I’ve seen the slogan “Trump, make liberals cry” several times during the last four years.
Let me start by saying the Trump supporters who displayed this messaging got their wish: I cried real tears for our country and our democracy this last year. I was in good company, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Raphael Warnock, and MSNBC news commentator Joshua Johnson, all cried on air over the desecration of our democracy by Donald Trump and his supporters.
But beyond these personal experiences, this slogan indicates disturbing things about the Trump base and the state of our country right now. A recurring theme in the Trump narrative was the idea that liberals and elites were somehow personally against and coming after conservatives. Trump made them fear they were under attack, and that for once, they had someone who would stand up and fight for them: that he, in fact, was them; that although he was a sophisticated business tycoon and man of the world, that he somehow was just like them.
He spoke with simple crass ignorance, racism and inaccuracy, and did so at high volume. He yelled all the horrible things they thought, but couldn’t say.
He truly did speak for them. Trump did not create racism and ignorance in this country, but he did manipulate and amplify it. There has been a resentment of educated people with progressive ideas from right-wing evangelicals and conservative blue-collar voters for many years. Rational thought and intelligence seem to be a threat to these people. To some degree I think they feel intimidated and looked down upon because they don’t have the education to understand what progressives are saying, and they don’t have a truthful, accurate view of current events, science or history.
Their cultural/religious programming and norms are challenged and it makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s much easier for them to believe the simple and outrageous lies Trump and the right wing tell them than to try to understand a complex and changing world. I grew up in this area and I’m proud of my family’s blue collar and agricultural roots: proud that we are part of the Michigan and American story.
I count several Trump supporters among family friends and neighbors. I know most of these to be otherwise good people. I ask that all use accurate information from reliable sources, and rational thought in forming opinions and voting.