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I started a new job last week with a large non-profit focused on a specific disease prevention, treatment, research, and cure. I now work from home, but was in the corporate headquarters earlier this week. Much like the government and academia, there is an implicit assumption there that anyone who is educated and cares about people is politically liberal. This always leads to little insights into how the non-fringe, non-activist wing of the other side thinks.
Here are a few snippets to mull over.
Sr. VP 1: Hillary has got to win. Period. Whatever it takes.
Sr. VP 2: My politics are much closer to Bernie Sanders, but I’ll vote for Hillary if she’s the candidate. She’ll help get us there.
Sr. VP 1: I agree. Sanders has “some really innovative policy ideas.”
Sr VP 1: Of course, we could nominate anyone, because as long as Trump goes third party, we win (at this point they both raised there hands in the air and cheered).
Sr. VP 2: Him winning the presidency wouldn’t be so bad … except on immigration (note this is from Bernie Sanders fan).
Sr. VP 1: Lynne, I hope you don’t mind we talk politics sometimes.
Me: I don’t mind, just curious about how much of diversity of opinion there is here.
My lessons learned:
1) Liberals vote to win. Half a loaf is better than nothing. No comments like, “If Bernie isn’t the nominee, I’m staying at home.”
2) They see Trump for what he is — a disaster for the Republican party and not conservative at all.
Next conversation at dinner:
Executive VP: Republicans are going to lose. Hillary is going to win and it’s going to be awesome. We’ll get to the single-payer system that works.
Other dinner comments: Yes, she’s going to get out of this email thing … it’s just media bias making a big deal of it. It must be hard to live in a Red state (we were in GA). Trump is going to drag the party down, down, down.
Me: I really think that Trump represents a populist movement (talk about the Michael Barone column on re-alignment). … go on to say, my friends here in GA who are Republicans see this as too early to make big predictions yet.
EVP: You know people who are Republicans? Even active in the party? (Seriously, he said this.)
Me: Yes, one of the great things about growing up in a Red State is that you meet people who are conservative politically, are smart, educated, caring, compassionate, not crazy, and would make excellent conversationalists here at our dinner.
Silence at the table
Me: Maybe it’s the psychologist in me, I just think people are more complex than their political views.
My lessons learned:
1. They will vote for Hillary no matter what comes out about Benghazi, e-mails, or anything else.
2. They think most Republicans are Tea Partiers, and that Tea Partiers are crazy radicals.
3. They think that all people who have had politics explained to them will agree with them.
What do you think? Is this consistent with what your more liberal friends and colleagues think? I think they’re right about Trump, he’s not conservative, but he could sure botch it for us this cycle. I also think they’re right to take the closest thing they can get to the liberal they want … even though it’s not as liberal as they want.