From the current issue of The New Yorker, a humor piece by Douglas McGrath called “The Pences Visit Manhattan”. Excerpt:
Governor Mike Pence was having a romantic dinner with the love of his life, Mrs. Mike Pence, at the Red Lobster in Times Square. The Governor knew that as Vice-President he would have to attend foreign banquets, so he and Mrs. Pence were trying to broaden their palates. Luckily, they had already found a couple of dishes at the Red Lobster which they liked. Governor Pence was saying a blessing over their chicken wings and mozzarella cheese sticks when the first three notes of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” chimed on his phone, signalling a text. As he read it, Mrs. Pence popped a sizzling cheese stick into her mouth and blew out little puffs of steam. “Look at me!” she said gaily. “I’m a steamboat!”
But the Governor didn’t laugh. Mrs. Pence took his hand and said, “What’s wrong, helpmeet?”
“I’ve been called to Trump Tower. It’s an emergency.”
From the same issue of the magazine, a reported piece by Larissa McFarquhar titled “In The Heart Of Trump Country,” about how West Virginia, which used to be heavily Democratic, became the most pro-Trump state in the Union:
Like most West Virginians, Rick Abraham was angry with the President for hastening the decline of the coal industry with what he regarded as excessive environmental regulation. Like most Trump voters, he considered Obamacare a scourge, and since he selects insurance policies for Mine Lifeline’s forty-odd employees he could argue in detail that nearly everyone in his company was worse off than before.
And yet in other ways he is not the Appalachian Trump voter as many people elsewhere imagine him—ignorant, racist, appalled by the idea of a female President or a black President, suspicious and frightened of immigrants and Muslims, with a threatened job or no job at all, addicted to OxyContin. Those voters exist, but the political thinking of many others in Trump country is more ambivalent and complicated and non-inevitable than is apparent from signs hung on Main Street or carried at rallies. The perception that people in West Virginia are voting for Trump because they are racist or ignorant is significant, though, since it’s one of the reasons they’re voting for Trump in the first place. “When people talk about Trump, they talk about how they don’t like the establishment or the élites,” Charles Keeney, a history professor at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, in Logan County, says. “When they say that, they mean who they see on television—they envision people in New York City making fun of them and calling them stupid. Every time you leave the state, you get it—someone will say, Oh, you’re from West Virginia, do you date your cousin? Wow, you have shoes, wow you have teeth, are you sure you’re from West Virginia? So when they see that the media élite is driven out of their mind at the success of Donald Trump it makes them want to root for him. It’s like giving the middle finger to the rest of the country.”
Holy J.D. Vance, Batman. They really don’t get it, do they? Their contempt. They really do believe they’re punching up, when in fact they’re punching down.
If Trump wins this election, the only comfort I will take from the victory is knowing that Douglas McGrath and the editors who find that snotty condescension towards middle Americans funny will be wailing and gnashing their teeth.