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AdLib On April - 25 - 2017

Trump crowdOptimism is as much a part of being Democrat politician as pessimism is a part of being Republican politician. The party of “Yes I can!” versus the party of, “Hell no!”

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.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

9 Responses so far.

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  1. kesmarn says:

    Well said, AdLib. I agree that hard-core Trumpistas are not going to change their minds about him. This really is as close to a cult as it gets in American politics. And I think we’ve all seen studies that show that arguing by utilizing facts against a delusion actually — paradoxically — strengthens the delusion.

    So your point about not taking on the Trump voters head-on is very well taken. I think Dems who are campaigning as/for candidates next year should consciously avoid Trump-bashing. Trump thrives on Trump-bashing. There’s no such thing as bad publicity in his view.

    Focusing on income inequality, broader access to college, raising the minimum wage, healthcare for all and other “bread and butter” issues would be so much more positive and effective.

    Also it would help if the Dem Party could really find its voice. Obviously Hillary Clinton is not the person who could (or — probably — even wants to) fill that bill. Bernie is getting older and may be too “divisive” in the view of many. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer don’t seem to be people who generate a lot of enthusiasm. Tom Perez is a virtual unknown to many. Elizabeth Warren is impressive, but doesn’t seem to generate the kind of excitement that the Sanders crowds had. And — sadly — Barack Obama, who’s currently hanging out almost exclusively with people in Richard Branson’s economic demographic and is taking $400,000 speakers’ fees from Wall Street, doesn’t seem all that interested. I’m not sure who will be able to take on Trump’s personality cult while uniting the various factions of the party. It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds going forward!

  2. gyp46 says:


  3. Kalima says:

    I think that for many people to admit they were wrong or say they are sorry, are the most difficult words to express in public.

    Many of his voters now seem to have been emboldened to speak openly about their racist views and hate for other religions. Trump made that “normal” during his campaign of hate, and now they feel liberated.

    You are right, trying to change their minds would be hopeless because they have so far lost nothing. Might dawn on them when he takes away something that they rely on like their healthcare, or increases their taxes to benefit the rich.

    Trying to push trump supporters away from trump will only make them more determined to stick with him. Threatening Kim Jong Un with military strikes, will make him double down on his nuclear program as he did when bush threatened him in 2003.

    The Tories in the U.K. waged a similar propaganda false flag attack against immigrants taking away jobs, and the poor, disabled and sick draining the country. For some it rang a bell and they believed it in the same way as they believe Brexit will be great for the British economy, so great that May wants the June snap elections to cement her power even though it’s just for show, a political game, and a lie.

    Democrats need to join forces on the issues that bind them together, and after 100 days of trump, there are so many. If they want to win back seats in 2018, they will have to work hard for them. If they want to win back the WH in 2020, their platform should include everyone. The Dems still in shock with trump’s win last November, should put those fighting words and the “blame game” into combined action to fight against trump. If they still need someone to blame for the defeat, blame those who didn’t vote in 2010, 2014, and 2016. How about full voter turnout in the midterms because the alternative is just too horrific to think about and we’ve already had a taste of it. It is all one big lie. Trump is in it for trump and how he can financially benefit both in office and when he’s kicked out, exposed as a fake or arrested. It will take years if not decades to clean up his dysfunctional mess. Why not start now? Together, if you think your country is worth fighting for.

    You make so many great points, AdLib, if only people would listen. I had to laugh at the graphic, not even their “angry” God could be that wicked. It must have been the other one.

    • AdLib says:

      Kalima, you’re right that the primary obstacle to Trump voters saying they changed their minds is pride, no one likes admitting they were wrong. Secondly though, the under-informed and under-educated voted for Trump because that is what they are and it would be unrealistic too suddenly expect them to become informed and educated. They are mired in their ignorance and most aren’t going anywhere.

      No question that Obama’s elections were a result of how incompetent, corrupt and destructive Bush was and Trump’s election was a racial response by the angry white underclass against the black, intelligent President. And it was a twofer to also be given permission by Trump’s example to openly express their racism and hatreds.

      I don’t even know that if Trump succeeded in taking away their health insurance and building inflation to make life unaffordable for them, they would break out of their denial to oppose him. I think most would readily accept his lies blaming Dems and Obama for all the misery he brings them.

      Studies have shown that the more you try to convince extremist-supporting voters out of doing so, the deeper they dig in. So, the sooner Dems move on from trying to convince Trump voters out of supporting him, the sooner they can strengthen their prospects. They should pay attention to why they lost so many voters to Trump, losing their focus on working people and their needs (though Bernie did have that front and center, the new book about Hillary’s campaign reveals that she asked her campaign team to come up with what her campaign should be about).

      Unfortunately, as the Tories and Trump have proven, nationalist propaganda works with far too many emotional and ignorant voters. Though many would never admit they’re prejudice, given a solid excuse for expressing bigotry in a way that they think doesn’t make them seem bigoted, is very welcomed.

      I do have confidence that as with Bush, the shared revulsion of Trump will unify Dems in 2018 and 2020. Much harder to have an argument with much support on how awful the other half of Dems are when the prospects of tying Trump’s hands then kicking him out of the WH is on the table.

      Parties always have “civil wars” after they lose elections because the initial focus is on blaming those in the party who are viewed as causing the loss. But as that recedes into the distance and the threat of the election’s winner grows worse, parties unify against their common enemy.

      I saw a segment about the popularity ratings of presidents and how, with the exception of Bush, due to the rush of nationalism after 9/11, approval ratings only decline from where they are after the first 100 days. With Trump’s ratings already at record lows, it is helpful too imagine where they will be next year after a year of Trump madness. My bet is that he will be mired in the 30s and Republicans will be in full panic mode. After what will be a win for Dems in 2018, hopefully a landslide, Repubs will be even more frantic but they will be stuck with Trump at the top of the ticket in 2020.

      As long as the Dem Establishment keeps their slimy hands out of the 2020 Dem primary process (flush those Superdelegates down the toilet!), whichever Dem eventually wins the nomination will be running against a hugely unpopular president. As long as the Dem doesn’t have a lot of baggage, Dems can confidently work towards a big win.

      Losing always turns people against each other but winning is unifying.

      Unless you’re a Republican (repeal and replace anyone?).

  4. Fuzzy Dunlop says:

    What worries me Ad, is the contention between progressives themselves. There is still a sort of “purity,” movement or faction among progressives at large, and that is causing friction between fellow progressives. This may/or may not be, being helped along by the right. Either way, many progressives need to understand that not all progressives are going to agree on every issue. Many progressives are single-issue voters and don’t take into account much more than the particular issue they’re concerned about. This has been proven yet again, by the progressive backlash to Bernie’s words about Ossof, and that other fella I can’t think of, the one who is kind/sorta pro-life. He’s progressive on every other issue though, I believe, though I could be mistaken.
    Like Bernie said, we can’t exclude people we disagree with on one or even two issues. The point now is to get rid of Trump, or at least minimize the damage he will cause and has already caused. Dems need a YUGE tent right now. We need to re-take congress and many, many governorships. We need to stop Trump from stacking the SC with RW nutjobs.
    We will do none of this if progressives keep at each others throats and remain hostile to fellow progressives because they aren’t pure enough, or because they are too pure.
    Progressives need to get more and more serious about the real dangers this administration presents. Progressives can’t keep bickering among themselves about the fucking primaries and who got cheated and who didn’t. We can’t alter the past. The time now is to concentrate, with laser-like focus on the present and how we can move forward, away from Trumpism.

    • AdLib says:

      KT, I agree that the division within the Dem party is a big issue. There are the purists, as you point out, who insist that anyone running as a Dem must conform to all positions prescribed for Dems. The unfortunate reality is that in very red, conservative districts and states, some compromise is often required or else a Repub would be elected hands down.

      Of course, the simple proposition to purist Dems is, “Would you rather have Repubs retain the majority in Congress or have Dems in power?”

      It’s a basic matter of addition. Even if a few Dems around the country diverge from the positions the rest of us support, if it helps Dems win the majority of the House or Senate, Dems will protect and promote the positions the majority favor and the outlier Dems who are anti-choice or pro-gun-proliferation won’t have any impact so their anti-Progressive views won’t go anywhere.

      There also continues to be the division between the Establishment Dems and the Bernie-type Dems, each having virtually half the party on their side. My read on that though is that the intensity of that conflict has toned down a bit. There are still resentful Hillary supporters who are so desperately in denial, they need to hate Bernie supporters and blame them for Hillary being a poor candidate and losing (for more reasons than that but most were self-inflicted). Then there are the misguided Bernie supporters who still feel they need to attack Hillary and her supporters to blame them for Trump.

      The key thing is that when there is a profound mutual enemy, as Trump is, the divisions within a party lose focus, replaced by a mutual opposition to a more serious threat.

      Dems aren’t really unified now as a party but they are unified in their powerful opposition to Trump. I think that as 2018 approaches, the focus on blocking Trump’s power will overwhelm the internecine conflicts which I don’t think will be fully addressed until 2020 when Dems have to come together behind a nominee to beat Trump. Nothing succeeds like success so WHEN the Dem nominee replaces Trump as President and Dem majorities return to at least one house of Congress, the wounds will be healed.

      • Fuzzy Dunlop says:

        Thanks Ad, I agree completely. A wise person would prefer to win, say 7 battles out of 10, instead of losing all ten.

        • AdLib says:

          Indeed, FD! And I’d add that a wise person wouldn’t cut off their nose to spite their face. I saw Christine Quinn interviewed today, she ran for Mayor of NY, spouting her purist BS about Dems and declaring that any who don’t share all of the majority’s beliefs should be thrown out of the Dem party.

          Then a minute later, she tried to sound wise about wanting to bring more independent voters into the party. Apparently, only if they sign loyalty pledges.

          The Dems could be the unassailable majority in the country if they don’t operate on absolutism and allow for differing beliefs especially in red state and district Dems. To win power in The House or Senate, Dems need to have a majority. Refusing to win Repub seats because Dem candidates need to be more conservative there, accomplishes nothing.

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