Saturday, October 24, 2020
Oct. 24, 2020

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Press Talk: I know you’re out there

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This column was written before the president and the first lady announced they had tested positive for COVID-19. I wish them a speedy and full recovery. But elections and commentary on those elections continue. Also, please wear a mask.

Just one.

No kidding. That’s all I’m looking for. Just one.

Just one Trump supporter who — after reading this column — says something like “OK, I was going to vote for him but, you know what, what you wrote makes sense, enough sense that I’m switching.”

Are you out there someplace? I think so.

Look, I get this ain’t gonna be easy. Finding that one voter. The president’s base is white voters who didn’t go to college and that’s a difficult group to crack. Many are frightened, knowing their majority rule is coming to an end. Trump or no Trump, that reality is coming. And we can either embrace it with dignity or fight it. Trump is counting on his base to fight. Oh, don’t expect Trump to get his hands dirty. He’ll hide behind his walls for as long as he can.

So I honestly don’t expect to get this one voter from his base. Way too much Kool-Aid was already ingested. Still, I’m an optimist. Why? Because Trump — amazingly — has other followers as well. Those who have an open mind and can think for themselves. And I’m counting on turning one of them.

At first I had a few folks in mind who might be “the one.”

One was Dan Tolva, a journalist who used to work at The Columbian. Bright guy, good writer, he ended his career a few years back on the copy desk. Huge Trump supporter. (And you thought only liberals worked in newsrooms.) I like the guy.

Tolva has taken to writing Facebook stories in support of our president. He goes through the typical gunk, twisting here and turning there. And he has the Trump talking points all in place. Including his displeasure with — gulp — the media.

“A massive repudiation of the Democrats could also translate into disaster of their left-wing, elitist flunkies in the media. As subscriptions and ratings tank, surely those responsible for investors and the bottom line will start getting rid of corrupt producers, editors, commentators, and so-called reporters.”

Hmmm. I might be one of those commentators. On second thought, Tolva is way too far down the rabbit hole to find his way out. I wish him well but, OK, Tolva ain’t my guy.

Then there’s my friend Brent Boger. Another bright guy. He’s a Trump supporter. Yes, I have more than few Trump supporter friends, but most keep a low profile, if you know what I mean. Not Boger. He’s happy to mix it up on social media, often supporting Trump’s positions while condemning his actions.

This is a typical Trump defense, especially from his brightest supporters. They say that no matter how big a loser the president is, he will move our country in the direction it needs to go. Me? I think how one acts is important. And Trump is a bad actor.

Unfortunately Boger, who is an attorney for the city of Vancouver and has been elected to a government office here and there, appears to be too smart for his own good.

When I asked Boger to convince me why I shouldn’t be frightened of our president he had his answer ready. He said he was frightened of Joe Biden as well. This is another typical response of a Trump supporter: Comparing Trump’s endless faults with other politicians’ faults. But they ignore that Trump is in a league of his own. It’s sort of like asking why I shouldn’t be frightened of an AK-47 and the answer I get back is — well, I should be frightened of soup spoons too. Why? Because someone could kill me with either an AK-47 or a soup spoon. So I guess both “weapons” are equally bad.

OK, Boger ain’t coming around either.

My last shot of convincing someone I know was reader D.A. from Vancouver. I know her because she emailed me after I wrote my last column. And — yes — she’s a Trump supporter.

“I enjoy reading your (columns.) You have some interesting and fun things to say. But … whether you like it or not, a LOT of your readers are Trump fans. I don’t like all your Trump bashing. Leave your political feelings to yourself and continue to entertain us with (columns) we ALL can enjoy.”

I might have had a chance with D.A. But when I wrote back and said “No can do” I think I lost it.

Where does that leave me? Still looking, still searching for that one voter. And if I were a betting man I’d bet that voter is reading this column right now! Oh brother, where art thou?

How can I convince you that you can change? Should I repeat all the stuff our president has done? You, know:

• Although he correctly stopped travel from China early on during COVID-19, it’s unacceptable for him to use the “blame China” excuse for all his failures that followed.

• He’s a tax evader. When this self-described billionaire pays less in taxes than you and me, that’s unbecoming. So he hides his tax returns because he knows how bad that looks.

• He’s a liar. Of course, all politicians lie, but this guy is a special kind of liar, smiling as he goes, knowing his base will just shrug.

• He fulfilled his promise of draining the swamp but unfortunately he refilled it with his own swampy friends and relatives.

• He denies climate change as the West burns and the South and East get hit with so many hurricanes we’ve run out of names for them.

• He’s a bully, because rich guys like him have always gotten his way. Did you watch the debate?

• Our president takes no responsibility for anything. Harry Truman, we miss you.

OK, just recapping that was exhausting. Are you exhausted as well? But none of the above stuff seems to work. So here’s my shot. What you are about to read is all I have left. So read it carefully:

Do we need a uniter or a divider as president? Is Trump a uniter or divider?

Remember, only Trump supporters who have changed their mind after reading this column can play. I’ll keep checking my email. The address is at the bottom of this column.

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