How will we bring the Trump supporters who live in an alternate reality back to the real world?
A recent Pew poll asked who respondents thought was to blame for the Capitol riot—and an “astounding” number said President Donald Trump bears no responsibility, Rick Wilson told his co-host Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers “really want to close their eyes and say, it didn’t happen. Oh, it’s just going to go away. Well, it did happen. You made it happen. It’s not going away. It’s going to be with you for a long, long time,” Wilson said.
“They’re forgetting that this particular party now has a base of people who believe in the craziest fucking things you’ve ever heard of,” he added. “And who hate Republicans if they’re not named Donald Trump.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Atlantic staff writer Anne Applebaum joined the co-hosts to offer historical examples where societies were able to come together after insurgencies and civil wars.
“We need to find some way to reach people who now live in this in an alternate reality,” she said. “In December, something like 35 percent of Americans said they had doubts about who won the election. More recently, something like 21 percent approve of the storming of the Capitol. So somewhere around those numbers, we have a number of people who don’t accept that the election was won by Joe Biden. Therefore, they don’t accept the rules of American democracy. Therefore, they think it’s OK to commit violence against the institutions and people who compose that democracy.”
To reach those people, Applebaum said, “All the lessons are about getting people to focus on practical and real issues and getting them away from the culture wars. So you will not win by shouting at people, ‘You are fascists!’ even if they are… and you will not win by arguing your case. You will win by getting people to talk about fixing the roads... getting people to refocus on some real project in the real world that a community can do together.”
Most important of all, said co-host Molly Jong Fast, is to avoid focusing on Trump. “If you’re building a bridge or doing something else, at least it’s not about Trump,” she said. “And I feel like when you talk about Trump, you just lose no matter what side you’re on.”
To ensure the MAGA mob doesn’t rise up again, the co-hosts agreed that the Capitol insurrections and their enablers in Congress and the White House needed to face justice.
“If Democrats who now control the Senate, even though it’s by very small margin, can’t do something here to punish people for doing an insurrection, then they’re just going to do it again,” Jong-Fast said.