By Michael d’Oliveira
It’s become a common refrain amongst many of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters: The Democrats and the media don’t understand us.
Many people who are anti-Trump (the Democrats) or who report on Trump (the media) don’t understand many Trump voters all that well. But the opposite is also true: many of Trump’s supporters don’t seem to understand (or care) why Trump is disliked and disliked so intensely.
It’s important to note though that “many” is the right word here. Not every person who voted for Trump in 2016 is an apologist who thinks he can do no wrong.
For that group of Trump voters, the policies are what matter; the man on Twitter and at rallies is deeply flawed and reprehensible, the man singing laws is making the right moves for the country. It may be a thin distinction, but it is still an important one that should be made. Painting everyone with the same broad brush is unfair and doesn’t do any good.
However they view it, they’ve figured out something important: you can generally support what a politician does without making excuses for his personal behavior and speech.
As a nation of individuals, each with our own opinions, we’re always going to disagree on what policies are best for the country. There’s also nothing wrong with passionately defending our ideas. We should never be afraid to stand up for what we believe in and vehemently try to prove why other people are wrong and why we’re right. Spirited debate can be passionate and respectful at the same time.
And that’s probably the biggest issue Trump’s hardcore supporters don’t seem to understand: Trump poisons every debate with personal insults. Or, if they do understand it, they’re glad he’s “sticking it to liberals.”
Whenever challenged, Trump never actually defends himself or his position. He just insults the critic. And insults are not a real defense, they’re just insults.
Instead of expecting the president act like a president when he addresses his critics, many Trump supporters have turned into this mob that just hoots and hollers approval at every new insult.
Except for Trump’s hardcore supporters, Trump’s behavior has become a growing concern for anyone who cares about how a president is supposed to act.
Even people from Trump’s own party and retired military men and women (who almost never give opinions in public) have called him out on it.