Tom Daley
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What's in the Mind of a Trump Voter?

What's Inside the Mind of a Trump Voter?

After the Republican convention was over I was trying to decide what I was going to write about it, because there was a lot left on the floor of that arena that was ripe for the pickings. You had the plagiarism, the intellectual dishonesty, the blatant racism, you had billionaire gay people whitewashing Republican LGBT issues. There was the witch hunt of Chris Christie, the bizarre near-Nazi salute of Laura Ingraham, and the giant middle finger Ted Cruz gave to Trump.  It was a veritable buffet of craziness, fascistic undertones, and general awfulness. Where does one start when trying to digest it all without getting a bad case of the runs? Which is ironic because the whole convention was a giant pile of [deleted]. My editor told me he wanted me to try to summarize it by trying to explain how a rational person could still support Trump after all of that. Well, there we go. There’s my topic. How does a rational person still support Trump after everything he has said?

Easy. They’re not rational. That’s one of the greatest mistakes people always seem to make when it comes to not just politics but life. People are not rational, far from it. We are emotional, unstable, frantic lunatics one crappy day away from being locked away and shot so full of antipsychotics we leave a trail of drool behind us everywhere we go. Oh, I know you think you’re a rational person. You’re not. You’re just as driven by flights of fancy, emotional reactions, and inexplicable beliefs as everybody you think you’re better than. Most of the time you think you’re better than someone, you’re being irrational.

Trump voters for the most part are not the evil demons people think they are. “But did you see what this guy on Twitter said?” you might be asking. Lemme just put this out there right now. Twitter is pretty much where people go to scream louder and more insanely than other people so they can get attention. Those likes and faves you get on there are the digital equivalent of a rat hitting a lever to get a pellet. The more you get attention the harder you hit that lever. Let’s toss social media out the window (where it belongs quite often), and talk rationally for a second about who these people are. There are those Trump fans, like David Duke, who really are racist bigots. Not that casual bigotry like your Aunt Becky manages to ruin holidays and weddings with, but legitimate hood-wearing, cross-burning, and church bombing bigots. These people suck. They’re not exactly going to have an epiphany about how awful Trump is with a strongly worded op-ed and some PolitiFact articles. However, these people aren’t the majority of Trump supporters; yeah, they’re the loudest and most frightening, but they aren’t the majority. 

You have that next class of people you could call the Mitläufer. It’s a German word which means, “with-runner.” Yes, it does refer to Nazi Germany, but don’t think I’m comparing Trump to Hitler. It’s an insult to Hitler. Hitler was at least able to deliver a coherent speech, and his taste in decor wasn’t nearly as gaudy. These are those mostly those political types who recognized their best days are behind them. The Chris Christies, the Rudy Giulianis. These people have gone from being relatively moderate conservatives, who just a few months ago hated the man, to now sucking up to him. Even though they got along great with Hillary at one time, now they’re ready to stone her. Why? There’s money and power in it for them. There. It’s that simple. What do personal principles and values matter when there are political offices to be gained?

Finally we have that broad spectrum of Trump supporter; the fearful, angry, and ignorant. Fear is a hell of a drug. Fear and uncertainty can make you do all sorts of crazy things. People think the economy is doing terribly, but it’s doing actually quite fine. If you ask many of them, they’ll tell you we’re days away from rape gangs roving the streets, coming for their children, but in reality crime is at its lowest in decades. At any given moment, they’ll swear you’ll be blown up by a terrorist when you’re more likely to be killed by your dresser. (Why won’t Obama use the term "Radical Ikea"? Clinton is weak on the threat from bookshelves!) They think hordes of brown people are streaming over the border, coming for their construction, nanny, and agricultural jobs. They're not. But that doesn’t matter. When you have been told all your life there are bogeymen under the bed, you’re always going to be afraid of what’s under the bed (it’s just dust bunnies and your missing socks). One of my favorite comedians figured this out 25 years ago. Not just Trump but lots of people play on fear and anxiety to get what they want. Every huckster selling you emotional snake oil is out to convince you that your life will be better if you just listen to them and give them what they want. Money, power, attention. It’s all the same to these folks. Just keep being afraid that you’re going to be raped in the bathroom by roving gangs of transgender black Mexican Muslims if you don’t vote for them and they’re happy.

Now, don’t think that you’re above this either. I’ve seen far too many LGBTQ people be convinced that every person who goes to church is about to burn them at the stake. Too many leftists think that somehow this time their "revolution" will be cheered by the masses and be a bloodless and harmless affair. That somehow it’s a vast conspiracy that their movement isn’t gaining traction (maybe it’s just a crappy movement or you’re selling it wrong?). You’re told that someone will make all your crushing student loans go away and you fall in love with them, but their plan is not thought out. Think about all the times you’ve bought into the latest fads and philosophies because you didn’t stop for a second and think, Wow, that’s a load of crap.

Not only is Trump a product of our media-obsessed, anxiety-driven society, cracking at the overstressed fault lines we’ve ignored for far too long, but so are his voters. You can only be bombarded with images of crime, poverty, and war thrown at you to gain page clicks and ad revenue so long before you start to buy into it. When you’re already not happy, it’s easy for someone to come along and toss gasoline in that smoldering angst to get you fired up into a frenzy. Think of all those people you’ve known for years, both on the left and right, who seemed like rational, level-headed people who apparently have gone poop-flinging crazy this election year. Sure, there are a lot of problems in our country that desperately need fixing, from income disparity to lack of equal rights, and they’ve festered for years. Our government is broken and things seem pretty rough, but if you read even a middle-school history textbook you’ll see that we’ve always been like that and hell, we’re doing better than we ever have been in a lot of things. It’s just that when you have a society that’s been whipped into a frenzy of frustration and anger, you’ll have those faith healers and hucksters coming along to soothe your fears with a little tonic. Sure, it’s mostly alcohol and opium like the last the last dozen health tonics, but you’re desperate enough that you hope this one will work… this time.

kerrix100
                 

AMANDA KERRI is an activist and comedian based in Oklahoma City. Follow her on Twitter at @eternalkerri.

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