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December 03, 2016


As far as I can tell, there are two types of Trump supporters: 1. Bigots who seem to have zero empathy/sympathy etc. who delight in destroying the world because they can, and 2. Ignorant people who are only exposed to racist media and cannot tell truth from fiction or high quality news stories from bad-- they are constantly getting different messages and think horrible things about liberals because that's what all the media they are consuming is actually telling them.

I do not think there is much that can be done with the first type other than cracking down on them when they start doing dangerous things and making sure that social media programs have ways to block them. They're scary and dangerous.

The second type, maybe something can be done with if you come into contact with them, but a lot more can be done with structural changes (cracking down on slander, making it clear when news is real and when it's fake, not allowing K-12 education to be taken over by people who don't want critical thinkers, etc.) than with trying to save each individual. Some can probably be done by countering things when you see them on places like facebook. Folks don't believe politifact, but there's still a lot of respect for Snopes.

I've been finding that following an action-item list each week (we have a few different options for weekly mailing lists on our website under the activism tab) helps dissociate the anger from the responsibility. I have a check-list, and I can check things off that list. I do still get angry, but usually the night before when there's not much point in calling. I'm still trying to find my way, but for now this is something I can do and while other people are doing the same thing it's more likely to have an impact.

One of my colleagues is just focusing on neo-nazis and going deep into combating bigotry. My two biggest concerns are bigotry and conflicts of interest because I think those need to be nipped in the bud, but I'm still doing other things from various lists.

From my perspective out here in rural Ohio, there seems to be a third type. People who identify as Republicans and were willing to overlook the horrible racist, sexist things Trump said because he was their standard bearer. The people who I live around and work with are overwhelmingly Trump people but they are certainly not ignorant or duped by false news. They also aren't out and out bigots although some may have some mildly racist views along the lines of color-blindness, etc. From what I've heard in the recent weeks, they just simply didn't care about Trumps' flaws. They feel more comfortable with Republicans in charge than Democrats. They voted for their team and many of them aren't happy that their team was led by Trump but it's still their team.

@Made of Gravy-- I put that category in with the first. When you dig down, they're bigots. Otherwise they wouldn't have voted for Trump. I have a couple of students in that category. The only sense in which they're not bigots is that they dislike being called racist. They're apologetic rather than unapologetic racists. Their rhetoric is still xenophobic and still white-nationalist, it just uses code-words instead of outright racism.

Every single "establishment" Republican I know did not vote for Trump and they are horrified at the outcome of the election.

Isn't there a third group of people or would NicoleandMaggie classify them with the second group? --> religious people (the "Christian right"), those "single issue" voters who always vote republican because of abortion? They aren't necessarily "ignorant" and definitely seem to be educated, but they are willing overlook anything to favor what they consider to be serious moral issues.

I think it's hard to know what to do, frankly. In my case, I'm deciding to stay out of it for now because I am part of a "victimized" group (immigrants) and I cannot vote and need to make the painful decision to become or not a citizen in order to do so (see my latest post). Hang in there friend, we're in this together. I'm considering going to Washington too, but don't know if I will...

Made they are bigots, but I'm not quite ready to write off the majority of people in my small town by putting them in that category.

Also adding on to say that while many "establishment" Republican types may have said they were NeverTrump, exit polls don't quite bear that out (not does the support that he got from establishment Republican types in Congress).

The establishment Republicans I know are literally establishment Republicans, as have worked for and in Republican government, voted for Romney, and would have preferred Jeb. They know how dangerous Trump is and how antithetical he is to the party as it used to be and to our country's ideals. For many of them, their number 1 concern is exactly the same as mine: Nuclear War (if with China, LA goes first, if with Russia, DC goes first). Others fear economic collapse because they do domestic policy instead of international.

Fortunately I am lucky enough to not know the jerks in government who either want to tear down government entirely (Mitch McConnell) or think they can get things out of Trump before he destroys the world (Paul Ryan). But I'm fairly sure the Mitch McConnells are motivated by bigotry and the Paul Ryans by Ayn Rand which is close enough.

There are one-issue republicans who only vote about abortion, but that doesn't wash with Trump support unless you are ignorant (people type 2), because his position on abortion has flopped all over the place, he's obviously never thought much about it (see his "punish women" interview), and he is very likely himself responsible for women having had abortions given his history of sexual assault and lack of illegitimate children. One could make an argument that those people are voting for future President Pence who has had a consistent position on abortion, but that assumes a belief that Trump won't last as president. The only thing Trump has been consistent on is his bigotry. That is it. Anything else you have to not realize he's been constantly changing his talking points or you just don't care.

yeah... the Christian right was probably voting for Pence in a way...

This comment thread is particularly interesting to me because it is falling along the lines I've heard in other contexts as well. I think I'm with MadeOfGravy (welcome, by the way!) in thinking that there is the third category of Trump voters that she identifies. And that category is perhaps the one I'm trying to understand, not least because I think that my maternal grandparents from Oklahoma would probably have fallen in that camp if they were still alive.

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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at Fabulous Girls' School (FGS). I'm a convert to Judaism. I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

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