“There have always been the Nativists, the Know-Nothings, the Klan, the John Birchers, the Knights of the Golden Circle, the Tea Party, the Proud Boys. All the believers in manifest destiny, and the white man’s burden, and a thousand conspiracy theories, going all the way back to Jamestown and Plymouth Colony.
It’s true enough that most white conservatives are not monsters, and that some of them are not bigots—though they have demonstrated no unease whatsoever with the bigotry of their leaders. It’s true that we should go on trying to persuade them, with restraint and respect. Contrary to what every columnist in the country seems to believe, no one I know lives in a “blue bubble.” We have right-wing acquaintances, relatives, even friends, and we listen to what they have to say.
But it’s important to understand that they have been voting the way they have for decades not out of despair or bruised feelings but to get what they want. It does no good to pretend otherwise. A people can be corrupted as well as a man, and our people can be corrupted as much as any other people. Red America is responsible for most of their own problems—and ours—thanks to the policies and the candidates they have supported for decades. But rather than acknowledge any of that they have simply doubled down, foisting upon us this wretched, hollow man, this constant liar who vulgarizes all he touches, who smears and mocks, and who sells himself at every turn, even to foreign dictators. The people, yes—they did this.”