I am increasingly alarmed by the demonizing of Republicans by urban progressives. An article on Page A17 of Friday’s New York Times explains the issue clearly. The more progressives express outrage about Trump, the more 40 percent of the populace hardens their support him. An article in Friday’s Times on the web by Charles Sykes (If Liberals Hate Him, Trump Must be Doing Something Right) notes that anti-anti-Trump sentiment is driving Conservative support for Trump.
It is abundantly clear that people act on the basis of their emotion-based world view, and use reason to rationalize their position. The harder you attack those you disagree with and confront them with your facts, the stronger they resist changing. Only when reality smacks them in the face does it register, and then it’s usually too late.
The parallels between the present situation and that leading up the Civil War are striking. The South was clearly wrong in supporting slavery, but that did not prevent them from fighting to the death to defend it, and to continue suppressing blacks for more than a century after.
If progressives want to make changes, they need to recognize that Trump is a master of steering public opinion, and by constantly irritating progressives, he is hardening up his base. The situation may already be out of control, but if you are a progressive, you can do your part by turning off Stephen Colbert, John Cleese and their ilk, staying tuned to what the other side says and believes, exercising compassion, and continuing to uphold principles of justice and democracy. Outrage is appropriate; ranting makes things worse.