Progressives have been protesting Donald Trump since his inaugural and -- bafflingly -- huge segments of the Trump electorate haven't switched sides and joined the resistance. What's wrong with the left? Why haven't the minds of millions of Trump voters been changed already? It's been a whole month!
That's essentially the argument of "Are Liberals Helping Trump?," a New York Times story by Sabrina Tavernise. Instead of asking whether it's a difficult task to change minds across the ideological divide in a highly polarized electorate, Tavernise accuses Trump opponents of engaging in ideological thuggery:
But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed.
Protests and righteous indignation on social media and in Hollywood may seem to liberals to be about policy and persuasion. But moderate conservatives say they are having the opposite effect, chipping away at their middle ground and pushing them closer to Mr. Trump.
Tavernise draws this conclusion after interviewing three "moderate conservatives" (wow, huge sample size!). Let's meet one of them:
“The name calling from the left is crazy,” said Bryce Youngquist, 34, who works in sales for a tech start-up in Mountain View, Calif., a liberal enclave where admitting you voted for Mr. Trump is a little like saying in the 1950s that you were gay. “They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people.”
Mr. Youngquist stayed in the closet for months about his support for Mr. Trump. He did not put a bumper sticker on his car, for fear it would be keyed. The only place he felt comfortable wearing his Make America Great Again hat was on a vacation in China. Even dating became difficult. Many people on Tinder have a warning on their profile: “Trump supporters swipe left” — meaning, get lost.
He came out a few days before the election. On election night, a friend posted on Facebook, “You are a disgusting human being.”
“They were making me want to support him more with how irrational they were being,” Mr. Youngquist said.
Tavernise suggests that Youngquist's support for Trump was lukewarm, and was largely a reaction to Trump opponents. Let's take a look at what he posted on Facebook a week and a half before the election and see if that's really the case:
The election has hit a boiling point for me. I am a #NeverHillary supporter more than ever now. I am convinced Hillary and her team are running one of the most crooked campaigns in history. Hillary’s past as a public servant contains so much shadiness. If you only watch/read CNN, NYT, Washington Post and NPR, you may think that Hillary has made only a few less-than-poor decisions. The mainstream media has been a huge force in this campaign painting Hillary as an angel. I do not trust Hillary and her potential administration in the White House. Below is just a brief list of Hillary and her campaign's shadiness.
McAuliffe/Dr.Jill McCabe/FBI Investigation
Getting debate questions ahead of time (Donna Brazile)
Treatment of Bernie
Anti-Catholic campaign emails
Hillary explaining about how she has a Public vs. Private position
Nonstop pay to play
Clinton Foundation accepting millions from awful human right countries
Weiner Investigation connections
2nd FBI Investigation 11 days before election day
Obamacare/HillaryCare - premium hikes
Obama's homie Robert Creamer (340 WH visits)
Bill Clinton & everything there...
Benghazi (blame it on a youtube video)
Desire for "open borders"
Dirty Campaigning (Project Veritas videos)
Inciting riots in Chicago at Trump Rally
Mainstream media & HRC campaign conspiring
Received subpoena & then deletes emails
Hillary's questionable health
Bill Clinton (getting disbarred, lying etc etc)
Murder of Seth Rich
Trump may not be a saint but I am going to cast my vote for him. I am pushing to have an outsider in the White House. I can’t stand the corrupt career politician such as Hillary. Everyone laughs when Trump says "She has bad judgement." Can anyone prove that she does have good judgement? Can she be trusted with our country's security concerns!?! Can any Hillary supporter defend her on that!?! DC needs change and Trump/Pence is the answer I believe for the next 4 years. Trump is not the most polished figure out there (that may be an understatement) but he sure is a hell of a lot better than Hillary. I am hopeful that Trump & Co can turn this country in the right direction. Economy, healthcare, security... Make America Great Again!
Benghazi? Check. Emails? Check. Suspicions of Huma Abedin that go unstated because, well, it's just so obvious why she's a problem? Check. Invocation of James O'Keefe videos? Check. Assumption that the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign were "conspiring"? Check.
There are a couple of pro-Sanders items on Youngquist's list -- but, of course, we know that the Trump campaign (and its official and unofficial surrogates) exploited Democratic primary tensions to help Trump. And please note the last item on Youngquist's list:
Murder of Seth Rich
Click on the #NeverHillary hashtag in Youngquist's post and you see, among other things, this:
There's still no evidence that Rich's death was anything but a street crime gone lethal. Rich's father is certain that he wouldn't have leaked the emails. He was planning to take a job with the Clinton campaign. And rumors that he was the leaker were stoked by Wikileaks.
If you're wondering about the image above, the tell is in the reference to gun control. This wasn't the work of a progressive.
Youngquist isn't a "moderate" voter. He's someone who binged on fake and semi-fake news throughout the campaign, almost all of it from the right. Eventually he parroted the talking points for his Facebook friends. The anti-Trump movement largely consists of people who voted for Hillary Clinton, someone Youngquist despises, yet Tavernise thinks he might have joined the resistance by now if the anti-Trumpers hadn't been so darn mean.
Oh, and did I mention that Youngquist attended Trump's inaugural? Seriously -- Tavernise thinks that someone who attended a presidential inaugural might turn against the president within a month of that event? It's not as if she doesn't know about his attendance -- there was a story about it in the Times. She wrote it.
One of Tavernise's other "moderates" is Jeffrey Medford:
Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump. As a conservative, he felt the need to choose the Republican. But some things are making him feel uncomfortable — parts of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, for example, and the recurring theme of his apparent affinity for Russia.
Mr. Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way.
A conservative Republican small-business owner from South Carolina "should be a natural ally for liberals"? Really?
The other is Ann O'Connell:
“I don’t have a problem with protesting as long as it’s peaceful, but this is destroying the country,” said Ann O’Connell, 72, a retired administrative assistant in Syracuse who voted for Mr. Trump. “I feel like we are in some kind of civil war right now. I know people don’t like to use those terms. But I think it’s scary.”
Mrs. O’Connell is a registered Democrat. She voted for Bill Clinton twice. But she has drifted away from the party over what she said was a move from its middle-class economic roots toward identity politics. She remembers Mr. Clinton giving a speech about the dangers of illegal immigration. Mr. Trump was lambasted for offering some of the same ideas, she said.
“The Democratic Party has changed so much that I don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said. “These people are destroying our democracy. They are scarier to me than these Islamic terrorists. I feel absolutely disgusted with them and their antics. It strengthens people’s resolve in wanting to support President Trump. It really does.”
O'Connell says she voted for Bill Clinton twice. Notice which Democrat we're not told she voted for, even once. She thinks protesters are worse than terrorists, but, more important, she's angry at the Democratic Party. I don't care about her voter registration. She's effectively a Republican. She might come back to vote for Jim Webb or Joe Lieberman, but that's not going to happen. She's lost to us
All of these people are on Team Democrat Hater. None of them will come around to the anti-Trump movement -- no matter how nice we are.
Originally published at No More Mr. Nice Blog