CJ Werleman pens an open letter to those who remain stubbornly loyal to Donald Trump, despite measurably worsening economic conditions in the US.


Dear Trump Supporters,

How did it get this bad? How did it get to the stage where you are no longer able to believe what it is you heard with your own ears and saw with your own eyes when it comes to the deeds and behaviour of our President? 

When George W. Bush was invading the wrong countries and getting our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters killed in lands many of us were unable to locate on a map, most of you joined us in lambasting his deceit, ignorance, arrogance and hubris. 

When Barack Obama was less than truthful about the extent and consequences of both the military drone programme and NSA’s practice of gathering and storing our private communications, you joined us in calling out his dishonesty.

You see, there was a time when you put country before party; the constitution before “owning the libs” and moral and ethical decency before buffoonish self-aggrandisement. But that was then and this is now.

Now you are neither able to discern truth from fiction nor reality from the whims of a reality game show host. You have become the poster children for the post-truth universe that we now all ruefully inhabit.

There are any number of data points I could include to illustrate my point, but none better than a recent Monmouth University poll that found that 40% of you don’t believe Donald Trump mentioned former Vice President Joe Biden in his call with the Ukrainian President, despite Trump admitting that he did. 

I guess this explains why none of Trump’s documented 13,000 false or misleading statements concern you, nor his racism, sexism and xenophobia – and it’s likely you would continue to believe every one of his lies and unfounded conspiracy theories even if he was led away from a federal court in handcuffs. Hopefully!

Whenever I speak with you, either individually or collectively, you wave away his craven dishonesty and total disregard for decency, ethics and morals by pointing to the unemployment rate or performance of the stock market. “It’s the economy, stupid,” so you say. 

But most of you are not titans of the corporate universe, nor are you commuting to work on a privately owned Gulf Stream jet. The fact of the matter is this: an overwhelming majority of you are honest, hard-working, family-loving, salt of the earth types who have been betrayed by the very economic policies ushered in by Trump and the hyper pro-Wall Street friendly Republican Party.

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So, I have a very serious and genuine question to ask you, and it has nothing to do with Trump’s antics or the mountain of credible accusations against him, but rather about you, personally: if it is truly “about the economy, stupid”, as you claim, then how has Trump improved your life, materially?

If you claim that things have become suddenly more economically rosy for you because of Trump’s “historic” tax cut, then I can only assume you earn more than $421,926 per year, placing you in the top 1% of income earners in the country, which is where 83% of the benefits for Trump’s “historic” tax cut travelled. If you earn less than a near half a million bucks each year, then it is likely that your take-home salary check looks pretty much like it did several years ago, given that there has been only a marginal, and one which barely keeps apace with rises in inflation, increase in national average hourly wages.

There is also the fact that last year became the first time in US history that the richest 400 families paid a lower tax rate than the bottom 50% of American households, thus exacerbating a widening gap in wealth between you and the fat cats who own beachfront properties on islands you will probably never earn enough to visit for a weekend getaway.

So now that we have established that there has been no discernible improvement to your take-home salary under Trump, and at the same time the rich have gotten insanely richer, let’s look at your household spending.

Inflation has held at a rate of a tick under 2%, but Trump’s self-defeating trade war with China – which is universally scorned by Wall Street and economists who advise CEOs – has added $38 billion to the cost of pretty much everything you buy in a Walmart, Costco or Apple store, translating to an additional cost burden of $1,000 for every household in the country.

What about healthcare? Trump’s war on the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, has “triggered soaring healthcare costs” and stripped insurance coverage away from more than seven million Americans.

What about the overall state of the economy, you ask? Well, manufacturing output is at its lowest level since 2014, with economists claiming that we are already in a “manufacturing recession” and, at the same time, a majority of surveyed economists are forecasting a recession in the overall economy within the next year, with 70% of CEOs predicting same.

Then there is the country’s outrageous level of national debt, which is what propelled many of you into following politics for the first time when you started following the Tea Party movement in 2010. In that year, the national debt was $13 trillion. Today, it stands at $22 trillion, and is rising at a rate of $1 trillion a year thanks to Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy. Trump has doubled the $587 billion deficit he inherited from Obama, but suddenly deficits and debt no longer matter to you.

The good news is that things can be better for you and for the rest of us. You can make the necessary change at the ballot box in 12 months’ time. The point is we are all in this together. White Americans are not locked in a ‘do or die’ struggle with non-white immigrants, as Trump will have you believe. It is us, the bottom 50, 60 even 90% against an unfair system that Trump has made measurably worse.

I just hope that you are soon able to see and hear things for what they are – and at the very least before the most reckless US President in living memory triggers a military/economic/political catastrophe we can never recover from.

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