Many people can often seem very much stuck in their separate political camps, and when it comes election time, people split off into their own enclaves even more by dividing up by candidate, even within their own parties. While that is true of nearly anyone with a political cell in their body, Donald Trump supporters seem especially prone to remaining adamant in support of their candidate, no matter the facts, the follies and the downright offensive.
No matter what Trump does or says, there’s just no getting through to some of his supporters. They have a reason and rationale for all of it, spinning it in a way that allows them to not only keep on loving him, but perhaps loving him even more than before. Luckily, Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum has a couple ideas that may just waft the smelling salts under these groupie voters’ noses.
Drum points out in his Mother Jones piece “Here’s a Better Answer to Donald Trump’s Supporters” that Hillary Clinton missed the mark when she was asked during the Democratic debates last night what she would say to the “millions of Americans watching tonight who agree with him.” Clinton replied, “people are understandably reacting out of fear and anxiety….Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people and to make [them] think there are easy answers to very complex questions,” which Drum admits is the “‘right’ answer in some sense,” but then goes on to show how Clinton missed the mark and opportunity for a more solid response by not responding to the question in the manner it was framed. She’s not the only candidate to miss such opportunities, either. Instead of responding to what she would say to Trump’s supporters, she instead attacked Trump and insinuated that his supporters only support him out of fear, rather than for their “legitimate beefs” – hardly a means for attracting would-be supporters, especially from across the aisle.
But Drum has two suggestions for Democrats going forward as they continue to go round and round with Trump supporters.
First, cut through all the BS constantly erupting from The Donald’s mouth and realize what he is: “a blowhard.” And as Drum writes, “we all know blowhards, right?” Blowhards talk a big game constantly to cover up their entire lack of game, or in this case, political plans and sensible agendas. Anyway, as Drum also points out, “What makes anyone think he’ll deliver on all the BS he’s ladling out right now?”
Trump is a blowhard through and through, as both his ego and supporters can attest to with relish. After all, his supporters are often the ones saying they like Trump “because he speaks his mind,” and that’s about the only thing he does. He has no political background, so there are no means for voters to gauge him politically. All he has is his mouth, his inherited wealth and his business record… which brings readers to Drum’s second suggestion:
Once you’ve cut through all the BS and have recognized it for what it is, focus on analyzing Trump’s biggest claim — that he is an “incredibly successful businessman” bearing the Midas touch.
As far as Drum is concerned, Trump is a “mediocre businessman,” citing golf resorts he “talks big about” even though they really only trickle in money – a dripping tap rather than the full-tilt firehose he embellishes them to be – just like his Atlantic City casino that went bankrupt due to poor management because he “didn’t understand the business.”
Drum goes on to share that even Trump’s real estate empire is more gold-plated, rather than 24-karat bricks of sunshine.
“He’s built or renovated half a dozen major buildings, and they’ve done OK but nothing more than that,” he writes.
Drum also points out that Trump doesn’t necessarily negotiate amazing deals in the corporate world, either, calling them “routine.” Furthermore, he says, Trump can dish it out, but he’s shown time and again that he can take it no better in business than he’s been taking it in the political field. While bearing an enormous ego, it seems that ego rests nightly ten mattresses up with a scant pea at the bottom. He’s definitely no “Paper Bag Princess,” that’s for sure. The main difference so far, however, between his time in the political field as opposed to the corporate field is that Trump often sues, or at least barks like he is going to sue, “over every perceived slight.”
So how is Trump as a businessman? Drum says, “Basically, Trump inherited a lot of wealth and hasn’t done all that much with it.”
If you really want to stick it to Trump and get his supporters thinking about him realistically, past the celebrity glaze that oozes around him, Drum suggests asking him for his financial statements from the businesses he’s developed. Put the licensing and TV aside and just look at his ability, or lack thereof, to develop a business. After all, these days, the country runs much like a business. So what have Trump’s returns on equity and investments been in the companies he’s developed?
These are the questions Drum feels Democrats should be prompting Trump supporters to consider, once the BS has been acknowledged and confronted, rather than just bashing Trump and making his supporters feel attacked.
From what Drum has reviewed of Trump’s ability to develop businesses so far, at “every business that required him to actually deliver something concrete, he’s been average or worse…. Take away his mouth and he’s just another guy who inherited a bunch of money from his father and used it to build a middling business. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it hardly makes him a dazzling executive, either.”
That’s just Drum’s assessment, though. The important point he is stressing, however, is that individual voters, especially Donald Trump supporters, try to look beyond his haughty talk. After all, talk is talk. It’s action that matters, especially in politics. If you don’t know that by now, you’re behind the curve. Get reading. But for those on both the left and the right who have long known that, make sure you’re doing that with all candidates, especially Trump, and while you’re at it, compare their actual record, in whatever scope it can be retrieved, with their current statements and character on the campaign trail. That’s how you discern what’s closest to the truth and who the best candidate for you may be. If, in doing so, you continue to encounter embellishments and outright falsities, even dirty lies, run from that candidate and seek another.
Perhaps that is the only way to convince Trump supporters to turn from him in the end: Encourage them to look deeper and see the truth for themselves, beyond his bombastic statements, and let them make up their own minds armed with reality, rather than the false fantasy he has been feeding them since he entered the race.
Hopefully some will not only lead themselves to the fountain of knowledge, but actually have the courage to take a drink.
Featured image by Phil Roeder via Flickr.