May 19, 2018


Politics as (Un)usual (Mark Shields, May 19, 2018, Creators)

When Hart asked the [focus group of 12 voters in a Milwaukee suburb, conducted for Emory University] for a word or phrase to describe Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, who is gravely ill in his Arizona home, it was not surprising that the answers included positives -- "war hero," "patriot," "strong," "very ethical" and "smart" -- reflecting the more than 3 in 5 Americans, according to impartial surveys, who view McCain favorably.

But committed Donald Trump voters in the group were harsh indeed when it came to McCain. To Betsy Novak, 55, who works in a greenhouse, he is "petty," which was the word also used by Randy Cera, 52, a self-employed insurance agent. To 66-year-old machinist Stephen Romanowski, McCain is a "turncoat," while to shipping and receiving manager Curt Hetzel, 48, McCain is, at 81, "too old."

As Hart, who has conducted hundreds of similar focus groups to find out how voters feel personally about political figures and the issues facing the country, noted afterward, "partisan America is alive and well in Wisconsin." He added: "If anybody has a doubt about how solid the Trump core is, come listen to this group. They couldn't even find a nice word to say about John McCain." [...]

Sadly, even an authentic American hero who is almost certainly on his deathbed is not given the benefit of the doubt and instead is the target of political invective from fellow Republicans.

Populism runs on hate.

Posted by at May 19, 2018 9:31 AM