The main thrust of this piece, as of this whole series, is an idea that will be familiar to some readers here on Blue Virginia. That’s because I’ve advocated for it here previously, but never so systematically as now.
When I’ve advanced this general idea previously, I have also encountered a variety of objections and counter-arguments that have greatly influenced how I am presenting the case in this series.
I am hopeful that anyone who has previously dismissed my proposed “Neglected, Essential Component of an Effective Anti-Trump Strategy” will stick with the argument as it unfolds in the subsequent entries, as they may find that –as developed in the course of this series — the case is persuasive.
For those who want to explore that argument altogether now, and not just wait for the installments to be presented here in sequence, the series’ first eight installments can be found here:
- # 1 Press the Battle: Launching a New Series on How Liberal America Might Best Combat the Force that Gave Us Trump
- # 2 The Neglected, Essential Component of an Effective Anti-Trump Strategy
- # 3 Mueller’s Investigation Plus a Big “Blue Wave” Will Not Suffice
- # 4 The Liberal Failure to Be Their Brothers’ Keeper
- # 5 Forfeiting Battles that Needed to Be Fought
- # 6 American Liberalism’s Telling Blind Spot
- # 7 The Role of the 37% in the Adverse Shift in the Balance Between Good and Evil in America
- # 8 How Might We Go After Trump’s 37%?
Here now is the 2nd entry of the series.
In the first installment of this series, I claimed that
- the force of brokenness taking over the conservative part of the American body politic has been visible for a while
- yet many people remained complacent while that force gained in power
- now, with the rise of Trump to the presidency, millions of people are at last awakened to the danger and becoming activated
- it has become possible for the force of wholeness to regain much that it has lately lost of its ability to shape the destiny of America.
But, I concluded, “an important component of a wise strategy is being neglected.. And it will be the central purpose of this series to advocate for the adoption of that neglected but essential part of an overall strategy.
Here in this installment I will provide an initial presentation of that neglected part of what should be the strategy for defending America from the force of brokenness that has grown so strong that it could elevate a man like Donald Trump to the presidency.
That piece of an overall battle plan that I will put forward rests on this logic:
1) It could not be more obvious that Donald Trump’s being President is dangerous for America, and for the survival of the American democratic system. (This is a case that probably hardly needs to be argued, but it is one that I have made in spades –as have many others — in numerous articles.)
2) It is therefore absolutely urgent that the battle be fought and won to take power away from Trump.
3) Essential to Trump’s power — thus to his ability to damage the nation — is what I’m calling “Trump’s 37%,” i.e. that roughly a third of the electorate that continues to approve of Trump. For if Trump did not have their backing, he would not have the leverage to intimidate the Republicans in Congress to do his bidding. And without their support, Trump would not have the ability — if removed from the Presidency — to avenge himself on the nation.
4) It follows from those points that an essential part over the overall battle to protect the nation and save American democracy must be to try to strip away from Trump (and from his enablers in what has become the Trump Party) as much as possible of that support.
Nonetheless, Liberal America has shown no interest in taking on that task. Not only is there no great effort on the part of the anti-Trump forces to reach/engage/confront/persuade the Trump supporters. (As far as I know, I am the only liberal pundit who deliberately and consistently has addressed the citizens on the other side of the divide.) But also, when I’ve proposed such an effort to liberal readerships, I hear only resistance to the idea.
Some reasons for this resistance have real merit (though not enough merit to justify leaving these people so thoroughly to their deceivers and manipulators). But, as I will argue in coming installments of this series, I think much of the reason for liberals’ eschewing this mission lies in some of the same liberal failings that have contributed to our getting to this unthinkable place — with an unthinkable President — in the first place.
In the 8th installment of the “Better Human Story” series, titled “Prepare for the Best,” I described my practice of “swinging for the fences.” In other words, I describe how I undertake projects whose full potential success would actually change the course of things. But, at the same time, in view of the low probability of hitting such a home run, I design these undertakings so that they will at least have a good chance of hitting a single. Which means that the effort will still have been worthwhile.
In the present situation, the home run I’m swinging for will be to inspire enough people to take on this battle — to right what’s clearly gone wrong in the hearts and minds of that 37% who can witness Trump’s presidency and approve of what they see — that it might actually take on the quality of a social movement. (I.e. in the home-run scenario, we would see something that is at least in the direction of what has happened with respect to gun regulation in the wake of the massacre at the high school in Parkland, Florida.)
Or, to put it another way, the home run would be for the problematic state of thought and feeling in that roughly 1/3 of the American electorate to become a major issue, an major focus of the national conversation. These people — so long abandoned to the clutches of those who have poisoned their minds — should feel their cage rattled like they never yet have. For the truth — if it confronts them effectively enough — might ultimately set them free.
The guiding question for any such effort should be: How best can these people be brought into better contact with reality and with the better angels of their nature? (Those are the questions I’ve been wrestling with for years as I’ve sent messages to the conservatives through op/eds appearing in newspapers in my very red congressional district.)
The question of how “we” — individually and collectively — might move our benighted fellow citizens is one that a) I don’t claim to know any clear answer to, b) will be discussed later in the series, and, to be clear and reassuring c) does not mean that each of us individually would be confronting our Trump-supporting neighbors, family members, etc. individually– an approach whose costs might well exceed its benefits.
But my experience tells me there’s underbrush that needs to be cleared before many of my fellow liberals will take seriously the kind of campaign I’m calling for. Because many — apparently most — liberals do not recognize the need to go after the 37%, the next installment — “Mueller’s Investigation and a Big ‘Blue Wave’ Will Not Suffice” — will make what I believe is a compelling case for the proposition that addressing the problematic (dangerous, destructive, even in some ways crazy) state of most of the Republican base is an inescapable necessity.