Trump voters elected Donald Trump because he would not only use the power of the federal government to "Make America Great Again" but to specifically crush Obama coalition voters, so that never again would those people be allowed to elect a black president...or a woman. They voted specifically for a government to help the "good, Christian people" of rural America and let urban America burn to the ground.
That's the implicit covenant Trump made., to roll back rights, to remove political and economic power, to put us in our place. Trump voters voted for payback, they voted for punishment, they voted for, as Adam Serwer says to make cruelty the point. And under the tariffs and market plunges and now the government shutdown, in the Florida panhandle where Hurricane Michael ripped through not three months ago, Trump voters are openly starting to question whether Trump is holding up his end.
Though Mr. Trump said on Twitter over the weekend that “most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats,” that is far from true in places like Jackson County, Fla., where Marianna is the county seat. It is a Republican bastion so deeply conservative that it was illegal to sell liquor by the drink until November 2017. The president and his plan for a wall along the border are popular here, as they are across much of the state, which might explain why Florida Republicans in Congress have done little to pressure party leaders in the Senate to put an end to the shutdown.
“Everybody I talk to wants the wall,” James Grover, 72, a car salesman from nearby Blountstown, said over breakfast on Saturday at the Waffle Iron, a diner on Route 90 that opens six days a week even though its facade, destroyed by the hurricane, is temporarily made up of plastic sheeting and plywood.
Few prison guards interviewed leveled any criticism at the president or his border policy, instead blaming the impasse on both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who have failed to reach any agreement.
“You can point fingers at both sides,” said Jason Griffin, 44. “I point fingers at everyone. If they want to get something done, they can.”
Mr. Vinzant, the union president, said he believed a wall was necessary because he trusted fellow public employees who work for the Border Patrol. “Those guys will sit there and say, ‘We need help,’” he said. “So I have to agree with it. We don’t have a choice.”
But that solidarity does not make the prison officers’ situation any easier, especially since they face an added stress: The Bureau of Prisons as a general condition of employment requires that its workers pay their debts in a timely fashion. Failure to do so can result in discipline.
“I hate the shutdown,” said Joseph Sims, 37, a corrections officer of six years. “Sometimes you’ve got to do stuff to get stuff done,” he said of Mr. Trump’s stance, “but now it’s starting to take a toll on everybody at work.”
On Saturday, Mr. Sims stood in his living room as his wife, Melissa Sims, a prison nurse, prepared to hug their 3-year-old twins before embarking on the nearly seven-hour drive to work for two weeks in Mississippi.
“Mommy’s got to go bye-bye,” she told her son, Eli, who shrieked: “No! You can’t!”
“Oh my gosh, don’t make me cry,” said Ms. Sims, 39.
The day after she is scheduled to return, her husband will have to leave for Yazoo City himself, so they will hardly see each other. And the shutdown seems likely to delay repairs at the Marianna prison, which workers fear will remain effectively closed for at least a year.
“We can handle a month or two, but if it gets much longer than that, I’m going to look for another job — a job in the private sector,” Ms. Sims said of working without pay.
She blamed Mr. Trump for the shutdown, a point on which she disagreed with her husband and most of her colleagues. “This definitely is making me more political than I have been in the past,” Ms. Sims said. She has been researching how Congress passes budget bills.
“My stance is that if there’s a wall, they’re going to find a way to get past it — legal or not,” Ms. Sims said.
“I believe there should be a barrier,” her husband countered.
A few miles away, another prison employee, Crystal Minton, accompanied her fiancé to a friend’s house to help clear the remnants of a metal roof mangled by the hurricane. Ms. Minton, a 38-year-old secretary, said she had obtained permission from the warden to put off her Mississippi duty until early February because she is a single mother caring for disabled parents. Her fiancé plans to take vacation days to look after Ms. Minton’s 7-year-old twins once she has to go to work.
The shutdown on top of the hurricane has caused Ms. Minton to rethink a lot of things.
“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”
He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.
That's why they voted for him, you know. This isn't a retired boomer in her 70's saying this, the typical example of "dying racism" in America. This is somebody my age, my generation, saying this. This is somebody born in 1981, a older Millennial. Somebody who works in a prison as a secretary in the state with the highest incarcerated black population in America. She knows exactly what she means when she says "the people he needs to be hurting" about Donald Trump.
The cruelty is the point. I will keep saying this until people get this. Not just of Trump's cruelty, but the cruel power fantasies of Trump voters. They voted for cruelty against people they feel aren't representative of their America. They voted to get rid of us, to make us a permanent underclass in their America, so it is "great again". They voted because their parents grew up in a time where black folk and brown folk had no rights, weren't their co-workers, definitely not their bosses, absolutely not their president. They want that back because they are miserable under Trump, and they voted for making us miserable, not themselves.
Trump's getting close to blowing it. That's why he needs the wall. Everyone knows it.
The cruelty is the point.