At Least He Tells the Truth - The Blake Ashby Podcast

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Defending Trump Voters

August 3, 2020

Accusing all Trump voters of being terrible people is counter to our democratic norms.  Yes, democratic norms require that we afford Trump voters the same respect that we extend to all voters.  We do not demonize the other side.  


I am sometimes stunned by the amount of anger directed at Trump voters.  By the regularity with which Trump voters are demonized and accused of being either consciously evil, racist people or too stupid to understand just how evil and destructive Trump is.  Personally, I didn’t vote for Trump the first time, and he has been far worse than I ever allowed myself to imagine. I am voting for Biden.  And yes, I do believe Trump is undermining our Constitution, and for me, that makes this election a moral issue.  Defeating Trump is a moral issue.  But that doesn’t make the people voting for Trump immoral.  It just means that they place weight on a different set of concerns.


Undoubtedly I will have a few people accuse me of “normalizing” Trump with this podcast. That by noting some of the reasons why some people are voting for Trump, I am making it easier for others to justify voting for him.  But that’s missing the point.  We don’t apply democratic norms just when it serves our goals.  They are only norms when they are applied to everyone, every time, whether we agree with the person or not.


And strangely enough, accusing someone of being either evil or stupid isn’t actually a good way to get them to change their minds.  I can argue that it’s the people spewing hate at Trump voters that are actually doing more to help him get reelected.  Acknowledging the reasons why someone might vote for Trump actually makes it easier to have a real conversation about the election, and who knows, maybe change some minds.