The more time one spends on trying to understanding the Trump voter at this point, the less time there will be for resisting the toxic cynicism of their reactionary politics. The time for understanding is over. You can't really understand someone who lacks self-awareness, or sincerity, or analytical faculties. All you can do is play down to their level, which will sap your energy.
Understand this: to have voted for a President Trump - for whatever reason - is to win by losing. That's the takeaway. To their mind, the thought of beating the liberal elite - or whoever the boogieman de jour may be - is more satisfying than the thought of loving their country. The focus forward has to be on containing the damage done by a Trump presidency and facing down the politically incoherent electorate that makes up Trump’s base, which appears chiefly organized around the adage of misery craving company.
To better understand the "winning by losing" concept, let’s examine Trump's winning characteristics: born into privilege to evolve into an insecure brat, a scammer, egomaniac, narcissist, misogynistic, racist, obsessive peddler of cheap and tacky products, and so forth. All of this is true and verifiable by a quick review of the public record. And yet no one seems to have a firm handle on inner workings of how Donald Trump specifically makes his money. At any rate, for the Trump base, a disdain for elites apparently does not include a shallow and morally bankrupt rich white man. But by offering such a man their loyalty, they will lose in the end.
Trump’s actual deeds, accomplishments and quantifiable talents are unknown for the most part, more or less lost in a glossy fog generated by expensive public relations companies. All we really have to go on in way of cold hard fact is that miserable personality. If being closed-minded, spiteful and intolerant is what wealth affords, who needs it? Does anyone want to see younger generations emulate Donald Trump's behavior over the years? Are being self-centered and shallow an image of strength that we want to project to the world?
So the Trump voters got their president, but their ambitions remain clouded by fuzzy logic. That's on them. I don't have to do their homework for them. It's their legacy now. The Trump voter has no idea about what is happening or what Donald Trump is going to do as POTUS. And they don't want to know. This is at center of every premise that they put forth, and it leads to a contradiction at every turn.
The Trump base is okay with flip-flopping and hypocrisy as long as it's their guy. They embrace moral relativism as evidenced by an unbalanced reaction to terrorist acts committed by Christians and Muslims; when Dylan Roof kills worshippers at a historic black church, they remain silent, yet these same people slap the label radical Islamic terrorist on the attackers in Manchester and lash out at pop star Ariana Grande’s “hate of America” as bringing on that attack. Their principals are rudderless as evidenced by countless attempts to explain away Trump’s boorish behavior over the years. And all this does is leave you exposed to the con. Trump is playing the room - that's the art of his deal, and it borrows heavily from P.T. Barnum's "sucker born every minute" maxim. Unfortunately, his base is in deep with the guy. Think about it... and you've already won half the battle. The Trump voter has not thought very deeply about it. And they do not intend to.
When I say reject the premise, I am speaking from experience. I've spent quite a bit of time and energy trying to engage in a dialogue with Trump supporters and by enlarge it’s been an empty exchange. When they are not running from intellectualizing the matter, the Trump base will rest on loosely grasped platitudes, talking points and charged emotionalism. Or they bring up Hillary (Killary) or Obama (Obummer) or laugh about baiting liberals (libtards or snowflakes). Often they simply refuse to say anything so as to not have yet one more statement obliterated for its fleeting coherence (the price paid for not being able to think for yourself). These are group thinkers, and we should take warning considering the fascist rhetoric they are drawn to.
In my view, the key to stemming a rising tide of fascist ideology in the United States is to reject each and every premise put forth by the fans of Donald Trump - upon utterance. Don't even let them get started. They already shot their credibility to hell. They would wave a flag and then defer out of service. They wouldn't hesitate to slam a veteran if their corporate overlords gave a directive to do so. They would make America great again by championing inequality. They give lip service to freedom, but they do what they are told at the end of the day.
Donald Trump rewards his base for their loyalty by regarding them with open contempt. Whether it be laughing of his own political slogans as ridiculous, or playing the victim card, or talking in circles, or showing no tangible empathy for those being pushed towards and past the margins of society (for instance, people whose livelihoods are threatened by globalism AKA losers…?), etc. At this point, Trump’s base could act as the poster children for intellectual dishonesty or willful ignorance.
The Trump voter exists in the shadow of their Commander in Chief. By proxy, the Trump voter shows love of country by cheating on taxes, criminalizing the poor and giving handouts to the rich. They want short cuts and scapegoats. They are the proud citizens of the best country on earth and but want to dismantle the government. Trump voters want to “make America great again” and "drain the swamp" by handing government operations over to corporate insiders who for all intents and purposes appear to be sycophants and hacks. This is not a people’s president, but a president poised to apparently grant his base their death wish.
The basic conundrum of the Trump base is that they are perpetuating the problems they purport to want to fix. But these people, however clueless or ruthlessly opportunistic, are now running the federal systems established to methodically protect and serve the free citizens of a free country in a topsy-turvy world - Departments of Education, Commerce, Health & Human Services, Defense, etc. Their overly simplistic approach runs on the mantra of dismantling and/or radically overhauling these departments. It’s a massive undertaking but they are in position to do real damage.
Just reject what they say and get in the habit of doing so in the moment they say it. It’s not your neighbor’s job to do it for you. It’s not the media’s job to do it. Communicating with dog whistles has to end. If Trump isn’t clueless, he is clandestine in his method and likely driven by a self-serving purpose. As for those who say "I don't like Trump, but..." – reject that too. There are no qualifiers. You either accept the racism, narcissism, anti-intellectualism, fascism - the shallowness - or you don't. It’s as simple as that.