One way in which I’m like Trump supporters

The other day, Karen brought my attention to this piece by Tom Friedman, trying to explain Trump supporters.

I was struck by the opening:

Donald Trump is a walking political science course. His meteoric rise is lesson
No. 1 on leadership: Most voters do not listen through their ears. They listen
through their stomachs. If a leader can connect with them on a gut level, their
response is: “Don’t bother me with the details. I trust your instincts.” If a
leader can’t connect on a gut level, he or she can’t show them enough
particulars. They’ll just keep asking, “Can you show me the details one more

Trump’s Republican rivals keep thinking that if they just point out a few
more details about him, voters will drop The Donald and turn to one of them
instead. But you can’t talk voters out of something that they haven’t been
talked into…

Huh. So, in a way, I’m a lot like Trump supporters, according to Friedman.

Not in the “listen through their stomachs” bit. I’m more likely to use my head. But I’m definitely less about the details.

George_HW_Bush_saying_-Read_My_Lips-_(screenshot)Over the years, I’ve come to look for someone I trust to make good decisions, whatever comes up. I’m less about what specific proposals the candidate makes. What a candidate actually encounters in office often has little to do with the concerns expressed during the campaign. In fact, the fewer promises, the better — promises can back an officeholder into corners and commit him to courses that are unwise under the circumstances. See “Read my lips; no new taxes.” Bush made the right decision, but the unwise promise not to do so got him into trouble.

I care more about how a candidate’s mind works, along with experience and a good history of having made sound decisions while accumulating that experience.

Since I do that, I still can’t imagine how anyone arrives at thinking Trump is the guy to trust. But I’m with them on caring less about details of proposals…


14 thoughts on “One way in which I’m like Trump supporters

  1. bud

    It’s fitting that after decades of subtle race baiting the GOP has now gotten a man who openly throws out the worst kind of insults and defends the practice by saying he’s not politically correct. The party of Nixon and W are finally getting their comeuppance riots and all.

  2. Barry

    Trump supporters don’t care what he says, or what he stands for, or what he will do.

    While I personally don’t know anyone that is supporting Trump (Thankfully), I have talked to enough of them in online forums to realize they just don’t care.

    Their is no logic to their fan-boy behavior.

    They have adopted the blind ignorance that they believe is present in people that support candidates that they don’t like.

    For example, many of these people couldn’t understand why so many people “blindly” supported Obama. They never understood it. Without understanding the irony, they are doing the exact same thing now.

    For some of them, they would still support Trump if he came out saying he was going to rip up the Constitution on the first day and start over. In other words, they are a scary bunch.

  3. Doug Ross

    Brad, I’d say you are more like Trump supporters than you care to admit. Your “ideology” is centered around authoritarianism. Let’s check the tape:

    1. Family oriented around a patriarch
    2. Career focused on telling people what they should think and do
    3. Follower of a church that is highly structured with a leader known for making sweeping pronouncements about how its members should behave. Guided by a doctrine that includes specific policies related to sexual activity and its own system of punishments (penance) delivered by the hierarchy of the Church.
    4. Open to pretty much any effort by the government to spy on its citizens and our allies
    5. Strong supporter of the U.S. military and its policies of intervention around the world.

      1. Doug Ross

        I took the same test. The questions were too vague. You like authority, hierarchy, structure, group-think, pushing your views on other people. I don’t see how you can deny that. You are quick to excuse bad behavior by the institutions you support (military, church, government) to the point of having blinders on.

        1. Doug Ross

          As an example, after seeing Spotlight, I was not surprised that your take on the movie focused more on the workings of the newsroom than the actual focus of the movie – the decades long, systemic coverup of pedophile priests within the Church.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          As for “to the point of having blinders on…”

          No, Doug, I’m afraid you’re the one with the blinders on. You see something to criticize about a person or an institution, and that’s it, you close your eyes to that person or institution, utterly dismissing and condemning him or her or it from then on.

          I see the totality of a thing. Not because I’m so all-wise or anything. It’s a matter of cognitive styles. I perceive things holistically. I’ve never taken a Rorschach test, but I suspect I’m the sort who would see the blot as a whole rather than focusing on the crenelations around the edges. (Which, if I recall correctly from my psychology courses so long ago, is one of the main things the test is looking for — how you process the image.)

          You see some people in public office doing something bad, and you not only completely dismiss those individuals, but condemn the entire public sector as inherently bad. You do this kind of thing again and again.

          I do not. A person or an institution has to be overwhelmingly bad in the aggregate to make my bad list. The Republican and Democratic parties, for instance — I reached the point some years ago of deciding that on the whole, their effect on the country is negative. Which is very bad for the country, because there are no good alternatives out there.

          You, being a person who focuses on the details and pronounces all bad, call me a hypocrite because I condemn the parties, then turn around and endorse individual Democrats and Republicans — because you utterly miss the glaring fact that these are the choices we have (I can’t FORCE other people to run, even though I’d love to, being such an authoritarian, right?), and one of them is going to hold office. So we have to choose.

          You don’t accept that. You are too pure, too focused on the details that damn all, to accept the reality that it is important who holds office, and that we have an obligation to choose from among the available candidates…

        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          As for your criticism of the test (“I took the same test. The questions were too vague.”)…

          That’s you with your libertarian hat on.

          That test was devised right after the war, and therefore was measuring for REAL authoritarian tendencies — the kind that cause someone to become a fascist.

          Libertarians regard the mildest, most reasonable laws in a liberal democracy as “authoritarian.” Therefore a test that measures for REAL authoritarianism seems off to you…

  4. Juan Caruso

    “I care more about how a candidate’s mind works, along with experience and a good history of having made sound decisions while accumulating that experience.” – Brad W.

    I care more about a candidate’s moral integrity and mental discipline. Without both there is greater likelihood of another ‘smoke and mirrors’ administration than a public accountability.

    For instance (and please bear in mind this refers ONLY to a single variety of federal tax fraud): “Tax-refund fraud is expected to soar again this tax season, and hit a whopping $21 billion by 2016, from just $6.5 billion two years ago, according to the Internal Revenue Service. ” – CNBC


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