If he woke up one morning and he was black, they’d turn on him.
Not sure if anything else would do it. What do you think?
Someone sent in this article below, in which a Trump supporter is interviewed about just this very special – and baffling – topic.
What would it take?
This is the salient question of our time because as we all have observed, no matter what Trump says or does, his so-called “base” of supporters never doubt him.
First, we’ll look at the interview. Then, I’ll give you all my best guesstimate as to how to explain this perplexing phenomenon.
No presidential candidate or president has been able to absorb bad news without losing support the way Donald Trump has. If you want to know why, talk to Paul Duffy of Rocky Mount, NC. Duffy recently wrote a letter to The News & Observer:
“Regarding “President Trump, end your war on our free press” (Aug. 16): It is consistently astonishing to me how the vast majority of the print as well as the broadcast media contend they are being unfairly attacked by the president, especially after they have let loose a constant barrage of opinions about how horrible he is as a person and/or how poorly he is governing, as well as many, many “news” items which all in some way disparage an aspect of his administration.
Almost nothing is ever said about his significant accomplishments (of which I believe there to be many). My question then would be, why it is his duty to end a war which he did not begin and which is being waged against him daily in a most derogatory manner?”
Duffy, a 72-year-old native of Oxford, is a lawyer who graduated from Atlantic Christian College (now called Barton College) and UNC law school. He’s also an Army veteran of the Vietnam War. After Trump’s rough week last week, I called him to fathom the depth of his support.
l started with a barrage of “what about” questions regarding Trump’s flaws. It was like firing a BB gun at a tank.
Q: What about the criminal troubles of Trump’s former associates, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen?
Duffy: “It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I voted for him and I will continue to vote for him.”Q: What about Trump’s oft-documented failure to tell the truth?
Duffy: “He’s been asked questions he’s been less than forthcoming about, but he’s not the first politician to do that sort of thing. I suspect his competition in the last election has been as untruthful, if not more so. So that’s not going to change my opinion.”
Q: What about his relentless tweeting?
Duffy: “I believe he thinks it got him elected. I don’t see him stopping. He’s going to continue to tweet. I have no problems with it.”
Q: What about his possible collusion with the Russians?
Duffy: “I don’t believe he’s done that in any respect. I understand the liberals are rabid about that stuff, but to me it’s a non-starter.”
Q: What about Trump’s being married three times and having affairs?
Duffy: “I’ve been married three times myself. I don’t consider that to be the greatest character flaw there is.”
Q: But what about paying hush money to women?
Duffy: “He may have paid off some of those folks. Did Bill Clinton pay off? Probably JFK paid off.”
Q: What is Trump not getting credit for?
Duffy: “His policies have caused the stock market to soar. The unemployment rate is lower than many years. He has achieved a lot in the field of foreign affairs where he is dealing with (North Korea leader) Kim Jong-un the best he can. Nobody else was able to do the things he has done.”
Q: What about President Obama? He led the country out of the Great Recession and presided over years of economic growth, a big rise in the stock market and a sharp drop in unemployment…
Duffy: “I am not of the feeling any of the improvement in the economy is attributable to Obama in any respect. I find that impossible to accept.”
Q: What about Trump’s failure to address climate change?
Duffy: “Right now it’s relatively cool for August in North Carolina. If it gets to be 120 degrees, I’ll have a problem with it.”
Duffy lives in a neighborhood he describes as “70 percent African-American.” He said he gets along well with his African-American neighbors, but does not talk to them about President Trump. He said, “I’m not sure that would be a productive conversation.”
Q: How do you get your news?
Duffy: “I watch Fox News and the Golf Channel. Every now and then I turn it over to CNN, until I start to get a little bit nauseous.”
Duffy, who was injured by exposure to Agent Orange, collects veteran disability pay and Social Security. He said he gets those government benefits because he “earned” them, “not because I’m of a certain race or because I don’t work.”
Q: How would you rate Trump among United States presidents?
Duffy: “Right now, he’s the No. 1 president.”
Q: Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and still his supporters would stick with him. Is that true?
Duffy: “I don’t think he was being serious, but that would make it difficult. There’s no question his supporters would be willing and able to forgive him large amount of indiscretions. I don’t know that murder would be forgivable.”
Alas, there’s a limit.
That’s Duffy’s take. He graduated from law school and speaks English correctly. Not exactly our stereotypical Trumpet. So what to make of his responses?
Duffy is correct about many mainstream media outlets being unable/ unwilling to praise Trump for anything, with the one notable exception being when he blows stuff up.
Surely Trump could do something right, even if it was by accident…
“You think he’s an idiot, don’t you?”
I said, “No, I don’t.”
“No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don’t care. You see, you’re outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide, middle of America, busy working people who don’t read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like?
They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it’s good for us.
Because you know what those folks don’t like? They don’t like you!”
In this instance, the final “you,” of course, meant the entire reality-based community.
The key phrase here being, “They don’t like you!”
Now that quote was actually about George W Bush rather than Donald Trump. But the viewpoint represented is the same: resentment. It isn’t new.
“The aide (e.g., Karl Rove) said guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
First thing to understand is this viewpoint isn’t as much about how people love Trump as it is about how these people hate “Libitards.”
It’s identity politics. Trump supporters are self-described “Conservatives” who hate their arch-enemy “Liberals.” It is this hatred, anger, and fear which motivate Trump supporters to be vocal and to vote.
“Average Americans aren’t especially ideological, but our political polarization is intense and growing. The roots of today’s political polarization are largely based in our social attachments to ideological labels, not to thoughtful collections of opinions. Being a ‘liberal’ or a ‘conservative’ defines who sides are, even if we are fuzzy on what these labels actually stand for.
The terms ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ similarly confer a sense of group identity, along with the assumption your group is inherently more virtuous. Armed with this ‘us vs. them’ mentality, we instinctively identify with one side of the political divide, and view the other as the enemy.”
As racial, religious, and ideological identities have cumulatively moved into greater alignment with Democratic and Republican identities in recent decades, American partisans have grown increasingly identified with their parties due to the psychological effects of identity alignment captured in objective and subjective sorting mechanisms.
However, we find that this effect is more powerful among Republicans than among Democrats, due to the general social homogeneity of the Republican party. Contrary to the assessments of modern political punditry, Republicans are more susceptible to identity‐based politics.
Taken together, Figures 1 through 3 empirically demonstrate the sorting of Blacks, Hispanics, Seculars, and Liberals into the Democratic Party, and Whites, Christians, and Conservatives into the Republican Party, across the electorate.
Democrats moved from a coalition empowering Whites to one of diversity and nontraditional groups, while Republicans reinforced their homogeneous White Christian conservative profile, creating easily accessible cues about who each party represents.
This led to a generally accepted understanding of the Democratic Party as one of racial diversity, religious secularism, and liberalism, while Republicans were typically seen as White, Christian conservatives. Citizens could use these cues to perceive their party identity as a singular social identity that encompasses their ideological, ethnic, and religious affiliations.
In other words, you and your friend might both support single-payer healthcare, yet because you are red and she is blue, the two of you argue incessantly about Obamacare, mostly because it’s named after Barack Obama.
So there’s Obama… and there’s Obamacare. Identity and policy. These are not the same thing. The policy is actually called the Affordable Care Act.
The government subsidies to healthcare companies and the individual mandate no doubt increased the premiums paid to private companies. The ACA is neoliberalism in action.
It is an act of privatization, which is in the opposite direction of the “socialism” label the Obama and Obamacare have been tagged with.
None of that matters. What matters is the identity politics which the ACA carries as baggage. Might as well call it “Negro-care” now.
And when we apply this separation of identity and policy to Donald Trump, we can see how it affects our perspective of him. Ah ha! (there’s a moment)
There’s The State… and there’s the Legislature and Judiciary.
Louis XIV on his ah… unicorn
We see a split in function in the government of modern day England. There’s the monarchy, currently Queen Elizabeth (the something-th), who represents The State. England. She’s the Queen of England.
And there’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Here they are at some royal gala today as we speak:
And then there’s Parliament, represented by the Prime Minister, who right now is called Theresa May (we’ll spare you a pic of the old battle axe – whew!).
The point being, the Royal family represents the country as The State, while the PM does the actual legislation and running of the government in daily business.
If we look at America, right now Donald Trump is The State. Trump represents The Nation. He’s a symbol, just as the National Anthem is a symbol.
The Trumps are the royal family of grifters. However, Trump shows little interest in learning about or doing the actual administrative functions of government.
This is analogous to our identity and ideology split. Trump has no known ideology other than “Me.” Therefore, Trump’s supporters are in it for the identity. If Trump changes his mind 5 times in 3 days on a crucial issue, meh.
Trump’s understanding of the Three Branches of Government is rudimentary at best, which does not seem to matter to Trump or his supporters, so long as he gets to do his reality TV show in the White House without their interference.
Judges. Congressmen. Bah! They just get in the way of The State of Me, Myself, and I…
Trump is uber-rich. He’s rich, so America’s rich. He’s great, so America’s great. Trump is a symbol, just like the American flag. Which needs a hug.
And that’s how Trump gets so much mileage out of nationalism and patriotism. The Trumpets aren’t real clear on his policies, but they know he plays a white nationalist American hero on TV, and that’s good enough.
“L’État, c’est moi.” We love us some ‘Merica, and Trump is ‘Merica.
Identity politics. Trump is America when it’s great. He’s living the dream. Why Trump IS the American Dream!
Now let’s go back to our previously highlighted statements:
A) “The assumption your group is inherently more virtuous.”
B) “He’s not the first politician to do that sort of thing. I suspect his competition in the last election has been as untruthful, if not more so.”
C) “I am not of the feeling any of the improvement in the economy is attributable to Obama in any respect. I find that impossible to accept.”
D) “They don’t like you!”
How does all this tie together and bring it on home? Let’s ask cunning linguist George Lakoff!
Here is the short answer: All politics is moral. Supporting Trump – and gutting public resources in order to provide tax cuts for the wealthy – fits perfectly within the strict conservative moral worldview, which is hierarchical in nature. Voters don’t vote their self-interest. They vote their values.
If politics is inherently moral, and A) says our group is inherently more virtuous than your group, then what is our virtuous moral worldview?
The moral hierarchy. Here it is:
What Are Conservative Moral Values?
Political values tend to arise from the fact we all first are governed in our own families. The way your ideal family is governed is a model for the ideal form of government.
This is often a matter of how your real family is governed, though some people rebel and adopt an opposite ideal.
Conservative moral values arise from what I call the Strict Father Family.
In this family model, father knows best. He decides right and wrong. He has the ultimate authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, because what he says is right. It is right because he says so.
Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life they control.
In this moral worldview, it is his moral duty to punish his children painfully when they disobey. Harsh punishment is necessary to ensure they will obey him (do what is right), not just do what feels good.
Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong, and able to prosper in the external world.
What if they don’t prosper? That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty.
In this conservative view, the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving while the rich deserve their wealth.
Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility, not social responsibility. What you become is only up to you, not society. You are responsible for yourself, not for others.
The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and in a world ordered by nature, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate.
Why do conservatives love Trump (who harms them) and hate healthcare (which helps them)? It makes more sense when we consider the conservative moral hierarchy.
The Conservative Moral Hierarchy:
• God above Man
• Man above Nature
• The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak)
• The Rich above the Poor
• Employers above Employees
• Adults above Children
• Western culture above other cultures
• America above other countries
• Men above Women
• Whites above Wogs
• Christians above Non-Christians
• Straights above Gays
On the whole, conservative policies flow from the Strict Father worldview and this hierarchy.
Trump is an extreme Daddy case (he wants to be the ultimate strict father), though very much in line with conservative policies of the Republican party.
(Please bear in mind that many, if not most, conservatives are bi-conceptual, that is, “moderates” in that they have a strict father major worldview together with a nurturant minor worldview on some issues or other.
Those moderating issues vary from person to person. But in their major worldview, they fit the Strict Father pattern.)
“Bi-conceptual?” Oh boy. Forget the 57 flavors of gender pronouns. Call yourself “Wilma Twin Flames” if it makes you happy. No one cares.
We’re going with two for our purposes: there’s Liberals and there’s Conservatives.
Our Conservative Moral Hierarchy intentionally is set up as pairs of mutually exclusive dichotomies: Us and Them. Peanut butter & jelly. Or something.
Which brings us back to Duffy’s statement: B) “He’s not the first politician to do that sort of thing. I suspect his competition in the last election has been as untruthful, if not more so.”
Trump is off the hook. Get out of jail free card played. Why?
“His competition in the last election” was Hillary Clinton, who is female. No matter how often Trump tells lies and bullshits us, he can never be as bad as Hillary.
How can this statement be factually true?
It does not matter if this statement is factually true or not.
What matters is Trump makes the hierarchy right again: Men above Women and when the hierarchy is right again, then all is well (emotionally, if not factually). The statement is an expression of male dominance.
Yes. A man is always supposed to be in charge. A woman (any woman), such as Hillary Clinton, who doesn’t know her role upsets the natural order of things.
Because YOU want a woman in charge, and YOU are a Libitard, YOU are the real enemy.
Please note, in the real world, the attitudes people hold about women’s roles in society make much more of a spectrum than this false dichotomy would indicate.
This may range from extreme misogyny (women are reproductive sex slaves with no rights, see Saudi Arabia) to extreme female dominance (picture an Amazon society, you know, Wonder Woman).
In any case, America is about barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
I have talked with female Trump supporters. They aren’t self-flagellating misogynists.
However, they do feel it is a woman’s proper role to be good in bed and good at cooking. Raising the children. Let the man make the money and the rules.
Please note, in the real world, there is a functional aspect to conservative male/ female roles. It isn’t all terrible. If it was, this model would never have arisen in the first place.
Maybe calling yourself “Wilma Twin Flames” is perfection to your personal narcissistic sense of identity, just don’t expect anyone else to know what it means.
On the other hand, boy/ girl is simple. Simple is functional. Binary male/ female heterosexual roles. Everyone knows their role.
We are supposed to be “politically correct.” I get it. However, we are being real here rather than PC. So stuff it.
I’m not saying women shouldn’t be allowed to grow up to play professional football, but this Ogden guy is 6’9″ and weighs 350 pounds and can bench press a trailer park.
Which brings us to C) “I am not of the feeling any of the improvement in the economy is attributable to Obama in any respect. I find that impossible to accept.”
You know the drill: It’s THEIR fault! The “Libitards” let the black folks be president. We need a white man in the White House.
Hierarchy says: Whites above Wogs
Please note, “wogs” is a not-nice way of saying “people who are not white.”
There’s a reason Meghan Markle is pictured above. Is she white? Not white? I have no idea. Remember our spectrum. She isn’t as white as Harry, but then, not many people are.
Race is a social construct rather than something defined by biologists. Sex is defined by biologists. Testes and ovaries. Who qualifies as “black” and who is “white.” Can’t define that one.
“I find it impossible to accept/ respect Obama” is self explanatory. Of course, Trump made it a trifecta by adding the Kenyan Muslim part.
Hierarchy says: America above other countries AND Christians above Non-Christians.
Yes, there is a spectrum of views, some more racist than others. There’s no way I know of to defend this conservative view of race other than to say, it benefits white people financially at the expense of non-white people.
Why whites deserve these benefits is the question. If society says you are white, you may not bother to ask. If it says you are black, you sure as hell will.
Ummm… Vikings aren’t as well suited to live at the equator where it’s hot. Because sunburn. I dunno.
There’s melanin, the levels of which in people’s skin are an adaptation to the UV sun ray strength where they live. But race isn’t just about pigment, is it?
Lagertha is a fictional character. A Norwegian Viking woman who fights better and rules better than the majority of men. Everyone’s blood is red.
What else can we say? Racism is not a morally defensible position to take.
Is America a meritocracy?
Or is it ruled by the hierarchy?
The answer is some of both.
Which brings us to D) “They don’t like you!”
They won’t like you for pointing out merit isn’t really the only thing which determines the order of the hierarchy.
That said, Tump supporters are not monolithic. Not everyone is a racist or a misogynist. Some are just greedy.
I know Trump supporters who say they don’t listen to anything he says, but they are happy the stock market keeps going up. They say Trump makes them loads of money. Forget black and white. Their color’s green.
That’s all they care about. Sounds selfish. Because it is.
I also know Trump supporters who blame all the world’s problems on “libitards.” World would be conservative utopia if we got rid of the libitards. Addition by subtraction. Just ask Rush Limbaugh. He knows…
Here’s ahh…. Ellen “Degenerate.”
Hierarchy says – gay and female – shouldn’t make the big bucks. That’s for straight, white, Christian men.
Hierarchy says defend The Rich above the Poor AND Employers above Employees too.
Thing to grasp here is the majority of these Trumpets are interested in hypocrisy. Black and white answers.
Namely, proving “liberal snowflakes” are hypocrites, which makes the liberals very offended to hear about themselves, and melts the snowflakes. For example:
You like Ellen AND say CEOs are paid too much at the same time? That qualifies you as a snowflake liberal hypocrite (according to the guy who made this meme).
That’s how this works. Right/ wrong. No room for grey. Strawmen everywhere.
It isn’t college, folks. Might not even be high school. This is third grade. Nobody is too dumb to get how this political stuff works, but some people are too smart to get it.
When Hillary Clinton called these folks “Deplorables” and all Cerberus was unleashed from Hades, I didn’t get it.
Seems like Trump says worse than that every day on Twitter before breakfast. AmIRite?
It was a huge deal in part due to the fact Hillary is female and she stepped outside her assigned role in the hierarchy.
So back to what Duffy said. Please note, we are not picking on Duffy specifically. Never met the guy. Don’t care. Just using his statements as salient exemplars. Trying to use real statements rather than strawmen.
Duffy doesn’t deny Trump is a pig. What makes Trump different than Hillary or Obama is they are all pigs, but only Trump openly talks and acts as if he’s really a pig.
In other words, Trump is “keeping it real” while Hillary and Obama hide behind PC elite manners. They’re all crooks, but only Hillary and Obama are hypocrites about it. They’re worse. Much worse. Because hierarchy.
This tactic of pointing out Libitard hypocrisy to change the subject is called Whatabout-ism.
This makes Trump a WINNER!!! WINNER!!! Trump steak dinner!
When Trump says, “Drain the swamp!” he doesn’t actually mean get rid of all the Goldman-Sachs vampire squid.
What Trumpets really mean is “Get rid of all the Libitards!” Which explains why getting rid of Hillary was enough to camouflage the legion of Goldman-Sachs guys in his cabinet running Trump’s economy!
Identity. Not ideology.
This is about schadenfreude.
Trump is the Greatest Troll of All Time.
Makes ’em cry “liberal tears.”
High school. Yep. Revenge.
This is about making the liberals have TDS as revenge for conservatives having to live with Obama as president for a decade.
What does all of this mean? It means Trump is a symptom, not the cause, of what’s going on in America. His rise is a reaction to identity politics.
Which is why immigration is Trump’s bread and butter policy. Make America the Hierarchy Again by keeping immigrants out.
The bottom line being if Americans don’t want to be stuck with Trump for 8 years, run on policy.
Inequality. That’s it. The economy. Healthcare. Minimum wage. Free school. Help everyone. Including Caucasians. Including Americans.
“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If they are focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Hence, the candidate who runs against Trump in 2020 cannot campaign on identity politics. That’s what should have happened in 2016, but the Democratic party chose to rig their primary election for Hillary Clinton instead.
To answer our original question, the only way to get the Trumpets to turn on Trump is if he violates the hierarchy. If Trump turns out to be a female, a homosexual, a person of color… some identity which shows he is not supposed to be in charge. Something that is not natural. Trump has to go against the natural order of things. Prove he’s a hermaphrodite. Reverse bleach him like Michael Jackson but put melanin in instead of Oompa Loompa orange.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, anyone who wants to win in 2020 should do nothing to upset Lakoff’s hierarchy.
That’s the way to beat Trump. Run a white guy with policies on money people like.
Focus on the economy, not identity.
Who Supports Trump and Why
In the strict father family, father knows best. He knows right from wrong and has the ultimate authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, which is taken to be what is right. Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life that they are in charge of.
When his children disobey, it is his moral duty to punish them painfully enough so that, to avoid punishment, they will obey him (do what is right) and not just do what feels good. Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong, and able to prosper in the external world.
What if they don’t prosper?
That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. This reasoning shows up in conservative politics in which the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving, and the rich as deserving their wealth.
Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility not social responsibility. What you become is only up to you; society has nothing to do with it. You are responsible for yourself, not for others — who are responsible for themselves.
Winning and Insulting
As the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
In a world governed by personal responsibility and discipline, those who win deserve to win. Why does Donald Trump publicly insult other candidates and political leaders mercilessly?
Quite simply, because he knows he can win an onstage TV insult game. In strict conservative eyes, that makes him a formidable winning candidate who deserves to be a winning candidate. Electoral competition is seen as a battle. Insults that stick are seen as victories — deserved victories.
Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.
The Moral Hierarchy
The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate.
We see these tendencies in most of the Republican presidential candidates, as well as in Trump, and on the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy
Family-based moral worldviews run deep. Since people want to see themselves as doing right not wrong, moral worldviews tend to be part of self-definition — who you most deeply are. And thus your moral worldview defines for you what the world should be like. When it isn’t that way, one can become frustrated and angry.
Make no mistake, the frustrated and angry Americans who support Trump have turned to authoritarianism. That’s Trump. The authoritarian demagogue whose power is derived from the hierarchy. God determined the hierarchy.
The Divine Right of Kings
The hierarchy is identical to rank in the military. Chain of command. The General gives orders to the Privates.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Do the Privates question the wisdom of what the General has told them to do? No. They just do it, like Nike. The General might well be wrong. The Privates do what he says anyway, to the best of their ability, until they have either accomplished the mission or they are dead. That’s it. Binary.
Sacrifice. Highest honor one can have, right? Even if the mission is doomed, we sacrifice for our country. That’s the hierarchy. That’s authoritarian. Everyone knows their rank. Discipline. Hard work. Courage.
There’s law & order in the hierarchy. God made it for a reason. It’s comforting. It’s stable. And if you mess with it, D) “They won’t like you!”