What My Dad Has Taught Me About Trump Supporters.
Learning about their perspective has certainly been interesting,.
Given the fact that I’m an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter and my Dad is looking forward to voting once again for Donald Trump in November of 2020, it should go without saying that any sort of discussions about politics are tense to say the least. As frustrating as it was last time around, knowing everything that Donald Trump has done over the course of his administration while my Dad’s support for him has only grown has only made it worse. Nevertheless, I’ve had a pretty telling glimpse in to the mindset and rationale of the President’s base, and if anything it’s certainly taught me a lot about where they stand.
With my Dad the conversations about politics usually begin when one of us sends a link over Facebook messenger, and since the impeachment hearings started they’ve been coming with ever increasing frequency. As much as I try to ignore them’ occasionally I give in and take the bait.
In hindsight, considering how our past conversations have gone it probably shouldn’t have surprised me when my Dad called Ambassador Gordon Sondland a “leftist”.
To be clear, it’s a well known fact that Gordon Sondland is a man who gave one million dollars to Donald Trump’s inauguration. And yet, simply because he found Donald Trump’s conversations with the President of the Ukraine and handling of foreign aide to their country troubling, in the mind of a Trump supporter he’s now qualified as a “leftist”.
As ridiculous as that may have sounded, I couldn’t help seeing it as an incredible insight in to how Donald Trump supporters view not just the President, but the world around them. It goes so much deeper than “Trump can do no wrong”. For his supporters, Trump is the answer to their frustrations, the representation of conservative ideals, and you’re either with him entirely or against him. There is no room for disagreement or questioning of his judgement.
The President has successfully hardwired his base to view any one who opposes his any of his actions as against not just him, but the country. The complete lack of awareness of any irony or hypocrisy never ceases to both amuse and frustrate me when trying to engage anyone who supports him, and that’s led to the most important and disappointing lesson my Trump supporting Father has taught me.
At some point, we just have to acknowledge that there are some people who are just too far gone, and Donald Trump’s base that still remains today would certainly qualify in that regard. As much as I believe in the power of persuasion and engagement, there comes a moment where for the sake of our own sanity and mental health, we just have to throw our hands up in the air and accept that there is no reasoning with someone who actually believes that Gordon Sondland is a leftist taking part in the “coup” against the President.
Trump’s supporters above all else live in a small, fearful world. A world where there is no room for the challenging of the narrative they’ve been fed, and any threat to the structure of privilege from which they benefit is a threat to themselves. Donald Trump is the embodiment of their angst, resentment, racism, and lack of curiosity about what the world is like for others, and in their eyes he’s the only one with the courage to give them the answers they’ve waited for. Is it any wonder then, why they take any criticism of him so personally? They see everything they hoped they could be in Donald Trump, and that’s not a vision they like to see challenged.