I’m not going to suggest that I have the answers about how you can functionally stop Donald Trump. What I instead intend on highlighting is how the current tactics of slamming him as a fascist are inefficient and perhaps give some suggestions about how the overall media landscape should instead approach the Trump phenomena.
I’m actually going to use an Super Rugby analogy here (what even is this?)
Okay so imagine you’re a devout Crusaders fan (this is probably difficult for my largely Wellington liberal audience but lets just pretend for a moment).
this is you
You’re having a grand old party supporting the Crusaders with your friends and then suddenly a person across the street yells
“I hate the Crusaders! They are a very shit team!!!” at you.
Chances are you’ll either respond by ignoring them or bottling them (because you know… sport violence). Of all the potential realities, the least likely thing that you are to do is sit down and think:
“Wow that person is so right on! The Crusaders are a very shit team indeed!”
There is no reality where someone would react like that. You don’t convince somebody to change their mind by attacking that which they have already chosen to support.
So stop calling Trump a fascist/racist/xenophobe/dalek/evil-doer. Even if he is.
Okay so I understand that there is a difference between sports teams and political figures. Unless you live in New Zealand, sports players don’t have the influence over government the same way presidential nominees do (all hail Richie McCaw). As a result you’d expect people to have less trivially formed bases of support for politicians than they would sports teams.
However the point still stands. People support who they support for any range of reasons, those reasons may differ from person to person but they still exist.
If I wanted to change the mind of Trump supporter, I couldn’t do it by attacking his favored candidate. I could call Trump a fascist, I could even intricately explain what makes Donald Trump a fascist and give empirical evidence. I still wouldn’t be successful. This is because I would be appealing to what I personally find important in a politician and not the person I am trying to convince.
So how do I beat Trump then
When you centre your political campaign on an attempt to stop somebody else, you’re just ensuring that they will succeed. So stop trying to “beat Trump” and instead try to ensure that somebody else wins.
In my opinion, the best way to win over the supporters of Trump is work out why these voters support Trump in the first place. For example there are large portions of impoverished white people who support Donald Trump, they support him because he takes their concern and offers a solution. Whether or not you agree with the solution is irrelevant. In the eyes of Trump’s supporters, building a wall and banning Muslims may just work.
So lets focus on other solutions to win over the supporters of Trump. It’s no secret that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have very similar voter bases, it’s because they are both offering solutions to the same problems. This is not an endorsement of Bernie Sanders’ policy but it is an endorsement of Sanders’ ability to appeal to issues with solutions. Rhetoric doesn’t earn popularity, ability to answer and solve the problems that voters care about does.
How do you beat Donald Trump? The answer is simple; offer better solutions.
and considering Trump’s solutions, it’s probably not that difficult…