Understanding Trump supporters, with empathy

Here’s a long and depressing article that makes just that point: The rise of American authoritarianism - Vox

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I don’t understand the “Trump better than Hillary” position, especially coming from Bernie supporters (of which I am one). I would vote for Richard F’ing Nixon over Trump, because even though he may have been a paranoid, power-mad weasel, he was also a politician and not a wildly erratic egomaniac. I’m pretty sure Hillary would be just more of the same we saw from Bill, where you could at least count on a certain degree of enlightened self-interest - I can’t imagine Hillary or Bill or even Richard Nixon doing anything out of a fit of pique that would seriously threaten the nation. Even Richard Nixon at his most petty and paranoid would have had serious qualms about blowing up the planet he was living on. I don’t think Trump would. That’s not how men like him think.

The thought of Trump having his finger on the button of the US’ nuclear arsenal should keep all sane people up at night.


Absolutely. Everyone I’ve talked to who likes him just waves off his crazy statements as “politicians saying anything to get elected” and says they’re thinking of voting for him because it’d be “fun” to have him in office. I think for some people, he’s very refreshing after eight years of the unflappable, smooth, geeky Obama.

Oh, I don’t trust the guy in any way. He’s a shifty goon no more trustworthy than a mob boss. This is a guy who contributed to Hillary Clinton and is now running against her. But for people who think politics and politicians are all a joke anyway, I can see how he’d be their choice. In all honesty, though, when faced with Trump vs Hillary, I think he’ll come in a close but solid second, enough to lose but to blow up the GOP in the process.


I agree that overall quality of programming is up. But for every Breaking Bad, you have 50 “House Flippers Extreme” or “Rednecks Doing Redneck Stuff” and who can forget “Bitchy and Dramatic People Forced to Interact - Zimbabwe Edition”.

And for every “legit” news outlet, which is at least half way unbiased, you have dozens of niche sites pandering to a base, flooding the internet with Click Bait articles.

My point is, sure it’s not all shit, but there is A LOT of shit out there, and there are A LOT of people just shoving that shit in as fast as they can make it.


…it’s like Bernie never existed already, is it?

Having one blowhard racist huckster as a candidate does not make a whole party (which has been kicking and screaming against it the whole time) “populist,” especially when that blowhard racist huckster is also a very wealthy man from a very wealthy family who maintains his wealth using arcane business practices enabled by the big government he wants to put to use in his own interests.

You may as well say that the GOP party is now the party of petulant nihilists and the Democrats are the party of hopeful alliance-builders. It would be roughly as correct.


The problem with that is, and keep in mind I am biased, the Republican rhetoric has been very racist feeling ever since Obama took office.

This from basically everyone in my family thinking that money is being personally taken from their pockets to ‘those bottom feeders.’ Never outright stated but always implied that race is a thing. Plus their promise of obstructing everything, shutting down the government over healthcare…

I have no love for either party, but the Republicans have, to me, made their bead with bigots and assholes. It’s time they lay in it and accept that is who and what they are instead of pretending.


The GOP have been doubling down on the southern strategy for years.

But now we have gone from the crack cocaine version of the southern strategy on to the meth version and are about to enter the krokodil version.

Let’s just hope this is rock bottom.


Part of what @hilzoy is explaining is that you reap what you sow; and it’s not just Republicans that need to fear the reaper. Anti-racist activists who routinely demonize and excoriate white people as a group - and treat anyone who protests with derision - should think hard about the lesson @hilzoy offers.


Remember back when you were a kid, before Gutenberg made his printing press, only really good books were made. Now anybody can make a book.

That pesky Doctorow sometimes publishes things himself. Just who does he think he is!‽


No, no… see, you choose your crazy coworker Joe to organize the office party because he’d make it “fun.” But those kinds of parties don’t include missile codes and potential genocide.


You’re right.

I think that label is coming from the observation that rural, uneducated, lower income voters are supporting Trump in disturbingly large numbers. Every time an interview with Trump supporters is talked about, people invariably comment about how stupid and/or racist the people are. Well, no shit.

There you go, beating up that straw man again. I hope you’re at least getting some exercise.


Uh - the fact being able to produce and publish books, videos, art, music etc being much easier isn’t the issue.


People are drawn to and entertained by inane, hollow media. Hey, it can be fun to turn off your brain and watch Gordon Ramsey yell at people for an hour. I confess I’ve done that.

My point is for anyone confused why this clown is popular at all, one just has to look at the massive amount of similar schlock consumed out there. You got a guy on stage entertaining you and reaffirming any cognitive biases you already had? Perfect! Or even if you don’t have them, it is at least interesting to see someone act like that in this day and age. He doesn’t sound like a politician at all. Maybe he’s not a politician! We need more of those because politicians suck!

People don’t want smart. People don’t want sophisticated. They want to be lied to. They want relatable and interesting. Oddly, the best people to lead aren’t in congress or running for President.


Obama tried empathy. His “clinging to their guns and religion” remark was an attempt at empathy.

How’d that work out?

That doesn’t really sound like empathy to me…

Um, no. Clowns are creepy, and highly untrustworthy. I think what’s going on is there’s a large segment of the population that is sorta realizing they’ve been getting pissed on instead of having wealth trickled-down to them, they know they voted for the schmucks who’ve been pissing on them, and now they want to watch the world burn. Plus racism. Lots, and lots of racism. Also, judging from an interview I saw last night with a Mexican-American immigrant citizen who supports Trump, a mixture of “fuck you, I got mine” and hard-core self-loathing. Nihilist is pretty damned close to the mark if I had to chose a single word to describe Trump supporters.


Some of the Trump-curious I know are also people who’re considering moving to states with no income tax. I’m guessing the Venn diagram of HATES TAXES and MIGHT VOTE TRUMP is one big circle.


Fuck off, we don’t want them.

(weird that Washington has the most regressive tax system in the country, but there you go)


And how we react to that shit and imho avoid using any of it as a shield whenever it may agree with our individual views is the key to re-introducing civility. Those sites offer seductive opinions and point-n-click soundbites to rally their readers and grow their advertising base.

Derision: late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin derisio(n-), from deridere ‘to scoff at.’

Ah, well, unfortunately Americans may get the president we deserve, rather than the one we need.