If you’ve been paying close enough attention, you might’ve noticed it. There’s a gurgling strain of goodwill and outreach brewing among certain liberal Democrats during the final days of the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, there are more than a few leftists who are at least contemplating if not defending the notion of finding common ground with The Deplorables — Trump voters. It’s a confounding turn of events, especially knowing that the election isn’t over.
There are at least two recognizable sources of this concept, but the positive reaction to each of the A-list purveyors indicates that they’re not alone. Michael Moore’s latest one-man show, “Michael Moore In Trumpland” is perhaps the loudest and most liberal platform for detente. The concept behind the event, now streaming online, was to invite Hillary voters, Trump voters and various minorities to Moore’s Clinton, Ohio stage show in an earnestly precious stab at convincing everyone to get along.
The other source is, as I covered on Monday, Saturday Night Live‘s “Black Jeopardy!” sketch, which evidently sought to illustrate how Trump voters and black women have a lot in common, except for, naturally, the racial hatred and resentment prevalent among the pro-Trump crowd. Writers like Slate‘s Jamelle Bouie and The Washington Post‘s Dan Zak each praised it as the best political sketch in years for revealing to viewers that Trump’s people, like Tom Hanks’ “Doug” character, and non-Trump people, namely two black women in the sketch, have much in common.
Back to Moore. It’s not shocking, really, that Moore would take a somewhat counterintuitive approach to an election. He notoriously pitched Ralph Nader in 2000, and during the 2016 primaries he supported Bernie Sanders. During the Summer, Moore stirred up a major shitstorm by declaring that Trump will be the next president, reasoning that Trump knows how to talk to The Deplorables, telling them exactly what they want to hear.
Today, Moore is telling us that Trump’s people have understandable grievances that we ought to acknowledge. He’s telling us about how they’re pissed about tariffs and healthcare and jobs being shipped overseas. I get it: Moore’s brand is to be “The Man of the People.” He’s more of a contrarian populist than a leftist, so even though it’s a frustrating and often an irritating position, it’s squarely in his wheelhouse. It’s predictably Michael Moore.
Sure, everyone has understandable grievances. It doesn’t mean that Trump voters are sensible and responsible people deserving of the benefit of the doubt. We all hate traffic; we all hate paying taxes; we all think our voices aren’t being heard by leadership; we all want more than we have; we all think presidential elections are too long. If we really want it, it’s easy to find common ground between you and the worst of the worst. But why the hell would we want to find common ground with people who are inconvincible and completely destructive in their choices — destructive to my life and yours? I’m sure there are sex offenders who get pissed off about long lines at the grocery store or, if they’re civic-minded, they might hate gerrymandering. That doesn’t mean they’re worthy recipients of an olive branch.
I’ll fully acknowledge that I have a deep and entrenched biases against Trump supporters. This includes the rednecks, the white suburbanites, the non-college educated laborers, the grandparents and various points between. Some are worse than others, of course. There are the racists, the woman-haters, the xenophobes, the Second Amendment Solutions people, and there are more than a few Trump people who simply want to watch the world burn. The thru-line that binds all of Trump’s demographic subgroups is that they believe this third-world dictator-in-waiting is worthy of being president — that he’ll “make America great again.” They’re ebulliently voting for candidate knowing that he’ll be a berzerker-in-chief, inciting havoc in everything he touches.
They’ve listened to his words just like you have. They’ve heard him discussing the possibility of using nuclear weapons; they’ve heard him threaten war in Iran; they’ve heard him threaten journalists with lawsuits and imprisonment; they’ve heard him parrot many of Alex Jones’ conspiratorial, exploitative gibberish; they’ve heard him accuse the first female nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, of not looking presidential because she’s a woman; they’ve heard him play games with our democratic process, disrespecting it unlike anyone who’s come before; they’ve heard him denigrate and insult POWs and war heroes; they’ve listened to all of it, and yet they’re more convinced than ever that he’d be a great president. Worse, they’ve cheered for and repeated every last word of it.
They’re completely deranged.
All told, they’re willing to let millions upon millions of people die or lapse into poverty by electing the most dangerous candidate to ever make it this far. They’re willing to sacrifice our democratic way of life without fully understanding the long term damage to the republic he’s already manufactured.
We’re supposed to seek communion with these horrible people?
This isn’t just about racism or misogyny. This is about 40 percent of the voting public believing, in some cases as a matter of providence, that this unapologetically malevolent circus peanut, with all of his childish outbursts and catastrophically unpredictable psychoses, is the most qualified American to hold the office. It’s a staggeringly bizarre point-of-view revealing a deep sickness among nearly half of all voters. It represents a willingness to hubristically embrace ignorance, incompetence and lies as political dogma. And knowing how many Americans and non-Americans alike will be irreparably harmed by the votes of these Trump supporters with whom we’re supposed to find common ground, it’s impossible to see any other course of action beside vigorously marginalizing them while working with reasonable members of both sides to return the process to the grown-ups.
Knowing what we know about Trump voters, there’s no indication that they’re willing to accept or reciprocate the outreach. It’s wasted time. It’s fighting that alt-right Twitter troll with the egg avatar and “Deplorable” in their handle. They’re irredeemable, and they don’t deserve your sympathy, especially knowing how they clearly don’t give a shit that you’ll lose your healthcare, or that you’ll be forced to birth your rapist’s baby. They don’t care that your sons and daughters will be sent to fight an overseas war because the Shah of Whatever insulted Trump’s tiny fingers. They don’t care that merely by supporting Trump they’ve done severe damage to the rules and traditions that bind our constitutional system together.
Some people are simply unworthy and disqualified from being taken seriously. It’s both surprising and not surprising at all that certain lefties in the media and elsewhere believe they should be.
Yes, there’s absolutely an opportunity to work with Republicans. The ones to look for probably have #NeverTrump in their social media profiles. The anti-Trump conservatives include Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, Tom Nichols, Nicolle Wallace, Mike Murphy and, yes, Mitt Romney. (More here.) If you’re motivated to reach out to Republicans, seek out these names. I assure you, you may not agree on policy, but the common ground here is far more vast than any common ground you might have with Trump voters, beginning with the obvious idea that we all believe Trump is an existential threat to peace, stability and representative democracy. They get that the system is robust, but they also get that it can too easily be wrecked by nefarious mad men like Trump. Outreach to the reasonable Republicans shouldn’t simply be preferred, it should be mandatory, if for no other reason than to join forces to collectively reverse the damage wrought by Trump and his Deplorables.