Please explain this sentence, with “held their nose” in particular: “I think many Republicans held their nose and voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.”
In other words, many Republicans voted for former American President Donald Trump even though they don’t like him that much.
That’s why the speaker thinks that they did so by collectively holding their nose.
Holding their nose?
Yeah, well, when we smell something foul and repulsive, we put our hand to our nose, sometimes pinching the nose with thumb and finger to prevent us from smelling it.
Well, when Republicans voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, many did so by, metaphorically speaking, holding their nose, according to the speaker.
So they held their nose because they find Trump repulsive?
Yes, they are disgusted with him, probably.
And it’s understandable because Trump is a liar, a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe and a religious bigot, among other loathsome names.
In other words, Donald Trump is not a perfect man.
Far from it.
Still and all, many Republicans voted for him, even though they didn’t like him in many ways.
But they’re Republicans. So, it’s somewhat understandable. They voted for Trump to toe the party line in spite of its unpleasant nature. There are some who are reportedly too embarrassed to even admit that they voted for Trump.
But they voted for him.
Well, that is that. Let’s move on to media examples of “holding one’s nose” in the metaphorical sense:
1. I wish there was a third box voters could put a cross in this Thursday. Ideally, it would say the following: “Remain – very reluctantly”.
A few weeks ago, I was ready to vote Leave. There are still many reasons to vote Leave – the fact that the EU is anti-democratic being high up that list; the needless expansion; the seeming inability to embark on anything resembling reform; the fact that 28 countries will always act in their own self-interest; exhibit A: the UK – but over the past few weeks I have been having second thoughts.
It probably began a couple of weeks ago when a GP, who is actually a Tory MP, which seems an oxymoron, said she was switching from Leave to Remain because of fibs, she said, being told by Leave about the NHS.
It wasn’t that that got me thinking. It was what she – Sarah Wollaston is her name – said about, of all things, leaflets. This is what she said: “If you’re in a position where you can’t hand out a Vote Leave leaflet, you can’t be campaigning for that organisation.”
And I thought ‘hang on a moment, would I be prepared to hand out Vote Leave leaflets?’ when I was beginning to have doubts myself about the wisdom of voting to get out. Running away from something is one thing – and here most of the boxes were being ticked – but what are we running to? So, like Dr Wollaston, if I was a bit iffy about handing out leaflets, could I then vote Leave?
Building has run a campaign for the country to remain in the UK. The magazine says it would be better for the industry to stay in the EU. To me, it makes more sense for this industry to stay than leave because of the impact on labour and inward investment which would undoubtedly be hit.
On a wider scale, most of the debate-winning arguments put forward for staying in have been economic as well. When nine out of 10 economists polled say the UK would be worse off if we left then we do have to listen: it is not good enough for Leave to say that people are fed up with experts.
That said, some of the claims by Remain have, frankly, been ridiculous and have no doubt hardened people’s attitudes to stick two fingers up to the establishment and cemented further their intention to vote Leave.
But the economists – not George Osborne and his daily, dire warnings about financial implosion nor David Cameron’s suggestion a Leave vote would make war more than less likely forgetting that we didn’t join until some years after the 1957 Treaty of Rome – have won me round.
So on Thursday, I’ll hold my nose and vote Remain because I think we’ll be worse off if we quit. Pure and simple.
- A reluctant Remainer, by Dave Rogers, Building.co.uk, June 20, 2016.
2. The Trump campaign isn’t subtle. In an ad over the summer titled “Break In,” an older white woman is watching news coverage about activist demands to “defund the police” when she spots a burglar scouting her home’s perimeter and begins to dial 911. As the burglar attempts to force his way in, we hear Sean Hannity’s voice coming from the television, talking about how Joe Biden is “absolutely on board with defunding the police.” Before the woman can alert the authorities, the intruder crowbars his way into the home. He approaches her, and, following an implied assault, the phone falls to the ground.
“You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” the screen reads.
The ad is a lurid rehash of Trump’s 2016 campaign strategy: using fear of American carnage to mobilize elderly white voters. The political problem that the Trump campaign now faces, though, is that those voters—older, white women, specifically—don’t feel safe in Donald Trump’s America.
In 2016, older voters were one of Trump’s best demographics. According to exit polls, while Hillary Clinton won voters 45 and under by 14 percentage points, Trump won voters 45 and older—the larger age cohort—by 8 points. A separate Pew Research Center study of the electorate found that voters 65 and older were Trump’s strongest overall age demographic last time around. He won them by 9 points.
But while the country has spent four years bracing itself for a replay of November 2016, with eyes fixed on the same Pennsylvania-to-Wisconsin battlegrounds as before, the age-demographic landscape of the presidential contest has been quietly and dramatically rearranged. Although polling in recent months has shown Trump maintaining his advantage among the 50-to-64-year-old cohort, support among those over 65 has moved sharply toward Biden. In a national survey from Monmouth University released on Aug. 11, for example, which gave Biden a 10-point lead overall, Biden was leading registered voters over 65 by 17 points. That would represent a shift of 26 points among the oldest measured demographic from 2016. A Quinnipiac national poll from mid-July, meanwhile, showed Biden’s lead among the 65-plus at 14 points.
There’s also a specific issue that’s been in the news of late that’s of particular concern to seniors.
Helen Lyon, 73, of Grand Junction, Colorado, has been a Republican since 1972. She held her nose and voted for Trump in 2016, with the encouragement of friends who told her Trump was a good businessman who could shake things up.
She told me she felt she was living in a state of “cognitive dissonance” for much of Trump’s presidency. Her husband, a Democrat, “loves to watch Colbert,” whom she found irritating.
“I would kind of get ticked off,” she said, “because he was making fun of my president.”
After a while, though, she found that she kept asking her husband, “Did [Trump] really say that? Did he really tweet that? Did he really do that?” She would then look up what Trump said, tweeted, or did, and she began to wonder if she could vote for him again.
“And then, when COVID came,” she said, “and the way that he handled it and just said it was going to go away, I guess that was finally the minute that I was able to step out of that cognitive dissonance and say, ‘I cannot—I cannot—vote for this man.’ ”
- Old People Elected Trump. Will They Make Him a One-Term President? Slate.com, September 16, 2020.
3. On February 7, 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) released the Green New Deal, a resolution calling for social, economic, and environmental reforms aimed at income and healthcare disparities, and climate change. The proposal appropriates the name and spirit of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, and hails “… [a] new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II …”
Unlike FDR’s program, however, the Green New Deal (GND) aims to completely retool the U.S. economy by phasing out fossil fuel-based energy production in favor of renewable energy over the next 30 years, and provide healthcare, housing, and economic security for “all people of the United States.” The center-right American Action Forum estimated the GND would cost $51-$93 trillion over the next decade. Although the resolution has strong support among Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said “there’s no way to pay for it,” and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called the plan a “dream,” that “would hurt regions dependent on reliable energy.” Republicans ridiculed the GND and called for an early vote in the Senate. The resolution failed 0-57, with most Democrats voting “present” in protest.
Sensible environmental reform will require the kind of populist pressure that convinced Richard Nixon to hold his nose and support the National Environmental Policy Act in 1970. Nixon was no environmentalist, but voters supported the Act and the 1972 presidential election loomed.
Successful environmental policy will stress practicality over doctrinal purity. Market-based solutions are to be preferred over regulations. However, there should be no ideological test to assure that a measure is perfectly consistent with free market principles. Our air and water are much cleaner today than in 1968 thanks to regulations passed with bipartisan support in the 1970s. Several species, including the bald eagle and brown pelican, have recovered from the brink of extinction because of protections imposed through the Endangered Species Act.
A responsible environmental program will be more incremental than will suit progressives. Better steady progress through the hard work of compromise than high-minded impasse. I don’t intend to draft a “Conservative Green New Deal” or an “Environmental Contract with America.” Nor will I refute the Green New Deal point by point. Rather, I hope to start a productive conversation among conservatives who agree with Russell Kirk: “Nothing is more conservative than conservation.”
The Green New Deal opens with the assertion that “human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century, and that climate change is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, drought, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure.”
- Alternative Energy For Conservatives, TheAmericanConservative.com, November 9, 2020.
About the author:
Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: email@example.com, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.