If you’re a liberal, you might be following the latest election polls with a tiny bit of glee. After all, Donald Trump’s favorability ratings are plummeting. Here are some stats that were released just a few days ago:
- Amongst women: 58% have an unfavorable view of Trump.
- Amongst hispanics: 56% have an unfavorable view of Trump.
- Amongst blacks: 90% have an unfavorable view of Trump.
If you’re part of the Never-Trump movement, that’s great news, right?
Actually, no. As disastrous for Trump as these numbers seem to be, consider their flip side:
- Amongst women: 42% favorable or have no opinion.
- Amongst latinos: 44% favorable or have no opinion.
- Amongst blacks: 10% favorable or have no opinion.
You know what Trump has said towards women. You know how terrifying his proposed policies are for … well, anyone who isn’t white. Yet, according to these poll results, tens of millions of voters who stand to be the most oppressed by a Trump Presidency are quite possibly okay with it.
And that leads me to the misguided line of thinking so many liberals keep committing: that someone has to be a complete lunatic or a complete moron to even consider voting for Trump (that, or they’re a complete bigot).
If you hold to this belief, then I’m going to hold you at least partially to blame should Trump actually win the Presidency in November.
Because Brexit, that’s why.
See, you are committing the fallacy of overconfidence (and showing a lack of empathy, too, but I already mentioned that in my last post). You are failing to consider that, as dismal as Trump’s numbers appear to be, he still has millions of supporters of all backgrounds and ethnicities, and it is a statistical impossibility that they are all lunatics or morons (or even bigots).
You continue to shout into your left wing echo chamber, railing on and on about how racist or misogynistic he is, and how disastrous his policies would be. You continue to argue from the position that a vote for Trump is objectively terrible and must therefore have been made without any forethought.
Do you know what happens when you do that, though?
The people you call lunatics or morons become more firmly entrenched on the other side, and even more fixed in their support of Trump. Because that’s how the human psyche operates. If you insult, shame, condescend, or otherwise belittle someone, their instinctive response is to say “fuck you” and push themselves further away from you. Science has found that even attempting to change someone’s incorrect beliefs with verified facts is usually ineffective. Don’t believe me? Read this and this.
That’s why I was baffled when this post, wherein I confess that I’m only considering voting for Trump, was met with condescension and outright disdain. That’s why I continue to urge people to empathize with Trump supporters. That’s why I decided it was worth writing about this yet again. Because I keep seeing the same lack of understanding — or worse, an arrogant refusal to understand — all over social media.
Rather than belittle Trump supporters for what you perceive to be an insane vote, do your best (yeah, I know it won’t be easy) to put yourself in their shoes. There’s a debate exercise where you have to argue the polar opposite of what you personally believe. It’s supposed to be difficult, but it teaches you to consider your opponent’s reasoning — something so many Clinton supporters just can’t seem to do.
I promise you, though, it’s the only way to understand both the pro-Trump mindset and, more importantly, the reluctantly pro-Trump mindset. Because that’s the mindset that absolutely needs to be swayed come November.
The bottom line is this: You don’t win people over by telling them how wrong they are. You don’t win people over by assuming that they’re not thinking and arguing as though your way of thinking is the only way of thinking.
No, you win people over by being understanding, by being polite and gracious, and by demonstrating what it means to be open-minded and tolerant of people with differing beliefs. And only then can you show them how you get why they want to vote for Trump, but why voting for Clinton is still a better option.
As of yet, I’ve seen little of that from Clinton supporters — or at least, the most vocal ones. And that’s why I have this nagging fear that come November, we’re going to see the same mistakes the Remain camp made in the United Kingdom last week.