For his followers Donald J. Trump is “a sharp stick in the eye” of the political establishment according to Franklin and Marshall Professor Terry Madonna, who has been studying political attitudes for more than two decades. When asked why mounting evidence of the GOP candidate’s mendacity doesn’t repel his followers, Madonna said, “They don’t care.”
It seems that all else about Trump is irrelevant to his followers because he is seen as the only candidate who is not part of a system that they quite literally hate, and want to destroy. This burn-the-f**ker-down mentality is refractory to reason, facts, and all forms of persuasion. It’s anti-intellectual and fired by a seething rage at both blue and red establishment politics.
Recently historian Ken Burns broke with his long established practice of political neutrality to speak about the threat this represents to the American political system.
The ever perceptive Gary Trudeau expanded on one of Burn’s metaphors:
The Doonsbury strip likens the folly of electing DJT to the presidency to having DJT pilot a jet with no training or experience. It’s funny in a macabre way, but really folks can we let this happen?
What can we do if they just don’t care about the facts?
There is another dimension to this, it the disaffection of the rest of the voters with Hillary Clinton as the only viable alternative. Whether or not you feel that it is justified, it is real. The consequence is apathy on the part of many who would otherwise rally to be sure DJT is not elected. Political professionals know that candidates must generate enthusiasm to motivate voters to get out and vote. So the fact that voters don’t like HRC works for DJT and he is exploiting and amplifying it.
The very most persuasive force in politics is personal relationships. Our most cherished attitudes and beliefs derive largely form what we perceive to be congruent with our friendships. Friends do, in fact, discuss politics and religion over dinner. What you can do, if you want to influence the election is take a personal stand against what you see happening.
As for myself, I write posts like this one. I will also be writing my “Christmas Letter” in October this year, and it will express my deep concern for what I see as a threat to my children and grandchildren … what Ken Burns so passionately decried.