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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sam Altman: Here's what I learned interviewing 100 Trump supporters - Business Insider

Sam Altman





"He is not politically correct." Note: This sentiment came up a lot, probably in at least a third of the conversations I had.



"He says true but unpopular things. If you can't talk about problems, you can't fix them."



"I'm a Jewish libertarian who's [sic] grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Over the last few years, the mainstream left has resorted to name-calling and character assassination, instead of debate, any time their positions are questioned. This atmosphere became extremely oppressive and threatening to people, like myself, who disagreed with many of Obama's policies over the past several years. Intelligent debate has become rare."



"It's a lot like political discussion was in Soviet Union, actually. I think the inability to acknowledge obvious truths, and the ever-increasing scope of these restrictions, makes it particularly frustrating. And personally, for whatever reason, I find inability to have more subtle discussion very frustrating — things are not white or black, but you can't talk about grays since the politically correct answer is white."



""He is anti-abortion." Note: This sentiment came up a lot. A number of people I spoke to said they didn't care about anything else he did and would always vote for whichever candidate was more anti-abortion.



"I like that he puts the interests of Americans first. American policy needs to be made from a position of how Americans benefit from it, as that is the role of government."



"He is anti-immigration." Note: This sentiment came up a lot. The most surprising takeaway for me how little it seemed to be driven by economic concerns, and how much it was driven by fears about "losing our culture," "safety," "community," and a general Us-vs.-Them mentality.



"He will preserve our culture. Preservation of culture is considered good in most cases. What's wrong with preserving the good parts of American culture?"



""He's not Hillary Clinton."



"I'm Mexican. I support the wall. The people who have stayed have destroyed Mexico, and now they want to get out and cause damage here. We need to protect our borders, but now any policy is like that is called racist. Trump was the first person willing to say that out loud."



"I am socially very liberal. I am fiscally very conservative. I don't feel I have a party — never have. I grew up in a more socially conservative time and picked the "lesser of two evils" during elections. Now, the more socially liberal side supports bigger governments, more aid and support, and that money has to come from somewhere. I see what's deducted from my check each week. I'm OK with never being rich, but I'd like more security, and that doesn't come from more government spending."



"We need borders at every level of our society."



"I'm willing to postpone some further social justice progress, which doesn't really result in loss of life, in favor of less foreign policy involvement, the opposite of which does."



"Brown people are always the out-crowd. I think subconsciously, part of the reason I supported him was a way to be in the in-crowd for once."



trump rally fayetteville

A woman cheers at a Trump rally.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters



What don't you like about him?

"The way he talks about women is despicable."



"Everything about his style. We only voted for him because this election was too important to worry about style."



"I don't like most things about him. The way it worked is we got to choose one of two terrible options."



"I think our nation needs Trumpism to survive long-term, and to me, that supersedes almost every other reservation I have. My issue is with Trump himself — I think he's the wrong vessel for his movement, but he's all we've got, so I'm behind him."



"I think the rollout of the immigration executive order is emblematic of a clusterf---, to be completely frank."



"I now believe the Muslim ban actually makes us less safe."



"Isolationism and protectionism at this point is insane. We've done that before."



"I, too, worry about the dishonesty. His relationship with Russia, his relationship with women. His relationship with questionable financial matters. These all worry me, and were they to continue, I would lose all respect."



"He continually plays into a character that he has created to rile his fan base. Accepting anti-Semitism, white nationalism, or hate emanating unnecessarily creates a vacuum of fear on social media, on television, and around the dinner table. Even though the policies may be similar to that of any recent Republican president, the behavior to act so immaturely sets a bad example for children and undercuts many cultural norms, which more than anything causes disruption to our sociological foundations."



"I hate that he discredits the press all the time. That seems to forebode great evil."



""The left is more intolerant than the right." Note: This concept came up a lot, with real animosity in otherwise pleasant conversations.



"Stop calling us racists. Stop calling us idiots. We aren't. Listen to us when we try to tell you why we aren't. Oh, and stop making fun of us."



"I'd love to see one-tenth of the outrage about the state of our lives out here that you have for Muslims from another country. You have no idea what our lives are like."



"I'm so tired of hearing about white privilege. I'm white but way less privileged than a black person from your world. I have no hope my life will ever get any better."



"I am tired of feeling silenced and demonized. We have mostly the same goals and different opinions about how to get there. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you're wrong. But enough with calling all of us the devil for wanting to try Trump. I hate Hillary and think she wants to destroy the country of us, but I don't demonize her supporters."



"I'm angry that they're so outraged now but were never outraged over an existing terrible system."



Sam Altman: Here's what I learned interviewing 100 Trump supporters - Business Insider

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