Something I struggle with is engaging Trump supporters. I struggle to understand their psychology. I worry that if people like me dismiss Trumpist out of hand, that will lead to some very bad things down the road. Like, actual violence in the United States as the county finally tears itself apart like a sinking Titanic.
It is really easy — intellectually lazy, even — to do just that. To simply wince, wave your hand and assume that because Trump supporters continue to be sycophants for a racist, misogynistic bigot that they aren’t worth talking to.
I have struggled to talk to them since Trump got elected and more often than not, I just got angry. One of the more difficult issues to address when it comes to Trump supporters is their America First isolationism. For a “globalist cuck” like myself, it’s difficult for me to grok someone who completely rejects something that seems pretty self-evident: that the United States having a proactive foreign policy is a force for good across the globe. How do you engage someone who rejects 70 years of conventional wisdom? That particular issue is so difficult for me to process that I simply don’t know where to begin.
I don’t know if I’m not smart enough or what when it comes to this particular issue. How do you address the world view of someone who rejects the basis of Pax Americana? They want America to turn inward in a way not seen since before World War II. I just don’t have a ready argument for people who reject any source of facts I might produce on the matter as “fake news.”
But I think some of it all boils down to the absolute rage and feeling of disenfranchisement that that core group of 37% of the electorate that supports Trump no matter what feels. It now, in hindsight, is obvious that because of technological and economic changes that someone like Trump was inevitable. Someone was going to see an obvious political opportunity and strike. Little did we ever imagine that it would be a celebrity TV gameshow host who would do it. And with the help of the Russians, no less! But it happened.
That Russian interference is something that should give all patriots pause for thought. That American conservatives are so detached from the world I know and love, that they feel so disenfranchised that they would willingly ignore what is tantamount to treason on the part of the Trump campaign simply because they want to turn back the policies of the first African American president is pretty mind boggling. The only thing I can compare it to is Vichy France.
We need a national conversation between the rural Trump supporting world and the urban progressive world. We can’t just give up. If we give up we’re doomed. We’re doomed to a civil war. Any student of history will tall you that in the late 1850s, a similar dynamic was afoot in the American body politic as the industrial North with free labor grew increasingly distant from the slave based South.
I love America and I don’t want a civil war. So, that’s why myself and people like me who consider themselves center-Left have an obligation to try to engage Trumpists. We have to figure out how to engage them without compromising to such an extent that we give up everything we believe in. It’s extremely difficult, however.
The crux of the problem we face is just that. Technology has made is so easy to live in our own little bubble that that we aren’t forced to come up with arguments to use against people who disagree with us the most. Bac 30 years ago, we all had a common reality and could agree on the facts. Now, too often, at least with Trumpists, anything they don’t agree with is “fake news.”
When I’m feeling in a particularly bleak mood, I think a civil war is inevitable. It definitely seems that way right now. But if the right leadership arises maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong. We need leaders willing to unite us, not divide us. But it could be we’re doomed and we’ll look back at this era in our history as the precursor to a civil war or worse.