In any loving relationship, the newness and mystery surrounding it can be overwhelming. It’s not just the chemical and emotional response to like-minded and/or physically attractive people that compels us to let the young-love-bug overtake us. It can happen with many things in life such as a new car, a new job, or even a new politician. After nine months with Donald Trump, many of his supporters are starting to wake up from the stupor brought on by the most uncanny Presidential candidate this country has ever known.
His vulnerabilities are showing. His policies are not just being questioned by the pundits. They’ve gone so far off the reservation that they’re being questioned by the apolitical. It doesn’t take a degree in political science to realize that pushing for nuclear proliferation is a bad idea. It doesn’t require a keen interest in geopolitics to understand that one cannot simply translate business success into foreign policy expertise. Lastly, it doesn’t take a nationwide audience for someone to determine that the border wall may be harder to build than Trump has proposed. We need a wall. We just can’t walk into it as a delusion. Ted Cruz’s wall has been planned for years and it must be allowed to become a reality.
Under normal circumstances, the facts surrounding Trump should be enough to wake up his supporters and have them jumping ship. Some are, but not nearly as many as one would believe if they didn’t know one important fact: his supporters are shielded. It’s almost cult-like, though people who call him a cult leader or his following a cult are oversimplifying and even degrading both Trump and his supporters. He isn’t running a cult. His popularity isn’t deep enough for that. He and his supporters are more like passionate activists without a singular calling through which to focus their outrage. Americans who are sick of illegal immigration have latched onto him. Racial isolationists which include both racists (bad) and nationalists (not necessarily bad but misguided) see him as their only hope. Authoritarians see him as their strongman. Economically downtrodden voters see his wealth and hear his words as symbols of prosperity.
In other words, there isn’t s singular issue that is compelling all of them. It’s diverse. It’s not a cult. It’s a belief that he can accomplish things in areas where standard politicians have failed miserably. That’s why his supporters love him. They aren’t trapped in a cult of personality. They’re shielded from the reality of his candidacy, nomination, and Presidency because they desperately want him to be what he pretends to be. There’s a difference and in this difference lies hope.
The hope is that following Donald Trump’s worst week since launching his campaign, some of his supporters have had their shields weakened. Some of them are starting to wonder if they were wrong all along. What if Trump isn’t the magic political bullet to fix everything in Washington DC? Some of them are starting to rethink Trump. This is the hope that conservatives must latch onto with one important understanding: be kind.
Everyone makes mistakes. As Trump implodes, it’s important for those in the #NeverTrump movement to shift from attacking outright to simply pointing out facts. There is enough stark reality about Trump to allow us to focus on those facts rather than insult. We don’t have to dog on his supporters or their candidate. We need to kindly spread the truth. That means sharing facts. It means communicating one-on-one. It means never spiking the football. It means reasoning with them even if they seem to be unreasonable.
There are going to be those dastardly fans who want nothing to do with the truth. That doesn’t mean we don’t share. In a way, it’s almost like sharing the Gospel. Whether it’s atheism or Trumpism, we must lovingly share with them the truth and give it the space it needs to work within them. They must choose. All we can do is share.
It’s hard for them to watch their candidate’s weaknesses getting exposed, particularly when they’ve been so adamantly supportive of him every step of the way. If we want to keep Hillary Clinton from the White House, it’s imperative that we educate Trump’s supporters rather than getting into insult wars. Kindness and reasoning must prevail.