Brooklyn, New York — Rhonda Lynn is a kindergarten teacher and a Democrat who didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Now she’s wrestling with the consequences.
Lynn’s deep-seated exhaustion is matched only by passion for her students. Up to 70% of them utilize some sort of government assistance, from housing vouchers to free breakfast programs. She became teary as she described a student who never seemed to want to go home in the winter. Her family’s heat had been turned off. Mrs. Lynn reached out to the parents and connected them with a local program that provided relief from utility bills.
“They were sleeping by the open oven,” she said, her eyes liquid.
So she is not surprised in the slightest that one of Trump’s first proposals is to cut federal funds that help the organization.
“We told y’all this shit would happen!” she said.
Here in Brooklyn, I’ve been interviewing many people like Mrs. Lynn: supporters of Mrs. Clinton, or a third party, or non-voters, who were ignored by the mass media as it went traipsing through Oklahoma to gently interview the stupidest white people in existence. And they’re upset.
“They’re surprised Trump’s a scumbag? I coulda told ’em,” asked Jesus Ortega, a reluctant Clinton supporter who is enrolled in a program called Brooklyn WorkAdvance that trains mostly unemployed workers to fill well-paying manufacturing jobs. Trump has proposed eliminating a budget pot that pays for the program. “My cousin Louis worked for him. Orange pendejo paid him 60 cents on the dollar.
“First damn words out of his mouth announcing his campaign was some racist bullshit,” Ortega’s friend Kermit Vance added.
We were in a diner, because in these types of articles you have to go to a diner. I came to Brooklyn to see how residents would react to the sadness and disappointment of Trump voters, who are now realizing that they may have been sold a bill of goods.
“No sympathy,” Vance said.
“You shitting me?” said Ortega.
I reminded them about rural voters’ economic anxiety. Vance was speechless; Ortega stabbed me with a fork. I left the diner to speak to the only other source acceptable to a New York Times columnist: a cab driver. Yousef Duallo is from Haiti, and has been in Brooklyn for three years. I told him that many Trump voters felt resentful for being mocked as dumb.
“Then tell them to stop doing dumb things! Do you speak to these people?”
I told him that I was flying to Kentucky that night to speak to Trump voters in a diner.
“Tell them!” He let me out of the cab, and I immediately hailed another one. Michel Dubois is also from Haiti, and has been a cab driver for six years. I tell him that Trump voters are surprised that his budget would cut programs they relied on. Mr. Dubois started laughing and didn’t stop until he dropped me off at home.
I remember something Mrs. Lynn, the kindergarten teacher, said to me.
“Why don’t you stop commiserating about being wet with the idiots who steered the ship onto the rocks?”
I went upstairs and flagellated myself with a whip for twenty minutes, then packed for Kentucky. There were coal miners waiting for me at a diner.