Here’s a shocker for you: The New York Times invited Trump supporters to write letters to the editor to explain their support for the president. Then, believe it or not, they published several on their editorial page – without mocking them!
I’ll wait while you check to see if pigs are flying yet.
The Times explained their reasons for giving Trump supporters a forum on their editorial page:
“In the spirit of open debate, and in hopes of helping readers who agree with us better understand the views of those who don’t, we wanted to let Mr. Trump’s supporters make their best case for him as the first year of his presidency approaches its close.”
They also stated that they would feature letters from Trump voters who regretted their decision to support the president. Nothing surprising there, right?
As you might expect, the left wasn’t too pleased with The New York Times’ decision.
The Left Slams The Times
Several prominent left-wing publications and individuals lambasted The Times. Salon wrote, “So self conscious is the Times’ editorial board about its own pointed, perfectly reasonable stance against the president, that today it gave over its opinion page to a selection of letters to the paper from Trump voters.”
Jamelle Bouie, the chief political correspondent, tweeted, “in the interest of fairness the new york times gave its editorial page over to republican partisans, a few racists, and people you can fairly describe as delusional.”
Lawrence O’ Donnell appeared to praise The New York Times’ decision, until he attacked Trump supporters. “This is probably a sample of only the most articulate Trump supporters,” he told The Daily Beast. “The Times should have solicited letters from David Duke and other white supremacists to present a fuller picture of Trump’s appeal.”
To be fair, there were some on the left who defended the action. Politico ran a piece entitled “The New York Times Op-Ed Page Is Not Your Safe Space.”
What Did Trump Supporters Have to Say to The Times?
The Times published letters from 14 Trump supporters who explained why they support the president. Most of them took issue with the Gray Lady for their biased coverage of the Trump administration. Others pushed back against the media’s unfair portrayal of individuals who voted for the president. David MacNeil wrote, “Newsflash: Not all Trump voters are Hillary Clinton’s ‘deplorables.’ Many of us are well-informed and highly-educated, and we are weary of the Democrats’ tiresome focus on identity politics, class warfare, and disparagement of corporations and the ‘wealthy.”
Sonia Schwartz’s comments on the media were telling: “Much of the media, as the hotbed of hatred against Mr. Trump, has pushed me more toward him than his social behavior has done the opposite.”
While some of the letters were from people who were enthusiastic about Trump, others voted for him for other reasons. Margaret O’ Tunnell wrote, “Donald Trump was not my first choice. However, even though I’m a “women’s libber” from the late ’60s, and I feel that we should have had a female president by now, Hillary Clinton was not worthy.”
One individual liked Trump, but did not appreciate his tweeting habit. “What I like least about his presidency so far is the tweeting,” Emily Robertson wrote. “It’s often immature and lowers the tone of the debate while debasing the office of the presidency.”
Lastly, Alexander Goldstein wrote about some of Trump’s accomplishments so far:
“The very fact that we have a tax cut, a roaring economy and stock market, a magnificent new Supreme Court justice and a wonderful attorney general with not only a moral compass but also a determination to actually enforce the laws of the land gives me great hope for this country’s future.”
What Should Leftists Learn from This?
There are several key takeaways that could help individuals on the left – at least the ones who are interested – understand Trump supporters. This editorial shows that, while many Trump supporters have qualms about some of the president’s personality traits, they approve of the policies he has enacted. These are people who value a robust economy, a formidable military, lower taxes, and a foreign policy that puts America’s needs first. However, there is one important point that the left would do well to learn.
Trump supporters are normal, everyday people – not the imbecilic, ill-informed, racist rubes that members of the establishment media portray them to be. One of the writers addressed this point at the beginning of his letter. “Did you run similar surveys for Obama voters? Or, for that matter, Eisenhower voters?” he wrote. “Trump voters are not circus freaks to be displayed or singled out.”
The left has gone to great lengths to paint a false picture of Trump and his supporters. Our fourth estate has worked overtime to deceive the rest of the American public into believing that Hillary Clinton’s assessment of Trump supporters as “deplorable” is accurate. This is nothing new. The left has run similar smear campaigns against conservatives before. However, their behavior has become even more egregious than it was in years past.
The New York Times’ editorial should be helpful for those who have a sincere desire to understand people with different views. It was an intellectually honest depiction of Trump supporters, and it was a shockingly brave move. Their leadership undoubtedly knew that they would receive criticism for publishing this piece – just as comedian Jimmy Fallon did when he “humanized” Trump on his show.
The notion that the left would level criticism at The Times for taking a more balanced approach is troubling, as it reveals their true intentions. They don’t wish to engage in political discourse; they would rather view their political opponents as evil caricatures devoid of valid opinions.
The Times took a step in the right direction with this editorial. While they may well go right back to their anti-Trump reporting, they showed that at least some members of their leadership are willing to listen to those with whom they disagree. Let’s hope we see more of this in our political discourse – from both the left and the right.