What to Do About Trump Supporters?

The election really is over, even if a lot of people don’t accept it yet, and Trump will no longer be POTUS after January 20. That, at least, we can count on.

Will Trump continue to damage America? I believe the real danger going forward isn’t so much Trump as it is Trump voters. Trump is leaving behind a huge pool of ignorant and angry people nursing a fanatical grievance. These people are susceptible to manipulation, and the next sociopathic demagogue to manipulate them might be even better at it than Trump was.

See, for example, Jochen Bittner, 1918 Germany Has a Warning for America.

According to the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of Trump supporters believe that a Joe Biden presidency would do “lasting harm to the U.S.,” while 90 percent of Biden supporters think the reverse. And while the question of which news media to trust has long split America, now even the largely unmoderated Twitter is regarded as partisan. Since the election, millions of Trump supporters have installed the alternative social media app Parler. Filter bubbles are turning into filter networks.

Bittner sees parallels here with the factors that enabled the rise of the Nazis. He’s not comparing Trump himself to Hitler. He is saying that Trump and his enablers are creating conditions that a smarter and more skilled demagogue could use to devastating effect.

And if you didn’t see the BBC production Rise of the Nazis on PBS, you can still stream it. I thought it was well done.

I don’t think we can just ignore Trump voters and assume they’ll come to their senses. This perilous situation has to be addressed, in these ways:

First, I believe we need a clear and more comprehensive understanding of why so many people were so easily conned by Trump. Certainly racism is a factor, but there are many other factors. This issue needs exploring in light of economics and social psychology and how people are being divided and manipulated by media.

Second, we need a clear and more comprehensive understanding of the political landscape and how it has changed since at least World War II or so. Both parties pretty much abandoned working class folks along the way, IMO. But the Republicans made up for their neglect of deteriorating economic conditions and opportunities for the working class with culture war issues. Republicans haven’t done a thing to get people affordable health care or to bring manufacturing jobs back, but … oh, look! Some woman is demanding an abortion! Gay people are getting married! Sharia law! At this point the Republican Party barely functions as a political party at all. It’s more like a weird club for wealthy but unhinged people.

For too long Democrats took the official position that everything was mostly fine and just needed a little tweaking.This worked for parts of the population for which everything was mostly fine — urban, educated, upper income professionals — but less so with people who saw their union jobs fly off to China. So here we are.

Third, we need to look at all the media — news, social, and otherwise. We need to maintain freedom of the press, but we also need to clamp down on viral disinformation. This includes stuff churned out by Breitbart, Newsmax, OAN, and the likes of Sean Hannity. This won’t be simple. We can start by bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. We may have to do much more.

And fourth, Trump needs to be thorougly exposed as the scum that he is. Even if he never faces punishment, his activities both as a “businessman” and as POTUS need to be investigated, and whatever was unethical and illegal must be made known to the entire public, and not just to readers of the Washington Post. Ruth Marcus is cautioning us about “inflaming an already divided country.” But, lady, the country is already inflamed. If the myth of the great and mighty Trump brought low by the nefarious deep state Democrats is allowed to fester, it could destroy the nation eventually. That’s what Jochen Bittner was talking about.

Anything else?

18 thoughts on “What to Do About Trump Supporters?

  1. I would clarify that union jobs didn't just "fly off to China". They went there because of specific policies, and it should be noted that many union members voted for candidates who held those policies. Why? Because, as you said, those culture war issues were placed front and center. My dad is a Teamster, and I knew plenty of his old mates who would vote to send their jobs directly to Mexico rather than admit an African-American into their workplace.

    We get what we choose.

    • THIS. A large portion of the sturdy white working-class Democratic voters started defecting to the GOP in the '60s and '70s, BEFORE the Democratic Party became friendlier to the business classes, because too many of the SWWC just didn't like them uppity wimmin and uppity ni(*CLANG*)s and uppity hippies and uppity whatevers. The Dems were compelled to become friendlier to business in order to try to raise enough money to fund advertising to bring back old voters and recruit new ones. The bigots among the SWWC did this to themselves, because they never thought the leopards would eat their faces.

  2. From everything I've ever heard, it's hard for a friend or relative to get a loved one to leave a cult.  Very hard!

    And that's ONE person.  From ONE cult!

    There are TENS AND TENS OF MILLIONS of people in the tRUMP cult (AKA: Grift!)!!!

    And between tRUMP's cult, Q-Anon, ONANism TV, the NY Post/Internet-pages, and Newsmax, they all have different variations of grifts with tRUMP as their focal point,  A Venn Diagram of the five of them wouldn't look like some variation of the intertwined Olympic rings.  HELL NO!  THERE'D BE ONE CIRCLE!!!!! 

    How many steps are we away from seeing these poor suckers form mobs and look for vengeance against who wronged them?  We need to know that!  How much danger are we in?

    A lot.

    The monsters KKKonservatives and RepubliKKKLANS have created are out of control.  And I think soon, "normal" Americans will be like that poor little girl, and the unfortunate villagers, who get in the way of those monsters as they search for…?

    For what?  Some form of satisfaction?  No.  There's only satisfaction in fire, wreckage, and blood!

    Whose blood?  Not tRUMP's.  Not the GOP, or the conservatives.  Not yet, anyway.

    No.  The blood that will pool on the streets has to be from people who they've been led to believe are to blame for evrything (for decades and decades)!  EVERYTHING!!!

    So whose blood?  Our blood.

    Liberals/Democrats/Social Democrats/Jews (always a mob favorite!), Blacks/LGBTQ folks/Muslims/non-Christians/non-believers, etc…


    • ONANism TV  ?  smiley

       The only onanist is probably Stephen Miller, and that was before he took a bride.

  3. There’s no shortage of people espousing what needs to change. The rot is broad and deep, and it’s probably too late. It’s sobering that: in general, Republicans did well this last election; were it not for COVID and Trump’s bungling, Trump probably would’ve won. That’s how bad it is. We were saved by the virus.

    And so I’m not a lot interested in diagnoses or prescriptions for what needs to happen to the larger system – I’ve read lots of them over the years. And as a big picture person, I normally tend to gravitate to this kind of thinking.

    Rather, there are two very focused activities average people can do right now:

    1) It would hugely help if we could wrest the Senate from Republican control, this is enormously strategic. We have a once-in-a-few-years shot at this, via that run-off race in Georgia on Jan 5. I’ve been getting hammered by emails from one of the candidates, Jon Ossoff, and even from Barack Obama on Ossoff’s behalf. I plan to donate what I can, here. It’s one of those things, where years later, some young person may ask me what I did to stop the fascists – I hope to have a good answer.

    2) Learn to talk to MAGA people, trying to bridge the divide is ultimately what has to happen. If you’re like me, you’ve spent years putting in distance between yourself and these people. But I’m at least at the point where I can be civil and don’t need to disparage them.

    • 2) Learn to talk to MAGA people, trying to bridge the divide is ultimately what has to happen.

      This one is hard, because its going to require more than just patience.  How do you talk to people about moving forward/working together for the greater good when they refuse to accept basic facts? 

      This will have to be on a case by case basis, because said Trumper will have to be willing to accept basic facts first.  Otherwise, forget it.

  4. I got into a disagreement with my nephew, a libertarian Trumpie. As always, he expressed himself with a meme that suggested because so many die of hunger and poverty, the world has overreacted to a virus that most survive. One word in my comment obviously struck a nerve – he protested my use of the word 'cult' when I said, "An epidemic that could have been managed is unchecked because there is a fool in the White House and his cult followers ignore science." 

    Josh complained that I am not showing respect, to the degree he posted the dictionary definition of "respectful." There are two trains of thought leaving the station on diverging tracks – you can't be on both trains. One train requires civility on an obscene notion – that you can disbelieve the results without evidence.I am not cursing or ranting, but I'm refusing to treat a denial of reality as a legitimate difference of opinion. That's exactly what Josh is demanding. 

    This is the question – do we humor them and treat their claim that Trump was robbed as legitimate or do we treat them as addle-brained flat-earthers? I like Josh – he's 18 and has a lot of quality character traits. But respecting the outcome of an election is fundamental to governance. Either candidate is entitled to demand answers to irregularities and even ask the intervention of the courts if an impartial, unobstructed inquiry demonstrates fraud of a decree that the outcome is wrong.

    That means approaching the issue with an open mind and the study of a specific complaint – an area that is suspect. The Trump cult begins with a conclusion – that Trump won and they are stacking lies on theories on top of rumors and claiming the height of their tower of deceit proves something. And they want me to respect that and get in a circular argument that does not include the possibility Trump lost. 

    I can't honor the premise that elections are only valid when your side wins. 

    Yeah, this will cost me a few friends.

    • When you say "cult", you lose them, they stop listening. Avoid language like that.

      I would've cited statistics, simple numbers like: the US has 4% of the world's population but 22% of the cases. Or: South Korea and the US reported the first occurrence of the virus on the same day, but SK has had a few hundred infections and three deaths, vs our numbers which are orders of magnitude worse (wish I could provide exact numbers, but I'm sure you can look them up). You have to find a way to plant seeds in their minds. And provide links.

      • If reasonable discussion could have worked, people wouldn't be able to blow off a quarter million dead. The problem isn't pointing out to people covered in feces that there's, "um, you know, a teeny, tiny, barely noticeable stain on your shirt, but you might want to switch shirts (and pants, and underwear, and spend about an hour showering, no, not a bath, because EWWW)". The problem is the people who dump cement-mixers full of feces on these people, swearing that it's just good, old fashioned, DDT, good for killing 'skeeters ("and don't you listen to them dummies who say DDT is bad for the environment because MALARIA, that's why.")

        (It's worth noting that small quantities of DDT *are* used to prevent malaria, but large doses tend to create DDT-resistant mosquitoes.)

        I mean, one of the things working against the truth right now is, what could you say about a man who could easily have saved tens of thousands of lives, just by giving a few orders, and getting the f out of the way, but didn't?

        Such a person is a true monster, right? And it's almost unbelievable that anyone could be such a monster, right? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (or at least evidence that makes them more ordinary).

        And if there was such a monster, well, surely his fellow Republicans would at least call him out for *that*, right?

        But they haven't. And therefore, the people talking about him as if he's a monster must simply be doing that for partisan reasons, right? Because the alternative is, "the good guys" (i.e., Republicans, because we're talking about Trump supporters) won't even act to save tens of thousands of lives. That makes the people who want to save lives *terrible* people for calling Trump the kind of monster who lets tens of thousands of people die. 

        That said, you're right, using a word like 'cult' won't help, but only because the plain truth won't be accepted until a person is ready to see it.

      • Some may be reachable, many are not. Under no circumstances am I going to show the least bit of tolerance to the belief Biden stole the election. 

      • The statistics tell a damning tale, with respect to how the US is suffering unnecessarily. 

        I once did a detailed  analysis and comparison of corona virus stats in various countries vs the US.  I showed the summary of it to a Trump supporter and asked, how can it be that third world countries such as, SK, some African "s***hole nations", India (which technically still meets the definition of "third world") are doing better than the greatest country in the world in terms of rates of infections and deaths?  Don't we have the best in doctors, medical and health technology here?  How can this be?

        The first hurdle was, we cannot believe the statistics.  I've also heard various things like its the democrats/Fauci's fault because masks make it worse.  They insist on mask wearing and social distancing because "they want to control us." 

        Unless said Trumper is willing to believe basic facts, there is no possibility of having an honest, rational discussion.

  5. What cannot be settled with a corrupted ballot box gets settled with a full ammo box. Prepare accordingly.

    • What cannot be settled with a corrupted ballot box gets settled with a full ammo box. Prepare accordingly.

      Except the ballots weren't corrupted this time. The wingnuts want to overturn an honest election. This is insurrection. 

  6. WINOKEIYAT, (what is not OK even if your a Trumpanista )  or if you are a Trump lawyer.  It is intolerable for a lawyer to threaten and insult Chris Krebs, and even more intolerable that he claim this statement, 

    "Anybody who thinks that this election went well, like that idiot Krebs, that guy is a Class A moron," diGenova began. "He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn, and shot." 

    was an attempt at sarcasm and/or humor.  How does a person who does that keep his law license?  Do we not have ethical standards and peer review in that profession?  

    I watched Krebs on 60 minutes and he presented himself quite well.  He cited evidence showing how paper audits corresponded with machine counts, and therefore did not support the accusation by Trumps and his legal team that counting software was tampered with.  He countered other accusations in a similar manner, with reasoning and evidence.  This is quite the contrast to diGenova's wild contentions, devoid of evidence and reasoning.  

    And Krebs was fired and diGenova as far as I know is still on team Trump.  

    It is good to hear Krebs is considering his legal team take action against diGenova.

  7. I was on LinkedIn the other day responding to a former colleague who checked in to see how we were doing and was shocked by the cesspool of Trumpist wingnuttery on the site.  Many of the pro Trump commenters are professionals — doctors, lawyers, IT people, etc. who harbor some of the most fantastical delusions of Trumpworld you'll ever hear.  When confronted with the facts, they simply refuse to accept them, and in response will shamelessly just repeat some of the most obvious and dumbest of Trump lies, or descend into whataboutism on Biden, Obama or Clinton that are also based on easily refutable falsehoods.  (A fav of theirs is "The 1994 crime bill!" as if they ever cared about the people who they now say this hurts.  To this I respond simply, republicans voted for it too, only to have them ignore it and move on to something else) The delusion is wide, but its also deeply embedded and hardened.  These people are resistant to facts, and are not going to change until they want to.  They also seem to be nursing deep seated grievances and hatreds.  I don' believe, as some have said, that when Trump leaves the white house the fever will break, or these attitudes will soften.  Listening to and reading them, one thing is clear: this is not just about Trump.

    AOC said something on her epic Twitter thread in response to the centrist dem effort to blame progressives for the party's poor showing in 2020 down ballot races.  To wit:

    When it comes to “Defund” & “Socialism” attacks, people need to realize these are racial resentment attacks. You’re not gonna make that go away. You can make it less effective.

    As long as these people are in thrall to these delusions, we're not going to change many minds or make the delusions go away.  And I think its clear by now that they won't go away when Trump leaves the white house.  Rather than put too much effort into that, resources may be better spent on making the result of this delusion, like "defund" and "socialism," and other things they hold onto, less effective.  The way I see it, democrats are going to have to do three things in a very short period of time:

    1) Make the delusions less effective.  This has to start with pushing back on these things specifically, sans the usual democratic timidity and politeness.  And it must be wall-to-wall, wherein every last dem from Biden down to the county dogcatcher are saying the same things in response.

    2) Pass legislation that make tangible differences in the lives of every day people.  The WWC have made complaints that dovetail with what some on the left have said: both parties have abandoned us.  The republicans do give them hate, but that doesn't help the bottom line.  Why not start with $15/hr minimum?

    3) Never stop working on GOTV.  This includes any and all efforts on the ground, digital and TV ads, to keep voters engaged by reminding them of what's at stake.  For example, they need to know the importance of taking the senate from the GOP because as long as McConnell is in control nothing substantial will ever get done on covid relief.

    Bottom line, democrats need to recognize that its not business as usual anymore,  and if they don't want to find themselves swept from control of Congress in 2022, and out of power altogether in 2024, they have to be willing to fight smart and fight hard.  Putting too much hope and effort into turning Trump supporters, IMO, is fool's gold.


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