Trump in Seneca, SC: First Impressions

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We’re in deep trouble. The bottom line is that, bless their eternal hearts, Democrats in Seneca, SC are as much in denial about Trump as my many progressive friends in Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC.

Seneca. Oconee County. Anderson. The Golden Corner. They all represent the very beating heart of Trumpland. No fainthearts here. No nail-chewing doubts about the first 40 days of Trumpvania.

Every elected position is Republican. And almost all of them relate happily, in their self-sure, rural middle-class way, with all things Trump.

Folks here are totally calm. Relaxed that they finally have a friend in the White House. Glad that Trump is doing something about immigration. Understanding of the problems he faces with a hostile media. Delighted he is sticking it to the Washington elite. What’s wrong with turmoil? We voted for turmoil. How can you clean out the stables without turmoil?

Especially happy with Obamacare repeal and replacement. Looking forward to premiums coming down for ‘hardworking’ young middle-class couples.

Meanwhile, the local Democratic Party here seems, if anything, rather to envy the solid liberal delights of places like Chapel Hill. Peace Plazas. Moral Mondays. Really big marches. Protests that are backed by local government. Swoon.

Active Democrats in these parts appear to be a tad old-fashioned. Somewhat more union-leaning than in Orange County, NC. All would be well if only we still had the unions of the Fifties. In a sense, the reverse side of the all-was-well-when-America-was-Great coin that Trump keeps flipping.

But, like too many of the Democratic friends I left behind, Democrats here are convinced Trump was a fluke. All we have to do is wait, pray, turnout and the White House, Senate and Congress will be ours in a matter of a few years.

I face almost as much of an uphill struggle talking about ideas such as Democratic Populism as I feared I would back in North Carolina.

I suspect one Trump/Ryan/McConnell life shock was not enough. At this rate, and especially with Clinton/Obama-lite Tom Perez as the new DNC Chair, I believe it may take four more years of Republican control in Congress, failure to win the Senate in 2018, and a second Trump term in 2020, before Democrats anywhere in the US begin seriously to consider root and branch reform of policy, message and candidature in the Party generally.

Big, bloody sigh …

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