Liberals Must Leave Their Echo-Chamber And Cross Enemy Lines
There has been no shortage of think-pieces trying to pin Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump on one particular factor. This ranges from complex hypotheses about the effect of the now-infamous James Comey letter — to the simple “she’s a flawed candidate” explanation. While each holds some merit, the easiest answer is that the loss was a culmination of several different factors combined with some bad luck.
The question for Democrats and liberals now looking to the future is, how can such a failing be prevented moving forward? The answer is to leave the liberal echo chamber and enter the world of a Trump supporter.
In an effort to nip this in the bud, this is not the Bernie Sanders methodology of catering to the “white working class” voter. In fact, this argument isn’t even purely political, but social as well. Speaking politically, Democrats cannot leave their base behind in an effort to swing a Republican base unlikely to move. Speaking socially, liberals cannot simply write off 62 million Trump voters as racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, neanderthals.
The idea is to find a mix of the two, and spread the message more efficiently than simply screaming into our own echoes then patting each other on the back.
Speaking from personal experience, I am a former conservative Republican born and raised in a rural Central Pennsylvania county — a county that goes 70–80 percent Republican consistently in every election. Almost everyone I know from home is a hunter, most go to church or come from a religious family, own guns, and yes… drive pick-up trucks.
My family isn’t overly religious, but is conservative. My girlfriend’s family is both conservative and Catholic. So, very conservative.
The point I’m making is I hear from a lot of Trump supporters. It doesn’t always go so well, but I hear it.
What I have found is a lot of them are simply misinformed. I don’t mean that in a condescending way, or to imply that there’s less intelligence on the other side of the aisle. In fact, several very intelligent people I know, and respect, voted for Trump, but they did so on a lot of bad information.
Republicans seemingly get their news from only a couple different places: whatever is being passed around on Facebook and Fox News.
Facebook and the “Fake News” phenomenon of the past election cycle has been examined to death. Obviously, that’s a huge issue. However, without it, Fox News still exists as an enormous barrier between their conservative viewers, and getting a truer picture of what’s going on in the world.
If you turn on Fox News, you’re going to see Republicans and conservatives talking to each other. They might be yelling at each other if one dared take a step too close to the center. But for the most part, it’s just a lot of agreeing with one another.
Yes, President Obama was the worst.
Yes, the wall is a terrific idea.
You know the story.
That is the Republican echo-chamber. It’s cozy, it’s familiar, and it’s one most traditional conservatives don’t want to leave. But the plain truth is that it’s built on misinformation.
It hasn’t been at all uncommon for me to discover Trump voters, people close to me, who did not know what Obamacare actually was. They didn’t know that people with pre-existing conditions would not be able to get insurance if repealed. And those under the age of 26 were shocked to discover that they would lose their health insurance.
The wall? Some actually thought there was a chance Trump could get Mexico to pay for it. Imagine their surprise when told that there’s not a snowball’s chance in… Mexico. The same with the repeal of Dodd-Frank, the background of Trump’s cabinet picks, Trump’s own financial misgivings, ties to Russia. and on and on and on it goes.
Why didn’t they know any of this? Because Fox News isn’t going to tell them.
If Republicans on Fox News want to bash the Affordable Care Act, they can. There is no one there to challenge them. If they want to spread the falsehoods of the millions of illegal voters, who is going to tell them otherwise?
Conversely to Fox News, turn on the most liberal-leaning news network, MSNBC. Depending on the time of day, you might actually find a former Fox News host with her own show on the network. You will likely find a Republican mouthpiece playing agitator.
Flip over to CNN, you’ll find the same thing. They currently employ Rick Santorum, and actually gave former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski a paycheck for months during the campaign.
Even typically liberal comedy shows like The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher are invaded by people like Tomi Lahren, Grover Norquist, and Piers Morgan.
Now go back to Fox News. Where is the Democrat on Hannity to call him out on his lies about Obamacare? Where is the liberal on The O’Reilly Factor to tell Bill O’Reilly that the motion of the waves do not prove the existence of God or disprove the scientific notion of Global Warming?
They’re on MSNBC and CNN trying to play nice with the Republican agitators.
And there is the difference.
While liberals are either living in their own echo-chamber of the cities, or inviting Republicans and conservatives into their bubble to give the appearance of living in the middle, they’re giving Republicans a platform to spread their misinformation. Then, to compound the issue, they won’t denounce the agitator strongly enough and wind up giving credibility to the nonsense.
This is where liberals and Democrats must step up and step in.
Get on Fox News. Take on Hannity. Go after Bill O’Reilly. Tell Tucker Carlson he’s a liar every chance you get.
It might seem like banging your head against a wall, but it could very likely begin to erode a viewer’s confidence in the typical talking heads because, and never forget this:
The facts are on our side.
There will be no convincing most of the racists. Those who believe abortion should be illegal no matter the circumstance will never see reason. But those moderate Republicans just might hear something that makes them dig a little deeper. The kid sitting at home being forced to watch Fox News with grandma just might hear something from a liberal talking head that makes a little more sense (thank you, Alan Colmes).
In your every day life, don’t simply write off all Trump supporters as morons and ignore them. Present them with facts and hammer away with nothing but objective truths. They won’t give in on the spot most likely, but if even one conservative who’s been getting just one side of the story goes home and does their own digging, it will have been worth it.
Because, once again, the facts are on our side.
It’s an advantage liberals and Democrats can no longer take for granted. Don’t turn your backs on the base and the disenfranchised. Instead, spread the facts to the masses in any way possible.
If you’re a politician, don’t skip the small towns or the conservative TV and radio. If you’re just an everyday crusader, talk to those outside your bubble. In the crossing of these lines, in this confrontation of our political and ideological counterparts, we just might find the ground is more common than we once thought.