Jon Stewart: Trump voters shouldn’t be ‘defined by the worst of his rhetoric’


Jon Stewart gave his first post-election interview this week to Charlie Rose at CBS’s This Morning. It was not a live interview, and considering the type of conversation, I think the interview might have been better served on 60 Minutes or The Charlie Rose Show. Because all I got from these five minutes was a headache. Stewart has always maintained that his 15-plus years on the Daily Show were about comedy, not news or politics. He wanted to be seen as a comedian and satirist, not a pundit or political intellectual. One of the worst criticisms lodged at Stewart – and a criticism which I often agreed with – is that he too fell into the trap of false equivalencies and anecdotal evidence in lieu of actual data, facts and pragmatism. That’s what this week’s interview reminded me of – that Jon Stewart wants to see the best in people, in the face of lunacy, misogyny, fascism and white supremacy. Here’s the video:

Some quotes:

We’re still America: “I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago. The same country with all its grace and flaws, and volatility, and insecurity, and strength, and resilience exists today as existed two weeks ago. The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama. This election, to me is just another extension of the long argument that we’ve had from our founding, which is: What are we? I feel badly for the people for whom this election will mean more uncertainly and insecurity. But I also feel like this fight has never been easy.”

All of Trump’s supporters are not racist:
“I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points. But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him is — has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric. Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don’t look as Muslims as a monolith. They are the individuals and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”

Draining the swamp: “The ultimate irony of this election is the cynical strategy of the Republicans, which is: ‘Our position as government doesn’t work. We’re going to make sure … that it doesn’t work.’… But they’re not draining the swamp. [Mitch] McConnell and [Paul] Ryan, those guys are the swamp. And what they decided to do was, ‘I’m going to make sure government doesn’t work and then I’m going to use its lack of working as evidence of it. Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats, to Republicans. He’s not a Republican, he’s a repudiation of Republicans. But they will reap the benefit of his victory, in all of their cynicism.”

The unnatural republic: “Natural is tribal. We’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something that no one’s ever — that’s what’s exceptional about America and that’s what’s, like, this ain’t easy. It’s an incredible thing.”

[From People]

I don’t want to be the one to say this, but Jon reeks of privilege. Yes, he makes some noise about how Trump “disqualified himself” but basically what Jon is saying is that America is still fine, and people voted for Trump for completely legit reasons that don’t involve p-ssy grabbing, utter policy incoherence and open bigotry, and we need to listen to those reasons and don’t worry, because most of us will be okay. And “most of us” is “anyone with a penis and anyone paler than light beige.”

Obviously, the part that bugged me the most was: “Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums.” While those voters may say that now and may even believe that of themselves, a vote for Donald Trump was always and still remains a vote for racism, a vote for violent misogyny, a vote for anti-Semitic dog whistles, a vote for mass deportations, a vote for a Muslim registry, a vote for putting the biggest knuckle-dragging anti-choice a—holes on every court in the land. You can be concerned about your insurance premiums and still recognize that by voting for Trump, you’re voting for fascism. Unfortunately so many people seem incapable of grasping that. Maybe they’re not racist. But a vote for Trump is enabling racism.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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160 Responses to “Jon Stewart: Trump voters shouldn’t be ‘defined by the worst of his rhetoric’”

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  1. S says:

    Yep. I love Stewart, but he dropped the ball here, IMO. Saying, ‘I’m not a racist/misogynist/xenophobe but I’m OK with racism/misogyny/xenophobia if it saves me money’ is … Not a step up. If you know what I mean.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes, I felt the same – disappointed. I mean, Hitler put people to work but he was still…Hitler.

    • Natalie S says:

      Yes. Voting for your wallet over the safety and civil rights of other people is deplorable. Women will die if abortion becomes a states rights issue but hey, someone saved some money is supposed to make me feel empathy? I don’t think so.

      The privilege that keeps leaking out is incredibly disappointing.

      • lucy2 says:

        This – an old friend of mine voted for Trump because the contribution they pay towards their health insurance has increased in recent years. Keep in mind, this is a state employee health insurance plan that offers excellent benefits and covers their entire family. That was the only thing that mattered to her – not the racism/sexism, not the lack of experience, not the environment, not what it means for her daughters to see an admitted sexual assaulter elected POTUS.
        I understand a lot of the frustrations and the desire for change, but sometimes you have to look beyond yourself for the greater good.
        Also, she’s in for a disappointment if she thinks Trump is capable of doing anything to reduce health care costs. He doesn’t have a clue how to do anything, people just bought his empty promises.

      • Snappyfish says:

        THIS.. I will be fine. I voted for HRC because I truly believed that many many people, minorities, immigrants, veterans, women, the elderly etc) would be crushed under a Trump Presidency. I have lost friends over this as a vote for this man stated one of two things. You are hateful or you are okay with hate & neither is ok.

      • Radley says:

        @ lucy 2

        It frustrates the heck out of me that people don’t understand that these rising healthcare costs are a thing the DEMOCRATS are trying to get a handle on. That’s what the Affordable Care Act was trying to address, among other healthcare issues. Healthcare is huge business and healthcare providers and insurers have been allowed to run amok since forever and that’s why costs are out of control. But people legit expect it all to be fixed in a few years??? With Republican obstructionists at every turn?? How simpleminded.

        Yes, more tweaks and fixes are needed to Obamacare. But it was the right path. The path to bringing her premiums down. There’s no chance of that happening now because Republicans prefer the free market run amok approach. Another misinformed voter.

      • Nymeria says:

        If you have a serious health problem but cannot afford your insurance premiums, then you could very well die. Yet someone in that position is all the -ists and -ics because they want to continue to receive health care that they can actually afford? How the H does that make any logical sense?

        People posting self-righteously and indignantly about how they’re more morally pure than other people are dragging us down the road to a country like the former East Germany. Young people kicked and screamed for a socialist country after WW2. Ten years or so after they got it, they were literally dying to get out of it. They thought they were full of moral rightness, that they knew better than people who opposed them. There was no talking to them because if you didn’t agree with them, you were an evil capitalist pig. The fact that those of you reading this comment can’t comprehend the parallel is exactly why we’re headed down that path. Remember that it’s the zealots who always make their way to the most powerful positions, and they dictate what you can and can’t say. Even you will eventually be subject to the censorship and disgust you’re hurling at people right now under the umbrella of the First Amendment, which you want gone.

        People never learn. You get a good dose of groupthink going, and it’s like historical precedents never happened.

      • S says:

        @ Nymeria you’re joking, right? Because that’s NOT how East Germany happened … It’s not even a vague inkling of quasi-correct history. East Germany “became socialist” because the Soviet Union walled off a section of East Berlin they controlled following WW2, which started the Cold War and installed a crony communist government in East Germany, and all the other so-called Iron Curtain states, which were independent from the USSR in name only. East Germany’s creation was most definitely not about young people, or “zealots,” wanting a socialist state. Your take isn’t a contrasting theory, it’s complete and total bull hockey. As is the idea that Democrats want to eliminate the First Amendment (roll eyes).

        I’m a public employee and have worked for a state university (yes, one of those terrible educated elites) for 17 years now. In that time, my health insurance premiums, which covers my entire family since my husband is self-employed, have gone from about $400/month to almost $1,700/month, and we’re generally healthy. My premiums have diddly squat all to do with Obamacare which, for most people, had zero effect other than to eliminate exclusion based on pre-existing conditions and allow you to keep your kids on your insurance until they’re 26. For the bulk of Americans, who get their health insurance through their employers, that is the entirety of how you’ve “suffered” from the ACA. Employer-based healthcare premiums increased annually before the law went into effect, and increased annually afterwards as well AND HAVE NO RELATION TO PREMIUMS FOR OBAMACARE PLANS.

        The law allowed those who previously lacked access to affordable health care, like my self-employed hubby, access to a marketplace, run by insurance companies, where they could buy insurance and provided vouchers for the lowest income folks to help afford the premiums. That’s it. They don’t set the rates. They don’t create the plans; though the law does stipulate some minimum coverages marketplace plans must offer.

        It’s not a conspiracy. It’s not socialism. It’s a group of for-profit health insurers, who are raising the rates so they can increase their profit margins.

        Oh and, you want to talk about people dying … Check out Paul Ryan’s idea to privatize Medicare. To turn that into a voucher program that would make it EXACTLY like the Obamacare everyone loathes so much now is. Instead of the government-run, widely-accepted, low-cost health insurance for our senior citizens, we’d have private, for-profit health insurance doing whatever they can to make a buck off the oldest, sickest among us. But I’m sure that will work out just fine for the white working class like my father, who has COPD, and whose medications alone cost upwards of $10,000/month, all paid for by Medicare.

      • Mildred Fierce says:

        Nymeria, if you want to find out what actually did happen in East Germany, pick up a copy of Anne Appelbaum’s excellent book Iron Curtain. The scenario you outlined above is wildly inaccurate. The real history is not only fascinating, it is instructive for the times we are living in.

      • Natalie S says:

        Nymeria, you wrote “Remember that it’s the zealots who always make their way to the most powerful positions, and they dictate what you can and can’t say. Even you will eventually be subject to the censorship and disgust you’re hurling at people right now under the umbrella of the First Amendment, which you want gone.”

        People against Trump are the ones who want the First Amendment gone? If all your arguments are as grounded in reality as this assertion and your bizarre rant about East Germany, then I guess I understand why you think people disagreeing with you is the equivalent of censorship.

    • Kitten says:

      SO TIRED of the collective shoulder shrug from white men!!!

      • Lorelai says:


        Not sure if you get notifications when a reply is posted; I posted this late last night but don’t know if anyone saw it. I think it is brilliant!

        (Jon here might benefit from reading it…)

      • Kitten says:

        BRILLIANT. Thank you for sharing, Lorelai! This should be required reading for all white men.

      • Jess says:

        Lorelai, that link to the video game analogy is fantastic. Thanks so much! And is so helpful because I know white guys who get so offended by the use of privilege – “nobody helped me – I did this all on my own.” But this explains the problem without that defense working. I love it!

        And Kitten, I agree with you. This is a much easier issue for white straight guys to not worry about – it’s all just an intellectual debate to them.

    • Lorelai says:

      It’s almost worse, IMO. At least the conservative republicans have a stance and they stick to it. I think their stance is despicable, but to KNOW that, proclaim yourself against it, and still selfishly vote for him anyway because it’s better for your wallet? I couldn’t live with myself.

    • Radley says:

      Agree. People endorsed racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny with their votes for Trump. If you’re not ok with those things, you shouldn’t have voted for him. Seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s not like Hillary’s platform was No Jobs! No Healthcare! Misery for All! Come on now. Everyone had a reasonable choice and a reasonable alternative to Trump. Jon Stewart has a case of white denial. I’ve been seeing that alot. Not pretty is it, eh Jon?

      And reminder to Jon Stewart:
      “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. ”
      -Desmond Tutu

    • Nan says:

      He definitely dropped the ball and lost me on this. I suppose he would have been an apologist for Hitler too???

    • Morning Coffee says:

      I think what he’s saying is that if the only thing we seek to understand about Trump voters is that they are racist, then the Democrats will totally miss the boat. Certainly a Trump voter is ok with racism. Or at least doesn’t see it as a disqualifier. However, go back to that Black Jeopardy skit on SNL and really watch it now. Learn from it. That’s what we have to do. It isn’t as simple as racists.

    • Carmen says:

      If you vote for a racist you’re a racist, whether or not you’re too dishonest to admit it.

    • LoveIsBlynd says:

      Wow. It’s “the same America” for light skinned people people of color (like me- white washed black PR) who can blend in and or white males. My mother told me she and her family hid their ethnicity all through the 1950s. I used to think that was RIDICULOUS and sadly now I’m understanding- because we are backwards in time. Also- Hillary admitted in the debates that the the affordable health care act needing revamping- and guess what? It turns out that trump gave only “lip service” to it’s demise-UGH- he is also just revamping it. So “people in his neighborhood” (hmm- beverley hills? Montecito?) don’t mind that their candidate gave -an implausible promise to end the affordable care act- while ALSO promoting bigotry across the board. F John Stewart and his cowardly privilege.

    • Laura says:

      Completely agree. He’s talking about people who were complacent throughout the election. I hope these people who are worried about paying their insurance premiums stop and think how lucky they are to be able to afford such “problem”s”.

  2. Div says:

    Anyone who can afford to live next to Jon likely doesn’t have to truly worry about their insurance.

    I feel like any person who voted for Trump was either a) bigoted or b) apathetic to bigotry. No, some of them aren’t card carrying members of the KKK but they still decided to ignore his sexist, racist, xenophobic, awful ideas simply because they wanted to believe his lies about trade and the economy. So either way…they aren’t good. While I have no empathy or sympathy for those latter voters, at least I can “see” (even if I don’t understand) how they came to be deluded by Trump. It’s the outright bigots or the wealthy who voted for Trump simply because he’ll decrease taxes on the 1% that really get my blood boiling.

    • Melly says:

      Jon lives on a farm in upstate New York. His neighbors are other farmers who I imagine are not millionaires.

      • Belooooga says:

        Actually he lives in New Jersey. And he just bought a farm in Colts Neck to add to their Farm Sanctuary work. Both areas a very affluent and very Republican. He has great points that sail above most people who can only see rhetoric and think in sound bites. You are missing the point the same way Hillary and her campaign did.

      • Timbuktu says:

        no, we’re not, you just confirmed Div’s original point: he lives in a very affluent area, and his neighbors are VERY unlikely to worry about their insurance premiums. And even if they do, well, I hope they can sleep well now, knowing that they just screwed millions of their fellow citizens out of any insurance at all for the sake of saving a buck for themselves.

      • Lindsay says:

        Yes but the don’t have unlimited money. Premiums keep going up and up (26% for this coming year. They may have adult children with to think about, they may make too much to qualify for subsidies. They may have a small business being hurt by it. It isn’t unreasonable to wonder if the ACA is the best way. At some point the cost of premium, co-pays, out of pocket cost will become more expensive the the necessary tax hike for universal healthcare.

        He may have given a bad example but his point still stands no matter who you voted for you should still be able to be seen as a human being and evaluated on your own merits. You aren’t superior simply for voting for Hillary. Not everyone who voted for her is a great person and ‘woke’, they are just people. There are bad apples in every group condemn them on their own merits.

      • Rhiley says:

        @Belooooga: I would say we are missing the point if trump truly had an economic message and that is what he ran on. His economic goals are in part what Obama wanted to do since 2008 but was denied by the obstructionist right wing party. Listen to the rhetoric being floated now: the WHITE working class is angry and got out the vote. Also, look at whom trump is trying to fill the white house. This election is very much about race and fear of others

      • robyn says:

        I’m white but every time I see a white person, man or woman, in the US I suspect them of giving Trump a pass and voting for him despite all his racist dog whistles and talk, sexism and degrading segments of the population. They won’t admit it but you can see the signs. Even Jon Stewart is making me wonder. It makes me sick and the only thing that will balance the scales is a sea of white faces protesting “Not My President”. That’s the least they can do for allowing this man with a monster ego and dubious family “rule” the free world.

      • Lorelai says:

        Sorry, but I disagree. Given what is at stake in this election, I do think people who voted for Hillary are superior. They care about citizens other than only themselves. That *does* make them better people IMO.

        I mean, do you think one has to be Muslim to vote against the candidate who wants them all to register? I wouldn’t be personally affected by that but I still find it abhorrent, and don’t want to live in a country where *any* group is treated that way…

      • says:

        Yesterday Jews. Today, Muslims. Tomorrow ?
        If you can’t see why it’s wrong and how not agreeing with it IS the moral thing to do… then I guess there’s nothing to add.

  3. OldLadiesForHillary says:

    Sorry, Jon. You’re off-base on this one, bigly. This morning I finally came up with a comparison that might be meaningful to either a Trump voter or to someone who didn’t vote because ‘both options are equally bad.’ Yet you are very hurt and insulted, I would say to that person, if accused of being a racist. In fact, though, your actions are very comparable to someone who voted for Hitler’s government in pre-WWII Germany — maybe because he promised to improve economic conditions and give the working-man more of a voice. You probably chose to ignore the way he was going to achieve those goals … With Trump, it’s very easy to understand what he believes: simply listen to him and watch his supporting behaviors. There are really no excuses for self-delusion about Trump’s racist agendas.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Agree, commented above about Hitler. The true test of a leader is character and decency, both of which Trump lacks. You can’t carry out any good for your nation or humanity if you lack character and decency. Hitler’s economy was propped up on military production and theft. I wonder what Trump will prop his economy up on. In the end, Germany was bombed to smithereens. What will Trump bring upon his nation?

      • OldLadiesForHillary says:

        These are the times I am selfishly glad I’m old and won’t be around for all of the devastation. Unfortunately, however, my daughter and granddaughter will be …

  4. Jessica says:

    Completely agree with you, Kaiser. The people on the “progressive side” who are so quick to tell the rest of us to chill out, calm down, stop bringing up racism, etc. all seem to be straight white men with a high degree of social and economic privilege.

    Funny that…

    • Pix says:

      Yes, Kaiser has been on point this entire post-election period and that makes me really happy. His comments come from a place of blind privilege and he’s a huge disappointment. I hate to say I’m not surprised. This guy is all about his sanctimony and to put himself outside of that would be a miracle. I’m glad he’s no longer on the air.

  5. original kay says:

    All Trump supporters are not racist, like not all Muslims are not terrorists is such a false equivalency it makes me ragey.

    With Trump there has not and never will be the benefit of the doubt, even a smidge of it. You know what you are getting, plain and simple.

    Stop normalizing Trump, you stupid privileged celebrities that have means and access to places the average person doesn’t, so you can escape any repercussions of a Trump presidency.

    **very disturbed/angry/fed up this morning ****

    • S says:

      Right there with you.

      All Muslims aren’t terrorists, but if someone who is Muslim were to vote for a guy who supports ISIS then, yeah, you would be a supporter of terrorism.

      Same thing here with Trump. AT BEST his voters are OK with racism, misogyny, xenophobia, islamaphobia, etc. They don’t have to grab the pussy themselves to be in on it.

    • Wilma says:

      Yes, false equivalency and wrong way of using a comparison in an argument. We can’t treat muslims (or people of any faith) as a monolith unless we did a worldwide referendum and all muslims of the world end up voting for the same set of ideas. Which is what happened here: all Trump voters voted for a very specific set of ideas. Therefor we can assume they hold these ideas or are not repelled by these ideas.

  6. Slowsnow says:

    Well. Don’t find him hot anymore. However I propose this video as the definition of “series of brain-farts”.

  7. Josefina says:

    I’ve gotten to a point when I just avoid these discussions. I’m so tired of people telling me I’m the one with a fixated perception of reality. Like, the USA is literally filling itself with graffitis calling for a KKK uprising and calling minorities all slurs imaginable. Every single day since the election I wake up to news of anyone from a minority receiving a death threat. Hate crimes have already seen a rise. So what the hell do you need to be convinced? Because the only possible upgrade from this are concentration camps.

    • Betsy says:

      From the RWNJ comments I’ve seen places: It’s Hillary supporters doing that stuff to discredit the new P-E! Because that’s what we generally mild-mannered people do.

    • LittlestRoman says:

      These people are impenetrable. Right, because there’s no such thing as violent white supremacists in the US. All the Trumpsters are meek lambs who would never hurt a fly. I guess if we shove all of that inconvenient lynching and cross-burning further back in our collective closet, it will cease to have happened, right?

  8. Insomniac says:

    Yep, I’ve about had it with that argument. You might not be racist yourself, but if you voted for Trump, then none of the horrible things he did or said — the sexism, the bigotry, the bullying, the attacks on a dead vet’s family and the mocking of a man with a disability, just for starters — were deal-breakers for you, and that’s disgusting.

    • vava says:

      I agree.

      Once Trump starts selecting his Cabinet, it’s going to be even more obvious.

      By appointing Sessions to Attorney General, the message is sent that racism is fine. Sessions showed who he was years ago, he hasn’t changed.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s how I feel too. Not all of his voters are out there harassing people, but a vote for a racist is a vote for a racist. I don’t know how you can justify that.

  9. Sixer says:

    I say the same about Brexit. There were principled reasons for voting Leave. But the fact is that Leave voters also chose a side. Because none of the xenophobes voted Remain.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Exactly. Many also fail to see (probably on purpose, denial is a powerful thing) that enabling the xenophobes they legitimised their behaviour and made it acceptable.

      I read a tweet (an old guy, maybe Harry Reid?) that said something like they were on a train to Berlin in1938 and nobody believed anyone was going to be deported, just political posturing.
      I guess we are sure it didn’t go that way

  10. lisa says:

    enabling a racist/sexist/homophobe to commit racist/sexist/homophobic acts is indeed an act of aggression and the end result is the same

  11. Alexis says:

    I actually am and have always been more offended by Trump’s supporters than Trump himself. Trump has always just been out here hustling. He’s like your crazy old unfiltered (grand-)uncle. All this is a hustle that ended up going way differently than he could have imagined.

    By contrast, I can’t do anything but severely negatively judge people who are up for gambling this country’s future on someone with no experience in government or even running a consistently successful business (honestly his record in real estate is patchy at best and such a record was only enabled by starting with immense generational wealth) with a hair trigger temper just because they feel intimidated by America’s changing society. People who think it’s “so bad” because “liberals” don’t “respect” them enough and want someone they can “relate to,” rationality and reality be darned. I honestly think they’re used to the suburban white middle class with traditional gender roles being the ideal and envy of the world, and they’re upset that an increasing number of young Americans idealize urban, diverse, middle class and gender-equal living. Many Millennials want to be Barack and Michelle, not W and Laura or Donald and Melania.

    When you’re used to being idealized all on your own, equality and options feel like the ultimate disrespect. But no, I’m not interested in helping those people feel better about that. They need to grow up and figure it out. And, ironically, electing Daddy Trump isn’t going to help them with that. He’s not even against diverse urban living and working women.

    • robyn says:

      I feel the same way. When this first started it was pretty clear right away who Trump was. He was out there being who he is but it was all the supporters that frightened me because without them he would be a voice wailing in the dark. His supporters, your neighbor and mine, are the enablers of a racist talking, ignorant sexist bigot who didn’t hide who he was. Enabling racism is unforgiveable and unacceptable and they should be judged accordingly. It is ironic to me and an example of deep rooted sexism that Hillary was judged by these folks as enabling Bill while they were busy enabling fascist Trump.

    • EM says:


  12. mazzie says:

    Yeah, well When you voted for Trump, you endorsed his facist, racist, anti-semitic regime. So no, you don’t get a pass and I’m ok with that assumption.

  13. Melly says:

    I think we should acknowledge that he has a point.

    • mazzie says:

      Why? Genuinely curious.

      • LA says:

        “the red electoral college map was a scream for help, and we’re screaming racist so loud we don’t hear them.”

        I think it’s really easy for us to make the decision to vote Clinton (or 3rd party), but if you are in this rural communities with no hope or chance for making your life better, if you can’t feed your family and are losing your home, you have to take care of those needs. They believe Trump will help them (will he really? Probably not). I don’t agree with their vote but I also have no idea what it’s like to be in those dead rural towns.

        See Maslows Hierarchy of Needs.
        And this blog post which I found to be really well written.

        “It’s easy to point to these small, impoverished towns and name racism, the second amendment or plain stupidity as the only reasons why these people would ever vote for a man like Donald Trump. I find this to be highly intellectually dishonest, though. To write this off as simple racism is to ignore the very real and very heartbreaking struggles small town America faces.”

      • Lyka says:

        The point (in my opinion) is this: the collapse of the industrial heartland that began around 40 years (and disproportionately affected white working-class people) was more than just the natural evolution of our economy. It meant that resources, jobs, decent housing, good neighborhoods, and schools all started a decline that wrapped families in middle America into a scarcity mentality for decades. When large corporations started shutting down plants and mills in the ’70s, communities did rally and push for cooperative ownership of the capital. But federal loans to re-open and modernize these facilities were denied by the Carter administration (which bowed to corporate lobbying). Meanwhile, unions offered only the mildest support or organizing assistance out of fear that worker ownership would undermine their own objectives. So the right blamed the unions, the left defaulted to blaming a changing global economy, and the people who this actually affected were left in the dust, distrustful of ALL institutions.

        The coasts, where most immigrants end up moving anyway because job supply and supportive communities are more plentiful, bore little relation to the lived experiences of white middle America. The latter couldn’t wrap their heads around how immigrants could possibly NOT steal American jobs because, in their neighborhoods, jobs were very few and far between. The right’s insistence that unions and the government were responsible for these people’s struggles coupled with the left’s reluctance (or inability) to articulate a comparable scapegoat, helped create a vast population of unorganized labor believing that the system had failed and looking around for any available strongman willing to assure them that he will destroy that system. The philosopher Richard Rorty predicted it years ago.

        Now, this doesn’t explain why people like those on my hubbie’s side of the family, solidly middle-class Americans, “good” Christians with white skin and boundless opportunities, voted for Trump. That pisses me off to no end. Either way, I won’t be calm or pretend like it’s all gonna be okay, or fail to prepare for the utter havoc Trump’s administration will wreak on the most vulnerable (including those people above). But we do owe it to ourselves to think critically about EVERY possible aspect of this moment in our history, to understand it better, and to be better allies to our immigrant, Muslim, women, LGBTQ, black/brown friends and family.

      • Melly says:

        Everything LA and Lyka said.
        I think there is a segment of people who feel left behind, and I don’t think all of them are racists or bigots. I think Jon was trying to start a conversation between 2 sides. I just understand his point of view, and the more I think about it the more I tend to agree.
        Stewart’s point about the “cynical strategy of the Republicans” was dead on. Trump being a reaction to both democrats and republicans, also dead on. His point about Nixon and LBJ was also correct.

      • mazzie says:

        Thank you both for the explanations. Definitely food for thought there. However, and this is just me, I do not feel obligated, as a woman of colour and an immigrant, to extend olive branches to this cohort, which we do have to an extent at home. (Note, Canadian and this is happening here too).

      • S says:

        Except we have less than 5% unemployment a number which, historically, has always been defined as full employment in the U.S. High-paying manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back. (Oh yeah, and when that America did exist, it did so on the premise that white men got first pick of the best jobs; that version of a Great America never existed for people of color.)

        When new manufacturing plants do open today, they’re non-Union jobs that offer back-breaking work for little pay, few or no benefits and struggle to find takers for the cruddy work they offer, often resorting to illegal immigrants to fill the positions. (There’s a great documentary out there, that I wish I could remember the name of, that shows a former coal town over several years when a German factory comes to town; initially elated citizens wait hours for job interviews, but soon everyone ends up disheartened and hating the work, where only a couple of supervisors actually make a decent wage.)

        The days when the vast majority of Americans could buy a house and raise a family on one income with a high school education are gone, and aren’t coming back and, newsflash, the Republicans don’t want them to. They’re all for a second Gilded Age, which we’re rapidly approaching, with massive wealth disparity and no social safety net. THAT’S the reality.

        It’s also a fact that greater education is required. Automation will continue to increase and most jobs will be in the service sector: healthcare, etc. Time marches on and you can either march alongside or be left behind. For instance, family farming as a reasonable living has been gone for at least two generations. I say this as someone who comes from a huge midwest family of farmers where, for generations, families of six and seven kids supported themselves working the land that today it literally takes two people to take care of, and one of them only part-time. The same jobs that supported 6-12 households for more than 100 years, now barely supports one.

        For those bemoaning the loss of high-paying auto jobs their family depended on for generations, how much sympathy did your great-grandfathers have for the blacksmiths, coopers and buggy-manufacturers that they put out of work?

        I don’t have a lot of sympathy for those that refuse to accept reality. I’m not sitting on family farm land with nothing but a high school degree saying there are no jobs in our hometown of less than 300, so someone better make our way of life come back. I went to college. I got a degree. I moved 1,000 miles to where the best job in my field was available, and I moved on. I love my family. I love our farm. And I saw early on I’d never live or work there myself.

        People improve themselves, and move for better opportunity all the time. They’re called immigrants, and it’s how most of the “disaffected” and “rightfully angry” Trump voters’ ancestors got to this country in the first place for cripe’s sake! Do you think it was easy to leave your family in Ireland, Russia, Germany, Poland or wherever, get on a boat and start a new life with little more than the clothes on your back? Not so much, but literally millions did it. And, by the way, are still doing it today, so it’s far from impossible. Those illegals you sneer at? Their children attend college at a rate higher than yours.

        Nut up White Working Class, you’re not being outvoted, outbred or outsourced … You’re being outworked and out-educated. And that’s why I don’t feel one little bit sorry for you.

      • LA says:

        @S 5% is VERY misleading. 5% is the U-3 unemployment rate, not the U-6. U-3 is people who are unemployed and have looked for a job in the past month. U-6 is the REAL rate, which is those in U-3 plus those who have stopped looking. The U-6 (the real unemployment rate) is estimated to be double that .
        How much of those people who have stopped looking do you think are in these rural areas? I would say quite a bit.

        Dont get me wrong, I agree that they need to be trained and educated in new ways to survive. I am also from a rural place, but I feel like the fact that you and I were able to get out speaks to the opportunities we had, others may not be so lucky. I dont fault minorities in inner cities for their lack of opportunity and I dont fault these white rural people either.

      • Shark Bait says:

        I think those people got bamboozled and they will be hit by some of the policies of this new administration. I had uncles and great uncles who worked in the steel mills. My grandpa worked in a can factory for 40 years. Those jobs are just gone and like some have said, instead of going back later in life and training and obtaining new skills, people clung to the hope that the factories would come back. Unions became the enemy. Illegal immigrants who were taking back breaking work with long hours and little breaks became the scapegoat. My other grandfather was a county lineman, a surveyor and worked in a tollbooth. I come from a family of working men. My dad’s family was very poor and couldn’t afford college. He worked in a warehouse but jumped at the chance to learn to use their computer systems. Fast forward 40 years later and he is the CIO and head of IT at a company. Unfortunately certain jobs will become obsolete and it’s how we handle this that will determine the future of this country and the economy. I know Trump courted these people, but what exactly do they think he is going to do now is my question.

    • S says:

      That is simply untrue. The latest Bureau of Labor statistics reports drops in every category, including people who have given up looking for work after more than 12 moths of unemployment (currently about 1.7 million Americans, which is down over 200,000 from the last report). Our total percentage of employed Americans, currently sits at around 63%, which is statistically commiserate with our total population’s age (retirees and people under 18), as well as those who don’t wish, or need, to work (stay-at-home parents, independently wealthy, etc.). For reference: our highest-ever employed to population rate was 64%.

      Even counting people who are working part-time, who wish to work full-time, or those in temporary employment, the so-called “underemployed,” the highest legit rate you can come up with using fact-based numbers is 7.8% of the population who are looking for work and/or wishes they had full or permanent employment. That’s an extremely low number, historically speaking.

      How many people working wish they made more money or had “better,” more-fun or more-rewarding careers? I’d guess close to 100%, but that’s not a fact, it’s a “feeling.”

      • LA says:

        We can go back and forth on the exact rate, but that doesn’t change how those who are unemployed feel which is what I was getting at above.

        Dismiss their anger all you want, but that will not get them on our side in 2018/20

      • LA says:

        We can go back and forth on the exact rate, but that doesn’t change how those who are unemployed feel which is what I was getting at above. But even you admit it could be closer to 8 than 5. So it’s not simply untrue, and that’s not a small number. Additionally, the vast majority of the rebound in employment has been in the cities not in rural areas. So those people are still desperate regardless of the rate being 5, 8, or 10.

        Dismiss their anger all you want, but that will not get them on our side in 2018/20

      • Lyka says:


        There’s nothing I disagree with in your comment, but this isn’t exactly about sympathy, so you not feeling sorry for the white working class doesn’t address or counter my point. My main argument wasn’t to excuse any voting behavior, diminish racism/xenophobia/Islamophobia, OR to paint the economy of the past as something to be longed for today. It was to present historical context for a provable trend.

        There are great pieces in The Nation, The Intercept, Jacobin, and The Daily Kos this week (all bastions of university-bred leftist intellectualism and progressivism, all featuring writers who have “outworked” and “outeducated” many of their peers) that make such historical arguments as well.

      • S says:

        Actually, there is only one “exact rate,” so need to go back and forth. It’s a fact.

        There aren’t two sets of facts. That’s not how facts work. U.S. unemployment for October 2016 was 4.9%. Unemployment + “underemployment,” which encompasses those who wish to work but have given up looking, those working part-time who desire full-time work and those working full-time, but in jobs designated as seasonal or temporary = 7.8%. Those are the factually correct numbers.

        You can’t do what Donald Trump did in debates and speeches — mostly unchallenged — and say that a 63% population workforce means that 37% of people are “unemployed,” because it doesn’t mean that, by any stretch of the imagination, because the total population includes children, retirees and those that can chose not to work. The largest percentage of Americans employed since they started keeping track of these things in the 1940s has been 64%, and we’re now at 63%, even with the largest generation in this nation’s history retiring. There is no way to spin those facts as anything other than strong for employment.

        I’m “dismissive of their anger” because it revolves mostly around loss of privilege. If you are white in America you have had a built-in advantage, based upon thousands of years of European colonialism and the entirety of American history. As that cultural, racial advantage begins to erode, growing equality feels like oppression. Rolling back racial progress to make the White Working Class feel better about their lot in life is 1) not really possible and 2) definitely not advisable, since every society in history that has ever walked back social progress, or tried to, has had that moment looked back upon as the first step in their imminent decline.

        Anger and fear that has no basis in fact can’t be “fixed.” Not by Donald Trump. Not by Barack Obama. Not by anyone. Sometimes people have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep moving forward.

      • Lyka says:

        You’re mischaracterizing LA’s point here, @S. Let me quote you, because you’ve actually hit the nail on the head: “If you are white in America you have had a built-in advantage, based on thousands of years of European, colonialism and history. As that cultural, racial advantage begins to erode, growing equality feels like oppression.”

        I agree with that wholeheartedly, and from everything they’ve written here, I imagine so would LA. But you’re being rather disingenuous to then jump to “rolling back racial progress,” because that is not remotely the point LA or I have been trying to make. We are simply viewing this moment historically and contextually in an attempt to understand the mindset of those white working class people who voted for Trump. Again, it isn’t about sympathizing with them. When global changes on the scale of post-industrial economic shifts and neoliberal capitalist policies take place, people panic and people die. People are left behind. We aren’t proposing to undo that, but to understand it more completely for the sake of our future. This cynical Republican strategy isn’t viable long term because of the inexorable tide of changing demographics in this country. But if progressives are unable to craft a message that reaches these voters (based on thoughtful research and historical understanding), the alt-right will control government just long enough to irrevocably damage the country – and world – for everyone, not just the white working class.

    • S says:

      I’m honestly not trying to mischaracterize anyone. I’m simply saying you can’t solve the problem of the rural white working class “feeling” like they have fewer job opportunities than minorities, or anyone else, because it’s not actually factually true, based on employment statistics, and has much, MUCH more to do with racial attitudes than any real, actual, solvable problems for which there are viable economic solutions. The solutions are increased education or living with the realities of lowered expectations. The days of the uneducated getting manufacturing jobs with pensions and retiring with a gold watch are gone. They are no more likely to return than cotton plantations in Georgia.

      I understand what they’re upset about — that life is harder for them than it was for their parents’ generation — but you can’t put the technology and social change genies back in the bottle, and anyone who thinks you can is delusional.

      Raise the minimum wage, work to narrow the wealth gap by regulating banking and other industries, improve public education and stop making healthcare a for-profit venture by providing single-payer healthcare like every modern, first-world nation … All those things would VASTLY improve the lifestyles of the white working class. And they’re against all of them. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      • Lucrezia says:

        I agree with your basic facts but not your conclusion. You’re saying that the facts of the economy are not the problem, feelings (perceptions) are. I fully agree. But I’d argue that it’s much easier to solve a problem when the problem is a perception rather than an objective fact. You just have to make people feel listened to. That’s why populism is rising, world-wide.

        But you have to remember that it’s not just right-wing populism on the rise. Left wing populism is increasing too. You’ve got Corbyn in the UK, Trudeau in Canada (though he’s perhaps not as progressive as the rhetoric makes him out to be). Back in May the left-wing extremists won a narrow victory in Austria over the right-wing extremists. If the DNC had chosen Bernie Sanders (whose socialism counts as left-wing extremism for America), then you might have seen that same result play out in the US. Or he might have lost even more tragically, but either way, the fact that a socialist got so close to a nomination indicates a sudden rise of the far-left.

        So I think that writing off Trump voters as racists is too narrow. There’s a world-wide rise against the establishment, which is seeing people turn to populists of both sides, hoping for change. It has more than a hint of racism in America, but that’s just the local twist. The root causes are deeper than that.

  14. Sunny says:

    “Don’t define Hitler by the worst of his rhetoric.”

    • Melly says:

      But if you only read/saw the worst part of Hitler’s stuff, you’d miss a large part of the story. Like when people say “how could Germans have allowed this man to come to power!?” well, he was charismatic and appealed to the problems Germany was having at the time.

  15. grabbyhands says:

    I just can’t. I’ve tried but I can’t.

    The grim reality is that whatever reason you say you voted for Trump, at the end of the day what you’ve said with that vote (or non-vote, or third party vote or childish written in vote) is that no matter what he says or does, no matter how ugly or horrific, YOUR needs outweigh everyone else’s. And I guess I have to ask-when does it become too much? When the Muslim registry becomes a reality? When your Muslim neighbors are dragged away to live in internment camps? Is that when you admit you voted selfishly or do you decide it is acceptable because at least you now pay 100 dollars less in taxes?

    Those voters better start asking themselves what they think they can live with and still look at themselves in the mirror.

    • Betsy says:

      The real gas is that most of the Dullard’s supporters won’t see a reduced tax bill. Or health care bill. Or really any bill once he’s finished destabilizing the nation.

  16. Sunnydaze says:

    This interview disappoints me, I heart Jon Stewert so badly. But I agree with Kaiser, if you voted for Trump, you were voting for his ideas…which included some horrific rhetoric. Typically I’m “ugh” about people who vote third party, but if you REALLY couldn’t get past the emails, Benghazi, or the Foundation and didn’t have some kind of racist/mysogynistic/xenophobic etc etc bone in your body sure, go ahead, I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it and I respect it more than staying home.

    Regarding insurance premiums – “people in my neighborhood”…he means the other multi-millionaires? Good lord. You can do better Stewert. And I just can’t when people justify a vote for Trump when they get into specific issues because he literally has no plan for anything – Just repeal this, dump that, no plan on how these things will be replaced or changed. It’s like if you’re in the middle of nowhere and your partner is hit by a car. Clinton comes up and says “I’m a med student. I did poorly in some classes, but trauma surgery is my jam. I can help, and here’s what I’ll need.” Then Trump comes over and says “I can fix your partner so well you’ll be asking me to stop making them so perfect! You don’t want an actual doctor, they’re all losers, that’s why they have to carry such high insurance.” And then leaves you both in the street after you told Clinton to kick rocks because you once had a crappy doctor who screwed something up.

    And I wish people would stop defending trump supporters. Their willfull decision to not do research on what his plans entail (because there aren’t any plans) coupled with buying into the make America great again bs (when does he want us to go back to? Pre-civil rights? Pre women’s movement? The 1920s? When was it “great”?) And top it off with all the awful insults to just about every group that isn’t an able-bodied straight white Christian male….no, I’m judging you supporters hard core. There was nothing redemable in his election.

  17. Rachel says:

    I hate how there’s all this rush not to brand Trump or his voters as racist. “Yeah, Trump talks about deporting millions of illegal immigrants and thinks the Japanese internment camps, wants to force Muslims on a registry (but likening him to Hitler is hyperbolic), he’s appointing white nationalists on his cabinet — but he’s not a RACIST.” What the ever loving hell, you guys. If you voted for Trump, I think you’re either: racist/sexist/bigoted, ignorant, or simply stupidly selfish (ie, the whole Stewart “I’m worried about my premiums, so screw the minorities” thing).

    Can I stop “giving him a chance” now? He had the chance to appoint intelligent, educated, respected people to his cabinet. Instead, he’s appointing the Legion of Doom. A terrifying time to be alive, surely.

    • Timbuktu says:

      I think that stupidly selfish is definitely a thing, though. I think an astounding number of people would rather vote for Trump and save $35 on premiums (for the record: I am not at all convinced that Trump will lower anyone’s premiums in any meaningful way) than vote for Hillary and help fellow Americans have insurance. And I’m not talking about struggling people! I had a baby in grad school, there was a time in my life when $35 was a lot of money, don’t get me wrong! But I’m talking about rather affluent people, not millionaires, but people who own a home, work in the Silicon Valley, take fancy Caribbean vacations, etc.

  18. Aang says:

    I voted for Hitler, not because I hate Jews,
    but because I liked his plan to build the Autobahn. 🙄 Sure.

  19. Jayna says:

    Sure. I have degreed friends who always vote Republican for fiscal reasons, they say. I’m surrounded by clients who were Trump supporters. It seemed like most of the clients our firm works with,all lawyers, when mentioning politics, were all voting for Trump.

    So plenty of educated people voted for Trump, because they are Republicans. But the Obama election taught me that racism was coming out of the shadows in veiled ways. I’m not saying they wouldn’t have been more furious if it was Hillary at the time, as they hate the Clintons, but they go low when their side is losing and things come out that are shocking.

    Sorry, Jon. You may think your friends aren’t capable of racism. You would be wrong. They voted for a man that ran on a platform of bigotry, misogyny, fear, on and on, and the dumbing down of elections. His debates were mostly embarrassing. His interview on 60 Minutes with Pence was a joke compared with Hillary/Kain who showed keen intelligence and grasping of the issues and plans for what they wanted to do and Trump was just talking over everyone and rambling in his interview.

    So they voted this man into office.

    This is a man who has Steve Bannon by his side. Enough said right there. Despicable.

    • Shark Bait says:

      Absolutely. I know plenty of Republicans who vote R no matter what. But I at least knew a few who said they were thinking of voting for Johnson because they could not stomach Trump.

      I just don’t understand how Trump is seen as a viable candidate to anyone. I get being party loyal. McCain and Romney made sense to me. But Trump? He was supposed to be this outsider who was going to run the country like his businesses to fix the economy. He was going to drain the swamp.

      Um, this is someone with plenty of failure under his belt, who was no self made man and who coasted on his daddy’s money in the beginning, and as for draining the swamp- um he seems to be filling it back up with the worst swamp monsters imaginable.

      And this is all without even mentioning his horrible rhetoric and lack of knowledge about US government!!!

    • hmmm says:

      They voted Trump or not Clinton in their indifference to anything other than themselves-$. They just don’t care about others or the big picture. So that makes them complicit, IMO. The issues of the other are not relevant to them. You know, the little people. The vulnerable people.

  20. HK9 says:

    I think most reasonable people know where Jon is trying to go with this but it’s the very fact that they are not disturbed by this rhetoric that is problematic. If they are, they have not made it known to the rest of the country.

  21. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    On the topic of Trump voters who say they aren’t racist, misogynistic, etc. I think Hasan Minhaj summed it up best: “if you take the package [anyway] what you’re saying is, ‘I don’t hate you, I just don’t care about you.'”

  22. Belooooga says:

    And it should be noted that the orthodox jewish communities in NJ and NY came out in huge numbers for Trump…75% votes for him. So try to see past your own misconceptions about those who voted for the candidate you didn’t.

    • Wilma says:

      I wouldn’t call the orthodox jews of New York and New Jersey posterpeople for diversity and a progressive agenda. It doesn’t surprise me they went for Trump. Pretty insular group with strongly conservative values. One of the hardest groups to get to report child abuse because of the insularity and conservatism.

      • hmmm says:


        I second Wilma.

        Orthodox Jews tend to be authoritarian and rigid given their version of Judaism. The radical Ultra Orthodox ultimately so. Unless they are dispossessed or their lives are threatened they are going to go full Taliban.

        NJ and NY are a hotbed of authoritarianism and radicalism. You forgot to point that out. Not to mention that they are a relatively small statistical sample.

  23. Unakaiansa says:

    There’s another kind of very real privilege at stake here and that’s financial stability and/or survival. That kind of privilege affords many the kinds of choices others just don’t have.

    Trump is the WORST, but if a person’s ability to survive and provide for their family is at stake – or they perceive it to be – then I can see where they might turn to the orange a-hole in desperation. (I don’t think he’ll help them, but if they do, that’s the point.) Many blacks and Hispanics voted for him, so not everyone sees the rhetoric as an actual threat, or they’re willing to take their chances bc they (erroneously) believe he’ll better their lives.

    I feel enormous compassion for anyone Trump has threatened and/or maligned and I will do what I can to protect them. But I also feel for those who are struggling to survive financially and voted for pragmatic reasons. I would hate to feel that bigot was my only choice to help put food on my table.

    • Wilma says:

      I don’t think many black people voted for Trump. Aren’t black women the group that voted the least for Trump? And I think we kind of overestimate the hispanic vote as monolithic: Cuban voters went for Trump mostly for instance in opposition to the new policy towards Cuba.

  24. Monique says:

    STOP COMPARING TRUMP TO HITLER! I am Jewish. This disgusts me. Until members of your family have been gassed by him, STOP. You make the Holocaust memory less because of your stupid comparisons. I voted for Hillary. I am with Her. But he hasn’t COME NEAR what Hitler did to my family.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      You have to go back to Hitler before he was…. well, Hitler. The final solution came a bit later, after the demonizing and registering of Jews. Antisemitism was really common and widespread back then, as was the tendency to conflate “Jewish” with “Bolshevik.” This was the excuse used in the United states to refuse Jewish refugees.

      Fun fact: After Hitler’s election the NYT ran an opinion piece reassuring people that his antisemitism was exaggerated and nothing to worry about.

      Islamophobia and antisemitism have everything in common, and Trump is in fact playing by the Hitler playbook. It’s really damaging. He doesn’t have to gas people for it to be valid to point this out. He is already doing plenty of damage to very real people.

      • Monique says:

        Really? Please tell me how he has contributed to the demise of 6 million people or even SAID TO MURDER ANYONE? Stop minimizing what Hitler did because you want to demonize someone WHO HASN’T MURDERED ONE PERSON. This is insane.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        He is calling for the registration of all Muslims, and one of his advisory committee cited the internment of Japanese people as precedent. This is pretty extreme.

        Hitler never talked about exterminating the Jewish people until much later after his election btw. That policy was formulated in procedural terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference. The ways in which Hitler attacked Jews while he was running for office was very much in parallel with what we are seeing now in the rhetoric about Muslims. It is a valid comparison. “All he wants to do is register Jews and protect the good German people from Communism….” For a very long time, that is a as far as it went. Jews were marginalized, then they had their property seized, then they were “resettled” in ghettos. The killing happened later. Much later.

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        Inform yourself. It’s not like Hitler sprang up from nothing. He was elected and won elections. His policies were approved.
        If we take into account Mussolini, the time span is even longer because Mussolini’s reign lasted 20 years. He was elected as Prime Minister in 1925 and there was not even a shred of foreigner-hating policy at the beginning; think that he was part of the Socialist and Labour Party in Italy in the 1920s.

        I’ve visited several camps in Austria whilst living there, included Mathausen. I will never forget the butcheries and the showers (gas chambers).
        My 4 grandparents all went through some torture/punishment perpetrated by the fascists in Italy.
        I know very well what fascist means and Drumpf is one, sorry.

    • Wilma says:

      If Yad Vashem thinks it’s important to always use the Holocaust as a benchmark there really is something there. People tend to forget the so-called ‘good Hitler-years’, the years 1933-1939 that German people experienced as being prosperous and happy. Before Hitler went too far by killing Jews, as if it is ok to register and exclude people based on religion and making sure that journalists with a different opinion went to labour camps among the many civil rights transgressions his regime undertook in those years. ‘Good years’ like that are dangerous because it lulls people to sleep, why would you worry about others when your life is pretty great?
      My great-grandparents survived WOII as Jews because of good people standing up and noticing the danger. They and non-jewish people around them were aware of the danger before plans actually started being executed and where able to act quickly on it. While I think that the systematic extermination of the Jews in World War 2 has some very unique aspects (like the scale, the fact that powerstruggles did not come into play as a motive for the Holocaust and the industrial nature of it) Rwanda has already proven that the lead-up to genocide can easily be copied. Please read what Yad Vashem does with regards to other genocides, they are absolute specialists on the Holocaust.

      • original kay says:

        Yes. They slowly take away your civil liberties while lulling you to sleep with promises and rhetoric, impassioned speeches at large rallies to feed the masses, until you wake up one day and it’s you they are coming for and there is no one, no law left, to help you.
        To try to rationalize the parallels is most dangerous of all.

      • hmmm says:

        original kay,

        Your comment has me crying, as does Wilma’s. For a lot of people, one day they will come for you. You just don’t get it. Really eloquent comment.

    • Diana B says:

      He’s just starting. Give him time. Hitler didn’t gas anyone within a month of getting into power. The paralels cannot be denied.

    • Tiny Martian says:

      I’m deeply sorry for what happened to your family, Monique. But I think the point here is that Trump and Hitler share(d) similar racist and jingoist rhetoric which was/is dismissed and treated as harmless. And like Trump, Hitler hadn’t murdered anyone either at the time of his election. Not yet.

    • original kay says:

      Monique, would you prefer if people did not learn from history? That the warning signs were ignored? That millions of people dying had no affect on us, to the point where we would sit back and let it happen again?

      It’s not comparing Trump to Hitler circa 1942, 1943, etc. It’s comparing to him before, when the signs were there and they were shrugged off with “give him a chance”. That’s what people fear. I would think that is something to at least consider.

      It’s like people were upset with 9/11 and this election being in the same sentence. People died horrifically on 9/11, terrorists came to US soil and launched an attack of such magnitude any retribution could never satisfy it.
      But you now have terrorists in your White House, your government. Inciting fear, loathing, attacking you from within your country.

      It’s not disrespectful, it’s learning from history and trying to change the outcome before it’s too late. The real tragedy would be for good people, to do nothing.

    • Jennah says:

      Monique I am sorry for your family.

      But even if we call djt goebbels I don’t think that changes anything. It’s about the slow march calling for progressively harsher treatment of a certain group of people p, it is about djt using propaganda (i.e. The lie he just tweeted about ford and how he was responsible for those jobs), it is about people being so concerned about the economy and wanting state glory they are willing to trample on human rights for it.

    • says:

      Do we have to wait until he has killed more people than Hitler to draw the parallel ?
      If you lost family to the the nazis, you must remember that it started like that.
      And seeing it, saying it, is not in offence of the past victims, it’s in defence of the next ones.
      I will not forget and I will keep on saying never again. And to try to make sure of that, I will talk and shout to raise the alarm when I see it happening again. Without waiting.

    • hmmm says:


      I’m Jewish. Jews are targets (even here in Canada High Holy Day services always require ID and include undercover armed guards) and should be worried. Trump is very much like Hitler in his strategies and rhetoric and has taken on a raging anti-Semite who doesn’t mind Jews as long as they stay out of America.

      This guy, Bannon, IMO, would have no problem with a final solution for Muslims and Jews among others given the liberty. It’s *hatred* aligned with unspeakable power and we should learn from history if we are smart.

  25. QQ says:

    -_____________- Really Jon…. *steeples together fingers… reads* *rubs Temples and leaves*

  26. Miss Jupitero says:

    Many people feel that racism is by definition evil people doing evil things– but it also a system of blank checks which some people get to have at the expense of others, and (here is the insidious part) one of those blank checks is the unfettered freedom to ignore the whole issue and say “everything’s fine!”

    Trump voters might not be running around wearing white hoods and might very well have “lots of friends” who are gay or POC, but the fact is Trump’s vile racism, homophobia, and misogyny was something they could shrug off. They voted for him anyway. It wasn’t a deal breaker.

    People like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Susan Sarandon, etc. will indeed be “just fine.” They really will. They are white, privileged, rich insiders. Doh. This will just be some kind of abstract issue to talk about in their interviews, or happily ignore if they want because, well, they can do that. The rest of us are fucked.

  27. CornyBlue says:

    I feel like there is an overwhelming rush of support for Trump voters as if they were the real victims of this US elections. These cis, white straight rich men should just elevate voices of the minorities and underprivilaged and give them a bigger platform and not try and normalise that troll.

  28. Ariel says:

    I must concur with the author, not Jon Stewart re racism of Trump voters.
    If being against racism is so far down your priorities that you could vote for Trump, in light of the knowledge that he is a racist, and says things that make the Ku Klux Klan stand up and cheer, then you qualify as a racist.
    The mainstream- the white majority (of which I am a part) has somehow made being called a racist a greater injury than being a victim of actual racism.
    I’m working on it, but I still think our country should be nuked from existence. We suck.
    And with the racism, the blanket denials of that racism- we are headed toward being Nazis. I don’t particularly want to live to see that.

    • hmmm says:


      I so relate to what you wrote. I have thought the same things. But I am counting on the idea that history does not have to repeat now that we have history to learn from and are more conscious and stronger and more vociferous given social media. Our voice and resistance matter.

  29. robyn says:

    Under “ordinary” circumstances, I would say we should not be defined/judged by our worst moment. However, he didn’t just have moments he had a ton of rhetoric and a ton of deeds over a life time that defines who he is and who he will be. Jon Stewart is dead wrong and I am disappointed in him. He is becoming part of the inevitable attempt to “normalize” what should never be normalized. The people who didn’t show up or who voted for Trump in the final analysis were giving the authoritarian bigot permission to rule.

    • Lucrezia says:

      That’s a very good point. It’s not like Trump just said one or two bad things. You could be extremely charitable and give him a pass on the very worst of the rhetoric … and you’d still have 500 other horrible incidents on which to make an informed opinion.

  30. Katherine says:

    Massively disappointed, this is not one of those situations where you can say ‘oh let’s not let this divide us’. This is a question of how decent a human you are – do you stand by and choose to look the other way or do you try and stop the atrocity.

  31. Jackie Lynn says:

    It is worth keeping public discourse civil, absent of name calling.


    Because otherwise, people will lie to pollsters.

    Why does that even matter?

    Because politicians choose where to campaign, and whom to campaign to, based on polls. Big article in NY Times yesterday about how Clinton believed she was ahead in certain states, so didn’t spend much time there. She believed the polls, and campaigned accordingly.

    If people do not feel safe to express their differing views, then they will be shamed -but only into staying quiet. They’ll still vote. And you’ll never even have a chance to change their minds.

    Hillary might have turned former Obama voters who wavered in their support for her. She might have worked harder in specific states to get the democrats out -if she’d only known she had to.

    The margins were so low and the vote so tight. If *not* wishing death upon people who vote differently, who think differently, might insure victory for you, why wouldn’t you try to do that? Try not to wish death and pain upon others?

    Then maybe we can get those key votes -back.

    • Natalie S says:

      Let Trump voters lead by example when it comes to civil discourse.

    • hmmm says:

      It was not a normal election. Civility is something Drumpf’s fanatics use against you. Do you actually think they value civility? Is war civil? They were and are vile, hateful liars- they lie all the time.

      The only people who wished “death and pain for others” were Drumpf supporters.

      This is an argument of false equivalence- monsters v humans.

    • Lucrezia says:

      I agree with you Jackie. It’s not wise to insult the other side. It’s not about taking the high-road (though I respect those who can), it’s about being cynical and pragmatic … and planning for 2020.

  32. Saks says:

    Oh Jon, you may know people who aren’t afraid of us, but they don’t have a problem with those who attack us.

  33. Leah says:

    He’s doing the poor white men are so misunderstood thing that Trump did, just from a different angle.

  34. Otaku Fairy says:

    I want to give a sincere thank-you to all of the people who have admitted that their spouses, relatives, or friends were Trump supporters but DID NOT defensively go into ”Shh, please stop generalizing/criticizing/saying less-than-friendly, less than impartial things about people who just gave this dangerous, abusive, misogynistic racist and his cabinet political power” mode.”
    To the Trump Supporters and their apologists: Whether or not something a person says or does (such as voting for a specific political candidate or for a certain policy) is racist or sexist isn’t JUST about whether or not the intent behind it was based on your own hate or fear of these groups of people. It’s about the impact your decision has on laws, peoples’ rights, and how they’re treated, and whether or not your decision enables white supremacists/racists, misogynists, abusers, and homophobes- or makes them think what they do and promote is more acceptable. You’re accountable for how your political decisions effect other people.

  35. hmmm says:

    Awwww, maaaaaan, not him tooooo? I could just weep. Someone needs to school him. He absolutely reeks of privilege. Why is he not standing against this evil that people decided was okay because it’s only about their special snowflake life? I could just weep.

    “not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. ”

    He doesn’t even get the issue here. His privileged cronies are not afraid of anything except losing their money. It’s not about *fearing* the other- it’s about *hating* the other. Just shoot me now. I’m in full blown cognitive dissonance.

  36. artistsnow says:

    “While those voters may say that now and may even believe that of themselves, a vote for Donald Trump was always and still remains a vote for racism, a vote for violent misogyny, a vote for anti-Semitic dog whistles, a vote for mass deportations, a vote for a Muslim registry, a vote for putting the biggest knuckle-dragging anti-choice a—holes on every court in the land. You can be concerned about your insurance premiums and still recognize that by voting for Trump, you’re voting for fascism. Unfortunately so many people seem incapable of grasping that. Maybe they’re not racist. But a vote for Trump is enabling racism.”

    I have NEVER felt so proud of a gossip blog before.
    Thank you. Thank you. thank you.

    My child is experiencing hatred, racism, disgusting behavior at her SCHOOL.
    All kids of Trump voters. All these kids are ramping up their taunts.
    My child is afraid of not being able to become a TEACHER because of skin color.

    A vote for Trump was a hate crime.

    • hmmm says:

      Yes. Totally. It’s unconscionable. It’s so terrifying and you are not alone.

    • robyn says:

      “A vote for Trump was a hate crime.” Honestly, artistsnow, I think you have cut through everything and gotten to the bottom of it. That explains why it feels so bad and why many of us feel so sad. This election went far beyond politics.

  37. Scout says:

    Saying you shouldn’t generalize Trump supporters in the same breath that you generalize his detractors. Goodbye. Enjoy your wealth and privilege funded by the very people you’re calling hypocrites!

  38. Mark says:

    “a vote for anti-Semitic dog whistles, ”
    Nobody attacked the “American Israel Public Affairs Committee”, when he made a speech in front of them. He has their support, otherwise it would be much harder for Trump. Jon Stewart is under attack for defending Trump voters. I don’t unterstand it.

    • hmmm says:

      The mistake is in conflating Israel with Jews. It’s a huge problem.

      • Mark says:

        Isreal is a Jewish state, the “American Israel Public Affairs Committee” doesn’t represent the Jews in America, but it very strange that almost nobody complained, when Trump made that speech at this committee.
        It’s okay for the media, when this committee invites Trump, but it’s not okay to defend his voter?
        I don’t understand.

      • hmmm says:

        I skimmed these ludicrous assertions from Drumpf.

        This has nothing to do with Jews.

  39. hogtowngooner says:

    I agree that not every person who voted for Trump is automatically a racist, but they certainly thought it was OK to overlook the litany of racist/xenophobic/sexist things he said. I get the economic issues at play for these people, but to just gloss over all these hateful things isn’t an excuse. These kinds of things rely on otherwise good people looking the other way, which is exactly what happened here.

  40. wolfie says:

    I can’t believe people are still blaming the ACA. Insurance companies just look for an excuse to Jack up rates just like the pharmaceutical companies. Even when the ACA is dismantled, they will not lower rates.

    • hmmm says:

      I wonder if people think the ACA is a symptom of rampant socialism or even god forbid, some Communist conspiracy. To me, America has always touted rugged individualism and screw the rest of the people who should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

      I am not saying this is a true picture but that’s the image I’ve always found portrayed.

  41. Greta says:

    Here is a point of view from the other side of the Atlantic: Obama was in Berlin today and we (I) will truly miss him and specially Michelle. Why? Because Michelle and Barack are the perfect symbols for a better World than the one we live in. Trump, on the other hand, is just a symbol for what is going wrong in this World. There might have been reasons why most of the American people voted for him. I don’t know much about life in America. I’m still struggling figuring out what black facing is about, I don’t have a clue what it must feel like to live in a racist society,… but I really am afraid of the signal this election sends to Europe. Every single American trend arrives in Europe at least 2 years later. Botox, horror clowns, size zero, Halloween,….you name it. I’m fine with Valentines Day and engagement rings à la Hollywood. But I’m not fine with the far right trend. With all those hundreds of thousands of regfugees right in front of our doorsteps and the far rights already there plus this signal from the US voters…..I feel fear in my heart.

    • EM says:

      To be fair the majority of people voted for Hillary or didn’t vote at all and while the non-voters contributed to Trump at least I can take a little bit of comfort in knowing that he didn’t run away with the popular vote. Not that it matters in the end.

    • Tate says:

      More than one million more Americans voted for Hillary but at the end of the day the electoral college went for Trump so now we face unknown horrors for the next 4 years.

    • Luzciegadora says:

      Sadly most American people, or more precisely most American voters, did not vote for him. They voted for HRC. Of course the electoral college has not yet voted so we still have a little time in which to imagine a world where human decency prevails and the ‘faithless electors’ stage a revolt. A pretty (and highly unlikely) pipe dream I know.

      • jwoolman says:

        The purpose of the electoral college actually does include precisely the current situation: to prevent an unscrupulous and incompetent demagogue who got the votes from taking power and trashing the country for four years. If you read the original thinking when it was established, the description of the person to be denied the Presidency fits Trump perfectly. So if they actually remained true to that mission, they would consider the popular vote and give it to Hillary. If deadlocked, the matter goes to the House. They can vote for whomever they want. So I assume we would get a Republican but maybe a saner one.

        However, electors really are given the position more as a reward these days so I doubt they will seriously think about that aspect of their job. They are likely to be Party loyalists with blinders on who if Republican have voted for Trump themselves. But who knows? Stranger things have happened (like Trump getting almost half the voters to vote for him when it was all a publicity stunt to get him more money for a tv show….). It will depend on how bizarre things look in mid-December when the electors gather to vote.

  42. teresa says:

    I guess I wouldn’t blame Trumps supporters for his rhetoric, except he is using their rhetoric it isn’t the other way around. Ugh, I just need this four years to be over with already.

  43. Mark says:

    Nobody blames the voters, who stayed home and didn’t vote, 2012 Obama got far more votes than Hillary.
    Check the results:
    Election 2016
    Trump Hillary
    Popular vote 61,581,791 62,983,320,_2016

    Election 2012
    Obama Mitt
    Popular vote 65,915,795 60,933,504,_2012

    • Kath says:

      Oh, I blame them alright. The fact that something like 46 per cent of eligible voters didn’t vote – in THIS election – is absolutely shocking.

  44. WeShallOvercomb says:

    Dear Jon,
    Your neighborhood friends who are worried about their rising healthcare premiums had other options. There were a number of others, even in the Republican party, to vote for in the primaries that could quell their worries yet not put so many fellow citizens in harms way.

    Donald Trump hardly had all the answers for the issues confronting so many in your ‘neighborhood’ and in the rural Rust Belt communities that put him over the top. He was hardly the most qualified candidate even in the primary season.

    Voting the way they did because they are ‘afraid’ is not an excuse for voting for this bigoted, xenophobic, misogynist moron. Their vote for him is entirely suspect and we have every right to call them (and you) on it.

  45. Karin says:

    Listen to this podcast. It is over an hour. I think it is a great discussion on what I think the point Stewart is trying to make.

    • Lucrezia says:

      Thank you for sharing that.

      They talk a bit much for my liking, but I really do agree with their arguments.

      Whether Trump supporters (Brexit supporters etc) are full-on racists or just passively condoning the existence of racism, they represent a huge segment of the population that progressive ideals haven’t yet reached. We’re not going to be able to fix it by calling them names or shaming them (humans don’t work that way). You can’t just sit in a liberal bubble and ignore them. You can’t wait for them to die off – it’s not working because they teach their hate to their kids. You have to convince them to change, and the only way to do that is to talk with them.

      On that note, I liked their point about Ann Coulter probably kicking most of our asses in a debate. They’re right. Most of us (liberals) are not properly prepared to debate racism, sexism, homophobia etc. It’s so obvious to us (in our bubble) that we can’t rationally explain our point of view. Instead we just call the other side racist/sexist/homophobic and mock their stupidity. That’s not debate, it won’t change anyone’s mind, it just pushes them further into their bubble.

  46. Mildred Fierce says:

    I live in rural Ohio, which is Trump central, and what I observe is that while some voters were motivated by misogyny/racism/xenophobia and others were motivated by right-wing politics and religious factors ( that mean old Hillary was going to take away their Bibles and guns), some of these people were just clueless. They voted for Trump despite the fact that they do not understand how the US government works, they know nothing about what Trump stands for and, in one case, they did not even know his first name. The irony is that most of these people are on government assistance of one form or another and they may suffer greatly in the next four years.

    • jwoolman says:

      Mildred – not surprising that so many people voted for Trump despite not knowing much about him or his attitudes and proposals. A lot of people vote according to how familiar the name on the ballot is. The media seemed like Donald Trump 24/7, they spent very little time in comparison talking about what Hillary was saying about her plans to deal with issues that would affect them. When they did show something about her, she wasn’t flashy like Trump. He was more entertaining and familiar from his tv shows. Being on tv gives viewers a false sense of familiarity and even friendship. Remember how many people voted for Dubya because he was the one they would rather have a beer with?

      A lot of people are basically nonpolitical and don’t really think the issues through, and not all of them just stay home. They go and vote and look at the ballot for the first time in the booth and pick names they know even if they know nothing about the person’s politics. They could be voting for an axe murderer for all they know. But they get their I VOTED sticker and feel they have done their duty.

      Think of all the undecideds as late as the third debate, even in an election with such a clear cut difference between candidates just on mental stability grounds. But people are used to reality shows faking drama and they don’t have the same sense of horror some of us have when they see a full blown malignant narcissist in action. Remember Trump’s lumbering around the stage in the 2nd debate? He was trying to hold in the rage because Hillary called him on his stuff and was quietly offering an alternative. He looked as though he would have hit her if millions of people weren’t watching.

  47. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    Wow. I just lost a ton of respect for Jon Stewart. What a crock!

  48. S says:

    This sums up how I feel more succinctly than I have/can …

    Less eloquently in my own words, if you don’t want to click: Every thing we do or say is thrown back as, “And you thinking/feeling/saying that is why he won” … Which is a classic abuser’s take on why the victim is actually to blame for their own abuse. (A.K.A. YOU make me act like this.)

  49. detta says:

    He feels bad for those concerned, yay! Other than that essentially America is still the same. I get what he means with it’s always been a fight, but his whole reasoning doesn’t sit right with me. Of course it’s easy for him to say because they will come for him last, at least as long as he’s playing along. Being Nice and understanding. Not telling it like it is. There’s definitely that privilege thing going on with Stewart, or like John Scalzi so brilliantly put it, this is playing The Real World with the easiest setting (big thanks for posting that link by the way, can’t remember who it was just now). Really expected better from Stewart, but I guess it’s that time when some true colours and shades show in unexpected places. So Stewart just went way down in my book. On the other side of the spectrum I really *really* need to have a look at Michael Shannon’s filmography and include him in my yearly DVD/blu Christmas bonanza.

  50. Veronica says:

    From the pragmatic perspective of not simplifying the issues that went into the campaign, sure, I’d say don’t color them all with the same crayon. But in terms of what they supported, it’s absolutely accurate to call them on it, particularly if it’s not what they actually believe but are willing to tolerate (which is worse than outright racism, IMO).

  51. geneva says:

    It is interesting how many celeb white men..Jon Stewart, Tom Hanks, etc. ..are saying we will be fine. I think the point is clear – they will be fine.

    I am a Democrat from Massachusetts (and our Senator Seth Moulton is one to watch) but I have always struggled with the elite attitude of certain liberals. You spend enough time in Cambridge or a wealthy suburb to know that we are a lucky lot who have better access to jobs, healthcare and education because Boston is a hub of many of these things. But, I used to work in Cambridge and often felt, if I tripped on the curb and knocked my head on the pavement I doubt any of these Harvard elites would help me up. I used to say I hope I run out of gas in working class Woburn because someone there would help me get to a gas station. I am a proud Democrat but elites like Jon Stewart or Tom Hanks who say we will be fine strike me as men who live in an ivory tower worse than Harvard..they live in the celebrity ivory tower.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      I live in the area and spend a lot of time in Harvard Square. And though I am a. Omplete outsider, have gotten to know the Harvard community very well through the Humanist Hub, the Woodberry Poetry Room, and the Houghton Library. The people are in fact warm and gracious.

      Personally I am sick to death of anti-intellectualism. The trope of the cold “fake” educated elite vs the sincere, virtuous uneducated “regular person” is really destructive– and I see it as part of a pattern of an overall pattern rejecting the value of knowledge, facts, and understanding.

      Next tine you are in Harvard, try getting to know the people a little. Stop in at Cafe Algiers. Talk to the guy who sells copies of Spare Change. Pop into the Harvard Bookstore or the Grolier and chat about what you like to read. The Humanist Hub has events every Sunday– they are all about community. There are about ten churches of every stripe with ten minutes of the square, all with thriving communities.. Like art? Cambridge Open Studios is on this weekend. We have cookies. At the university itself, be prepared to be surprised at how much is open to the community. It’s not elites on parade. You do have to do your part though, as you would anywhere. You might surprise yourself.

      • geneva says:

        All good points ..Miss Jupetero and I probably sounded like someone who was anti Cambridge or anti-intellectual but not the case. Perhaps I should have said “working at Harvard” which when I was there as a worker quite a long time ago was very much an institution that taught elitism in subtle ways and it was discussed often and it is considered – if one is a secretary or in the mailroom – or even a grad. student …to be a feudal system with very little opportunity to grow or be promoted. I do love Cambridge though and understand what you mean.