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!"
Depending upon how the FBI investigation goes, cries to lock Trump up could actually be justified. Personally colluding with Russia, a hostile nation, wouldn't be much worse than a lot of the other things he's done professionally, such as the fraud surrounding Trump University. It's just a matter of who he fucked over and how bad the repercussions for those crimes are.
This is the same sort of thing I try to focus on when dealing with Christian apologetics. We have ALL of the facts and science on our side, but fundamentalist Christians aren't open to those facts until we can reach them emotionally.
I realized that Schaeffer's approach buys into the underlying pathology the GOP sells, to manipulate voters. That whole victim/rescuer/persecutor "game", as Eric Berne called it, is a psychological trap. People who "collect anger stamps" to trade in on guilt-free persecution of others aren't well equipped to understand or address the real challenges we face as a nation or a world.
This would be counterproductive, to say the least.
At least the internal finger-pointing, after failures like the AHCA, can be very fun to watch.
Of course it isn't a deterrent. The swing voters are the ones who have been sold on the bullshit about a Republican administration being better for their financial interests. They're the only Trump voters who aren't getting what they wanted when they voted for him.
A huge percentage of the Republican base will vote Republican for the foreseeable future, because they're anti-women's-rights and are anti-gay/trans bigots. They'll get what they wanted, with the so-called religious-freedom measures and with Trump's Supreme Court nominees.
Plus, there's the fact that Faux News has been pushing the narrative that the free market (ie. the corporations) would make life better for everyone, if we would just stop the government from getting in their way. After a decade of this insane propaganda, the less thoughtful members of our society actually believe it. Very, very few people who have been that successfully brainwashed by conservative, pro-corporate propaganda can be broken free.
If someone misunderstands what corporations are for, on such a fundamental level, that person probably won't sit still for the necessary, remedial education. It's comparable to my one uncle, who I still don't think understands that there's a difference between a debt and a deficit. When someone needs to be brought up to a high-school-level understanding of a subject, and they refuse to or are unable to acknowledge their ignorance, what are you supposed to do?
Good point, tom.
I'm less about locking him up than getting that incompetent jackass out of my sight and making sure he never has his hands on the controls again.
As for anything else, Bill Maher had something to say about that in yesterday's New Rules:
Getting him out of power is the more important part for the health of our country, yeah.
The potential treason is at least a bit important too, though. Colluding with a hostile power, offering to weaken our state department in exchange, is a bit more serious than what Nixon did. Nixon only hired some people to conduct his own espionage.
And yeah, the ISIL thing was one of the many things that made me just look at the Trump supporters in disbelief, during the election. Seriously?!?!?
"I have a plan to destroy them in 30 days! But I won't tell you about that plan until after the election."
I can't comprehend people who can fall for that much of a naked con. He said that he could fix the crime problem in Chicago.
"I know the best people who know how to get rid of crime immediately, but they aren't being allowed to do so. I'm going to get the best people to fix it."
What kind of simplistic morons fall for that sort of line?
The more bat-shit, fundamentalist ones who pride themselves on the acceptance of the authority of the Bible, perhaps. I guess that once you accept that anything you see in reality that contradicts the authority-book must be a lie straight from thuh pit uh hell, you've established the mental template.