A Voice From the SwampPrint
A surprising source of Trump support
By Thomas Chatterton Williams
May 10, 2017
The victory last Sunday in France of the 39-year-old centrist Emmanuel Macron was both a tremendous relief and a dig at an unhealed wound. It was a vision of competence triumphing over foolishness, a stark reminder of all that we’ve lost here in the United States. I watched the celebrations from Washington, D.C., a town I haven’t visited since midway through the Obama era. As we were riding back from Eastern Market to Dupont Circle, the Uber driver heard my wife speaking French to my daughter and we ended up talking politics. Has the city drastically changed under Trump? I asked. The driver, a dark-skinned black American and D.C. native, said that the election of Trump is awful, of course, but that the town is empty and hasn’t really changed. Then he added: “But the thing is, you can’t deny, the economy is doing so well because we’ve never had a real businessman in office before. He knows what he’s doing with the economy, that’s why the market responded like it did. He’s so good at business.” I said, you think he knows more about the economy than his predecessor? “Oh, no doubt,” the driver replied. “And the other thing is, as long as he’s in that White House, no one will fuck with us. Everyone knows he’ll push the button, so he’s keeping us safe.” I asked the man if he really thought Trump had a better foreign policy than Obama. He said yes. We thanked him for the ride and got out, and my wife articulated exactly what was making me sick: Trump may actually get away with this.
Thomas Chatterton Williams is the author of a memoir, Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man’s Escape from the Crowd. He lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.
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