Even Republicans and the Laid-Off Think We Need to Go Slow on Opening the Economy

Whenever I suggest that liberals should be less snarky toward conservative-leaning voters—as I did yesterday—I always get at least a few responses along these lines: Are you kidding? Have you seen these lunatics? They aren’t going to change their minds because we ask them nicely.

Sure. But the mistake here is watching TV and assuming that the tiny, lunatic crowds represent ordinary conservative voters. They don’t. They represent some of them, but probably not even a majority. The rest are up for grabs if we don’t lose them out of the gate by endlessly mocking them. Here’s a recent poll that backs this up:

This is solely a survey of people who have been laid off from their jobs, so it includes those who are suffering the most from lockdowns. This is as much Trump’s base as the Democratic base, but even so only about 40 percent approve of Trump’s performance. What’s more, only 13 percent think we should lift lockdown restrictions faster, and only 19 percent say we should open up the economy even if it means more people would get the coronavirus. The lunatics, it turns out, speak for only a very small portion of the country.

As you’d expect, the crosstabs show higher support for Trump among Republicans than Democrats. But even among Republicans, only 31 percent think lockdown restrictions should be lifted more quickly, and only half think we should open up the economy even if it means more people would get the coronavirus. Regardless of their support for Trump, it’s obvious that there’s a big chunk of Republicans who don’t agree with his lackadaisical attitude. And you know what? There are going to be even fewer by the end of the month when the infection numbers start to go up again.

At that point, of course, I imagine that Trump will try to blame it all on state governors. What else does he have left in his bag of tricks? But eventually even his fans are going to stop buying it.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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