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Old 11-23-2019, 07:01 AM
Kitsune9tails Kitsune9tails is offline
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Default Donald Trump is Iron Man

The following is an opinion.

Donald Trump is Iron Man. The Democrats could use a Captain America.

I have been doing some research, conversing with avowed Trump voters. I have been making an honest attempt to understand what kind of hero they see in him. My conclusion, thus far, is this: not only is Trump (at least superficially) a “genius, playboy, philanthropist” with access to the best technology and an avowed patriot, he has given many of the downtrodden of America something they desperately need: not a hero, but an enemy.

The desperate South Americans lying on concrete in improperly ventilated prisons on the border, with no clear plan for where they will be sent or when, separated from their children, guilty of only a misdemeanor: they are framed as alien invaders. Their torture and even their deaths become excusable, because Trump is framed as Iron Man, standing against an enemy.

But the important bit of this narrative is not so much Trump himself: it is the enemy. The enemy is framed as the source of all of our problems. They are taking jobs away from Americans (never mind that the jobs are being given away by HR managers and CEOs), they are committing crimes (never mind that roughly 8% of immigrants have criminal records, as opposed to 30% of US citizens). The reason the enemy is so important is as follows: the narrative we have been taught by Hollywood is that once the hero defeats the enemy in the big showdown, all of the minions go away. All of the problems are solved. Then you get your happily ever after.

In the last few months, with the “Southern Border invasion” out of the news, Trump has made his enemies “our” enemies: the Democrats. Now the narrative says that the showdown will be the next election. That will be the big fight with the Big Evil Democrat, whether that face is Biden or Warren or Sanders or Yang. Hollywood and the NFL has taught us that you just back your team, no matter what, and somehow that causes them to win. Then the opposite team just… goes away. You throw a party, then you get to have fun until next time.

I have spoken with many people who say that a Civil War is coming after the next election. Some seem to think that if Trump loses, the Right will rise up to keep him in office. Others seem to believe that if Trump wins, the Left will rise up to unseat him. None seem to understand that if that were true, they would be facing 100 million Americans, brother against brother. Few seem to comprehend that attacking Democrats for being Democrats is out and out domestic terrorism. It’s okay to kill people if they are bad people, right? Both sides seem to think that once the election is settled, the opposite side will settle into sullen silence, and stop pushing for what they want.


The Democrats fumbled the ball with Russia, wasting a packaged opportunity to unite America against their old enemy. Now they are trying to cast Trump himself as the enemy, the villain. That is not going to fly with 20% of the country; not because they are evil racists, just because they have picked their team and they are going to stick with them until the end, or until the evidence is so massive they cannot deny it. Until the magnitude of the crime is revealed to be something they cannot excuse ‘just this once’. Iron Man can make mistakes, he can be an asshole. Because he’s Iron Man, and at the end of the day, he’s still a good guy.

What the Democrats need is a Captain America. Someone who is unequivocally a good guy. Someone who can stand up against Iron Man and punch him in the face and not lose the good will of the audience. Someone who looks cool and has a superpower (an agenda, a set of policies, a plan) that everyone can get behind. Someone whose message is so clearly beneficial to the average American that even opponents can see that it is well-intentioned and plausible.

So long as this is good v evil, no one is going to budge. We have to change the narrative to ‘good guy rivals’. Batman v Superman. Iron Man v Captain America.

But in my opinion, the important bit here is that Trump voters can be understood. They are not Terminators. They can be reasoned with, they can be bargained with. But if you are giving them attitude for being Deplorables, or dismissing them as uneducated or even retarded, all you are going to do is put them more solidly behind Trump.

“Trump bad” is not going to save the country. To save the USA, we need a Captain America.
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2019, 08:36 PM
Dub Dub is offline
 
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Hey!

I just wanted to say congratulations on making the first political post in the forums, and my what a post it is too.

It's well written, thoughtful, and has much food for thought in it.

I think sometimes, especially with a blank community, people wait to feel it out and see what the nature of the community is going to be before they post. Oddly enough, if everyone does that, the nature of the community is a ghost town.

Thanks for stepping up and making such a bold, lengthy, and well written post to get us started.

I really appreciate it and I think others do too, even if they don't come right out and say it.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2019, 08:41 PM
Publius Publius is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune9tails View Post
The following is an opinion.
Your post is a pretty high standard to follow. I certainly hope that's not the expectation for all of us.

I think your points are sound and I at least see how you got there. I think you have a good message, even if comic book analogies maybe aren't the best way to convey a point to those that don't know who those characters are.

I don't want to try to rejoinder every grammatically robust sentence you wrote, nor could I if I wanted to.

It seemed like you had two main points:

1) Democrats need a better candidate; a person who is tough, strong, without controversy, and universally loved.

2) Donald Trump has true believers in his camp, and it's better to be nice to them than pick on them for their behavior.

If that's not correct let me know.

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I have been doing some research, conversing with avowed Trump voters. I have been making an honest attempt to understand what kind of hero they see in him.
What kind of research are you doing to get these answers?

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Hollywood and the NFL has taught us that you just back your team, no matter what, and somehow that causes them to win.
I agree that this is a major problem. Too many people are entrenched in an "us versus them" mentality and not enough are interested in actually making our society better. Large groups within our society are not interested in what's right or wrong, or even what will result in harm to ourselves in the long run.

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I have spoken with many people who say that a Civil War is coming after the next election.
This has been a phrase invoked for every event, president, shooting, or behavior that I can think of since I was old enough to recall such things. It is said often, and by a lot of people, for almost every event. It carries no weight any more for me to hear those words.

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Some seem to think that if Trump loses, the Right will rise up to keep him in office. Others seem to believe that if Trump wins, the Left will rise up to unseat him.
I always wonder about those that think those types of things about other US citizens. Not just in regards to "they'd start a civil war" but in terms of "because they want free stuff, because they hate Jesus, because they hate freedom" typed statements.

You know, the lies and insults used to attack people who can't be defeated through and honest evaluation of the merits of a case.

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...they [Trump supporters] are going to stick with [him] until the end, or until the evidence is so massive they cannot deny it.
I would say they'll stick with him beyond obvious and abundant evidence. I know two people today who are very close to me that swear up and down that "maybe Nixon did something a little bit shady, but nothing worse than any other President, and they really were just out to get him."

They're the same people that say Bill Clinton should be in jail for treason over Monica Lewinsky, and that Obama was born in Kenya.

For many, even a preponderance is not enough. They'll believe for the sake of believing.

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Until the magnitude of the crime is revealed to be something they cannot excuse ‘just this once’.
Exactly what what crime would that have to be? Many people won't even acknowledge that Obama didn't sell uranium to Iran. Trump once said, "I could shoot someone in the head on Fifth Avenue, and they'd still vote for me." Something to that effect anyway. He was right.

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What the Democrats need is... someone who is unequivocally a good guy.
Jimmy Carter didn't do very well. John Adams didn't either.

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But if you are giving them attitude for being Deplorables, or dismissing them as uneducated or even retarded, all you are going to do is put them more solidly behind Trump.
A lot of people would say they'll just continue to rally to Trump either way. A lot of people feel Republicans aren't doing what's right even when it's based on arguments supported by reason, evidence, morality, ethics, or even consequence. How would you answer someone that felt that way that wanted to know why you expected talking nicely to a "true believer" to do the trick when everything else had failed?

In summary:

A) Good guys don't do well as President.

B) What approach does work for getting an irrational, unreasonable person with nothing to lose and everything to gain to suddenly change tact?
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2019, 04:28 AM
Kitsune9tails Kitsune9tails is offline
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Thanks for reading my post! I will try to be succinct.

Quote:
It seemed like you had two main points:

1) Democrats need a better candidate; a person who is tough, strong, without controversy, and universally loved.

2) Donald Trump has true believers in his camp, and it's better to be nice to them than pick on them for their behavior.
1) I personally think the Democrats have a few candidates that qualify (no one is universally loved, but I get what you mean), but only 2 that both qualify AND whom I would like to see in the Oval.

2) It's more than belief; it's Faith. You don't beat Faith with antagonism.

But close enough for government work.

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What kind of research are you doing to get these answers?
I have been engaging with people online, in Trump supportive Facebook group and in personal discussions. Seems like nobody I know in the flesh is currently willing to admit to being a Trump supporter.

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You know, the lies and insults used to attack people who can't be defeated through and honest evaluation of the merits of a case.
So much of "the discourse" these days can be summed up as "I am going to use my perceived freedom of speech to try to get you to shut up".

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They'll believe for the sake of believing.
I say this as a devout Christian: such is the nature of Faith. It is by definition irrational.

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Exactly what what crime would that have to be? Many people won't even acknowledge that Obama didn't sell uranium to Iran. Trump once said, "I could shoot someone in the head on Fifth Avenue, and they'd still vote for me." Something to that effect anyway. He was right.
That's the thing; it varies from person to person (and hopefully from moment to moment). My pet definition of the word 'proof' is: 'evidence that I am willing to believe'. It's not the magnitude of the crime as much as it is the quality of the evidence. There are people who would believe that Trump did shoot someone on 5th Avenue if you just told them he had. There are others who would not believe it if they woke up in the hospital with a bullet wound.

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Jimmy Carter didn't do very well. John Adams didn't either.
All things considered, I'd say both of those people are doing very well right now. I think that if you could converse with both, they'd say they are very happy with how most people think of them... and also that they had lived much longer than they expected to!

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How would you answer someone that felt that way that wanted to know why you expected talking nicely to a "true believer" to do the trick when everything else had failed?
I'd say something like: "If you have tried 'everything else but' talking to them nicely, I think I see part of the problem. (also, it's not about expecting it to do the trick)"

Quote:
A) Good guys don't do well as President.

B) What approach does work for getting an irrational, unreasonable person with nothing to lose and everything to gain to suddenly change tact?
A: It doesn't matter whether good guys do well as President; a bad guy should never be President, full stop.

If they are a bad guy, they will be bad to you, and they will be bad to you with all the power of the President. That is unacceptable.

B: Your key term there is 'suddenly'. If they are the type of person to suddenly change tact, they will just as suddenly change back as soon as your back is turned. If you want to change the mind of any person, rational or not, you have to be prepared for an investment of time at least, and possibly work as well.

Based on my observations, here are some shortcuts:

Acknowledge that Democrats are bad when appropriate. This freaks them out, because they are so dialed into the 'my team no matter what' narrative. When you say, "Sure, if Hillary has committed a crime, she should be locked up. The same is true of Trump." that knocks down the idea that you are just playing irrationally for your own team.

Be polite and nice within reason. Literally hold up your hand to get a chance to speak rather than interrupting, don't use insults, obey the Golden Rule. Remember that from their perspective, you are the irrational person; that narrative cannot be broken down, only worn down.

Agree with them 3 times in a row without directly disagreeing in between (listen for points or partial points in their arguments that you can agree with, like "Trump is President"). This seems to be magic. It won't 'turn' them, but it seems to set off a bomb in their consciousness that causes them to see you as a person. Once they see you as a Person and not as an Enemy, the conversation can begin.

You don't reason with Enemies. You can only reason with People.

Hope this helps!
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2019, 02:31 PM
Publius Publius is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune9tails View Post
2) It's more than belief; it's Faith. You don't beat Faith with antagonism.
You don't beat it by humoring it either in my experience.

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Seems like nobody I know in the flesh is currently willing to admit to being a Trump supporter.
That's interesting. We could start an entire thread on why you think that is.

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So much of "the discourse" these days can be summed up as "I am going to use my perceived freedom of speech to try to get you to shut up".
Yes. So this could be a thread of its own as well. How we respond to those moments could have ripple effects.

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I say this as a devout Christian: such is the nature of Faith. It is by definition irrational.
Many significant thinkers would say that this is exactly why universal suffrage was not part of the original founding of democracy.

The inability of most people to be able or willing to identify, much less set aside, personal biases when making decisions. For nation states, this is a dangerous, even if short-lived, proposition. In all honesty, if not for our geography, the United States wouldn't have lasted 50 years. It also would not have hit the 100 year mark, and we certainly wouldn't be here today.

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My pet definition of the word 'proof' is: 'evidence that I am willing to believe'.
That's exactly part of the problem.

The veracity of a statement is not determined by the discomfort it creates.

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There are people who would believe that Trump did shoot someone on 5th Avenue if you just told them he had. There are others who would not believe it if they woke up in the hospital with a bullet wound.
And both of them are toxic to free nations, and should be treated as the threats to democracy that they are.

In reference to my statement that Jimmy Carter and John Adams were not good presidents you wrote that you think they'd both be proud of who they were and what they did. Maybe that's true, but the same can be said of Richard Nixon, Woodrow Wilson and Donald Trump.

They were all terrible presidents, though.

I do think kind and good people can become President and do a good job. I just think they certainly cannot be gentle and weak about it. They have to have a certain amount of pragmatic devotion to the bottom line that they're capable of, even if they prefer not to have to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune9tails
Quote:
Originally Posted by Publius
How would you answer someone that felt that way that wanted to know why you expected talking nicely to a "true believer" to do the trick when everything else had failed?
I'd say something like: "If you have tried 'everything else but' talking to them nicely, I think I see part of the problem.
I can't refute that. I suppose I was implying that an under-utilized option for people who refuse to be reasonable is to increase the personal consequence of their poor decision.

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(also, it's [talking to unreasonable people] not about expecting it to do the trick)"
Then what's it about? Why bother? What are you hoping to get out of such conversations if not to bring them around to reason and hopefully create a better society out of it?

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a bad guy should never be President, full stop.
Can't refute that either.

Maybe that's the problem. This should be a thread of its own.

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If they are a bad guy, they will be bad to you, and they will be bad to you with all the power of the President. That is unacceptable.
There is something in between a goody two-shoes and a mass murderer, though. We've had plenty of "not too nice but still not dictators" as president.

I asked:

Quote:
What approach does work for getting an irrational, unreasonable person with nothing to lose and everything to gain to suddenly change tact?
You replied:

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Your key term there is 'suddenly'.
It's not that key of a term. I just generally meant to get them to change their minds after a long and stubborn entrenchment of their stances.

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If they are the type of person to suddenly change tact, they will just as suddenly change back as soon as your back is turned.
I disagree. This implies that the person is being intentionally dishonest. If that's the case, no amount of any persuasive techniques is going to do any good and thus the question is moot.

I have often been very strong in my beliefs for a long period of time. However, when shown that I was mistaken, I immediately and irrevocably let go of my previously flawed beliefs, and did not return to them as soon as my inquisitor went away.

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If you want to change the mind of any person, rational or not, you have to be prepared for an investment of time at least, and possibly work as well.
I agree. I'm asking why you think your manner of work and time investment pays off better than any other.

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Based on my observations, here are some shortcuts:

Acknowledge that Democrats are bad when appropriate.
That's not a short cut to me. That's just being honest and reasonable. I don't think this should be a tool of persuasion, I think this should be a behavior based on ethics and integrity.

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Be polite and nice within reason.
What's within reason to you?

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Literally hold up your hand to get a chance to speak rather than interrupting, don't use insults, obey the Golden Rule.
I have done literally that exact thing. You and I should go talk to some people together. It doesn't work as well in my experience as you seem to think it will. Maybe we're talking to different people about different things, and maybe it's in different environments.

I almost universally find "true believers" to be unable to engage in normal speaking behaviors.

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Remember that from their perspective, you are the irrational person; that narrative cannot be broken down, only worn down.
It's not my fault that grown adults do not know what the word "rational" means. I am not perfectly rational, but I'm pretty rational. I really cannot help it if they have no grasp on reality.


Quote:
Agree with them 3 times in a row without directly disagreeing in between (listen for points or partial points in their arguments that you can agree with, like "Trump is President"). This seems to be magic.
That's funny. I was about to write "this sounds like a witch's spell" and then I read the "magic" part.

I agree as honestly as I can, and I disagree as honestly as I can. I am not willing to allow them to think I believe that Obama is Muslim just because that's the second thing they say.

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It won't 'turn' them, but it seems to set off a bomb in their consciousness that causes them to see you as a person.
Perhaps it causes them to see you as a dishonest person, who at first pretended to agree with them but is actually tricking them.

Or it could be that your sudden shift from ally to adversary causes them cognitive dissonance at which point they simply shut you off in their brain.

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Once they see you as a Person and not as an Enemy, the conversation can begin.
If I am standing in front of someone face to face, I can't really understand how agreeing with them the first three times they speak is not going to make me any more or less of a person to them.

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You don't reason with Enemies. You can only reason with People.
I disagree. In fact the people I have found to be most reasonable are the people that have gotten absolutely demolished by someone or something at some point in their lives, and had to honestly re-evaluate their understandings of reality.

Maybe being nice does that for some people. I'm not ruling it out. I definitely think a good ass kicking helps a person get into "let's actually solve this" mode though.

Quote:
Hope this helps!
I hope so too. Keep us updated on your experiences. you should start a thread on your interactions so we can hear how it goes.
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:41 PM
Kitsune9tails Kitsune9tails is offline
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Quote:
Then what's it about? Why bother? What are you hoping to get out of such conversations if not to bring them around to reason and hopefully create a better society out of it?
It is my intent; it is not my expectation.

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I disagree. This implies that the person is being intentionally dishonest. If that's the case, no amount of any persuasive techniques is going to do any good and thus the question is moot.

I have often been very strong in my beliefs for a long period of time. However, when shown that I was mistaken, I immediately and irrevocably let go of my previously flawed beliefs, and did not return to them as soon as my inquisitor went away.
I would be very surprised if a single instance of showing you that you were mistaken would cause you to let go of your beliefs, unless that belief were of something completely objective, like the final score of a football game. If the belief were of something to an extent subjective, like "Donald Trump is a good person", I would suspect your change of mind to require several instances of persuasion from multiple sources. I suppose it could be different if you have "deal breakers" (like 'no person who commits adultery is a good person' for example), but even then, you'd have to be convinced that the deal breaking activity took place, which might take more than one source.

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What's within reason to you?
If a person is getting to you emotionally, to the point of abuse, it might be time to end/exit the conversation/location as rudely as is necessary. If the person can apparently talk for hours or interrupts everything you say, it might be time rudely enforce rules of conversation. If the person is being loud and/or vulgar, some rudeness might be needed to get their intention. But generally, when someone is being asinine, I find it effective to repeat my question in the exact same tone of voice until they answer it. The more you can act like you actually did not hear/see their distractive rant, the better it works.

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Perhaps it causes them to see you as a dishonest person, who at first pretended to agree with them but is actually tricking them.

Or it could be that your sudden shift from ally to adversary causes them cognitive dissonance at which point they simply shut you off in their brain.
Maybe. Their opinion of me is none of my business.

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If I am standing in front of someone face to face, I can't really understand how agreeing with them the first three times they speak is not going to make me any more or less of a person to them.
It's not the first three times they speak per se. It is making sure to state your agreement the first three times you honestly can, without stating your disagreement in between. You can disagree as much as you want, just know that it seems to reset the 'counter'. Give it a try for science!

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I disagree. In fact the people I have found to be most reasonable are the people that have gotten absolutely demolished by someone or something at some point in their lives, and had to honestly re-evaluate their understandings of reality.

Maybe being nice does that for some people. I'm not ruling it out. I definitely think a good ass kicking helps a person get into "let's actually solve this" mode though.
Well yeah; people that have had their butts kicked and then reevaluated things usually no longer see you as an Enemy. They see you as People.

In my experience, 'a good ass kicking' is tough to pull off. Winning an argument and getting a person to actually reevaluate their position are two different things.

Being nice is just a different approach, and like anything else it will work better on some targets than others. It's an additional option, not a be all and end all.

How do your conversations with Trump supporters usually begin?
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:47 PM
Publius Publius is offline
 
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Quote:
How do your conversations with Trump supporters usually begin?
Let me be forthright and say that there are Democrats I am sorry I ever said a word to also.

My experiences with Trump supporters run the gamut.

They do tend toward the interrupting, give a speech, don't ask any questions, make baseless accusations, and fling conspiracy theories around kind of people. People who claim there was a child sex ring in a pizzeria, Sandy Hook was staged, and so on. They generally say all this garbage in one long-winded, incoherent stream of consciousness.

There are others though too. I've had conversations with a couple of Trump supporters I talked to that were at least capable of an honest exchange of ideas. I think that's not as common as it should be though. I mean they wouldn't concede honest points. They tried to tell me Obama wasn't an American. I was told once again that Benghazi was a cover-up and that we sold uranium to Iran. All of these things are thoroughly debunked slander, but the most reasonable conversations I have had with Trump supporters still included them, just without the interruptions, yelling, rambling, racial slurs and telling me to go do things I ought not do at a public place.

So they weren't really productive, but they weren't something you'd get kicked out of class in first grade for either.

I also spoke to reasonable conservatives; which is to say people who are more interested in conservative principals and defending conservative values than defending Donald Trump.

These people want to hear other sides, and I've enjoyed my conversations with them.

People who want to learn will ask as many questions as they give answers to. They make concessions when possible, they understate their case when they can. They argue, but they do it in the interest of learning. These conservatives are, in my experience, on the fence about Trump, at best. Why that's the case is a discussion we could have as well, but it's not part of the answer to your question.

You asked how my conversations with Trump supporters went. I've had the whole spectrum of conversations with people that were Trump supporters. It's just that the vast majority of those I would call "Trump supporters" as opposed to "conservatives" tend to be in the belligerent category.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:51 AM
Kitsune9tails Kitsune9tails is offline
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Fair enough. But how do your conversations with Trump supporters usually begin?

Who approaches who(m)? How does the subject of Trump support come up? Are people approaching you because of your bumper stickers? Are they drunk? Do they know you are not a Trump supporter before the conversation begins?
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:34 PM
Publius Publius is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune9tails View Post
Fair enough. But how do your conversations with Trump supporters usually begin?

Who approaches who(m)?
I am very extroverted. I don't usually initiate the conversation per se, but if someone near me makes a comment, I can easily turn it into banter that becomes a conversation.

An example might be if I am sitting near someone in a social environment such as a bar. We might not know each other, but we're all there in a social place. If the person sitting next to me makes a comment about something political, I might comment which turns into an invitation to speak.

Specifically a recent event happened like this:

The guy came in and sat down next to me at the bar. He said something to the bartender and followed it up with "not to be political."

He said it with some level of frustration in his voice, so I looked over and said, "Yeah, God forbid free citizens argue the merits of democracy in public."

And so it began.

That's usually how they start. I also appear to be a very conservative person, and I am in a very conservative part of town. Most people in this environment would presume I was a staunch Republican upon first meeting.


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How does the subject of Trump support come up?
Well, I usually start with how important it is to share ideas, they agree, and at some point they make a comment or raise a question. Despite my comments above, I make it a point to agree wherever it's possible for me to ethically do so. I also make very certain that I ask more questions than give statements.

I do my best to be the counter-part I want to have at the bar.

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Are people approaching you because of your bumper stickers?
No. I don't usually initiate political stuff. I don't wear hats or have any stickers on my car or belongings. All of my political stuff is at home.

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Are they drunk?
No. Not usually. The guy in the example I gave above had just walked in. I do have drunken political conversations though, because I believe in democracy. But I try to be careful when talking to new people, even drunk. I don't get belligerent except with trusted friends who know me well.


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Do they know you are not a Trump supporter before the conversation begins?
No. I look and act like a conservative, or so I have been told. I am a moderate, and I am actually probably more conservative than people who consider themselves conservative. What I mean by that is that conservatives will say that they believe in certain values. While I don't believe in as many of the values that they claim as they say they do, I actually fundamentally believe in them and act in the interest of those beliefs. In this way, I am probably much more conservative than the person who calls themselves one.

I am not a Trump supporter though.

I certainly do look like one. At times I can sound like a genuine conservative because some of my beliefs are genuinely and passionately conservative.

So to answer you directly, they might feel a bit betrayed to find out I do not think very highly of the President. There may be some shock, surprise and lashing out that happens there. But I don't think so, because I'm pretty forthright in my conversations.

Are you asking because you think it might be something in the way I approach people? How does this information help inform you? I'm curious.
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