About a third of Americans still support Donald Trump. Nothing you can say or do is going to change their minds.
Despite the fact that he has done nothing to fulfill any of the promises that he made during the election (saving the coal industry, giving you a wonderful cheaper health care system, bringing back manufacturing jobs, draining the swamp…) the majority of Trump supporters feel no buyer’s remorse whatsoever. And it is understandable that you want to talk some sense into those folks.
You can quote statistics and cite facts. You can point to the latest daily outrage, tweet, statement, embarrassment or leaked revelation in the hope that they will see the light. They won’t. I know that it’s tempting to try to find that one argument or example that will convince your Trump-supporting neighbor to change his mind, but it’s not going to happen. As the philosopher Karl Popper said, “No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.”
So don’t waste your energy. More importantly, don’t waste your time.
We are one year into the most disastrous presidency in American history. And we have eleven months until the most important election of your life time. (Election Day is November 6.) Don’t waste one minute of that time trying to change things that you can’t change. Focus on the meaningful things that you can do. Keep your eye on the prize.
What’s the prize? Taking control of Congress in November. And that’s something that can be done without changing the mind of a single Trump supporter.
It can be done by making sure that more people who can vote do vote. In the last election, there were more people who didn’t vote than there were people who voted for either one of the candidates. In fact, almost half of all eligible voters did not vote. If we can get even a portion of those non-voting people to vote for Democrats in November we can change the course of history.
Voter turnout in elections has been getting lower and lower and is now at a 20 year low. And participation in non-presidential elections is even lower: In 2014, 20 states had voter turnout rates in the 30s; six states were in the 20s. Indiana’s turnout was 28%. In Washington State, where voting is done exclusively by mail and people don’t even have to go farther than their mailboxes to cast a ballot, fewer than 40% of eligible voters could be bothered.
Whether that’s because they found both candidates to be equally unappealing, or because they felt that their vote didn’t matter is beside the point.
You probably know a lot of people who didn’t vote. Maybe you didn’t vote.
As the saying goes “Bad politicians are elected by good people who do not vote.”
But now, we need you to vote, and to get your friends and neighbors and co-workers to vote.
Maybe you don’t like it when your President calls another country a shithole. Maybe you’re unhappy about what he’s doing to the environment. Maybe you’re worried about Russia’s interference in our country’s elections. Maybe you’re afraid he’ll tweet North Korea into launching a nuclear attack. Maybe you’re sick of the daily lies. Or of his attitude towards women, minorities, the climate, or any of a dozen other issues. If you don’t like what’s happening in our country right now, it’s not too late to fix it. And we don’t have to wait for 2020, or hope he’ll be impeached. In November, we can fix this.
Why does November matter, when we aren’t voting for president? Because Congress is on the ballot.
Currently the Republicans hold the majority in Congress—both in the House and in the Senate. And the Republicans in the Congress are not doing their job. They’re making excuses and looking the other way, and allowing him to get away with his awful behavior. The President is not the CEO of the country, with Congress working for him. The presidency and the legislature are supposed to be CO-equal branches of government. This Congress has been acting like it works for Donald Trump, a man who lies as easily as most of us breathe. He is singularly unqualified for the office that he holds, but they refuse to do anything to reign in his absurd behavior. This Congress has remained steadfastly silent in the face of even the most outrageous Trumpisms. And even if the Mueller investigation reveals something major, there’s absolutely no indication that anything will change.
But on November 6, every single seat in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot. That means your member of Congress will be on the ballot. Do you feel that your Representative has stood up to Trump? No? Remember in November.
Also on November 6, one-third of the Senate seats will be up for grabs. That means that one of the two Senate seats in your state will be on the ballot. Has your Senator made you proud? No? Remember in November.
So when you hear your neighbor or co-worker defending Trump’s latest outrage, don’t bother to engage. Instead, turn your attention to your other neighbors and friends and make sure that you get a commitment from them that they will vote. Remember in November.