It would seem that far too many people’s tolerance for the disgusting behavior of President Donald Trump has more to do with the performance of the stock market than with any measure of decency (“Economy softens Trump disapproval,” Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, Jan. 14). I write not as a victim but as an old man with sufficient retirement income, a little investment portfolio, and more white privilege than I or anyone should have. In other words, I’m not writing from a position of financial suffering, but truly, from a position of spiritual suffering. Are those 30 pieces of silver really worth compromising our dignity, our decency, our compassion and our responsibility for the greater good of all our citizens? I so hope not.
Jay Hornbacher, Hopkins
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When 83 percent of Republicans in this state answer in the affirmative to the question “Do you think Donald Trump generally speaks the truth, or not?” — my brain hurts. What world are they living in? This man has built his entire presidency on lies and inconsistencies. That cannot be contested. The Washington Post clocks him at 5.6 lies per day (2,001 lies in total as president, as of Jan. 10). His brand is incoherence, wild exaggerations and straight-up BS.
Does it not say something that I and my liberal friends would gladly, happily, joyfully accept Mitt Romney, John McCain or George W. Bush — all previous standard-bearers of the Republican Party — as our president instead of this man? Doesn’t that tell you, my fellow Americans, that this isn’t a reaction against conservatism? It’s a reaction against a disintegration of truth, of basic respect and of a sense of duty to country instead of naked self-interest.
We are witnessing in this presidency, with an exhaustion bordering on complicity, the complete erosion of a reality we can all agree on. Without that foundational starting point, how will we ever act in our collective interest instead of as factions operating inside of their own worlds? It’s frightening. It’s tribal. It’s primitive. And we are capable of so much more than this.
Travis Anderson, Minneapolis
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If the poll is accurate (45 percent approval of Trump), Minnesota is now a state considerably more pro-Trump than the rest of the nation. (Gallup had him recently at his highest in a while at 39 percent, and other national polls have him lower than that).
Do the pollsters think that Minnesota is 7 percent to 10 percent more pro-Trump than the nation? If so, that is important news. Isn’t it more likely that the weighting is wrong? With national polls showing that voters by a considerable margin (10 percent to 18 percent) favor a generic Democrat over a generic Republican for Congress, was the sample too heavily weighted in favor of Republicans?
I’d enjoy hearing about how the poll respondent breakdown of 34 percent Democrats, 32 percent Republicans and 34 percent independents or other was reached, and also if those responsible for the poll do in fact believe that Minnesota has become a more pro-Trump state than the nation as a whole.
John Shockley, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired professor of political science who taught at Augsburg College.
Editor’s note: Party affiliations of respondents were self-identified (“How the poll was conducted,” Jan. 14).
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The Star Tribune poll found that while most people don’t like Trump’s personality, half the people think he’s performing well. This was discussed on Facebook, and many commented that they will stop subscribing to the newspaper. Some said that they thought Minnesota was a bubble and this couldn’t happen in their state. Others talked about city folks vs. country folks.
I’ve said for 20 years, before Trump and Barack Obama came onto the scene, that America was changing.
In 1984, I met with a popular congressman who was in Jerusalem, to where I had moved from Minneapolis in 1983. I asked if he was running again, and he answered yes. I asked if he would win again, and he said no. He said he was a liberal Republican and that they were a dying breed.
I believe in democracy. In Israel, and in America, there is what’s called the will of the people. I often don’t like the results, but I always value the process.
So I am sad. Sad about seeing how divided my Minnesota friends are and how they aren’t willing to accept or even listen to other people’s views — just their own.
Isn’t that the new definition of an extremist — one who doesn’t think like I do?
It’s been over a year since President Trump was voted into office. If he’s no good, he will only have a four-year term. That is also democracy. But be it four years or eight years, it’s still democracy.
Too bad many Americans stopped believing in democracy.
Steven Toberman, Jerusalem, Israel
Editor’s note: For more letters from readers about the results of the various questions asked in the recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, see https://tinyurl.com/readerswritejan18.
Lucky to have had Humphrey, Mondale representing us
Thank you for the excellent reflections on the outstanding contributions to our country and the world by Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale (“Dynamic duo,” commentaries by Norman Sherman and John G. Stewart, and by Lawrence R. Jacobs, Opinion Exchange, Jan. 14). Growing up and coming of age in Minnesota, I did not realize until later that every state did not have senators of their character, compassion and intelligence. Nor did I realize how fortunate Minnesotans were to have them so well represent the values Minnesotans share — or should share. All I knew is that I was proud of them then and grateful to them now.
Mary Christine Bader, Wayzata
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As I read the two excellent articles on Mondale and Humphrey, I realized how different our nation’s history would be if they had both prevailed in their respective presidential bids.
I don’t think it’s necessary to elaborate much on what being spared Richard Nixon would have meant to the nation — especially considering what replacing him with a fundamentally decent human such as Humphrey would have meant.
Inserting Mondale in place of the patron saint of Republican establishment, Ronald Reagan, would have also had a huge impact. Reagan’s mindless and often spurious criticism of “government” set the stage for the two worst presidents in modern history and their disastrous administrations.
Mondale’s and Humphrey’s biographies illustrate why it is so critical to have smart, moral and competent individuals in government.
The miscreant now occupying the White House rails against the “deep state,” which apparently consists of anyone competent in their job function, and make no mistake, competent people are being fired by or running away from the Trump dumpster fire every day (see “Will The Federal Civil Service Defends Us” at HuffPost, Aug. 9, 2017; https://tinyurl.com/huffpostaug9).
Many will say “good riddance,” but what they are missing is that while much of the damage done by the current administration can be undone in the short term, the damage done to critical expertise and competence within government agencies cannot be repaired easily or quickly. And all U.S. citizens and their progeny will suffer equally as a result.
Gene Case, Andover