There was another round of primaries for the mid-term elections in several states yesterday, including the newly re-districted Pennsylvania. As the article in the Times notes, the Democrats are getting their hopes up that they can retake the House and even the Senate in the fall.
There’s a stream of thought going around that maybe one way to really win is to convince Trump voters that they got screwed over in 2016 and now it’s time to get off the crazy train. But I doubt that will actually work.
The problem, as Paul Waldman relates here, is that the Trump voters are so convinced that the Democrats and the mainstream media — which is every outlet other than Fox News and AM talk radio — look down on them from their ivory towers of elitism, and the only reason they’re showing them any respect at all is because they want their money and their votes. After all, that’s how the GOP elitists got them.
The assumption is that if Democrats simply choose to deploy this powerful tool of respect, then minds will be changed and votes will follow. This belief, widespread though it may be, is stunningly naive. It ignores decades of history and everything about our current political environment. There’s almost nothing more foolish Democrats could do than follow that advice.
Trying to convince a Trump voter that they’re wrong is like setting up a Yankees souvenir stand outside Fenway Park. You’re not going to get anywhere, and you’ll annoy them in the process; in fact, they’ll dig in even harder just to spite you. What would make it even worse is to try to convince them that you respect them but have different views: “agree to disagree, my friend.” That only tells them that you’re either patronizing them or worse, that you’re weak-willed and unwilling to fight for your cause at the same level that they are.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security over the stories that are popping up now about how some folks in Trump territory are finding out that they bought a pig in a poke. They are few in number and deep in the closet; they’ll show up at a MAGA rally just to keep up appearances, and when it comes to voting, they’ll stick with their brand.
So don’t bother to try to win them over. There are more Democrats in this country than Republicans and Hillary Clinton got 3 million more popular votes. We simply need to get them to turn out and vote.