“How can you support such a vile man?” is pretty much what my relatives and old friends have been asking me of my support for the Trump presidency. Early on, I was against Trump, but I eventually turned to cast my vote for him, support him, and even appreciate him. This post explains how I came to such conclusions.
Demographically, I should be a Clinton-supporting democrat. I come from a family of liberal Minnesotans; I own a business that writes debate briefs for a left-leaning debate league; I’m a college graduate with a masters degree who (according to the only poll that turned out right on election night) was one of the only demographics that turned out to fully support Hillary. Besides, I’m a publisher of debate curriculum: shouldn’t I be smarter than this?
Truth be known, a year ago I was very close to consider going the #NeverTrump route. Though I’m a conservative, I’m a debater who values credibility and responsible governing. Trump was the most bombastic of all the Republican candidates. Comparing his policy claims with Hillary’s was like comparing a junior-high book report with a graduate thesis. Though I had fundamental disagreements with Hillary’s politics, I was having major problems with Trump as a person.
Didn’t you? Unless you’ve been living under a media-free rock somewhere, you probably have had legitimate issues with Trump.
Why, then, did I join half of America in supporting his presidency? On the surface, I have several reasons, and they all lead to a four-step test that helped me come to my conclusions on all sorts of issues. I believe they will help anyone, at least in understanding half the electorate.
Here are a few quick reasons, and I bet you can relate at least in part:
- First, association. What impressed me enough to overlook much of this was the people Trump surrounded himself with. I’m impressed with his children (Ivanka and Donald Junior are incredible). The presidential candidates who turned to support Trump—Carson and Rubio, in particular—were two of my favorites. I could not so easily write off respectable association.
- Second, support. The claims made about Trump’s racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc., were overplayed, and that bothered me. People who attempted to understand or research further the claims about Trump were quickly written off as stupid, even “deplorable” by the candidate herself.
- Finally, the truth. It became very, very clear in the end that the media was in the tank for Hillary Clinton. The level of criminality and deceit from Clinton paled in comparison with the gaffes and lack of articulation of Trump. In fact, the media’s wholehearted and unwavering dedication to ignore Clinton corruption made me question all that they were telling me to believe about Trump.
That was the kicker: The media’s deceit about a criminal made me question all that they claimed to be true about Trump.
If you are left wondering why Trump is president-elect, or why anyone would support such a vile man, I encourage you to walk through a four-step process that I did. Question the claims made by the media. Don’t just jump on their finger-pointing wagon and parrot their accusations to vilify Trump.
I do this with debaters all the time. Whenever a debater comes up with an idea, good debate coaching will challenge him or her to research both sides of that idea. It encourages an open mind and a resistance to judgmentalism or hasty generalization. Consider this four step process to deciphering the truth about Trump:
- My biggest problem with Trump: _________________
- The claim the media makes about this problem: ________________
- The response from Trump or alternative media: ______________
- My conclusion: ______________
This is similar to four-point refutation that debaters learn. (1) Identify the claim, (2) warrant the claim, (3) respond or consider the response to the claim, and (4) impact and conclude. Most of the media and anti-Trump folks get hung up on #3: they never seriously consider the rebuttal. They get so wound up with #1 or #2 that they can’t honestly stomach even the most reasonable response.
If you do this, something magical happens. Scales begin to drop from you eyes and you realize that you’ve been a sucker for someone else’s conclusion. You’ve been played. Everyone who has seriously walked through the list above has at least come to a different conclusion than the claim they started with. It is remarkable how this works, and I encourage everyone to do this.
It would really be something if the media would do the same. Perhaps next election won’t be so vicious.
I can’t publish this post without propping up an example. You will have to think of your own blanks, but let me share with you one of mine. It’s quite personal, but raw and real.
Trump’s Syrian refugee stance was (and still is) bigly for me. I believe the US should be taking in refugees just as we should have done when Jews were escaping Germany during WWII. If you want my perspective of this important issue—as well as my apparent un-Trump position—read Do as Americans Do: Accept Syrian Refugees.
So, walk through the process with me:
- My biggest problem with Trump: his call to shut down Syrian asylum.
- The claim the media makes about this problem: Trump wants to instill a racist policy that will keep Syrians out of America.
- The response from Trump or alternative media: This was a temporary response to a terrorist attack, not a permanent policy proposal, and his call was to keep potential terrorists out, not Syrians in totality.
- My conclusion: Trump proposed a reasonable and temporary national security safeguard, not a blanketed proposal to keep Syrians out of America.
See how this works? I cannot and will not continue the fallacious claim that Trump is a xenophobe who wants to keep all Muslims from entering the country. That’s not true. And the media’s continual attempt to “trump” that claim just reinforces my opinion that they’re propagandists who are purposely promoting their own agenda.
I would love to hear from you what your biggest problem with Trump is. I suspect you will find yourself warming up to the idea that (1) Trump has been smeared and (2) you have been led to believing the smear. The media has tried to shame him into being someone he has not, and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so. Do your part to make sure you’re not an accomplice to the shaming tactic.
On a more humorous note, perhaps you caught my link above to “bigly.” The media had a hay day when Trump used the word in the debate. They attempted to smear him as an uneducated, stupid man who used a ridiculous, made-up word like “bigly.”
But “bigly” is a word. I went through the four-step process above. I looked it up. While the media had a conniption over the usage, it was just one more reason in my mind to suspect their manipulative and corrupt attempt to get their chosen candidate into office.
And that is, arguably, the much bigger problem with the 2016 election. Wikileaks showed intentional and unethical collaboration between the media and the democratic party. CNN reporters fed Hillary debate questions and asked the DNC what they should ask Donald Trump during the debates. Rather than being the 4th branch of government to resist the status quo, the media was a water-carrying propagandist attempting to sway the electorate.
But, I digress. That’s all behind us as an American people. It was relieving to see most people saw through the media’s fallacious reasoning. Which is why we pulled the lever for Donald J. Trump.