People can change worldviews. I did. That’s me, the only faithfully-married Hispanic pictured with Hillary in 2007… 40 pounds heavier and pocketbook lighter after forking over the required campaign donation to attend a “young Hollywood” fundraiser.
I was your typical default liberal™. I’d briefly toyed with supporting then-Senator Obama. But after reading his books, his message felt foreign to me. And NOT Kenyan foreign – just not what I saw as appetizing to my clearly large palate. Although the aesthetics of his brand, and likely his iTunes playlist, more aligned with my upbringing and circle of friends, something about his message just didn’t quite jive with me. So being the post-racial person that I was/am, I decided not to drink the Kool-Aid.
But on my drive to the 2008 ballot box, accompanied by my blind support of Hillary, an unexpected turn came along. It was the immediate collapse of then-Senator Biden’s campaign after calling candidate Obama “clean” and “articulate” – a truly deplorable display of generosity. Obama personally handled the brouhaha well, but the pundits’ public shaming of the human gaffe-machine foreshadowed what was to come. They would soon turn on Hillary… then on Hillary supporters.
It caught me off guard. It was the first time I’d REALLY paid close attention to politics, and the intraparty attacks didn’t feel good.
Then a funny thing happened. My internal selection bias sent me on a search to find outlets friendly to Hillary. I turned off my trusted news source, CNN, and did the unthinkable – turned on Fox News. Aside from the occasional need for comic relief, I never turned back to my old station. And after some soul searching, I left the Democratic Party voter rolls for good. I just could no longer rationalize the correlation between the rise of its rhetoric with the decline of the same minority groups it claimed to support. I worked in the ideologically monolithic “arts community” and came out as right-leaning in the most public of ways – first on these same Breitbart pages, then on Fox News.
I say all of this because it wasn’t long ago that I was a default liberal voter; a sure thing on the Dem’s booty call list come election night. It took a lot of know-it-all political pundits and a few comically intolerant friends to shake me into rethinking my worldview. The new amigos I gained after this unexpected awakening didn’t question my “recent” conversion – they just welcomed me into the fold. This is why I find it so misguided, albeit possibly well intentioned, that my friends on the right have taken such a publicly disgusting approach to interacting with Trump supporters – known in some circles as Republican voters. At times they’ve even taken on the tactics of their ideological adversaries.
After listening to Mr. Trump discuss his evolution away from some of his former liberal views, it sounded strikingly similar to my experience. When you are surrounded by a singular political philosophy at all times, and your success depends on being apart of that community, your true positions on individual issues can sometimes be muted within.
But here we have a candidate in Mr. Trump that has the yuge advantage of broad name recognition, works pop culture better than almost anyone in existence, has no current need of donor class money, has a wet-dream inducing ability to handle the media, gets most of the big issues right, has more of a chance than even Mr. Carson or Mr. Rubio (in my humble opinion) to win over converts, and is likely the one person that could clean up the immigration mess uncorrected by even Ronald Reagan — and yet many of my friends continue to bash Trump’s perceived “recent” evolution. The man declared himself a Republican and was labeled a conservative all the way back in 1988 for God’s sake. And most importantly, these smart people have resorted to name calling an entire group of people ON THEIR OWN TEAM.
So to my many friends on the right, take it from someone who has – not so long ago – traversed the convert forest. Calling a large group on your team “idiots” or “morons” is not a winning strategy. Period. And by “period” I mean to add emphasis, not a menstrual cycle reference.