Do you know anyone who’s planning to vote for Donald Trump?
I know the late film critic Pauline Kael never actually said she didn’t know anyone in her social circle who voted for Richard Nixon, but what was false for Kael is true for me: I do not know of anyone in my social circle who intends to vote for the prejudiced Pope-basher who’s poised to win tonight’s Republican primary in South Carolina. Yet the reality of Trump’s broad support cannot be denied, nor can the prospect of him becoming the 45th President of the United States be gainsaid.
If you know a friend or family member who plans to vote for Trump, have you considered sitting down and having a heart-to-heart (or, I would argue, heart-to-heartless) talk with them? The point of this talk would not necessarily be to get them to change their minds, as the odds of such an event occurring are probably slim and none. The idea would be to sincerely ask them why they are so attracted to this man.
Is it because of his celebrity? Is it because they really think he can “make America great again”? Is it because he occasionally says accurate things about America’s history of bad trade deals? Is it because they think Trump will do something for the middle class? Is it because he’s not politically correct?
I doubt your pro-Trump friends or family members will acknowledge that the Republican frontrunner’s mendacious mutterings about minorities are what really attracts them to the former pro wrestling personality, so it will be up to you to bring that issue up. Ask them if they are bothered by the bigots in Boston who pledged allegiance to Trump after beating up a homeless Latino man. Ask them if they are troubled by the violent assault on an African-American man at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. Ask them to put themselves in the shoes of Muslim Republicans who are horrified by Trump’s religious intolerance.
Explain your fears to them. Make it clear why you’re so concerned about Trump becoming the next Commander-in-Chief. Point out that there is no objective standard by which Trump is qualified to be the President of the United States–and if they respond with anger, mockery, or insult, stop speaking to them. Permanently.
(As I write this, I think of my own fears about a Trump presidency, fears that quite literally keep me awake some nights. I’m troubled by the thought of young and impressionable men and women thinking that Trump’s behavior is something that should be emulated. I fear that a President who makes jokes about Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle will escalate the level of misogynist microaggression American women have to put up with on a daily basis. I’m scared that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees will make Antonin Scalia look like William Brennan. I worry that during a Trump administration, we will see the worst racial violence since the pre-civil rights era, with story after story of innocent Mexicans and Muslims being lynched in the night.)
I won’t ask you to “reason” with your pro-Trump friends and family members, as they are likely beyond reason. I will ask you to ask them if they sincerely believe Donald Trump is best suited to lead this great country into the next decade…and if they enthusiastically say yes, ask them just what in God’s name they are thinking.
UPDATE: More from Cenk Uygur.