The Portrait of the Trump supporter
The Trump supporter has chosen hate because hate is a faith; at the outset he has chosen to devaluate words and reasons. How entirely at ease he feels as a result. How futile and frivolous discussions about the rights of Mexicans or black people appear to him. He has pleased himself on other ground from the beginning. If out of courtesy he consents for a moment to defend his point of view, he lends himself but does not give himself. He tries simply to project his intuitive certainty onto the plane of discourse. Remarks by
Trump supporters are absurd: “He’s not running to be Pope, he’s running for president of the United States; Mexicans are bringing drugs, bringing crime, they’re rapists; inner-cities are war zones, etc”
Never believe that Trump supporters are completely unaware of the
absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. Trump supporters have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. It is not that they are afraid of being convinced. They fear only to appear ridiculous or to prejudice by
their embarrassment their hope of winning over some third person to
If then the Trump supporter is impervious to reason and to experience, it is not because his conviction is strong. Rather his conviction is strong because he has chosen first of all to be impervious.
He has chosen to find his being entirely outside himself, never to look within, to be nothing save the fear he inspires in others. What he flees even more than Reason is his intimate awareness of himself. But some will object: What if he is like that only with regard to Mexicans and black people? What if he otherwise conducts himself with good sense? I reply that that is impossible … A man who finds it entirely natural to denounce other men cannot have our conception of humanity; he does not see even those whom he aids in the same light as we do. His generosity, his kindness are not like our kindness, our generosity. You cannot confine passion to one sphere.
The Trump supporter has no illusions about what he is. He considers himself an average man, modestly average, basically mediocre. There is no example of a Trump supporter claiming individual superiority over Mexicans or black people. But you must not think that he is ashamed of his mediocrity; he takes pleasure in it; I will even assert that he has chosen it. This man fears every kind of solitariness, that of the genius as much as that of the murderer; he is the man of the crowd. However small his stature, he takes every precaution to make it smaller, lest he stand out from the herd and find himself face to face with himself. He has made himself a Trump supporter because that is something one cannot be alone …