Understanding the emotional stance of Trump supporters and starting a dialogue
Part One How to understand a Trump supporter from any emotional place and working towards bridging a communications gap:
It seems that the climate that supports conspiracy theories amongst “intelligent” people is one of fear. Trump’s election in 2016 is both a symptom of generalized fear in US culture then and now and he is an instigator of fears that cleave the mass of his base to premises grounded in fear — an irrational emotion. This easily feeds itself because fear trumps peaceful rational thought, pun intended.
It is fear of change where we are being confronted now. When people who have been manipulated into wanting simple answers for complex questions then fear can obscure the search for truth. Old fears can be used — as they have been used most recently by Trump and the GOP — to fall back on older seemingly simpler days where SSI, Medicare and the Common Good did NOT exist. It was time about 100 years ago when there was rampant dysfunction perpetrated by the rich on the poor (the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression). It’s easier to go to something that’s known (aka the dysfunctional past) than to face the relative unknown without dealing more effectively with fear. But Trump can’t have it both ways. He needs to use fears to manipulate his base into whipping their fears into a frenzy.
Trump has been expert in transforming the fears of his base and militant supporters who have been ignored at the fringes of society. The Proud Boys and other white racist supremacist groups have been encouraged and empowered by Trump as he uses their fears to fuel anger, rage and violence. This serves an old-world view to help Trump get re-elected and to create trouble for everyone (including himself). This kind of mob mentality can easily get out of control and backfire on Trump. Dictators and wannabe dictators historically have a limited run. Some of his supporters who are not in such isolated cliques wake-up and rebel. Dictators fall.
The question is: does the wannabe dictator become a dictator in the real world and/or create a precedent for future tyrants? Having been both a product of his rich privileged upbringing, an elitist attitude towards all people who are not him and in the same class as him; and his father’s criminal misdeeds it’s no wonder that he has evolved into a narcissistic brat. Here is a “loser” that never takes responsibility for himself (he calls others losers because he semi-consciously or unconsciously projects the loser he feels within onto others). He blames others, uses fear, bullying and scapegoating on people that historically have little or no power to defend themselves. By using fear (and frustrations and anger) he forces his supporters into smaller isolated cliques which are receptacles for dumping more fear which then creates more anger and violence towards the other. He uses claims of “fake news” to support his position as the bratty rich-boy victim, creates a constantly changing alternate reality based on his “gut” intuition that is predatory bullying by whim. He is the dictator of people in his clique and the MAGA rallies are religious worshiping centers for Lord and Master Trump. Rinse — Repeat. This is an old historical story.
I started a line of non-threatening, open ended questions to a relative of mine who is an ardent Trump supporter without challenging her directly. Instead I asked her questions that helped me see the extent of her logic and the lack of sufficient information for any solution. The topic was homelessness. My questions were of this ilk: “What would you do about homelessness?” Rather than presenting any answers she pointed to a deeper cause. “It’s the lack of family values,” she told me. “What would you do about that?” I asked her. But rather than talk about a solution that might help families retain family values she pointed to a deeper cause. “Family values have gone to hell because so many marriages have ended in divorce.” I asked her: “Why is that?” she didn’t have answer so I stupidly jumped in and asked her again: “What who you do about that?’ She didn’t have an answer so rather than saying “I don’t know” she deflected to an entirely different topic: “Those horrible people who get tattoos.” Clearly a fear and a prejudice. She couldn’t answer — “what do you do about family values that have gone to hell,” because it would go against her ideals of the self-man or woman and she was basically blaming people for being poor, uneducated and possible stupid was my impression or she suffered from hubris (excessive pride) and couldn’t admit that she didn’t have an answer.
The two items of her discourse were a desire to complain in general and blame others for the lack of morality in a society of inequality. When she could not come up with an immediate answer or more in-depth background she deflected into prejudicial territory. Holes in logic and a desire to blame someone else.
Part Two — How to open a solution based dialoged with a Trump Supporter the next step. (Coming — when I next have the patience to enter a dialogue with my relative with some verifiable facts on hand.)