If you listen to the number of Republicans who are not Trump supporters, it’s fairly easy to grasp why they’re not rallying behind Trump. Trump supporters, however, present a much more challenging task of understanding their message or the things they say. On today’s show, Bill Stierle and Tom take a closer look at Trump supporters and the key traits they share. Tune in to this episode to get hold of the roadmap for breaking down the different traits of Trump supporters.
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Trump Supporters: What Do They Have In Common?
Bill, I struggle like many people in the United States with understanding Donald Trump’s supporters. We do see some Republicans who are not Donald Trump’s supporters. If you listen to what they say, it’s pretty easy to understand why they’re not supporting Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s supporters, the ones that are enlisted, I have trouble understanding the things that they say. It’s very hard to understand. It would be helpful if we can dive into that a little bit.
I appreciate us talking about this topic because no matter if Donald Trump gets reelected or not, the same issue is still there. That issue is, how does a person, whether it’s a Democratic or Republican, get hooked into an identity? How language is used to hook into a person’s identity and almost solidify their mindset on this person, this situation, or this value? There are some markers that we can start becoming compassionate and empathetic about to start us down the process of reunifying or restoring America as an inclusive place, not an exclusive place.
I knew this many times from my mom and my dad. America is in a melting pot. It’s a place where people come to get a new start, get to be treated equally, get to have whatever identity they had in the past, but then they get to paste over America over top of that and say, “I’m in this person, but I’m also part of this greater vision of America.” The idea of the melting pot is not the primary value that’s not necessarily being taught or spoken. My mom is Italian. She wouldn’t let us speak Italian. I go, “Why don’t you speak Italian?” She goes, “Because you’re an American now and you’re going to speak English. You’re a part of this country now.” They didn’t speak Italian around the house. They spoke English so that the kids would get used to English and being a part of America, because in America you spoke English.
My grandparents or my mom’s mom stood for that melting pot, “You’re here now. These are the values here. We’re not doing the old Italian values as much.” A lot of those things came forward to me anyways. If we’re not going to do that, then I’ve got to be a part of this greater vision. Those messages of inclusion are not being used any more than the message of exclusion. There’s a lot of exclusion language that people have, and racism is a part of that exclusive language as well as many others. There are many other key traits and messages that cause this level of disconnect to take place. Even talking to our friends and families, you can see that in real time.
We do have a roadmap for breaking down the different qualities and traits of Donald Trump’s supporters and trying to understand them.
One of the things that we’re going to need to use whether Donald Trump gets elected or not is to have compassion and empathy for how the different people have invested in these various different messages and that’s where they cast their vote. There are 48 different biases and fallacies that people have. Of those, people run about 6 to 10 of those in their consciousness. They’re running these different biases and fallacies that people run language-wise.
For example, if a person votes for the practicality of Donald Trump, because there’s a practical reason to vote for him, “I’m voting for Donald Trump because he is going to give me a tax break. He promised it. Therefore, I’m practically voting for money. I’m practically voting for Donald Trump because he promised jobs coming back from China. That’s what he promised. Whether he did it or not, what’s important to me is that he promised. I’m voting for Donald Trump because he is going to get rid of abortion. Practically, I’m voting for him.” Everything else is falling aside. I can have empathy and compassion for all of those things.
The money is about fairness or a value that I want to keep inside my family and not spread throughout the nation. The second one has to do with jobs, which is my way of living. The way I used to make a living has to change because the job went to China. All of a sudden, I am out of luck in my little small hometown because manufacturing left here and went there, or I have a religious mindset, which is saying, “Life is sacred no matter how it’s created,” because this is the magic of my spirituality and the way my faith goes.
This one trait is enough to get somebody to vote and you can’t waiver off of it. If you vote for the other guy, that means I have uncertainty about money, about job, and about my primary religious value regarding abortion. See how easy that is to go, “You’re voting for that one thing. That’s an interesting way to do it. I’m looking at some other wreckage around here that he’s caused and other ways, but it doesn’t seem like you’re looking at that. You’re looking at these other things.”
What’s unsettling is that being one of these key traits. There are fourteen identifiable traits, although there could be a couple of more if I thought about it a little bit more. A lot of this came from an article that a friend of mine passed on to me from the Raw Story, which is more of a left leaning magazine or online article that from time to time does a pretty good job of going like, “This is a thing. You may want to look at this thing so that you can discuss this thing because this is a real thing.” That’s a big part of the mindset that we need to do if we’re going to move into a place of restoration with the language that we use and to be more inclusive versus exclusive.
Inclusive is important because we get to see that we’re one nation under God, indivisible. I think we’re doing all of those things. Aren’t we doing those? I think we’re still doing those. Those are the ones. Even with the announcement that Donald Trump made, we might contest it because I think that there are fraudulent things. I think that there’s this thing. The line is, “One nation under God.” It’s not, “One nation under whoever.” It’s not written that way. We’ve got to pay attention to what the target is in our messaging and what we’re standing for. Are we going to stand that way? Are we going to divide it and make certain states matter more than other states, which we are doing.
We are doing that. It’s unfortunate.America is a melting pot. It's a place where people come to get a new start and get treated equally. Click To Tweet
State’s rights become ahead. If I’m a state and I don’t like what another state is doing, I’m going to charge that state more. I’m going to have a tariff on that state. This is where this one goes if you don’t know indivisible. If you go into the divisible place, this is where this one lands, “You want to compete against other states? Fantastic, good. We’ll roll up our sleeves and watch what happens there.” That’s not the space America wants to be in.
The whole idea that a state is good if the governor is in alignment with me as the President, and the state is bad if the governor is not in alignment with me as the President is very concerning.
“One nation under God, indivisible,” let’s stay with that simple phrase and hang with it. If I’m hearing pushback, I think I’m going with this sentence. How about if we go with this one? I can hear your point of view, but I’m going to stay with this sentence. I hear your point of view, and I’m not believing that but I’m still putting this sentence over those sentences that you’re saying. You would like me to hear that. I think we’re supposed to be indivisible. That’s the meme. That is the literal message that goes, “We’re doing this one. We’re doing this sentence. We’re not doing the other one.” It’s important.
All of a sudden, I’m on a monologue here. Let’s see if we can get empathy and consideration to show up here. The second way to get empathy and consideration is that human being brains get hijacked with our attention span and there are certain messages that create a dopamine level increase. Donald Trump does that better than Joe Biden does. Most certainly, he did it better than Hillary Clinton did, which was create a reward, create anticipation, and create a sense of uncertainty. He did that with the election. He says, “I’ll see when we get there.” You’ll see when we get there? That’s saying I don’t trust the state’s ability to count.
Let’s be clear. The question was, “Are you going to support a peaceful transition of power?” He says, “We’ll see when we get there.” That is not very supportive of our American principles.
Here’s what all of the reporters missed. One needs to empathize with that sentence, not get appalled by it. To empathize with the sentence, it might sound like this from the reporter, “You feel doubtful and skeptical that the states have the ability to count their own votes and you don’t trust certain states. Is that correct?”
What would he have to say to that?
He has to say yes. “Mr. President, what states don’t you trust?” “There are many states I don’t trust.” “Would it be more the blue states or the red sates do you trust?” “We’ll have to see about that.” “You have thought that certain blue states don’t have integrity and trust to count votes?” “In the past, there have been states that haven’t done that.” “You don’t trust the election system. You trusted it when you were elected, but you don’t trust it with this vote. Is that correct?” “Yeah. I voted fair and square. I won fair and square.” “You trusted it back then, but you don’t trust it now?” It puts the value where it needs to be put. You got to stare down your own shock and appallingness.
I’m listening to it too. You and I talked about this a little bit before the show. We were both appalled by it initially and I was going like, “No, I’ll stare the sucker down. How can I be empathetic and compassionate to it so it doesn’t look scary?” It’s not particularly scary, but if the dopamine level goes up and it wipes out the adversary because the person is going like, “How could this person be out of integrity?” The answer is he’s hijacking your dopamine. He’s doing what he can to change your physiology.
There’s nobody out there doing what you can do with this. None of the journalists or the television anchors have the skill. It would be great if one of them did. Even some of the most revealing interviews with the President, obviously with Bob Woodward and have his recordings for his book Rage, and the Axios interview from HBO that let the President run off his mouth and shoot himself in the foot. They’re not throwing him empathy to reveal truth and to allow this to happen. None of them know how to do it. I wish that some did.
America has an obsession with celebrities. That’s also one of the traits. We do give power over to rich people and to people that are seen or known. We take power away from people we should be giving power to, people that are well-researched and have skill and mastery like myself. It’s like, “Who’s going to listen to me if I don’t have enough followers, if I’m not getting ten million people listening to me?” That’s one of the problems with some of the skill people, as well as even some people that are well-known and have an entire historical track record like Dr. Anthony Fauci in dealing with the variances of these different diseases. We’re going, “Why are people not believing the expertise?”
There’s this death of expertise that we’ve talked about on the show before that we also are going to do another episode. It’s a lot easier to look at Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Donald Trump, and getting those people who also ran on either Independent or Republican ticket. These people have made something for themselves, whether it was handed to them or not, or whether they had the different values that they did. It had some upsetting pieces to it because some of them were not interested in the best outcomes for the nation. It was for more of the people that got them elected versus the people that were the best. Ask the soy farmers in the Midwest when the trade war showed up and all of a sudden, we had to do a socialistic activity, which we became socialists. Donald Trump did a socialist activity by giving them money for nothing. That’s what he did and that’s what socialism is, giving somebody money for something.
To balance out the income and equality in a certain sector of our economy than agriculture. Donald Trump’s supporters will never say that that was socialism.
He had to do that because of China. It’s like, “No, he didn’t.” He had capitalism running fine there. He had capitalism running great. There were other things that could have been done, but he didn’t take any of those options and he wasn’t even listening to any experts. These different values and traits that Donald Trump’s supporters invest in is something to empathize with. There’s something to be said with somebody that’s worked hard and has developed skill like Ronald Reagan most certainly developed skills as an orator, a speech maker and an actor. Arnold Schwarzenegger came out of the weightlifting thing and moved his way into politics, and did all the things that he did from that space. Same as Jesse Ventura. It’s like, “I can run this thing.” As soon as he gets in there, he’s going, “I can’t run this thing.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger does not become governor of California if he were not famous first.
Same as Jesse Ventura in Minnesota. He runs and after that he used to go like, “Do not elect a celebrity for this job. That celebrity that’s running, I was that guy that you elected last time. They don’t know what they’re doing.” He became that advocate. I was like, “This is the guy that knows something about being elected as a celebrity and all of a sudden, he’s got a point of view and he’s showing up there going, ‘Do not elect a celebrity.’”
There’s another celebrity in The White House now.
These hooks or triggers caused us to look at our fellow Americans or Donald Trump’s voter and not look from a place of disdain, but look from a place of compassion that, “If I allowed my thought to get hooked in that way, I could be there right there with them.” Even the people that want to burn the system down because there’s one key trait that some voters are going like, “This is the way for me to flip off Washington, DC because Washington, DC hasn’t helped me at all. One way to do that is to elect Donald Trump. I’m enjoying the winner takes all. I enjoyed The Apprentice because The Apprentice made sense for me. There were twelve people and he was going to fire them one at a time and there’s going to be one winner. I want that simple black and white decision-making process. I want to watch the world burn,” and this is called tragic empathy, “Then people will understand how helpless I feel. If I make a Liberal feel helpless, now you know how I feel with my thoughts structure and you get to feel as helpless as I felt, instead of us collaboratively getting both of us over the fence.”
This could be described as, “I’m going to make a second wrong to try to make it right” plan.
I can say, “I’d rather them experience what I experienced rather than the other thing.” It’s very unsettling. I wanted to find the feeling word for the way that person feels. The descriptor is tragic empathy. The feeling looks like helplessness. In the article, it gave a German word. It was schadenfreude. It’s the experience of pleasure, joy or satisfaction that comes from learning or witnessing the troubles and failures or humiliation of others, “I feel better because I am having pleasure, joy and satisfaction from learning and witnessing the troubles, failures and humiliation of others, because this is the way I used to feel.”
I can understand a lot of Donald Trump’s supporters feeling that way probably, especially if Donald Trump wins this next election and the rest of us are faced to live with that.
It’s complex. It’s not sympathetic towards the person’s loss. It’s, “So what? I feel better.” Donald Trump lives in this space of, “You lost? Watch this, I’m going to have you lose again. In fact, I’m going to drag this thing out for things that I’m going to take your money and have you lose again, because I have enough money to run out the clock on you.” This kind of mindset is weird. The definition that goes into it says, “This emotion is displayed more in children than adults.” Because this is a languaging show, it’s not supposed to be partisan. Still, we need to illuminate what’s a lot. We can’t not look at it and this is what’s there. We also got to be compassionate about it. It doesn’t matter what party you’re on. You can get hijacked and went down with one of these things very easily, any one of these different points and different moments.
I’m chuckling because I’m trying to stay out of the dark pool of despair because it’s easy to get into that space. Another one of these points that we need to have compassion and empathy about for Donald Trump voters is the thing called the fear factor. It is when there’s a sensitivity towards the need for safety, protection, the need for stability and consistency. One of the things that Donald Trump does a great job of is that he hits that button of safety protection, even trauma and imagined trauma, and because that is something that has been prevalent in media over the last many years of movies and TVs. The violence and the violence escalation of what’s the body count of evil people that the hero needs to kill. Our sensitivity towards safety and trauma has been activated. He’s hijacking that inside them. If Donald Trump says the sentence, “The crime rate in America is way up there,” they literally give him a push and say, “That’s right. It is up there.” Not because it’s real, because it isn’t, because it’s dropped to 24% over the years. It’s like, “No, it’s not as big,” but where it has escalated is in media. We see it in TV shows.
We see a lot more videos of police officers that are hurting suspects and in some cases, overuse of force to the point of somebody dying. It may not be that there are a lot more of that happening now than there was many years ago, but technology is allowing people to see it. It’s much more present in the mind.You want your kids to argue with you in a healthy way. You don't want them to shut down too early. Click To Tweet
It’s more amplified. All of a sudden, it’s like something that happens and you can create an entire narrative of 200 or 300 people walking down the street in Portland, Oregon and created an entire fiction around how violent it is. Meanwhile, it’s going like, “It’s Portland. I don’t think so.” People don’t have it in their perspective. It’s because they’re not there. All they’re seeing is selected clips of violence, even from other violent places and some people have been caught on this using violent moments from other cities in other countries in the video and assigning it to Portland. That’s how truth does get purchased. That’s not true that all of a sudden this French revolution or French uprising or this French thing over here, that happens to be a small video clip of the worst thing ever there that shows up over here.
That doesn’t mean crime is going up. It doesn’t mean that blue states are lawless. We can’t get it out of our safekeeping mind, our protection mind and the trauma that comes from that. Therefore, what winds up happening regrettably is the brain gets hijacked and the voter goes like, “He sounds more safe than the other guy is.” You see what happens? It’s like, “He sounds more safe because he talks tougher. He didn’t do anything.” People know that many times he says things and doesn’t follow through. People will call it a lie. I call it a promise that he’s broken. He promised something. It doesn’t mean he’s going to do it.
If you’re back to one of our earlier trades here, “He may not have done it, but he’s still promising it and I like that.”
My teenage boy promises to do his homework. My other boy promises to clean his room and I’m very clear that from time to time, they will not do those two things. Do I call them a liar for the rest of my life or do I say, “This boy needs a little more leadership and guidance,” or “This person, I don’t need to put in charge of certain things because the level of trust isn’t quite there yet around certain items?” It’s very important. The feeding into the safekeeping mind, the protection mind also leads us to if a leader continually provides this narrative, it’s a languaging problem, of perceived existential threat, all they needed is to be perceived.
There are thousands of people massing at the Southern border. I’m sending the National Guard out to the border. No one is there and the National Guard comes back, but too late already. The voter has already anchored in the existential threat and that if there was one, Donald Trump would be able to be the person to do it. Let alone all the money he wasted of taxpayer dollars by sending all of those people there, which is not fiscally conservative, which used to be a Republican value but is clearly not anymore. Fiscally conservative is something they’re not fully interested in. Otherwise, they would be voting and making other choices as a party. They’re not, because otherwise, they would say, “It’s not fiscally responsible to send all of these people down there and spend X, Y, Z of taxpayer money on that. We want less government. We don’t want more money going into government.”
Isn’t this a similar thing to what the President has now done with vote by mail? It’s not a person, an outsider, or this mob, or group. He’s casting that this vote by mail is going to steal this election from you.
That’s an internal existential threat. The internal threat would be the post office being dysfunctional.
Whether it’s the post office or the very idea of voting by mail that he’s painting it with fraud when in fact it’s not, but he’s branding it.
He is literally branding it and selling it with anticipation. All those three steps that we went over, there’s a reward. We want to make sure our vote counts. Number two, the anticipation of it not taking place, therefore don’t vote because it’s not going to be counted. Number three, “I don’t know how that’s going to work? Did you see the machines are not available?” It doesn’t say, “I give the order to get the machines to come offline.” He’s not saying he’s the one that’s creating the existential crisis. Him and the people that are in charge are going to have a consequence for following this narrative. Their long-term consequence is going to outweigh their short-term gains. They don’t know it quite yet, but that’s the way these things come around a little bit. It’s like, “If you push on these buttons and you do have a short-term win, there will be a long-term cost.” Certain people won’t do it. It’s upsetting and irritating, but that’s a big part of it.
The last one that we could talk about and there are many more that we can talk about, but if we take a look at this bias called the Dunning-Kruger effect where human beings often overestimate their expertise. They say, “I know a lot about this thing.” Whether it’s political or scientific expertise, they don’t rely on experts because they want to go with the person that they have an identity with and they’re taking their own pieces of information, which is then saying, “I’m in the know. I have self-worth. I have knowledge and information.” I want to share something with you, Tom. I was doing an event in Utah and I was walking through the lobby and there was someone doing the Dunning-Kruger effect right in the lobby as I was walking by. He was talking to these two other people, older gentlemen, and he was talking about how much he knew about the violence on the streets of liberal cities.
I was listening to this guy going like, “He is literally getting his need for recognition, his self-worth, and his identity.” Have you ever been to Chicago or Portland or various different cities? That’s one of the problems with the Dunning-Kruger effect is a person’s self-worth will tend to go up and regrettably, the internet has amplified this experience. All you’ve got to do is read an article and then you have an expertise of it. You and I do a little bit of it, but we tend to vet it in 2 or 3 different ways before we bring it forward. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be fully true on the thing that we’re standing on, but because we can admit there that we’re bringing in a point of view with a little bit of vulnerability and go like, “I’m interested to argue the other side of this. Go ahead and try it.”
Were you tempted to walk up and say, “You know a lot about the violence in these cities. You’ve been to these cities and seeing the violence yourself?” I can imagine you wanting to do something like that, but did you stay away from the light and not do that? Not that you’re a part of the conversation.
This is the best question you could have ever asked. I could literally spend my entire life going and interrupting people about the things they’re saying and doing. That’s the first viewpoint to get a hold of. I can say, “I’m not sure if that’s exactly right. I’m not sure of that belief structure you’re running. Where did you get that from?” I can do that. Here’s the takeaway with that. There are times when I lean more towards the 51% engagement versus the 49% non-engagement. This was one of those 49% non-engaged because I had to get somewhere and I was going like, “That’s good. I’ll talk about that on my podcast, but I’m not going over there and doing fifteen minutes because I’ve got to get to my event. I can’t do this thing right now.” The human beings got to pick their battles. You could pick the one you can do.
If I did go up there, here’s the first question I would have asked, “I’m guessing you feeling confident and scared about the safety of people in those cities.” I would have led with empathy, not lead with what my judgmental mind would have wanted to say, which is the one that I said and you repeat it back. It’s like, “Have you ever been to those cities?” That would have been vetting truth. That hangs the person’s self-worth, belief structure, identity, and the connection with the other people they’re talking about out on the fringe or on the plank a bit too early.
Instead of going, “I’m guessing that you feel scared and you feel confident about the violence that’s taken place. You don’t want violence to take place. You have a need for order and you would like things to be done in an orderly legal way. Am I hearing that correct?” “Yes.” “You would like people to follow the laws the way they’re written.” “Yes.” “When people are marching, the way they’re marching and speaking up when a law is not being followed, you don’t like that as much because you would rather have peace, harmony and people to not speak up when something they feel is wrong. You don’t want them to speak up. Is that right?” “Yes.”
All of a sudden, his value of speaking up, his need for being heard is now in question. If I didn’t like something you said, does my voice get to count more than yours? You would have to say, “No, my voice counts the same as yours.” He would say, “My voice counts more than yours,” and then I have a wonderful discussion about, “I think we both have balanced voices in this. The idea is for us to have a civil discussion, don’t you?”
I see where that goes. What I see happening with a lot of people talking about these things is when they talk about the protests and they quickly have put the protests at the same level as the violence. That all protests equal violence, when they don’t. You’ll end up having that discussion quickly.
It clicks back to the fear factor that it’s not safe. It’s traumatic. A lot of people have been traumatized by parenting and various different points of society have been traumatized about speaking up. You try talking back to your dad or your mom. If you have an authoritarian dad or mom, you’re going to get hammered as a kid. Unless the parent is providing space to realize that their job is to let you practice arguing with you in a healthy way, which parents are taught that that’s a part of the playbook. You want your kids to argue with you in a healthy way. You don’t want them to shut down too early because then as soon as they turn to a boss, they’re going to start submitting to them. That will cost them ten years of their career in advancement. As if that hasn’t happened to both of us, at least partly. We shut up to make the money instead of going like, “This doesn’t meet my need for integrity. I can do much better things in my life than to listen to this boss giving me authoritarian issues. I can take my talent out and shop it elsewhere.” It’s called resigning. “I don’t have to tolerate this stuff.”
There’s no one skilled to deescalate the President. There’s no one skilled in the media to deescalate his messages. The American and American voter is struggling with that next level of awareness about how to manage their own emotions when something’s being said in the media, and how to hold people accountable for what they say. We’re struggling with that as a nation and these different ways to be empathetic to the Donald Trump voter, we need to move them up to the list and go, “If I were them and I was looking at these things, and my button for safety was getting pushed because I had a traumatic experience or I had a belief structure that my parents gave me, I would vote right there with them.” The thing that’s extraordinary that’s taking place is the repetitive hijacking of a person to keep the sheep in different stables using these different trigger points. He’s using all of these different trigger points with each speech and still all of a sudden, the engagement is like, “This is what the engagement is.”
He’s even using more of these. We’re not going to cover the full list of those fourteen actual traits here. There’s the article that you mentioned from the Raw Story. You can see how this was written about by a journalist. It’s a psychological perspective analysis of the fourteen key traits that try to explain Donald Trump’s supporters.
That will help people to get clarity because if there’s anything that you and I talked about on this thing is to maintain your curiosity and your openness to go like, “Which one of these things is hooked to me?” I can go through this entire list and think about, “If I am not a right leaning person, if I’m a left leaning person, what variation of this do I believe?” You could look at these fourteen things and flip it to the other side and go, “This is what is happening here. This is one of the biggest challenges are to talk about and to have some value about.” For those of you who are reading also, I do webinars on communication of how to talk to voters or prospective voters, because we’re always going to be in some cycle of voting that’s going to take place, whether it’s the midterm elections in two years.
I’m shaking my head of what’s that going to look like in reference to it doesn’t matter who wins from the perspective of how do you return to our primary value of, “One nation under God, indivisible.” How do you get those line up next to each other and then see if you can get your consciousness aligned to the curiosity about what are the things that you’re advocating for, and then having compassionate compassion for what the other person is advocating for? I can believe certain things are wrong, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to choose the thing that I believe is wrong at the expense of somebody else’s choice, which is a big part of the American experiences to allow people to have more choices than others. There’s more to come on all this.
Thanks so much. That was great. I enjoyed that. I look forward to next time maybe trying to define some political terms and what words that people are using mean. That’s a great place to land next time.
Thanks a lot, Tom.
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