Former evangelist Frank Schaeffer tells us to fight Trump by turning his followers anger on him, not by using reason or facts. I see many of his points. Nevertheless abandonment of reason and fact, for manipulative rage amplification and redirection sounds profoundly disturbing. What would we do then, with a country crazed and thrashing and out for blood, even if Democrats won an election?
... How does one talk someone mired in irrational beliefs into accepting fact-based reality? More to the point these days, how does one change a Trump voter’s mind and get her or him to reject Trump’s multiplying lies and vote for a Democrat next time?
Forget reason. Forget facts. Forget rational argument. Forget policy. Rather, think of distracting a greyhound chasing a rabbit. You won’t talk him out of it. There’s only one way: distract the mindless creature… with another rabbit.
Because I was an evangelical religious right leader in the 1970s and 1980s and then fled the fact-free netherworld I’d been reared in, when it comes to questions about the subject of changing minds perhaps I know what I’m talking about. I changed my mind about politics and theology.
I have another sort of dark “expertise” besides knowing about changing minds related to my evangelical days: making people angry and using that anger to motivate political action.
The real question is this: Do Democrats want to try to win arguments or actually win elections?
Turns out that with the unhinged you can’t do both.
I left the evangelical fold ... because of raw emotion, not reason.
I left when engulfed by a wave of disappointment. I was lured out by my sense that I’d been betrayed.
I did not make a reasonable “choice.” Only later did I quit believing in most of the theology too. No one “talked sense” to me. I just couldn’t look in the mirror and keep spouting nonsense. My reaction was from the gut. That’s all.
Facts? Not so much. Anger? Disappointment? Lashing Out? Conspiracy theories? Yes, we can!
Trumpism can’t be cured or reasoned with. But many Trump voters can be goaded through their default-position anger to vote against the Republicans. To them this will soon feel like getting sweet revenge on Trump and “these Republicans” for betrayal. It will be another way of expressing rage as former Trump fans begin to perceive themselves as victims of Trump and the quiescent GOP. And for once that perception of victimhood will be factual.
Facts were never the evangelical white voters’ “thing.”
In other words, they’ve long since turned off their brains as the “fee” for buying into the evangelical version of “salvation.”
White evangelical Trump voters had been floating in a fact-free zone for ages, training, as it were, for accepting Trump as another version of their personal savior. Reason wasn’t the point. Conversion was.
... Trump did not rationally convince his voters to vote for his charade. He fed their anger, not their reason. His anger-feeding message was that The System is rigged by and for the elites. Already resentful voters heard this in their own ways. Evangelicals heard “rigged against the Bible.” Secular voters heard “rigged against lower class whites like me.” All Trump’s voters arrived at the Trump party angry, and he made sure they left twice as angry and convinced they’d been victimized by Liberals.
But Trump’s supporters were not voting for what they’re getting:
And Trump’s military buildup will soon lead him to start wars as frivolous as his cascade of lying Tweets.
Trump is arguing for a military buildup before even producing a strategic vision or laying out priorities to guide the new spending. Instead he has justified it, so far, with two lies: that President Obama slashed the defense budget and that as a result the military is depleted and needs to be “rebuilt.”
In other words, Trump just loves the idea of power, and playing with guns (and nukes) makes him feel like a big leader. And Bannon .... is like ... a warmonger’s warmonger.
I fear that Trump will soon be killing the working class’s children serving in our “all volunteer” military (something that I’ve written about extensively). Working-class Trump-country sons and daughters will die out of all proportion to upper-class kids like Trump’s children who tend (to put it mildly!) to not volunteer.
We must take a page from the Trump/Bannon “anger-incitement” playbook.
As his failures multiply, Trump could—and I predict he will—use a military confrontation ... to look (briefly) like a commander-in-chief and to distract from that day’s self-inflicted fiasco. And another terrorist attack on the Bannon fantasy “white Christian homeland” would give Bannon/Trump a sick rationale (“justification”) for sweeping new executive actions.
As Trump disappoints his voters and kills his voters’ kids, ... victories will only take place if reasonable people embrace and use the Un-Reason of the Trumped. In other words, overly nice and civilized Americans will have to become a bit more ruthless.
In other words, we need a Democratic Party version of jujitsu rather than more futile reasoned debate.
Here’s where to begin: As Trump enters his third month in office, he’s already established at least one record: he’s the president most open and willing to use the prestige of the White House to enrich himself and his family.
As health care slips away for the working elderly poor, as lower middle-class students are crushed by debt, as vets languish, as the lies mount… hammer home the Trump self-enrichment scheme! Turn his much bragged-about wealth against him!
From late night comedians, SNL, Samantha Bee, to Congress and the pages of the New York Times, opponents of Trump must pound on and repeat this theme: Trump is getting rich as he spreads misery on others. Trump is a fraud! Trump is NOT keeping his promises to his voters. Trump has let his voters down. Trump is betraying the people who put him in power.
Thus, as Trump voters claim to be victims, tell them they are victims—of Trump’s ego and greed!
No one likes to be betrayed. That’s why and how Democrats will win.
I can almost see the Democratic rallies, "Lock him up! Lock him up!"