Can Empathy Bridge This Divide?

In the weeks following the election, the supporters of the candidate who lost the election (but won the popular vote) were treated to a whole series of lectures about their need to empathize with the supporters of the candidate who won. That always struck me as the opposite of what happened after the 2008 election. But that’s simply a casual observation.

Today, Daniel Dale (the Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star) is on the streets of DC interviewing Americans who support the president-elect enough to travel to his inauguration. Specifically, he’s asking them what they like about Trump. I have to admit, I’m frankly blown away by their answers.

You can see more examples on Dale’s Twitter feed.

These look like really nice people. But I seem to live in a completely different reality than the the one they inhabit, and have no idea how they reached these conclusions about Donald Trump that are the opposite of what I believe to be true. This goes way beyond political differences on policy issues to something much more fundamental about how we perceive the world. I’m not sure that even empathy can bridge that divide.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.