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June 22, 2020

Let’s Not Make the Same Mistakes Again: We Can’t let Trump Win 2020.

Here we are.

Trump held his first rally after three months, and expectations were pretty high on all sides of the political spectrum.

One million people were expected to attend, and emotions on both sides got fired up days before the event even started. 

I could write about his speech and pick it apart piece by piece, but that is not my job and most people are tired of reading about it. To me, it felt like a two-hour car accident with all vehicles being on fire for the last 30 minutes, but I have to acknowledge and accept that there are different opinions out there, and I might not be able to change all.  

If your priorities are military, police, stock markets, monuments, and flags, then this was a great speech. Unless you feel that Black Lives Matter and police brutality are topics that need to be addressed, Trump did not disappoint. He didn’t have a meltdown. Last night’s performance was exactly what his supporters love about him. 

A day later, social media is making fun of the low turnout at the rally. Apparently some kids on TikTok pranked the Trump campaign by ordering thousands of tickets and then being no-show—some call it the protest by absence.

Prominent democrats couldn’t wait to celebrate that on Twitter, but it also didn’t take long until angry Trump supporters twisted the narrative and pointed out that TikTok is a Chinese platform, and that this could have been foreign interference in the elections. 

We could argue if that is true or not. One could say that the Trump campaign should have seen that coming. Seriously, they could have checked postal codes and ages behind all these ticket requests, and it would have been easy to find out that this was a troll attack. I am pretty sure somebody is about to get fired. 

Another big trend on social media was to make fun of the people in the arena. Images of “not so educated looking” folks were shared all over the internet. It was also interesting to watch the group of people standing behind Trump during his speech, some of who looked like paid actors, but I can’t prove that. It doesn’t even matter that much. 

What is happening right now is exactly what Trump wanted, and we fell for that trap. We need to step up our game and take him and his supporters more seriously. Let’s not make the same mistake that we made last time. 

“Dear liberals, please get your act together.” 

Conservatives hijacked old strategies that had been used by liberals for decades. Nowadays, Republicans use social media to spread their talking points; they help young conservatives organize platforms at universities and use emotions to shape opinions while playing the victim. It is sad to say, but they are doing a really good job at that. 

It doesn’t work the other way around. We can’t just insult voters for their looks and ridicule everything they say. Conservatives stepped up their game, while the Left was chilling out and celebrating Obama’s presidency. 

On social media, I see many democrats insulting people for being conservative: they repost pictures of people they call “Karen,” and they are mocking Trump for walking down a ramp or failing to drink water like an adult. It gives Trump the chance to get an applause for drinking a glass of water at his rally. Is that what we wanted? 

As liberals, we need to get our talking points together, which includes studying the numbers and facts in order to engage in a discussion.

Just saying Trump is an idiot will not help Joe Biden to get elected. 

Last week, I ended up in a long conversation with two Trump supporters. It was respectful and we exchanged our views. To be honest, I was on the brink of losing it when they started talking about the “Chinese Virus” and blamed “Antifa” for all the riots, but I kept my cool and explained my perspective. I got them thinking and they got me thinking. That is how it should be. 

A few days later, I got into a little situation while walking my dog. I was protecting my dog and my emotions fired up. I totally snapped at the other dog owner and got personal. She was angry, I was angry; it was stupid. I made things worse, even though I still think that I was right about what I said. I was wrong about how I said it. That is the same mistake most of us make when it comes to Trump. 

Those two situations also apply to politics. There are two different ways we can deal with confrontations: 

>> Stay calm and listen to the other side. 

>> Freak out and make a fool of ourselves. 

Social media is a powerful and influential tool these days. Public opinion gets shaped online, and the great news is that we are part of that. We post, comment, like, and share content to make our case. Let’s be mindful of how we do that. Do we really need to talk about the President looking funny while walking down a ramp for two days? 

Every time we engage in an argument, we get to choose if we unmask the hatred and lies our counterparts are using, or do the exact same thing we are calling them out for. 

We are part of the problem and the solution, at the same time. I understand the rage and frustration behind someone who posts things like “F*ck the police,” but this is not helpful at all. I get it, it’s hard to be respectful toward alt-right conspiracy supporters. Believe me, when people called me a “Nazi” and a “Communist” after writing an article, I too was enraged.  

That is where mindfulness comes to play. Non-reactiveness is a skill set that we all need in order to get Trump out of office. As long as we fall for insults, emotions, and shallow accusations that scandalize everything we hear, we are going to lose, again. 

It’s time to step down from the high horse of being liberal and do the work. On social media, but also in our daily lives, we need to evolve the way we make our case. Don’t give Conservatives the chance to present themselves as victims of the “leftist mob.” As long as we insult Conservatives instead of using logic and facts, we look like idiots. 

As long as the public conversation gravitates toward Covid-19, civil rights, and foreign relations, there is a good chance of Biden winning the election. Once it becomes about security, religious freedom, dealing with China, and insults, Trump will win in November. 

Every insult we throw at Trump supporters creates a narrative of them not being able to use their first amendment rights without being attacked by the mob.  

I would like to share a few talking points with you, and invite you to do your own research and shift the conversation we are having:

1. Closing the borders to China was not saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States. Transmission is happening within the country and most cases were imported from Europe at that time.

2. It is not China’s fault that the Trump administration failed in managing the virus. As far as I know, it’s the same virus all around the world, and it is obvious that the United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom are having the biggest numbers in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, while others did much better.

3. Defunding the police does not mean abolishing the police. It doesn’t mean that there is nobody answering your 911 call. It simply means that there should be other options available that help de-escalate gnarly situations in families and communities. It would help cops to focus on doing what they are trained for, and protect them from being called into family situations that are not solved by simply arresting someone nor by use of force.

4. Reforming migration laws does not mean “open borders;” it simply points out that there is a lot of work to be done. Nobody wants MS-13 in our cities, but most people also don’t like seeing kids in cages. The problems at the border did not start three years ago and it is not only Trump’s fault. 

5. The riots on the streets were not caused by Antifa and leftist groups. There are plenty of documented cases pointing fingers at right-wing militias and other Hawaii shirt-wearing Boogaloo Boys. Most of the looters are not even interested in politics. It is a symptom of problems within society that need to be taken care of. 

6. People do not need AR-15 rifles to defend themselves. The last thing we want to see is American citizens shooting each other over political disagreements. Nobody wants another civil war. 

I am sure there are many other talking points that you could think about, that I may have missed in this list. Make your own list of topics that matter to you. Join the conversation and do it in a respectful way. It will be challenging, but it is the right thing to do. 

Let’s stop mocking hillbillies and belittling people who disagree with us. If we are right, it should be easy to win any argument without insulting anyone. 

In my experience, the only way to convince someone is to hear them out first and respond in a respectful way, acknowledging their concerns. We are not always the majority with our opinions, and sometimes we need to find a middle ground with others.

That’s how politics works, That’s how society works.

After Michelle Obama said her famous catchphrase, “When they go low, we go high,” people claimed that she was wrong. Trump won the election by going “super-low” and the “going high” represented by Hillary Clinton was considered arrogant and one of many reasons why she lost.

I think Michelle was right, but we have to redefine what “going high” means.

In my understanding, it means:

  • Use logic and facts when arguing. Be specific.
  • Respect other people and their feelings.
  • Don’t be arrogant because of your socioeconomic status or education. 
  • Focus on content, not looks.
  • Try to find common grounds instead of polarising. 
  • Do your own work. 

Let’s be honest, we didn’t do that last time and that’s why we lost. Stop crying about Trump supporters having his back and start making our case in a respectful and sophisticated way.

That’s what “going high” means. I am sure we can do better this time. 

~

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