Opinion: Let’s not demoralize Trump voters

Madison Newingham

We are witnessing policy and rhetoric on both sides of the aisle that are polarizing the nation on a very personal level, and I am largely addressing the Democrats who seek to demoralize President Donald Trump voters to win major elections in 2018.

Some Democrats find it necessary to demoralize all Trump voters on the basis that they all are racist, xenophobic or white supremacists.

We lost the working-class because we ignored their interests in our policy and rhetoric. These voters felt frustrated and voted for the party that claimed to bring their rights into the conversation.

These voters may support progressive social issues but favor more conservative economic policy — or they may just misunderstand the campaigning of both sides because Democrats campaign on rhetoric rather than ideas and actions.

These people may have voted to mirror their friends, family and community. Everyone has their reason, but it is unfair to say an entire populous does not care about humanity.

I also want to stress that it is impossible to win a voter bloc by telling them that they are inherently bad people for voting for Trump, that they have no morals and are incapable of making intelligent decisions.

By undermining their character, we undermine the entire Democratic Party’s message.

We are supposed to be the champion of civil rights and of social justice. Why? Because we value humanity and care about the wills of those around us. We reflect inhumanity by suggesting that essentially half the nation is evil.

We need to be telling Trump voters that while Trump may have the rhetoric they align with, Democrats can actually offer tangible policy to their benefit. We have to be operational, and we cannot do that by continuing to argue that we are not them.

Elections lose their legitimacy when we say, “We are not the bad guy, so pick us.”

Allow me to provide an example.

Those working in dirty energy are confused by environmental rhetoric. They fear their jobs, thus vote for their income, families and dignity. They vote red because they believe Republicans will keep their jobs and their tradition of mining work.

Instead, we must educate these people on green energy.

Environmentalism is a noble cause, and we cannot convince people of it if we are telling them that we want to take their jobs. Really, what we want to do is to transform their jobs, offer training and new, better jobs.

To those who vote Republican because the GOP has branded itself as the patriotic part: Why can’t Democrats be the patriotic party? We value upholding liberty for all without exception. We value equity, tolerance and success. We value American production. We must tell people exactly what our rhetoric stands for in order to win their trust and their vote.

We must stress that we favor good governance, not big government. Neither party should be talking about big or small government — we need to talk about efficient policy and the steps needed to enforce said policy.

No Democrat wants governmental waste in time or money. We need to say that.

And to my friends on the right: Attacking the left for being snowflakes, weak and socialists expels the communal good.

Our governmental documents are founded on the idea that if we succeed, we must help our neighbors succeed. We want to be a successful nation, and in reaching towards that, we elevate our influence and credibility in the global community.

The American Dream is not individual, but rather communal. America does better when all of its people do better and achieve some variation of the American Dream. I urge you to consider the policy you want to see and vote in accordance with that who provides the mechanisms in line with your values.

I want to remind you that many on the left do not believe you are bad people — we merely disagree on politics, and that is okay.

We cannot allow aggressively partisan politics to undermine human connection. We cannot be a cohesive nation without respect for both sides.

The point is that we must separate the people from the problem. We must advocate for policy, not some extreme ideal with no mechanisms of enforcement. We must care about each other and the interests we all share.

I want to offer an example of two politicians who have shown that bipartisanship can exist, and that we can still be civil amongst those with whom we disagree.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Arizona Sen. John McCain have no personal vendetta against the other on the basis of their disagreeing on policy. They can still tolerate being in the vicinity of the other — I know this seems rare in politics.

Both senators make statements about respect for politicians across the aisle, that they can work in the same space to push an agenda they feel is tangent with the success of the nation.

Both Brown and McCain advocate for good governance, not its size. We must vote for politicians with dignity of this kind. These are the people who have you, their constituents, in mind rather than the lining their pockets. These politicians are good people, and they are who we need representing our diverse causes.

Specifically at Kent State, partisan politics has created a great divide because some of us ignorantly attack the other. We need to have conversations, and ask the “who, what, where, when and why” pertaining to policies and ideals.

We can respect our peers on campus, and we must demonstrate we are leaders in our community by doing so. We cannot do that by demoralizing the other side. We cannot do that by being blatantly disrespectful to the other.

I find it so repulsive when I hear students talk poorly about someone on the basis of their politics. I am constantly defending our College Republicans and its members because I do not believe they are bad people — I plainly do not agree with them.

I have many conservative friends, some of my closest friends, and we can still have those relationships by respecting the other party.

This message is returned by College Republicans membership as well. I want to stress this point specifically because it does suggest we are capable of this dynamic campus-wide.

The state of our country is a shame, and we cannot continue to be divided.

Madison Newingham is a columnist, contact her at [email protected]