And I listened. Those within the viewers who supported Mr. Trump got here up to me and warranted me they weren’t racist. They usually mentioned they’d loved the discuss, if not my politics. Still, not one informed me they’d wavered of their assist for him. Instead, they repeated conspiracy theories and Fox News speaking factors about “crooked Hillary.” Others made feedback like: “You’re a good, moderate Muslim. How come others aren’t like you?”
In Ohio, I spent 90 minutes on a drive to the airport with a retired Trump supporter. We had been cordial to one another, we made jokes and we shared tales about our households. But neither of us modified our outlook. “They’ll never take my guns. Ever,” he informed me, explaining that his Facebook feed was stuffed with articles about how Mrs. Clinton and Democrats would kill the Second Amendment and steal his weapons. Although he didn’t like a few of Mr. Trump’s “tone” and feedback, he didn’t imagine he was a racist “in his heart.” I’m not a heart specialist, so I wasn’t certified to problem that.
In 2017, I was invited by the Aspen Institute — which hosts a competition identified for attracting the rich and highly effective — to focus on racism in America. At a personal dinner after the occasion, I was launched to a donor who I realized was a Trump supporter. As quickly as I mentioned “white privilege,” she started capturing me passive-aggressive quips in regards to the virtues of meritocracy and onerous work. She really useful I learn “Hillbilly Elegy” — the best-selling ebook that has been criticized by these dwelling in Appalachia as glorified poverty porn selling simplistic stereotypes a few numerous area.
I’ve even tried and failed to have productive conversations with Muslims who voted for Mr. Trump. Some love him for the tax cuts. Others pay attention solely to Fox News, say “both sides” are the identical, or imagine he hasn’t bombed Muslim international locations. (They’re improper.) Many imagine they’re the “good immigrants,” as they chase whiteness and run away from Blackness, all the best way to the suburbs. I can’t make folks notice they’ve Black and brown pores and skin and can by no means be accepted as white.
I did my half. What was my reward? Listening to Mr. Trump’s base chant, “Send her back!” in reference to Representative Ilhan Omar, a Black Muslim lady, who got here to America as a refugee. I noticed the Republican Party remodel the McCloskeys into victims, though the rich St. Louis couple illegally brandished firearms towards peaceable B.L.M. protesters. Their bellicosity was rewarded with a prime-time slot on the Republican National Convention, the place they warned about “chaos” within the suburbs being invaded by folks of coloration. Their speech would have match nicely in “The Birth of a Nation.”
We can’t assist individuals who refuse to assist themselves. Mr. Trump is an extension of their id, their tradition, their values, their greed. He is their defender and savior. He is their blunt instrument. He is their damaging drug of alternative.
Don’t waste your time reaching out to Trump voters as I did. Instead, make investments your time organizing your neighborhood, registering new voters and supporting candidates who mirror progressive values that uplift everybody, not simply those that put on MAGA hats, in native and state elections. Work additionally to defend Americans towards lies and conspiracy theories churned out by the right-wing media and political ecosystem. One step could be to proceed pressuring social media giants like Twitter and Facebook to deplatform hatemongers, akin to Steve Bannon, and censor disinformation. It’s not sufficient, nevertheless it’s a begin.