As you’ve probably heard, Trump is banning trans people from serving in the military. They already are, so as John Scalzi points out, this is taking a right away from them. And Trump is also claiming that civil rights laws don’t ban employers discriminating against gays (from the article at the link possibly the White House has a valid legal point, though I hope I’m wrong). The Trump Administration sees this as brilliant politics — force the Dems to come out for trans rights (and I presume gay rights) and watch the blue-collar voters turn on them! How they will squirm then! (Note: this may be just an excuse to cover that bashing trans people is a step towards building the border wall).
As noted at that last link, that’s not the slam-dunk they imagine. The number of people who demand the government do something about those supposed filthy pervert freaks and aren’t already in Trump’s camp is probably small. As a rallying cry, Stop The Trans Agenda may be effective to getting Republicans to the polls, but beyond that? I doubt it. And while Dems would often cave and tack right in the face of those tactics twenty years ago, I don’t see them doing it now (hope I’m right!).
Likewise, I’m not sure Trump’s racist fantasies about how he hates illegal immigrants because they’re sadists who torture women will sway anyone except Trump voters, and do they need to be swayed? I’m sure millions of them who are okay with cops shooting blacks in the streets are in agreement that a black immigrant cop shooting a white person proves we have a problem — not with cops, but with immigrants!
But then again, one thing Trump seems to be sincere about is his bigotry: for all the talk of him having no ideas or principles, he never swings left (he does put Ivanka out there as his LGBT and Muslim-friendly face, but of course she never changes his policies). As noted at the link, one big factor is that the left would compliment Trump if he got better policies, but the right-wing adores him (possibly because he’s an authoritarian leader, or at least comes off enough like one to pass muster).
Of course we do have no shortage of pundits willing to explain how liberals are shooting themselves in the foot by criticizing the real Americans. As Shakezula points out, winning Trump voters back will not be as easy as not talking about vegetarianism. And as usual, there’s no suggestion that Republicans endless condemnation of gays, immigrants or women costs them any votes (even if they did lose the popular vote in 2016), or that they should tack left to compensate.
Then we have David Brooks’ column on how the real problem in the poor uplifting themselves isn’t the cost of housing or education or the shitty wages so many companies pay, it’s that people with money are snobs who practice cultural exclusion — like the time he took a friend to an Italian deli and saw her horrified because there were all those exotic meats she’d never heard of. Things like that are keeping the poor down! Of course as Brooks didn’t ask his friend why she was so uncomfortable, it could as easily be the prices, or that there was nothing on the menu she could/wanted to eat. But who cares? What’s important is that we keep in mind the problems keeping people from escaping poverty aren’t the way the rich want all the money but a poverty state of mind (Brooks has frequently explained that the poor would be fine if they’d just live chastely and thriftily instead of doing things like having sex and enjoying themselves).
It’s all about hate and it’s never about ideas. As This Ruthless World points out.