The other day, our friend Brent Williams sent us a link to a Washington Post article, To beat President Trump, you have to learn to think like his supporters by Andres Miguel Rondó. In it, Rondó argues that “scandals will never defeat a populist,” and that all the obvious depravities of the Drumpf will never once trouble his supporters.
And, he continues, that is a serious problem for us…as Liberals, Leftists, Progressives, Sincere Conservatives, and all our lot…because we misunderstand the deplorables. We think that they, like us, will see a man obviously guilty of sexual indiscretions (“grab ‘em by the pussy”), financial irregularities, and even receiving aid and comfort from an enemy, and reject him. We think his supporters would drop him like a grenade with a loose pin.
But they won’t, says Rondó. They don’t see the world that way. They are not moved by little things like evidence. For them, the narrative remains the same. America is under siege by its enemies (Muslim terrorists, Communists, illegal immigrants, “the deep state,” n-words, and, of course, us…liberals, that is, and other foes of Drumpf). And, in their view, their Orange Headed Duce is heroically doing battle with those same foes (and with us). If we say that he is guilty of endless transgressions against law, the Constitution, and simple common sense…then they respond that we are lying. They will say that we are merely propagandists for the Enemy.
Thus, they are immune to us. They do not share our outrage. They feel no shame or disgust at the antics of their Master and Commander.
Indeed, if you really want to comprehend them, remember always that when they look at us they do not see other Americans, and maybe not even other People. They see…Orcs, perhaps. Orcs in the service of Saurman…who, in turn, is in league with the Black Tower.
If you understand that, then you understand them. And you understand why outrage is useless as a weapon.
Therefore, says Rondó, do not rely on scandal as a tool of statecraft…or at least, don’t expect it to do any work for you with your foes. Rather, we must instead take our fury, our outrage, and let it work with our friends.
The way, he says, that popular disgust with the overt racism and sexism of Roy Moore let to long lines at polling places…
And an unexpected blue triumph in the Reddest of all Red States.