We already know all there really is to know about Donald Trump. He has no bottom. A few of us knew that in 2016. There is truly no excuse for naivete after what we heard from him in the primary and general elections of 2016 and the nearly four years since.
So when Jeffrey Goldberg’s article on Trump’s attitude about American war heroes came out, the real question is not what this says about Trump. We already know who Trump is. The revelations in Goldberg’s article only confirm everything we saw and heard from Trump ever since he launched his political career by selling birtherism to the most racist and gullible people in America. (And even if you’re of the view that the Atlantic is an “anti-Trump” fake news site, Fox confirmed key parts of the story on Friday.)
The real question we should be asking is, what do these revelations say about Donald Trump’s most loyal followers? True, they could not have the benefit of hindsight we now enjoy. They could not have had their minds changed by things that had not yet happened in 2016. Trump didn’t worsen a pandemic, nor did he collapse the healthy economy he inherited. He and Melania (per Stephanie Winston-Wolkoff), hadn’t endorsed ripping babies from their parents’ arms and putting them in cages. Trump hadn’t looked the other way when we learned that Putin paid people to kill American soldiers.
Even if people knew he was a racist and voted for him anyway, it was conceivable that on some level some people who voted for Trump had souls – even if he proved over and over that he didn’t.
The real question of interest today is what the latest revelations about Donald Trump says about his remaining followers? If he thinks all people who joined the military are losers and suckers, that includes people who voted for him. We now know he said it, regardless of efforts to deny it. We heard him express these sentiments about the late Senator John McCain back in 2016.
In her book, Mary Trump recalled when Donald threatened to disown the junior Don if he enlisted in the military. We also know the Trump family’s draft dodging goes back to the first ancestor to arrive on American soil.
We learned this week that Trump has similar contempt for anyone who would do anything unless there is something in it for themselves. So any Trump supporter who ever loved someone without an eye on the bottom line is, in Trump’s mind, a sucker and a loser.
And while we’re at it, Trump believes perception is more important than reality. Therefore, a lie that’s believable is more important than the truth.
So, it should be no surprise if people who remain followers of Trump won’t care if he lies, what he lies about or how offensive those lies are.
That’s not merely my opinion, based as it is on my well-documented contempt for Donald Trump. It’s the primary conclusion of a study about the influence of fact checking on factual beliefs and candidate favorability.
Generally, whatever facts are presented to Trump’s followers makes no difference regarding their opinion of him. He wasn’t kidding when he said he could kill someone on 5th Avenue and he wouldn’t lose a single vote among his most dedicated followers.
Since Trump’s remaining followers don’t care if Trump lies, and don’t believe in anything other than what Trump tells them to believe, there is no point wasting valuable energy and resources appealing to them. You can point to facts and evidence until you are blue in the face and Trump’s most dedicated followers won’t care. That’s what brainwashing looks like. Nothing short of the sort of deprogramming that people who leave cults undergo will have any effect on them.
Thus, Trump’s remaining followers are part of the very real threat faced knowingly by most Americans, especially by the pro-America coalition of Biden Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans. It is a very real threat to democracy. Other advanced countries in Europe know this threat. They know how easy it is to revive this threat and how difficult it is to contain it. They also know that the pain and mass destruction take decades to repair and heal.
But America is facing this threat to its own democracy for the first time in its history.
We’re at a crossroads. We have a chance to prove American greatness by breaking the typical pattern that comes with people like Trump: they tend to win because good people stay home while the brainwashed intimidate and march and vote.
We can show American greatness by voting in whatever way we can. There are countless websites to tell you what you need to do. I’m recommending Marc Elias’s website, Democracy Docket and ,in particular, the article Four Ways to Safely Cast Your Ballot Without USPS Elias is the sharpest legal mind on election law I’ve seen over the years. We need resources like his expertise if we are to remain free.
The last thing anyone needs is four more years of Donald Trump.