This week, John King's Magic Wall saw its shadow, giving us a few more weeks of election season before declaring an official winner to the 2020 Presidential Race. In a normal year, things like a slow economy and a pandemic would be blamed on the incumbent, and the challenger would coast to an easy win.
This being said, 2020 is not an ordinary year, and the people voting for Donald Trump aren't ordinary voters. 
Last week, ahead of what I knew would be a contested election, I sat down with someone I knew who was both extremely pro-Trump and also breaks every stereotype about the MAGA crowd. He's foreign born, college educated, works in the tech sector, and lives in one of those metro enclaves infested by the "Coastal Elite".

You can listen to the conversation below, on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever your bad self gets your podcasts.


Pierre, a I'll call him, was born and raised in France, moving to the United States with his family at age 12. His father, disenchanted with the state of French politics and what he viewed as their less than industrious approach to work, moved to the United States in what is quite literally the textbook American story - coming here with nothing and working to build a life for himself and his family.

Pierre's dad, who was active in right-wing French politics prior to leaving, found a new political home in the Republican Party.

While first brushing off Trump as a joke, Pierre began to see him as the one person who could stand up for conservatism and conservative values. Unlike other Republicans, who positioned themselves with an air of propriety, Trump was unabashedly pro-American and not afraid to couch his policy positions in the most offensive terms.
More important than Trump himself, is the view that Trump stands against a cadre of powerful interests - where the media, big tech, academia, and government institutions (i.e. - The Deep State) work to push a progressive ideology and suppress dissenting views. Rather than being a candidate who stands for something, Trump is the only person strong enough to stand against these vested interests on behalf of his followers.
This both explains why his following is so devoted and why those outside the MAGAverse got the results of the 2020 election so wrong. Trump voters don't view their candidate as an ideologue with a set of policy positions, but as the one person able to take down the neoliberal establishment they feel has discounted and devalued them.
In this sense, a vote for Trump is more akin to driving behind an ambulance in a traffic jam. You may not necessarily be pro-ambulance, but it sure does a good job clearing a path for you.
Understanding this is most important to people who oppose Trump, who are generally either baffled by the people who support him, or diminish his supporters as racist/uneducated/etc. A vote for Trump is an expression of feeling unheard by an all encompassing media, tech, and academic landscape that presents an ideology at odds with theirs and how they see the world. This doesn't disappear with the president.
As a first step to people of all political stripes, I'll offer this advice: Listening isn't necessarily agreeing, but it is the first step to getting someone to listen to you. The antidote to the MAGA movement and the woke culture the MAGA movement stands against starts here.

Additional Resources

In this episode, we touched on immigration, Islam, and the foreign-born experience in the US. The following episodes offer some additional perspective on these issues:

  • Episode 2 - "I'm Not Supposed to Be Here": In this episode, I speak with David, who came here with his mother from Colombia when he was 8 years old, and lived as an undocumented immigrant for 10 years, before becoming a full citizen. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcastsor below.
  • Episode 19 - Growing Up Muslim in America: Anum Hussain, co-founder of Acciyo, discusses the experience of growing up Muslim in Southern New Hampshire, and the plight of women of color in tech. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or below.

  • Episode 10 - Paddy O'Gun Nut: I speak with another David, this time an Irish immigrant, who developed a fondness for AR-15s after moving to Oklahoma. In this, we discuss the anxiety of the American experience, and how this has more to do with violence in America than anything else. You can read a write up on mental health and gun violence here, listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or below.