There is something I have come to understand about Donald Trump’s campaign, and I hope those of you who read this post understand it too. The problem with Donald Trump is not limited to his illiberal and populist politics, his contempt for certain ethnic and religious groups of people (namely Mexicans and Muslims respectively), his desire to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants (and his contention that Mexico will actually pay for it), and his penchant for shilling easy answers and . The problem is that this guy is what a large section of working class Americans want: a working class that is sick and tired of being treated by the establishment as an unruly people whose voices need to be ignored and whose passions need to be tamed.
That’s why it’s sad that I find memes and posts from my friends that smack of progressive political posturing. Below is the text of one such meme I saw recently:
“Let me say it in the simplest way possible. If you think Donald Trump is the best person qualified to be the President of the United States of America, YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT.“
Do you see what is wrong with that statement? It’s as if the person who originally made that statement was expecting some kind of resounding applause from his/her peers. But more to the point, this is what Trump’s supporters are sick of hearing, which is why they are voting for Trump in the first place and will doubtless continue to do so. And that’s because they’re sick of the political establishment, they’re disappointed by Obama, and unlike Sanders’ voters don’t think that any significant change can come from the Democratic Party. And the more we all dismiss Trump as a racist, a populist, a lunatic, or whatever, the more convinced his voters are that he is the antidote to the political establishment. Even John Oliver failed to recognize this during his Donald Trump segment, and he’s same person who admitted that he can seem like a protest candidate to those fed up with the establishment, and the same person who stated that no matter how many times you can prove Trump to be demonstrably wrong, he doesn’t care. Is it any wonder that Oliver’s #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain campaign did not work?
The problem here is we’ve dismissed the people who now vote for Trump as equal members of our “society”, opting instead to view them as children or worse – people whose views are not only wrong, but also immoral and chiefly for not conforming to the political establishment. And the fact is that referring to Trump’s voters as idiots, looking at them as they are monsters for voting for a candidate they consider monstrous (which by the way, guilt by association much?) is only proof to Trump’s voters that the political establishment is suppressing them and treating them as inferiors – the very thing they are fed up with. It’s like fundamentalist Christians with their persecution complexes: when you refute their beliefs and ridicule them, they probably just take it as persecution, and by proxy a part of their God’s plan on Earth (which apparently states that increased persecution of Christians is one of the signs that Judgement Day is coming). To stop Trump, his voters need to be convinced that he will not represent their interests and . But it requires that we start treating them as adults and thinking more about their self-interest than the raging moralism that usually comes with combating Trump and trying to dissaude his voters – which isn’t working. Until then, Trump’s ascent to political power is all but unstoppable. I imagine, though, that it’ll be damn hard to convince Trump’s voters that he doesn’t represent their interests considering that now they’re only choices are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. I don’t like Donald Trump or his rise to political power, but it’s the truth.