Last week, former ABC News producer Emily Rooney discussed whether mainstream media entities have exaggerated the dynamic of Trump voters expressing buyer’s remorse. Assuming arguendo that the Fourth Estate has not overhyped this dynamic, it’s fair to ask whether Republican voters who feel betrayed by Trump–those who realize that a man surrounded by multimillionaires will never do a thing for the working and middle class, those who are horrified by his rhetorical assault on his own party, those who finally grasp that the man they voted for is nothing more than Putin’s plaything–are finally winning to consider alternate political routes.
We are often told that the Democratic Party has a moral obligation to “reach out” to disaffected Republican voters who feel that Trump has stabbed them in the back, the front and the side. Fair enough. However, don’t disaffected Republican voters have a moral obligation to “reach out” to Democrats?
Is it “coastal elitism” to demand these voters acknowledge the extent to which the GOP has lied to them all these decades?
Is it “cultural snobbery” to ask these voters why they blithely accepted as true 25 years of falsehoods about Hillary and Bill Clinton?
Is it “political correctness” to insist that these voters reconsider their view of the Democratic Party as anti-white, anti-Christian, anti-work, anti-border security, anti-troops, anti-men, anti-law enforcement, anti-life, anti-gun, anti-energy and anti-American?
Is it “liberal arrogance” to call upon these voters to stop pledging allegiance to Breitbart News and Bill O’Reilly?
Yes, it is wrong for Democrats to regard every Republican who voted for Trump as a crackpot who wants women back in the kitchen, the LGBTQ community back in the closet and African-Americans at the back of the bus. Yet it is also wrong for Republicans who voted for Trump, and who now regret their decision, to continue regarding the Democratic Party as the home of “welfare dependents,” “illegal aliens,” “secular humanists” and whatever inanity emanates from the mouth of Sean Hannity.
Republicans who voted for Trump often claim Democrats don’t listen to “middle America.” Now, will Republican voters who feel violated by Trump listen to Democrats–and reality? This was the point Rachel Maddow made after President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012:
[Obama] really was born in Hawaii…And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy…
And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us; it was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone`s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And U.N. election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.
Listen, last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole, because in this country, we have a two-party system in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions.
And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.
And the if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media [are] stuck a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing feasible ideas about real problems…
There are real problems in the world. There are real, knowable facts in the world. Let`s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let`s move on from there.
If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.
Trump is President in part because too many Republican voters decided years ago to declare war on both the Democratic Party and basic facts. Are these Americans willing to lay their weapons down, finally? If they refuse to, then it won’t be long until there is another Trump-type in the White House, one who will fail just as spectacularly as this one has, one that will be just as much of a national and international embarrassment. We’ll be right back into this sick, sad mess.
At some point, Republican voters disappointed by Trump have to face history and themselves, so to speak. Do they have the courage and integrity to do so?
I remain unconvinced.