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Sympathy for the Trump Voter

January 23rd, 2017 | 6 min read

By Matthew Loftus

Should we sympathize with Trump voters? I found this essay from Rick Perlstein pretty enlightening, even if I disagree with a lot of what he had to say. In short, Perlstein writes about the captivating experience of dealing with a very intelligent Trump voter named “Peter” in one of his seminars. Peter writes a compelling paper on Trump’s appeal to working-class whites and then reads it for the class, but Perlstein later fleshes out some of the supporting data and finds that the myth of the downtrodden Trump voter is probably a bit overstated. He concludes by trying to draw out how the bogeyman of Reconstruction apparently lurks in the minds of people like Peter, thus proving that conservatives will gladly downplay racism if it doesn’t square with their narrative.

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Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at