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Democracy in action

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A Trump voter from a rural Kentucky county in which Trump won 82% of the vote:

The insurance we had before, we ended up paying about $1,200 a month for a family of five. It just kept going up each year.

So we ended up dropping it.

We didn’t have health insurance. And we went for maybe two years with no insurance until this came out. We really didn’t go to the doctor because it cost too much.

So for the past two years, we had the Healthcare.gov. It’s made it affordable.

My husband ended up getting sick this year. He has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

He’s lost all this weight and all this muscle tone. Some people don’t recognize him that he’s known for years until he speaks and they recognize his voice.

But it’s been great to have health insurance, because I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have it with all the treatments and things that he’s had to have done.

When we didn’t have health insurance, we didn’t go and get blood work and all that stuff done to be checked to see, you know, how his liver was doing.

He was taking medicines that could damage the liver for the cholesterol and all that stuff. But because it costs so much to get blood work done … [the doctor] wanted it done every three months, and he would do it maybe once a year. . . .

I’m not really a fan of [Obama’s] policies, but I like the fact that he gave me health insurance. And I have been worried about the fact that, you know, is it going to go away because, like I said, we’re in a situation now where I can’t afford to pay $1,200 a month. And I can’t go without insurance because he has to have it in order, you know … a transplant could be a million dollars. . . .

I don’t know. I guess I thought that, you know, [Trump] would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many people’s lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot … purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?

You know, what are we to do?

So I don’t know. Maybe he’s thinking about, you know, the little people that are not making the big money, like what they make in New York and Washington and all the places that, you know, this is not, you know, something — this is people’s lives that’s being affected.

Meanwhile:

On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood made recordings of the 90-minute focus groups—held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Phoenix; Las Vegas; and Milwaukee—available to a group of journalists.

For opponents of Trump, the recordings make for excruciating viewing. They show how myths about Hillary Clinton’s corruption proved more influential than facts about Trump’s. “I really didn’t trust Hillary at all, and that’s why I went with Trump,” said a new mother in Harrisburg who’d been undecided until the last moment. “He’s more honest than her.” Some of the conversations make clear the role sexism played in the election. “I didn’t know if I was ready for the first woman president,” said a pretty, pregnant blonde 27-year-old woman in Phoenix. “I know how emotional I am, so … “ But if they’re maddening, the focus groups are also revelatory. They suggest that the Clinton campaign made a fatal mistake in depicting Trump as outside the bounds of normal conservatism. Clinton’s camp had hoped that doing so would lead Republicans to defect. Instead, it helped some people who distrust conservatism to reconcile themselves to Trump. . .

n Phoenix, two middle-aged women in the Trump-only focus group said they wouldn’t support him for re-election if he signed away funding for Planned Parenthood. “It’s a deal-breaker,” said an earthy 58-year-old in a plaid work shirt. “It will rob women of basic fundamental rights. I’m talking about female health care, which includes abortion. Which includes birth control. I think birth control is the greatest gift that they gave for womankind.” Added a 44-year-old, if Trump attacked Planned Parenthood, “I’d be pissed off as hell.”

This leads to an obvious question: If these women think defunding Planned Parenthood is a deal-breaker, why did they vote for a candidate who promised to do exactly that? After all, in a September letter addressed to “Pro-Life Leaders,” Trump pledged to strip Planned Parenthood’s federal funding unless it stops performing abortions. But many of the people in the focus groups didn’t know he’d made this assurance, and those who did didn’t take it seriously. It seemed as if Trump’s lasciviousness, which Clinton hoped would disqualify Trump with women, actually worked in his favor. The focus group participants couldn’t imagine that Trump would enact a religious right agenda. “He’s probably paid for a few abortions himself,” said the 58-year-old in Phoenix, eliciting a roomful of laughs.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

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