Jack Murphy’s book Democrat to Deplorable: Why Nine Million Obama Voters Ditched the Democrats and Embraced Donald Trump has done what media pundits, pollsters, psychologists, political experts and fortune tellers failed to do over the past 18 months—it has put into words a coherent, persuasive and compelling explanation of what so many voters saw in Trump, and not just any Trump voter, but the 9 million voters who crossed party lines, leaving their Democrat label behind even when that meant being labeled “Deplorable.”
Using his own personal experience, extensive interviews and a detailed survey, Murphy shows how broken campaign promises, backfiring policy decisions, a complex global economy and a changing culture created an environment where voting for Trump was not just a preference but an imperative.
Jack Murphy delivers this book with a lot of pressure on him. As a personal friend and a follower of his on Twitter, I watched with shock recently when he became the victim of a senseless character assassination by Antifa. After appearing at a Trump positive event with other Trump supporters and having his picture taken and posted online a member of Antifa exposed his real name, targeted his job and ultimately got him fired, then removed from his coaching position at his son’s little league just months before the publication of his book.
With these kinds of personal attacks threatening jobs, ostracizing individuals from their community, straining relationships with friends and family, what good reasons could there be for 9 million Democrats to switch parties and vote for Trump?
Murphy uses his own personal story as a two time Obama voter and liberal to set the stage because ultimately, how we vote does impact on our lives. It can be hard understand the connection between voting for politicians who implement policy and the consequences of those policies in our communities, but Murphy has told this story, making politics personal.
In the second part of the book, Murphy brings to life five Democrat to Deplorable voters and tells their stories. Each story is as unique and different as the individual telling it, but one thing binds them, a feeling of betrayal by a system and ideology they had previously bought into with more than their votes. Their lives, their testimony, their families and their hopes were fully invested in the democratic and liberal ideals. But then, something—a different something for each person—snapped and showed them that what they had invested in and believed in wasn’t panning out as promised, in fact, as often as not, the opposite of what was promised was playing out.
“Imagine finding out everything you were you taught and advocated for was a lie. Imagine coming to understand the work you were doing wasn’t helping the needy but enriching the greedy? Imagine the guilt, shame, and even horror of participating in the very system you thought you were subverting?”
The final section in the book ties together the interviews, the personal stories and the answers from Murphy’s extensive survey with real policies, history, political, governmental and cultural events to show the direct lines between political decisions and personal consequences.
The book is incredibly well researched and very well written. If you want to understand why smart, educated, compassionate Americans would turn their backs on the democratic party to vote for an unrefined, offensive, inexperienced political outsider like Trump, this is the book you need to read.
If you enjoyed this essay, you will love getting my weekly newsletter. Subscribe now.