Was it possible/plausible for a morally upright person to vote for President Trump in 2020?

There was a topic about divisive political questions. I suggest that this question is among the most divisive.

Was it possible for a morally upright person to vote for President Trump in 2020? If so, was it plausible?


ETA: Morally upright in your eyes

It depends heavily on motive. If one’s motive is that a Trump reelection would directly affect your livelihood and whether you can keep a job, maybe. If one votes Trump for motives of wanting to endorse white supremacists, no.

It is a known issue that voting machines have on occasion had calibration issues, so the answer to your question is “Yes.”

Heh, didn’t think of that one.


Sure, thanks to our old friend: ignorance.

There are people, I even know a few, who don’t think Trump or the republicans have done anything wrong, and believe that the Biden family are the really corrupt ones. To me, and to anyone trying to look at the facts objectively, this shows a breathtaking willful ignorance, but someone operating on that premise may believe that voting Trump was morally right and they could be a good person in general (though, frankly, I haven’t met a trumpist yet that wasn’t at least spiteful).

I personally believe it is not only possible but plausible for a morally upright person to vote for Trump.

He (or she) might think Mr. Trump was a swell president, on the economy (before pandemic), on closing the southern border, on trade “negotiations” with eg: China, on North Korea, on the Middle East, the list goes on. Maybe even on the pandemic. I would think this person is wrong about the President’s performance on every issue, but that doesn’t make this person any less upright in my eyes. If I put myself in their shoes, and pretend I only know what I think they know, it is easy for me to come to the same conclusion.


An argument was presented in another topic that I wish to reproduce here. Hopefully I’m not botching it up, it went something like this:

Let’s just think about how Trump handled COVID-19. A vote for Trump is like a vote to subject me to some contest, without my consent, where I have a good chance of being killed. In my eyes that’s immoral, and so when someone says they vote for Trump, I take that rather personally because they essentially voted to put me in harm’s way. In my opinion no morally upright person would do such a thing.

But my counter for this is the same. If said Trump voter disagrees about Trump’s handling of COVID-19, if they think he’s going to get a vaccine out ASAP and is doing the best he possibly can, then from their perspective a vote for Trump implies no personal ill-will towards anybody.

When I evaluate whether someone is morally upright or not, I put myself in their shoes but keep my own moral framework. I do so in this case, and I still think it is possible/plausible for a morally upright person to have voted for Trump.


I note that you’ve moved from Trump supporter to Trump voter. That makes it possible–though I would argue increasingly less plausible over time. And I’ll assume you mean in 2020, not 2016.

Ignorance can do a lot. However, there is some degree of a moral imperative to at least try to be informed before voting. It’s also less and less plausible that they could not wind up informed about the bad things Trump has done.

There are also a lot of people who are actively choosing to delude themselves, and I believe that is immoral. They have misgivings, so they surround themselves with only that which will tell them those misgivings are wrong.

There’s also a moral imperative to care about other people more that yourself. So any argument about the economy being good “for me” is not a moral position. If they refuse to wear a mask because “you can’t make me”, they cannot be a moral person.

I also hold Christians to their stated morals, and we have requirements in the Bible for leaders. And there is a biblical imperative not to add to God’s word. So, i ftheya re sola scriptura, and they put abortion above the things that are actually mentioned in the Bible, that is immoral. (Though I will allow for ignorance due to people lying to them about that issue.) The stuff about caring about others more than yourself applies here, too.

I can imagine someone so utterly misinformed that they, despite being moral, voted for Trump. It’s an uphill battle to climb.

That said, a supporter is different. A supporter is someone who is still supporting Trump now, even after the vote. And Trump is staging a coup. He is trying to overturn an election. Over 80% of America acknowledges Biden won—so quite a lot of Trump voters are no longer supporters.

I will also note that “disagreeing” is not a get out of morality free card. Ignorance can be, but disagreement isn’t. The reasons not to support Trump are factual, and not subject to disagreement. Just possibly not knowing about them, or being convinced they didn’t happen.

For example, disagreeing about Trump’s handling of COVID-19 is itself an immoral act. Being ignorant about it isn’t, but, if you know that Trump specifically shut down a plan because he was sure it would harm blue states more, then your disagreement that this is bad is immoral.

I would like to note the original posited debate was:

… to which the ensuring discussion evolved, not about ‘morality’, but about the nature of ‘Americaness’.

That’s all. Just wanted to keep the record straight.

Just to address these, even though it’s slightly off-topic, my original posts in the Election Day topic were in defense of Republicans generally.

Yes, I suppose the discussion between you and I was slightly different near the end. I’ll make a separate topic for that.


I appreciate your arguments, the only one I don’t agree with is the moral imperative to be informed before voting.

I agree, it’s very important and morally good to be well-informed. But I would not hold it against someone who voted without being well-informed if I think they honestly thought they were well informed. And I think that’s where a lot of Trump voters and even supporters lie.

ETA: Well, also your point about disagreement. Disagreement can be based on ignorance and can be used as a “get out of morality free card”, specifically disagreeing on facts. People disagree about facts all the time, by definition, one party is ignorant or insincere.


Or, I suppose, it’s not a fact…


As the great country singer John Prine (early COVID victim) said on a live album about a song of his, I am going to tell this story one more time. I am now living with my parents in a small town in Virginia, was laid off in NJ, while I decide what to do for the future. And my family and their friends are conservative and support Trump. But they have no idea of who he is, corrupt and a liar and con man etc. But I don’t think it is always the case that they are “willfully ignorant”, they don’t want to be ignorant, no one does. To continue quoting country singers, the great Loretta Lynn (astoundingly progressive for a woman in Nashville in the 70s) said in Coal Miner’s Daughter, “I may be ignorant but I’m not stupid.”

With the exception of a literally crazy uncle, my family and their friends, and the friends of their familes, are not stupid. They are just misinformed. I go once a week with my Mom and Dad to a Ruritan Club meeting, get a hot dog and fries and a Coke for $3 and listen to some bluegrass music. These are the nicest people you would ever want to meet. On my car I have a “Feel the Bern” and a Workers of the World bumpersticker. If I were driving that car and broke down on the side of the road, and they didn’t know me, they would stop to help. Give me a ride to a service station if needed.

They are not facist nor anti-democracy. At the meeting a couple of days ago, one man talked about all the fraud and the stolen election. He really believes this nonsense because of what he has heard from the trio of fascists on FOX News in the evening. In his misinformed mind, he is not anti-democracy, he is hoping to save democracy by supporting throwing out the “illegal” votes.

Now of course he is wrong for only getting his information from one source. But he is no different from the majority of voters, both Republican and Democrat, for the entire history of this country. I have a very intelligent friend, came from Cuba, now in Europe, who to this day still believes 9/11 was orchestrated by Bush and Cheney. A lot of Democrats still believe Trump is President because the Russians hacked the voting machines. We have never had an informed electorat in this country. Rememer the Maine? Most of the country bought it. Remember Saddam being behind 9/11? Most of the country bought it, including the “liberal” New York Times (that is a joke for another thread). Well over half of the people in this country belive in angels!

Back to the OP, of course morally upright people voted for Trump and still support him now. But they do so through ignorance. I think the biggest problem this country is that tens of millions of people are ignorant of being ignorant

That’s a good description of many Trump voters and the (mis-) informed state of the US electorate.

The thing is, I also know Trump supporters who are generally good people. Who have done kind things for me.
I still hesitate to characterize them as good people who have just been misinformed.

Because firstly, they share stuff on facebook that is deplorable. Stuff that implies that all black people are stupid and criminal and are not deserving of equal treatment.
And secondly, I have to ask myself: why they are drawn to some of this material? Why, in the first place, did they choose to only listen to the hatemongers on FOX (and now are moving to even more extreme material)?

I’m sticking with my answer to the OP though; there’s no reason in principle that a good (but misinformed) person couldn’t vote for Trump.

People who are doing that are not the people I am talking about. Those are the deplorables. Every country in the world has such people. I would bet 20% of the people in most countries are that way. I would hope that it is less

Sure, but I’m just being clear about my experience.
The kind-but-misinformed Trump voter is not anyone I’ve met yet.
Or at least “kind” has to have an asterisk next to it.

If you say they exist, that’s great. I’d hate to think 70 million people are all the type who’d find racist facebook memes amusing.

IMHO, most people have two sides to them. In person, they may be (genuinely) nice and helpful to you. But on social media, they feel freer to vent the other side of themselves (which is also sincere as well,) just an uglier side.

I can only talk about my experience. Almost forgot about my years in Rhode Island, painful time at the end and details not important. But owned a house there from 2009 to 2016. Through my brother-in-law, a liberal, became a member of a club there. Cheap beers and 25 cent pool tables. Rhode Island in general is a pretty liberal state, but not Warwick. The same type of people I described above. Everyday people.

There was a bartender there, she had recently been unemployed, and she talked about standing in the Welfare Line (what do you know, another country song, by the great Buck Owens), and she complained about all the Portuguese bums getting welfare. She is in the fucking welfare line complaining about the other people in the same line. Because, of course, she deserved it, the brown people did not.

Oh, maybe I am not making my case here, maybe she belongs in the deplorables category. Except for the fact that she had the opinion of another guy who said, "If your name is Rodriguez, you get a free car and a free apartment. " Way beyond the free Obama phones. This guy actually believed immigrants got free cars and apartments. I am sure she did as well.

It is the ignorance that is our biggest problem. What the hell, for another pop culture reference, having just rewatched Pulp Fiction, I am trying real hard to be the shepard of these people, but the truth is, they are the tyranny of evil men. They are not evil themselves, but they have been misled and misinformed by evil men and women, and thus support them. Just as the masses have been misled and misinformed throughout human history.

Of course. For one what is moral is based upon axioms and different folks have different sets. Secondly, how people actually weigh each issue is highly personal as well.

Actually, I meant morally upright in your eyes (according to your morals). Is it possible/plausible for someone who is morally upright in your eyes to have voted for President Trump, and, you know, still be considered morally upright?

ETA: If you voted for Trump, presumably the answer is “yes”