Call me brave, call me stupid, call me a martyr. I deliberated sought out and interacted with Trump supporters today – and lived to talk about it.
Perhaps it is the fact that we are creeping closer and closer to Election Day and my frustration is at a boiling point. Perhaps it was that a specific Trumpian Troll crawled out of the woodwork and started replying to a friend’s Facebook posts which made me, against my better judgment, actually engage with the typical Trump supporter. In any case, I decided to throw caution to the wind and get down in the trenches with a Trumper.
But interacting with one made me curious about them all. What makes these people tick? Are they really voting for this guy? What is going on here?
I decided to head to where they spend their time – the fiery pits of a Fox News Facebook Live feed. What I found was startling, but also illuminating.
Here’s what I learned.
1. They really don’t care about facts.
I know, I know, that isn’t all that surprising. You can quote something Donald Trump actually said to them, regurgitating his very own recorded words, and they will still deny it happened. Case in point, I was speaking to an individual about the 1995 Tax Return pages released by the New York Times which found that Trump used a loophole to get out of paying millions of dollars in taxes – an act Donald Trump himself proves he’s “smart.” Yet, this Trump supporter continued to say, “Trump paid his taxes.” This is not just a one-off either, in the Fox News live video feed, numerous supporters parroted the belief that Trump paid all the tax he should have and he was a genius business man for swindling the U.S. government out of millions of dollars.
Yet, the fact denying doesn’t end there. Over 50 percent of the Federal Budget is allocated to military spending. However, if you were to speak to a Trump supporter, you would think the military has been reduced to ruin. They are also completely convinced that Donald Trump will bring jobs back to the United States, ignoring the fact that Trump has outsourced the manufacturing of his own products overseas for years. The facts just don’t stick.
2. They are overtly racist.
Many may have no idea they are racists, but it’s staring them in the face. They will happily spew their “All Lives Matter” vitriol without missing a beat, and truly believe that such a statement is inclusive. It’s only inclusive to them because they have completely turned their backs on the realities within this country. It’s clear that they spend their time not thinking about actual oppression, but simply denying it exists. That denial makes it easy for them to continue to believe that the majority of the time black men shot down in the streets by cops deserved it and that white privilege is non-existent.
3. They are really, really scared.
These people are shaking in their shoes. They see an uprising that threatens the privilege they’ve grown accustomed to and they are going to blame all the woes caused by the real issue, income inequality, on people of color. Dark skin is the enemy and any shade of brown will do. Couple their “economic anxiety” with an unfounded fear of being attacked by violent minorities, and they are simply overcome. So overcome, they are trading in their golden calf for an orange con, who is more than willing to tell them to be afraid, be very, very afraid.
4. They desperately need to take a civics class.
They have no idea how our government works. Many spouted out that the Affordable Care Act or their favorite term, “Obamacare,” was an executive order, failing to realize that it was a bill authored in the Senate, amended by the House of Representatives (after they abandoned its version), and finally signed into law by President Obama. You know, the standard process for which laws have been made in our country for several centuries.
They tout that they are all about the U.S. Constitution, yet, they have little respect for things like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to protest, the right to not be subjected to illegal search and seizure, equal protection under the law, and so on. In fact, the only true amendment they care about is the one which they have perverted to support their lust for owning their own personal arsenal with the capability of firing off an obscene amount of rounds per second – you know, just in case they need to protect their home.
Remember, they are really scared. (See #3) And, the brown people are coming. (See #2)
5. They think they are witty. They are not.
It’s so awkward! With their misspellings and their half-assed snark, they really seem to think they have the answers. Yet, sadly, these guys lack the ability to connect the dots. Context is lost on them. When cornered in a debate, they get flighty and resort to straw man arguments, or simply change the subject altogether (typically to some trite dig at Hillary). It’s reminiscent of the playground teasing of children, “I know you are, but what am I?”
6. They worship Donald.
Trump can do no wrong. It is like the second coming of Christ.
And I saw the moving escalator, and behold an immigrant in a white dress; and standing behind her was called Arrogant and Shallow, and in absolute ignorance he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire (bloodshot), and on his head was a bird’s nest of hair; and he had a name written, in gold, on all that he owned.
And he was clothed in ridiculously expensive clothes made in China, and Mexico, and Bangladesh: and his name is called Trump.
We know Christians aren’t permitted to worship golden idols, but apparently orange ones are okay. Oh hell, we knew many of those Christian conservatives were only using Jesus to judge, anyway. Now they get to do it without all that “WWJD?” stuff.
Trump is the savior now. He will make them safe. He will bring them great wealth and security. When you mix the right amount of fear and misinformation with just enough starstruck giddiness and a pinch of “Fuck you for putting a black man in the oval office” – you get Trump supporters en masse.
7. They WON’T be changing their minds.
Probably the most disheartening thing I learned, not that I had much hope anyway, is there is absolutely no way these people will be changing their minds. It doesn’t matter what horrible thing comes out of Trump’s mouth next. They will still adore him. In fact, they really, really like his hateful ways. That’s what is appealing to them. So, give up even attempting to have meaningful discussions with them. It won’t happen. You can provide them with all the facts and ethical arguments in the world and it will fall on deaf ears.
However, sometimes flinging the poo right back at them is a cathartic exercise. No, it’s not really productive, but damn it feels good to give back.
I’d love to conclude this with some hope and change bullshit that brings us back around to an “everything will be ok” feeling. But, I can’t. These people are morons. They are voting. Please make sure you vote, too.
Featured image via Getty Images/Mark Wilson