking journalists.

Carol Ann Wiley, Palm Desert

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