Strategies V: Reaching the Trump Voter (targeting the GOP)

Week 3: Successfully getting Bannon removed from Trump’s team remains the top priority, but it’s time for a strategy shift. (Click here for resources) At this point, nearly every Democrat in Congress has spoken out. Clearly that hasn’t had an impact. It’s time to make our voice heard across party lines.

In terms of direct outreach, Governor Pence is still the top person to target. He’s Trump’s trusted second-in-command, and quite possibly the “super VP” who will be expected to actually run the country. He’s a hardcore conservative, but he’s also a GOP loyalist who hopefully doesn’t actually want to see his party turned over to the white nationalists and the KKK (and/or viewed that way by over half of the country). Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Reince Priebus are in the same boat. They may not want to listen, but they’re politicians and they’ll pay attention if they hear from enough people.

This is also a good time to reach out to those who courageously defied party groupthink in order to take a stand against Trump hijacking the GOP. Influential conservative pundits like Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson and George F. Will have a personal stake in seeing Bannon removed from power –the #NeverTrump conservatives are likely to be personally targeted by the ascendant alt-right if it isn’t stopped (Erickson has already reported death threats). The same is true of moderate Republicans who crossed party lines, like Christine Whitman. Governor Kasich is another good person to reach –a popular moderate, and a 2016 Republican candidate who NEVER endorsed Trump.

Newspapers across the country endorsed Clinton, including traditionally Republican ones such as the Columbus Dispatch, The Dallas Morning News, The Arizona Republic and The San Diego Union-Tribune. Maybe some of them would be open to opining against Bannon on their opinion pages.

Another good place to reach is your local GOP office. You are a voter in their own area, they have to listen to you. And if you are in a Democratic area, they may be much more sensitive to the need not to alienate voters. True, they don’t have any direct impact, but if you can pressure them to issue a public statement, it could inspire more courage at upper levels of the party.

Perhaps the most important outreach, however, is much closer to home. If you count a Trump supporter among your friends and family members, reach out to them, and challenge them on whether what they are getting is what they wanted. With 48% of voters in his corner, we have to believe that not everyone who voted Trump is a deplorable racist who wants to send the country back to the stone age. Some people had legitimate concerns about Clinton. Others were trying to strike a blow at the entrenched Washington bureaucracy. We don’t have to enumerate all the reasons, agree with them, or even understand them. The key point is that this electoral result was NOT a mandate for unfettered racism. That’s not what most people who voted Trump were voting for. And because of that, it falls on them to help make sure that’s not what their vote becomes. Sample talking point: “Trump can’t make America great again without good people around him, and Steve Bannon is not a good person.” Then you can show them this article by someone who worked for Bannon.

If you can get in touch with someone who is a local GOP loyalist –maybe even a party leader –so much the better. For them, the argument is a bit different –most of them didn’t want Trump anyway, and just fell in line after he took the nomination. Sample talking point: “It’s not too late to save the party of Lincoln from becoming known as the party of racism.” Sure, maybe it is too late, but let’s try to give them something to strive for.


  • Why focus so much on Bannon? – You have to start somewhere, and Bannon is not just a hardline conservative, he is someone who has shown, at the least, a willingness to encourage national racial hatred for his own personal benefit. The rest of Team Trump is made up of the kind of people we’ve dealt with before, but Bannon in particular is someone whom a free nation should never ever let anywhere near a seat of power.
  • Isn’t this letting Trump off the hook? – Unless Trump personally self-destructs, there’s probably no way of getting rid of him right now that doesn’t tear the nation apart –and leave Pence fully in charge. On the other hand, as a man of no visible principles or solid convictions, Trump might come around to a whole host of more progressive positions, if the nest of vipers around him can be cleared. Again, Bannon is the head viper de jour. If we can topple him, we can start on the next one.
  • I’m too angry right now to reach out to a Trump supporter. Get over it, this is important. Instead of just glaring at them across the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, this gives you a concrete response that isn’t a direct attack on them and their vote.
  • Doesn’t this run the risk of making Trump a more successful president? – We’re all in this car together. We can’t just let the person at the wheel crash it in the hopes that it will allow us to put someone better in his place. Furthermore, betting on having the worst possible person as your opponent is a losing strategy. It lost in the primaries, and it lost in the generals. Lest we forget, Bush got 8 years. Reagan got 8 years. Even Nixon was elected to a second term. Hoping for the person in the White House to do terribly is cutting off your nose to spite your face, and it doesn’t win elections. For a look at it from the opposite side, the Republicans did everything in their power to make sure Obama’s presidency wouldn’t succeed, and he not only was elected twice, he could have probably won again if not for term limits. So let’s not continue to make the mistake that disastrous moves by Trump will bring everyone to their senses. We have to work for the best possible outcomes, even in the case that it accrues to his credit.

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