Mailbag contributor, Mr. Larry Farr, often writes to complain that others fail to provide supporting data for their opinions. My recent letter, “We are all real Americans,” in response to Barbara Anderson’s “Protect our vote,” called attention to her insinuation that Trump supporters are not “real Americans.”
Opinions are often based on life experiences. They are not high school term papers, and 600 words leaves little room for detailed explanations. Much of journalism these days seems nothing more than Twitter reverberations or highly filtered propaganda, hardly worth quoting. But I can certainly back up what I say, so let’s take these issues one by one.
(1) Are the majority of N&T readers conservatives and mostly Trump voters? Since Clark and Floyd counties make up N&T’s circulation, and both have voted for Republicans (including Trump) by sizable margins in presidential elections since 1964, it’s logical to conclude their readership is conservative (Ballotpedia.org/Politico). Still, conservative views are seldom expressed by their columnists.
(2) Did the majority of our military and law enforcement support Trump? Farr agreed that law enforcement did support Trump in 2016 and 2020, and that the military did in 2016, but not 2020. Farr cites a 2020 survey of voter intentions showing Biden led by 4% among military voters. But a Morning Consult tracking poll, Sept. 6-8, 2020, found Trump led Biden by 10 points, 52% to 42% among active military and their households. Exit polls are more reliable, such as the one cited in Military Times, (11/11/2020), by Edison Research that found military and veterans voted for Trump 52 percent to Biden’s 45%.
(3) Did Reagan pull us out of a downward economic spiral following Carter? Farr cites the DJIA as an index of prosperity. Wasn’t it the Dems that berated Trump for boasting stock prices? Dems claim the market does not represent the real economy faced by workers. Give the Dems this point. A 2019 third-quarter report by the Fed found the richest 1% of Americans hold 54.2% of all stock and the top 10% own 88.1%. The bottom 50% own 0.08%. Unemployment rates, wage rates, GDP growth, and inflation are better gauges of worker gains.
Carter’s final year saw unemployment at 7.2%, inflation at 12.5%, and the GDP down by 0.30%. By the time Reagan left office, unemployment was at 5.3%, inflation at 4.4%, GDP was growing by 4.1%, and 16.5M jobs had been created (TheBalace.com, BLS). “His policies resulted in the largest peacetime economic boom in American history” (Heritage Foundation, 2001).
(4) Did Trump usher in a booming jobs market following the wage stagflation of Obama?
CNBC in January 2018 stated Trump’s first year in office saw, “...the best wage gains since the Great Recession,” easily topping Obama’s entire term. In January 2019, Market Watch states, “Worker pay and benefits rise at fastest pace in 10 years.” In October 2020, the Wall Street Journal wrote of Trump’s first three years “The unemployment rate fell from 4.7 percent shortly after Trump’s election to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019, below [Fed] expectations of 4.5 percent.”
(4) Do 40% of voters mistrust our election system? Polls, including a Northwestern/ Harvard/ Northeastern/Rutgers survey, a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey, a Vox/DFP poll, and a Qunnipinc poll, all taken between December 2020 and January 2021, found that 38% to 40% of voters do not trust our elections.
Think this is all due to Trump? Think again! A May 2019 Gallop found 59% of Americans did not trust our elections, with 2 in 3 Dems believing Trump won thanks to vote tallies changed by Russia.
(5) Lastly, Farr says RUSH is “the greatest rock group of all time.” Agreed, RUSH is great, but I’m partial to Steely Dan. But for rebuttals, I’ll stick with Tom Petty.
I will stand my ground, Won’t be turned around,
You can stand me up at the gates of hell,
And I won’t back down.
Beth Barker, Jeffersonville