Since Trump entered the Presidential campaign, many Democrats have been scattering their seeds of optimism in every direction hoping that they might take root. Before and after the election, some hoped that Trump might become more Presidential, become more moderate, admit his campaign was just a promotional stunt, quit the race or the Presidency when it became too unpleasant, etc. Some have become so desperate for optimism that they have projected on other members of The Trump Swamp, such as Ivanka and Jared, that they might be positive influences on Trump (sorry folks, they are just as destructive, corrupt and dishonest as Trump).
Many Democrats and Progressives tried to temper their resentment of Trump voters by being open to the possibility that they only supported him out of desperation, feeling overlooked by government and politicians, hoping Trump’s promises of unicorns and rainbows could come true, thinking an outsider could fix Washington. Or maybe they just disliked Hillary Clinton more than him. Maybe these voters were reachable, maybe they were reasonable and just wanted to send a message, maybe they could be reached out to once they realized that they had been conned by Trump.
According to a recent ABC/Washington Post poll, after nearly 100 days of Trump’s disaster-filled and accomplishment-light presidency, 96% of Trump voters are still glad they voted for Trump.
And just to be clear, signing Executive Orders is not an accomplishment, it is a simple action any President can and has done, requiring nothing more than a pen, paper and in Trump’s case, a spiteful hatred of Barack Obama and all he stood for.
Despite Trump and his campaign being investigated by the FBI for colluding with Russia to sabotage our democracy, despite his failure to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better and his attempt to throw 24 million off of health insurance, despite his loading his cabinet with swamp creatures from Wall Street, the corporate world and Congress, despite wanting to slash the safety nets for many of the most vulnerable Americans, despite his pushing the U.S. closer to inciting war with North Korea and other countries, despite being exposed and recognized globally as a shameless liar and conspiracy-believing, unstable narcisist…96% of Trump voters say, “Now that’s the guy I’m proud to have as President!”
I know it might have been the clever meme to pivot to after Trump/Putin won the presidential election but believing that Trump voters will realize that they’ve been used and lied to by Trump seems like waiting for Trump to realize that there’s a downside to lying. Sometimes a devotee is just a devotee.
During the campaign, the majority of Americans (unfortunately, too many didn’t vote and let Trump/Putin steal the White House) looked to Trump supporters after each horrible revelation about Trump and thought, “Okay, now this has got to turn them against Trump.” But as was made clear again and again, their optimism was misplaced. Trump voters didn’t care about whatever negatives came out about Trump and just knee-jerk dismissed them as a conspiracy by the media and “fake news”. Trump’s molesting of women, being tied to Putin, lying repeatedly about nearly everything he addressed, acting like a 5 year old by calling opponents insulting names, attacking many races and religions, none of it mattered to them. And none of his horrible agendas and glaring failures as president matter to them either. They may not be anywhere near as malleable as optimists in the Democratic Party might wish to believe. They seem very convicted about supporting Trump as he described, even if he was to stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody.
Trump voters are proving that they are truly disconnected from whatever occurs in reality. They need to believe in Trump as the savior of the white, under-educated people, as a religious belief and as with religion, they are completely committed to him in blind faith. Trump sees them as rubes but they see him as their Moses who will lead them to the Promised Land where under-educated, white people can frolic in piles of money while kicking non-whites, non-citizens and non-Christians in the balls.
It’s a pretty tough proposition to argue someone out of their religion. They may become disillusioned on their own, if Trump was to succeed in stripping them of health care and welfare, kicking inflation up by taxing imports “bigly” and making basic needs cost too much, destroying the economy and jobs by slashing taxes and plunging the U.S. into unthinkable deficits that made spending taxpayer money on taxpayers impossible, starting a major war with North Korea or another country that also devastated our economy, global stability and took the lives of thousands of Americans, etc. Maybe, if their suffering under Trump became more than they can handle, they might change their minds on supporting him…or they might just buy his propaganda that it’s all Obama’s fault.
When you compete, it’s important to have a strategy that can work…and not pursue a strategy that is too much wishful thinking and may likely lead to failure. It would seem sensible not to pile on the under-educated and self-deluded Trump voters but just accept them for who they are and what they believe. They are invested in Trump, they believe in him just as they would believe in a religion. Depending on them to become enlightened at this point or at any point that they are misguided, when they have resisted and rationalized away every other obvious opportunity to do so, would make Dems appear just as much in denial as they are.
Trump voters don’t need to be converted, they need to be is overwhelmed at the polls.
Enthusiasm is undeniably behind the Democrats, their voters, especially women voters, are motivated and activated in a way that hasn’t been seen in generations. Democrats and independent voters oppose Trump, they represent a majority of voters in elections (if they turn out). So a good strategy for winning in 2018 and 2020 may be to leave the Trump voters to their own devices, maybe some will become disillusioned on their own after years of Trump proving his loyalty is only to the wealthy…maybe not. Instead, energy can be more effectively directed at keeping the Democratic voting base energized and building on that by bringing in more independents and even moderate Republicans (who aren’t Trump worshipers). Democrats have the numbers on their side and the negatives Trump has in polls confirm this.
Typically, the party out of power usually wins in off year elections and subsequent elections when there is strong disapproval of the president. American voters prefer divided government to keep power in check and as we continue to witness the out of control nature in DC under Trump rule, that instinct would seem to become even more powerful.
I’ve quoted her before but this remains invaluable advice. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Trump voters have already displayed that they are devoted to him despite reality and facts. Believe them, they mean it. Don’t waste valuable time, energy and money trying to persuade them out of their blind faith in Trump. No need to be abusive towards them either. If there is a chance that they could smarten up on their own and recognize they’ve just been played by Trump, it wouldn’t be smart to poison them against voting for Democratic candidates. Let Trump voters be Trump voters. Afterall, they just represent around 35% or less of voters, they are a minority. They just need to be matched by strong, motivated Democratic turnout at the polls, that’s how Trump won and that’s how he will lose, to the other party’s energized base.
A message to the DNC and Democrats is to build a positive message, of what exactly Dems will do to repair the damage Trump and Repubs are causing and how exactly they will improve the lives of all Americans, including Trump voters. Right now, the person occupying the White House openly expresses that he is only president for those who support him, he views the wealthy and powerful and in a superficial way, his base voters, as his constituency. The majority of Americans don’t have a president who cares about working for them at all. This opens the door very widely for Democrats. Instead of condemning Trump’s voters, instead of futilely trying to woo them away from him, if all energy is devoted to rallying the majority of Americans to come to the rescue of their own country and future, Democrats and the majority of Americans can win and win big in future elections.