01.09.2020

‘He Is Our O.J.’

‘He Is Our O.J.’ Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Explain yourself, I asked readers who are indignant about President Donald Trump’s impeachment shortly before the holiday break. I wasn’t asking merely for a defense of Trump, but for an honest illumination of what defenders would think if the essential facts in the Ukraine matter were the same except for one — Hillary Clinton were president.

Several hundred people sent emails, the majority of them thoughtfully composed and accepting the invitation in good faith. This was a vivid window into the Age of Trump.

With sincerity, candor and even a measure of wistful idealism, people shared their views of a political and media culture they believe is cynical at its core. If almost nothing is on the level, almost anything goes.

For Keith Swartz, who is 66 years old and runs a recruiting firm based in Tacoma, Washington, almost anything includes a president he regards as “manic, uneducated, illogical,” and also “essentially a horrible person … vulgar, amoral, narcissistic.”

Wait, this a defense of Trump? Yes, hang on. He’s done a fine job on the economy, in particular, in the face of a Democratic opposition that has bent rules and abused process for three years in an implacable bid to thwart him. “To those of us who support what he has accomplished,” Swartz concluded, “it feels like he is our O.J.”

That’s right: O.J. Simpson, not previously a conservative hero. In his 2016 promises to “Make America Great Again,” Trump did not invoke the racially riven Los Angeles of the 1990s as his model. But Swartz’s admirably forthright comparison—with biased media and unscrupulous Democrats serving as proxies for racist cops—captured the spirit of many replies.

For the full story, visit Politico.com/News/Magazine.