September 13, 2020

We look at the people who support Trump, and the word "cult" springs to mind. But it is not an amorphous blob. There are a number of different factions, and some are not cult members at all. They are not true believers, willing to die for him.

The cult members are the racists and the anti-abortion evangelicals. For Trump their devotion has risen to the level of worship, and death in the service of this devotion, even of family members to the virus, is fine. These are the "end days" - for the racists, the end of white supremacy, and for the evangelicals, the apocalypse itself. Because of this, because their personal identities are inextricably linked to their extremism, they cannot be changed. They will vote for him, no matter the truth and consequences.

But the other factions are about something else entirely - money. This starts with the military. The defense budget is high, so soldiers - and their families - will vote for him, even though he thinks - and they know he thinks - they are losers and suckers.

Second are the wealthy, including the executives of big corporations, who put tax considerations above everything else. Trump cut taxes, so he's the one. It's as simple as that. They will vote their perceived self-interest and America and society and the rest of the world can be damned.

There is a third group focused on money, too, the owners of small businesses. And here (like with the soldiers), many of them actually hate Trump. They know he is a criminal monster, but they will vote for him anyway. Even worse, they are "influencers," over their employees and communities. They will pull a lot of votes his way, which rightfully should go to Biden.

They are making a huge mistake, although it is not difficult to understand why. Their businesses are struggling, and because of this they are struggling - personally, emotionally. They have had to fire workers - friends. Many face bankruptcy and ruin. And because they are working so hard to keep their businesses afloat, they are uninformed. They don't understand what is really happening and how it will affect them. Many no doubt only watch Fox.

For the American economy to recover, we have to beat the virus. But this is not about just waiting for a vaccine. It requires, as so many other countries have demonstrated, a government plan. Trump's plan is to do nothing. And this will not change if he steals another election. So, under him, the virus will be around for the long-term. As will the economic disruption that is harming their businesses.

Somehow, they do not grasp this.

The other factor - again - is taxes. Many small business owners do not even know that Biden has announced a tax plan. While progressives - me included, think it doesn't go anywhere near far enough to address inequality, it will - rightfully - have almost no consequences on small businesses. Personal taxes will only rise substantially on people making over $400,000 a year. The top rate of business taxes will rise from 21% to 28% (below the prior top rate pre-Trump of 35%). The net effects on American small businesses of Biden becoming President will be as follows:

The virus will be defeated. They will actually be able to do a normal trade again.

Their personal taxes won't go up at all.

Their business taxes might go up a little bit, if they make a lot of money.

So the overall choice is straightforward: Go out of business with Trump, or succeed with Biden.

Many, many small business owners do not realize this! They have been terrorized by Fox and believe the American economy will disintegrate with Biden. I know: How can they possibly be so obtuse? The economy has had the hardest hit since the Great Depression because of Trump's lies, and they are afraid of centrist Biden.

So, if you know any small business owners, for example, in the suburbs, talk to them. Try to set them straight. They are voting against their own interests. But because they are not fanatical cultists, you may be able to reason with them. The election outcome could well hinge on what they do.