Knowing how Trump made an emotional connection to his supporters is only half the story. The other half is the emotional connection to his detractors. I had a strong feeling Trump would win in August of 2015. One of the reasons I felt this way was my own enormous negative reaction towards him. The only way he could create such a negative reaction in me was if he could also create an incredible positive reaction in others. I’m hardly alone. It isn’t difficult to find many, many people who both fear and loathe Trump (#huntersthompson). Our behavior is based on just as much irrationality as his supporters.
If you’re a Trump supporter and you look at the people he’s appointed, or is rumored to appoint, you’ll be pretty thrilled. You’ll see people with a great deal of experience with making deals all over the world, who enriched their businesses so much that they’re worth hundreds of millions of dollars. If you’re a detractor, you’ll see a bunch of rich guys who will do what they always have, line their own pockets at the expense of everyone else. The latest is choosing a close friend of Putin as secretary of state. Is it dangerous having the nation’s head diplomat be a close friend of our biggest adversary, or will it help avoid war? There’s no way to know for sure. But I know that, as a detractor, it terrifies me.
Incidentally, this is not the first time this has happened. When Obama won, the irrationality of his supporters was nearly unbelievable. Here we are 8 years later. No death panels. No one has taken away any guns. No FEMA camps. This doesn’t surprise any Obama supporters. We never expected him to do any of those things. So here’s hoping that Trump does not do the worst of what he said. The difference is, of course, Obama never said he would put put conservatives in camps. Trump has said he will build a deportation force. But there’s a strong possibility that this was just campaign rhetoric. That Trump’s supporters were right, and now he’ll govern as less a crazy person and more a typical conservative.
Overall, being wildly irrational about Trump is probably a good thing. Since the election, I’ve learned more about how to communicate with my government than ever before. I’ve begun to set some time aside each week to talk to my representatives and give my opinion. I would never have done that had Clinton won. And between the new involvement on the part of his detractors, and the fact that there’s a good chance he’s not going to do what he says he’s going to do, the next 4-8 years may not be so bad.