Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Seven things we know about Trump's supporters

It's not a pretty picture. They really do live in a different universe. Here's the scoop from SemDem at Daily Kos, If You Tell Me You Are Supporting Trump, I Already Know Seven Things About You. I'll list the seven things but you need to read SemDem's post to get the reasons for them (beyond the short takes I provide in parens below).

  1. You want to be ruled, not governed. (authoritarian like Putin = anti-American)
  2. You have no class. (Mocking disabled people and vets)
  3. You are definitely not someone to do business with. (OK with Trump's lies)
  4. You are either a racist, or at best, have no problem with racism. (people who don't look like you are criminals)
  5. You have an issue with women. (you also believe women are "pigs" and "dogs")
  6. You aren't really Christian. (a bully with several wives and several affairs)
  7. You don’t believe in the Constitution. (Trump promises to trash the bill of rights)

If you don't think these seven points define an alternative universe, here is an excerpt from Jimmy Kimmel's Lie Witness News on YouTube. Having made up their minds, anything, anything at all that Trump says or does can be rationalized by Trump supporters. And that is why civil discourse with most of them is not possible.

On the heels of the 2014 election - which Democrats lost badly - I wrote about "Jonathan Haidt's metaphor of a rider and an elephant."

... 90% of the action is in the elephant and 10% of the action is in the rider's explanation for what the elephant does. The problem is that the rider's explanations are often disconnected from what the elephant actually does.

The elephant is a stand-in for our unconscious, sometimes even primordial, emotional responses. The rider symbolizes our conscious, mainly verbal, rationalizations for our behaviors. Now imagine that there are two different elephants. One is very skittish and likely to over-react to events in its environment. That elephant, when presented with a threatening stimulus reacts with fear, defensive behaviors, and sometimes even aggression.

With their messages of fear, the Republicans are prodding the elephant. With their cool rationality, Democrats appeal to the rider. This is why we Democrats lose elections. Our 10% messaging loses to the opposition's 90% appeal. We keep chastising the electorate for their votes against their (supposedly obvious) self interest. The Republicans deploy simpler messages to create emotional responses at a deeper level.

We have yet to learn the lesson from all this. We need to learn the language of elephants.

I had not then imagined that the metaphor would apply to the emergence of a dictatorial narcissist in the 2016 election but it does. If you take SemDem's seven points as defining Haidt's elephant it explains why communicating with Trumpists is nearly impossible. The metaphor also then explains the ridiculous rationalizations of Kimmel's interviewees. And all that explains why Trump appeals to the tribe of white America and continues a strong showing in spite of his insults and lies.

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