Trump Supporters Either Act Dumb, Feign Ignorance, or Change the Subject
If confronted with the foundation of Donald Trump's beliefs—or even the basic facts of current events—Trump fans react in the stupidest possible way. Even when confronted with his past crimes, they willfully defend him.
His supporters often feign total ignorance of his platform (or are genuinely uninformed about it). His supporters have so little knowledge about his platform that they are frequently speechless when confronted with details of his beliefs. Rather than react genuinely and show concern for holding a foolish position, they pause, laugh awkwardly and change the subject—or continue to hold their ground without reason.
There are numerous videos, articles, and interviews in which Trump supporters will support him at any cost. They will even defend things he hasn't done. For instance, late night TV show host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Trump supporters about Trump's political record—only the questions weren't based on the president's recent impeachment; they were based on the Watergate scandal and former President Richard Nixon. When asked about Watergate, Trump supporters simply said “I have an opinion about it but I don’t want to speculate.” When the reporter asked one supporter if she thought Trump’s war in Vietnam (a war which took place in the 60s and 70s) was justified she said yes. “I like the guy,” the woman added. Trump supporters simply say there's nothing that he can say or do would change their minds. “No matter what he says or does, I would vote for him," one supporter told Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper. Other supporters continued to regurgitate Trump's lies about former president Barack Obama and the birther controversy. One woman said she continued to believe that Obama was a Muslim terrorist. “Do I have proof? No. Do I have articles? No," she said. Trump's base is not only ignorant about his own record in office; they are willfully dumb about nearly all else related to politics and governance.
Many Trump supporters don't understand the basics of his platform. They resort to feelings or beliefs instead of facts. When quizzed on his actual policies, they are often ignorant of even the most foundational things.
Truth doesn't matter to Trump supporters. They make their decisions based on empty rhetoric and beliefs. For instance, throughout his first campaign, Trump repeatedly exaggerated or embellished crime statistics to make it seem as if there were a real threat of violence. CNN's Jake Tapper confronted Trump's then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with the falsehood. Tapper noted that FBI statistics showed crime had been declining for decades. “People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” Manafort said, dismissing the data. This tactic is typical of Trump supporters. They will dismiss facts in favor of their own "feelings." They exhibit a similar reaction as soon as they are asked to dig deeper on Trump's plans to carry out campaign promises. For instance, when the Daily Show's Jordan Klepper asked a Trump supporter who was going to pay for Trump's proposed border wall, the man could only reply: “That’s what we’re gonna find out." Because he had no clue. Similarly, when Klepper asked about how the impeachment trial unfolded, they could only respond with vague generalizations such as “It’s bullshit.” Another frequent tactic for deflection of discussing any concrete policies is to simply parrot what Trump has said on a particular issue. For example, surrounding the impeachment trial, Trump repeatedly urged critics to simply read the transcript, saying it would cast aside any doubt of his innocence. Trump supporters similarly repeated: “All you have to do is read the transcript," all while admitting that they themselves had not yet read the transcript.
They focus on slogans over substance. They repeat Trump's catchphrases over and over. This way, they don't have to engage in any real debate on his ideology.
Trump supporters have taken to the president's slogans like few other supporters of a candidate in recent history. Whether calling his political rivals by their nicknames, or screaming his catchphrases at rallies, Trump's support is built on mimicry. Video footage from rallies shows supporters screaming such slogans as "Make America great again," "Build the wall," "Lock her up," or "Drain the swamp." As are many tactics of Trump supporters, this one is built to allow them to sidestep real debate of Trump's policies or beliefs. They can simply repeat a slogan instead of having a real discussion. One of Trump's most popular slogans during the campaign was "drain the swamp." This was meant to reference what Trump claimed were corrupt, career-politicians whose seats in public office had been paid for by big banks. And yet, when Trump was elected, one of the first people he selected for a cabinet position was Steve Mnuchin to serve as secretary of the treasury. Mnuchin is a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs, the essence of the "swamp" that Trump spoke out so vehemently against. When confronted with this reality, Trump supporters can only offer weak explanations that somehow manage to still incorporate the slogans themselves. For instance, one supporter shrugged and simply said: “There are parts of the swamp that are gonna come in.”