Who’s Afraid of Joe Biden? Fox News.

Kevin Drum

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The weekend brought us yet another New York Times story about Trump voters in the heartland. Here’s the nut of it:

The president’s supporters in places like rural Nebraska say they feel remembered. To them, these four years have brought a sense of belonging in a country led by someone who sticks up for, and understands, their most cherished beliefs.

This really is the key to things. After all, the Times story is centered on Henderson, Nebraska, which is not one of those rural places that’s fallen behind the rest of the country and is only barely surviving:

So what accounts for this sense of abandonment by Democrats? Partly it’s simple policy differences on things like guns, abortion, the death penalty, and so forth: the usual rural-urban divide. But it goes well beyond that. We’ve all read dozens of pieces like this one over the past few months, and the residents often express abject fear of what might happen if Joe Biden wins the presidency. This puzzles most of us. Afraid of Bernie Sanders? Sure, maybe. But afraid of Joe Biden? Mr. Mainstream? That’s crazy.

But if you watch Fox News or listen to conservative talk radio, you’d be scared too. Think about what they’re told every single day:

  • Liberals despise you and think that people like you are “deplorables.”
  • Democrats are trying to steal the election. They are ruthless and care about nothing but power.
  • Joe Biden and his son Hunter are both corrupt and everyone knows it, but the media is conspiring to keep it under wraps.
  • Biden is basically senile. If he wins, he’ll be a pawn of AOC and the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party.
  • Democrats encouraged Black rioters throughout the summer as a way of making Donald Trump look bad.
  • Democrats will raise your taxes and use it to buy health insurance for . . . the urban poor.
  • Democrats smeared Brett Kavanaugh to assuage their extremist base, slandering a decent man who did nothing wrong. They did the same thing to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
  • Democrats will take your guns away.
  • Maybe climate change is real, but Democrats are just hyping it because it’s a useful facade to promote their agenda of economy-killing regulation.
  • Democrats think rural white people are all racists.
  • If Biden wins, he’ll tear down the wall and welcome hordes of poor Mexican and Latin Americans into the United States.
  • Democrats have been cynically politicizing the coronavirus solely to make Trump look bad.
  • Donald Trump stands up for America. Democrats will cave in to threats from China, Iran, Russia, and other countries.
  • Democrats will ruin the economy. They always do.

I could go on like this for dozens more bullets. If you watch Fox News or listen to talk radio, you can add dozens more yourself. And when you do, doesn’t it become obvious why people like this adore Trump? As far as they can tell, he’s their only bulwark against a Hollywood-academia-politically-correct-liberal tsunami that’s focused on crushing them and everything they believe in. We may joke about it, but to many of these folks a Democratic victory really does look a lot like the apocalypse.

When Trump is defeated, I suspect the Republican Party leadership will essentially disown him. They’re already pretty tired of him, and he really is too crude for their tastes anyway. By this time next year you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who will admit to ever supporting him.

But Trumpism—or, more accurately, Murdochism—will live on. Its goal is to seed chaos and fear, and it will continue until something finally crushes it. But what?

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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