The Atlantic

Meet the Trumpverstehers

We know about the president’s most vocal supporters. But what about his more discreet following?
Source: Leah Millis / Reuters

A few years ago, the Germans created one of the compound nouns in which their language excels. The Russlandverstehers—literally, “Russia understanders”—were those who while not openly supporting Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea expressed sympathetic acceptance of it. They would never openly endorse the stealing of elections or the assassination of journalists, of course, but they understood the circumstances that lead to such unfortunate things, and the larger impulse to rough behavior to restore Russian national pride and enhance Russian prestige.

I propose the term in a similar spirit. These are not the mass of his supporters who fear the loss of jobs to global trade or automation; they are not the rural white Americans who feel threatened by

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