When you see a Trump-Pence sign, it’s usually not just a polite lawn sign stating support for the incumbent, but a big banner or in-your-face flag. I confess I do not understand how anyone, after almost four years of his constant lies, pettiness, divisiveness and incompetence, can still support this awful man. So when I see Trump-Pence signs, my first reaction is, “What’s wrong with these people?”

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

You’d think people who support Trump would at least be ashamed to admit it. What he stands for is white male privilege in its ugliest forms. To support Trump-Pence is to support the most corrupt, inept, backward-looking administration of our lifetime.

I suppose, to be fair, Trump-Pence people probably think of themselves as patriotic Americans, America First and all that, but they are clearly not conservatives. Trump has ballooned the deficit and increased the power and size of the federal government. He is also not strong on defense, dodging the draft, alienating all of our allies, misusing the military for his own political purposes and now ignoring bounties placed on American GIs while kissing up to our enemies.

So what exactly are people saying when they plaster Trump-Pence signs all over the place?

“I hate libtards”? The only reason for supporting Trump I find even remotely forgivable is that he drives liberals like me apoplectic. That makes a modicum of perverse sense, but it also means a Trump supporter is willing to destroy the republic in order to tick off liberals.

“I’m not very well educated”? Between 2010 and 2018, the percentage of Republican voters who were white people without a college degree rose from 50% to 59%. Whites with college degrees fell from 40% to 29%. Uneducated white men are Trump’s primary constituency.


“I share Trump’s views on race and immigration”? Bigotry is obviously a lot of Trump’s appeal. He has a documented history of racism going back to the 1970s and he blows his dog whistle on the evils of immigration every chance he gets. Counties that hosted Trump rallies in 2016 saw an overall increase in hate crimes of 226%.

“I have an authoritarian personality”? A 2016 article in “Personality and Individual Differences” found that “Consistent with Trump’s representation of the world as a dangerous place requiring harsh treatment of deviant minorities, Trump supporters were high on authoritarian aggression.” This explains Trump’s appeal to evangelicals, fascists and white supremacists and his affection for brutal dictators.

“I’m just a local curmudgeon”? Tell me I’m wrong, but I would be greatly surprised if anyone displaying a billboard-size Trump-Pence sign is considered by his neighbors to be a kind and generous individual.

“I watch too much Fox News”? According to a 2019 Public Religion Research Institute Survey of American Values, the majority of Republicans who share Trump’s views on race and immigration rely on Fox News as their primary news source. If you’re relying on slumlord millionaire Sean Hannity and frozen pot pie pundit Tucker Carlson for your info, you’re getting bad intel, folks.

“I’m afraid Joe Biden will take my guns”? If Obama didn’t disarm America, no one will. Heck, even Trump wanted to impose universal background checks until the NRA told him he better not.

I wish I could believe that MAGA-hatted Trump followers had legitimate reasons to support their man, but every sign points right back to the ignorance, fear and prejudice that got Trump elected in the first place. The GOP is not a political party anymore, it’s a cult.

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