What I’ve Learned About Trump Supporters

I haven’t blogged in a few months, mostly because of the crush of work.   That’s eased up, and while my urge to write is still coming back, I do have some things I want to say.  Over the past several months, I’ve had to listen to a lot of people who are rabid Trump supporters, both in casual conversations and in having to work with a few.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about them, some of it more than disappointing when it comes to people I’ve known for a while.  Like what?

First, they’re bigots.  By “bigots,” I mean that they have almost the entire spectrum of prejudices.  Yes, they’re racist.  But they’re also homophobic, misogynistic, anti-immigrant of any sort, and hate any non-Christian religion – as they define “Christian.”  I’ve heard far too many comments, “jokes,” and slurs over the past several months, to think otherwise.

Second, they’re hypocrites.  A little over five years ago, I said that they were like vampires – they can’t see themselves in the mirror.  This area is like many others that strongly support Trump – mostly white and rural.  They’ll complain about “big government,” “socialists,”  tell you how bad the cities are, regulations, and so on.  Yet most of them work for a government agency; are retired and collecting Social Security and Medicare; or get various benefits and payments from the government.  In terms of taxes, they receive far and away more than they pay.  In other words, they depend on government and socialist programs to exist.  But it’s not just those things that make them hypocritical.  Remember all the furor over “her e-mails?”  All the supposed “crimes” that various Democrats (particularly the Clintons) were supposedly getting away with?  The screams about the “dictatorship” that Obama was running, “ignoring Congress?”  Aside from the fact that none of those things were actually true, it turns out that it’s really fine, as long as it’s Donald Trump doing all those  proven things.

Third, and finally, they’re cultists.  I said a few years ago that conservatives are a cult,  In that, I linked to a site with “characteristics of cults,” and some sections of that really apply to them:

 The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

‪ The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

‪ The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

Sound familiar to you?  Just listen to any Fox commentary, the reports from any Trump rally, or just listen when they talk.  Trump famously said that he could shoot someone on 5’th Avenue, and not lose support.  Unfortunately, he was right.  Trump supporters will happily ignore or excuse anything he does, even though it supposedly goes against their “principles.”

So yes, I’ve learned a lot about Trump supporters this year, and none of it was good.  No, they’re not going to change until he’s long out office, and thinking you can persuade them is a waste of time.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “What I’ve Learned About Trump Supporters

  1. dbtheonly

    Okay Norbrook. We’re back here again.

    Assume everything you say is true and all Trump supporters are hypocritical, bigoted, cultists. Now I, personally, have trouble with any application to “all” of any group of people; but this is not the time for that argument.

    What then? Or what now?

    Some 60 million Americans voted for Trump. Some 40% approve of the job Trump’s doing.

    What is your next step?

    We, rightly, decry voter suppression. Are we then to suppress the votes of Trump Supporters? Are we to gerrymander them out of consideration? Are we to force them to “self-deport”? How do we have a functioning democracy with 40% of the voting public hypocritical/bigoted/cultists?

    It bothers me that you analyze the problem accurately but then have no position on a solution.

    • We nominate a candidate that can build a diverse coalition, who has a track record of working with the groups named above, and especially the black community, especially black women; wo has policy proposals that a more tailored to these communities, not just put together for a campaign; a candidate who will energize the base to 2008 levels of turnout. We register every last voter. We work to DE-gerrymander states so that a white rural voice takes its appropriate position and doesn’t count multiple times more that a black urban voice. We show our candidates that they cannot win our votes by attacking other Democrats or the Democratic party.

    • First, your big mistake is conflating “Those who voted for Trump” with “Trump supporters.” There are quite a number of people who voted for him in 2016 either out of a habit of voting Republican or because they didn’t like Hillary, who now bitterly regret their vote. That’s why I used the term “supporter” instead of “voter.” Yes, those who still support him are all of those things I said here.

      Second, you really need to stop talking about the 60 million who voted for Trump, and consider the 63 million who voted for Hillary. I’ve never said their votes will be ignored or suppressed, but I am saying that we don’t have to coddle them, and in particular, “try to understand” them. I understand them quite well, thank you.

      • dbtheonly

        Okay.

        You wish to argue the difference between “Trump Voter” 60 million plus a few, and “Trump Supporter”. Fivethirtyeight’s polling has Trump’s approval at about 41% consistently. This works out to 51.25 million based on the 125 million voters. No. I’m not going to argue numbers. Your argument will stand or fall regardless of how many tens of millions you speak of.

        You tell me to stop talking about the 60 million Trump voters. May I remind you of the headline a guy named Norbrook put on a posting, “What I’ve Learned About Trump Supporters”? One might reasonably expect that he’d discuss Trump Supporters in the article and we’d discuss Trump supporters here. Now you suggest that we instead should talk about Clinton supporters.

        maryl1 makes several suggestions. That’s much more than you’ve done. You dismiss Trump supporters, and remember this is 50 million plus voters, as bigots, hypocrites, and cultists. I ask what plan you have to deal with the issue. I ask how a participatory democracy can function with 41%+ of the voters as you assert, bigots, hypocrites, and cultists.

        I ask for your solution.

        maryl1,

        I fear building a diverse coalition and finding a Candidate to produce Obama level enthusiasm is much easier said than accomplished.

        Equally, I fear that dismissing 40%+ for the electorate as unreachable, deplorables, bigots, cultists, etc., leaves little margin for error in elections. Too much may depress voter turnout to rely on such a small margin.

        But generally your ideas are among the best possible solutions I’ve heard.

        • You’re always going to have a percentage of the population as unreachable. That’s the nature of any political system. Like it or not, they’re not going to change, and it’s just going to take a long time for them to die off. But, you don’t have to let that minority get their way, tolerate their bigotry, or keep pandering to them, which is what you seem to be suggesting.

          • dbtheonly

            I’m not suggesting anything.

            I’m recalling Lincoln when he said that a house divided against itself can’t stand.

            I’m seeing you divide the American house into two parts. One of which you dismiss as bigoted, hypocritical, and cultic.

            I’m seeing that part of “the house” which you dismiss as being 40%+ of the population.

            And I wonder if you’ve thought of the ramifications of your suggestions. Republicans have spent years dividing America against itself. Are you suggesting that separation is, or ought to be, complete?

            • I agree with Norbrook: if they’re still supporting Trump, there is no reaching them. Far from being neglected they have an outsized influence on our elections and we have to work to bring that back into proportion. And if you want q coalition building candidate, look no further that Kamala Harris.

            • You seem to be completely obsessed with that figure, and that we should somehow be understanding of them, and if only we could reach out, everything would be fine. In order for that to happen, they have to be willing to be reached, and from all evidence, they’re not. I can see objectively that Democratic policies would help them far and away more than Republican policies, but they’re not interested. As an example, just look at all those farmers in the Midwest who will complain about going bankrupt because of Trump’s trade policies, yet still say they support him.

              You also seem to be ignoring that Republicans as a party are doing exactly what you’re worried about. That is, ignoring those who didn’t vote for them, and doing whatever it takes to suppress votes, or stack things so that their votes don’t matter. That’s why states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have large Republican majorities in state and federal legislatures, even though Democrats got more votes. They also don’t seem concerned about what those voters want or think, or “reach out” to them.

        • I never said it will be easy. Norbrook is writing of the intense coverage the media has continued to give to Trump voters. It seemed for a while that every day there was another feature in the newspapers or on the air about some Trump supporters of in a rural coffee shop and their concerns. They are the ones who need to focus on the majority of voters who rejected Trump and heartily supported Clinton and their issues. He is also writing to those in the Democratic Party who think we need to understand or appease Trump voters to gain their votes. This includes those of the far left who see only economic issues and think class solidarity is the answer.
          First of all, I agree with Norbrook that it’s a lost cause and a strategy that hurts us. The Trump voters who have become disillusioned have already abandoned him. The ones who are still there are there forever. Second, we have not won the white demographic, especially the white male demographics since probably Johnson. When we win, we win without them. The base of our party, the most reliable voters are black people, especially black women. We should be running after them instead of resentful whites. What does it say to our base when we court these racist people? Third, class is not the issue here. Trump voters have voted against their own economic issues for decades, which explains some of the problems they have now. High taxes for corporations and rich people and strong unions are important, but they do not put an end to racism, witness the 50s. Witness the fact that highly educated, wealthy, well-respected people like Henry Louis Gates can be stopped by police while trying to get into his own house. Fourthly, the people that Norbrook is talking about hate almost every policy proposal in the Democratic platform, especially those that might level the playing field between them and minorities. How will we further any of those issues by enticing far right-wingers into our party? Finally, there is appealing and there is pandering. Pandering still won’t get us the voters we want, but pandering to racists, misoynists, homophobes, xenophobes, et al WILL betray our own principles, destroy the soul of our party, betray the our strongest supporters who believe we aim to work for policies that make life better for them (and everyone), and lead to the death of our party.

      • I don’t wan’t to understand them, myself-I want them out of power, and also marginalized to the point that none of them can run things in the United States or get enough power to fuck the rest of the United States, and then the rest of the planet due to the influence of the United States, with their neo-fascist bullshit (Don’t believe that what happens in the USA affects the rest of the planet? Read this, then get back to me.) These people need to learn and understand that the world is changing, and they have to adapt to said conditions (I’d love for most of them to be sent back in time via this device, but that’s just my fantasy.)

        If there’s any doubt as to how these people are, here’s more evidence of this.

        • dbtheonly

          But marginalizing them is exactly what they are trying to do to us.

          I don’t need you to understand them. I want you to accept that they are fellow Americans. I want you to grant them the same rights and privileges you assert for us. If you count Trump Voters, Voters for Republican Congressional Candidates, and Republican Governors, even after overlap; that’s a lot of Americans.

          In opposing Republicans, I don’t want us to become them.

          Quoting the Bible or Lincoln, “a house divided against itself can not stand”.

          I don’t see that further division helps.

          • No one is talking about taking away their vote. And Democrat after Democrat has talked to them about their own self-interest. For instance Clinton talking to coal miners about the realty of mining’s future and proposing plans to help easy their transition and putting them on a firmer economic footing, which they rejected out of hand. Think of the rural Trump supporters who realize Trump’s policies are hurting them but vote for him anyway.

  2. Thank you for this report from the trenches. I don’t understand the fixation Sanders, Warren, Buttiegieg have with white rural and working class voters. Trump has validated every terrible instinct and feeling they’ve had to suppress for the last umpteen years. He has assured them they’re actually far above all the groups you’ve named. He’s bolstered their shaky self-respect and told them it’s not their fault they aren’t successful. They are with him to the end. Meanwhile these so-called ‘top candidates’ take the base of our party for granted. If any of them become our nominee we’re sunk.