So, it’s been a month, and progressives and Democrats have been hearing a constant refrain–that we need to reach out to Trump supporters, to try to understand the forgotten working-class base in the heartland of America which voted for him.
That is a very good point. We do need to do that if we want to win the next election. There is only one problem for me: I don’t really want to know or understand the Trump voters.
This is not the wisest attitude to have, and I guess it marks me as an elitist of some sort. But I don’t care. I don’t want to know why people continue to support Trump and overlook all the things he’s already said and done when it comes to women, immigrants and Muslims. When I recently visited a website where the deplorables gather to chat, I saw plenty of caricatures of yarmulkas and hooked noses, and references to Reichsfuhrer Trump. Blaming the Jews for your own economic woes is an age-old tradition. The Trumpsters clearly feel the need to scapegoat someone for their own miserable situation. What can I possibly say to them about that? How would I change their mind? I could suggest changes to the political and economic system which would make their life better, but these are the same people who thought Obama was a Marxist and the ACA was a government assault on their liberty–and frequently voted against their own health insurance coverage. What does one do when faced with such ignorance?
Not to mention that in order to reach out to the Trump voters, I would have to find them where they live. Thing is, I love my urban bubble. I have little interest in going too far beyond its protective shield. I’ve lived in the rural world before and I’m grateful to have escaped it. I have no desire to move to a place where my neighbors give me the side-eye just because I don’t attend the same church they do and behave in ways they don’t consider “normal.”
Again, this does not bode well as a political strategy. Democrats did get the popular vote in 2016, but the Democratic electorate is clustered in a few major metropolitan areas, mainly on the two coasts, and that’s not the way the American electoral system works. Hence the idea that progressives should transplant themselves to swing states. If only I could convince myself to be enthusiastic about a midwestern or southern swing state….
The progressive movement certainly needs ambassadors right now to take its message across the country. Unfortunately, I’m not that person. And I wonder how many of my fellow liberal bubble-dwellers are willing to do the difficult work of outreach. And if that work doesn’t get done, what will 2020 look like?