Trump voters, while not an entirely monolithic group, do share certain commonalities — among them are an acceptance of racism, hatred, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, among a host of other deplorable traits.
Additionally, it can be argued that this basket of demographics is noticeably lacking in the department of intellectual dexterity. Rust Belt, Deep South, Evangelical — all to the last one are rigid of mind and impervious to reason. There is little point in the Democratic Party attempting to engage them in “conversation” — as so many have suggested was the missing ingredient in this electoral cycle.
On last friday’s “domestic news roundup” of The Diane Rehm Show, CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett spoke about the utter futility of pressing Trump supporters with actual facts. He explained that while working the campaign trail, they behaved exactly as conspiracy theorists categorically do — any challenge to their beliefs led to a deeper conviction and embrace of their dearly-held falsehoods:
“Any fact checking I did for them, or for many of them, was prima facie evidence that I was biased. And that I was wrong. So fact checking Trump was proof, not that he was wrong, but that he was right, and that anyone who would raise a question about the underlying relationship between what he said in the facts was biased.”
Democrats are not immune to harboring their own strained, yet quixotic, version of reality. They have a long and storied history of believing that if they just explain things slowly and simply enough, the electorate will understand — because surely good sense will prevail. After all, they are the party of inclusion — ever so nice and always politically correct, tolerant of other people, even with those whose ideas and “values” are an abomination to this great democracy, and to humanity as a whole.
This is exactly why the far right heaps ridicule on progressives. They laugh at them.
Democrats need a new playbook.
Stop coddling and cajoling those who deal in the currency of hate speech. Even if only by proxy, all Trump voters struck that Faustian bargain.
You can’t fix stupid, nor can you fix mean, and there’s plenty of the latter among the Trump crowd.
We hear reports daily of people feeling emboldened by Trump’s acrimonious rhetoric — and of those same individuals subsequently paying the price for publicly parroting their chosen leader. Here’s a short list from recent news:
- A Northern Michigan police officer resigned when faced with disciplinary action over his choice to fly a Confederate flag to intimidate peaceful rally-goers.
- Another officer in Alabama was fired over his racist Facebook posts disparaging the First Lady and the Black Lives Matter movement.
- A West Virginia mayor had to resign over her racist Facebook remarks about Michelle Obama.
- A Pennsylvania mayor was also forced to step down over his racist Facebook rant.
- A Georgia grade school teacher’s aide was canned over her remarks about Mrs. Obama on Facebook.
- A senior vice president at an Alabama financial institution sacrificed her job over another Facebook attack on, yup…Michelle Obama.
- A passenger on Delta Airlines has been banned from the carrier over his in-flight Trump-inspired rant.
It is imperative that each and every public display of hate be called-out for what it is, and punished accordingly.
Another frontline war of words that needs to be fully engaged is in the media. They must call lies for what they are, and name the monsters for who they are — white supremacists, fascists, nazis, KKK members. It’s not the “alt-right.” The Associated Press has instructed journalists to use the term cautiously and within very specific parameters — with quotation marks, and the qualification that the title is “self-described.” They offer this advice to reporters:
“We should not limit ourselves to letting such groups define themselves, and instead should report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.”
Google Chrome now offers an extension to users which will automatically convert the term “alt-right” to a more accurate moniker: “white supremacy.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center held a press conference this week focusing on the proliferation of hate crimes and speech since the election, noting that all too many of these events are occurring in academic settings — children acting-out on what they hear at home. The SPLC made a largely symbolic plea for Mr. Trump to denounce these acts of hate, and to apologize for his role in fostering the vile behavior.
Sadly, our soon-to-be sworn in president is more focused on an imaginary epidemic of flag burning, and on how he’s being lampooned in the most recent SNL skit.
True patriots have a job to do. At every turn, and in every dark corner, Americans must shine a light on the ugliness, expose it, and eliminate it from our culture.