Rounding it out
At first glance, Sunday’s two-page conversation with local supporters of President Trump was a good idea. As someone who remains deeply concerned about his presidency and its consequences, I welcome opportunities to hear from those who see things differently. I was surprised, however — not to say appalled — to realize that all five partners were white males. Are these the only perspectives valued by the Trib?
Admittedly, all of them have written columns in support of Donald Trump during the 2016 election, but that only introduces a further question: Were there no women or people of color who might have been invited to write columns? Are there no women and people of color who might have been included? Perhaps, for example, other Trump supporters could have teased out the happy prediction that he will improve race relations. Surely a round-table discussion of what we can expect from the new presidency deserves a more well-rounded table.
Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Woodway
EDITOR’S NOTE: Fair questions, but these concerns were not the purpose or scope of this particular interview. Unlike our past man-on-the-street interviews, we had no interest this time in pollsters’ unerring scientific dedication to demographics (and we all know how well pollsters’ work fared this past election, particularly in overlooking white voters). Nor were we interested in interviewing casual Trump voters or faithful Republicans who simply vote for whoever heads the party ticket. We wanted to understand better the nucleus of hard-core support for Donald Trump, unvarnished and unadulterated. We rigorously restricted our pool of potential subjects to individuals in our community who, of their own initiative, volition and drive, had written forcefully, articulately and even courageously in letters to the editor and Trib guest columns championing Trump as a candidate — forms that go beyond that of the standard Facebook post or tweet. Initiative was key for us, particularly at a time when very few local people displayed Trump bumper stickers on their vehicles and very few people erected Trump campaign signs in their yards. While national polls suggested they would probably be white voters, we weren’t completely sure of the racial makeup or ages till all five who accepted our invitation actually arrived in our newsroom. We did attempt to invite Trump supporters who are women — also from this same pool of subjects — but the only one with whom we were able to discuss the matter politely declined our invitation to firmly commit to the interview (though she continues to write in regularly). Other Trump supporters were also considered for their strong contributions to the Trib opinion page but declined for various reasons, ranging from eye surgery to the awkwardness for one who works for a controversial federal agency. Anyone seeking a more diverse survey of Waco is directed to a Trib piece published Nov. 9.