Trump supporters should oppose Trump's constant self-sabotage
"Owning The Libs" might be good for the "lulz," but it does not advance a conservative agenda, nor does it win elections.
The one thing that Donald Trump supporters need to come to terms with, especially if they want him to become only the second man in American history elected to non-consecutive terms as President, is this very simple political reality: Joe Biden did not win the 2020 Presidential election. Donald Trump lost the election. Eighty million people showed up not to support Biden, but to vote against Trump. And that is why Trump supporters, if they want to win, should pressure Trump to back away from his "jokes" about being a dictator.
Yes, I know that there were things about the 2020 election that were unfair. These things include changing election rules illegally, suppressing true information on social media, and promoting false information both on social media and in the mainstream media. That makes it more important for Trump to be focused and disciplined, refraining from the trolling and taunting that has defined his political brand since he announced his campaign in 2015.
Before I get into the "dictator" stuff, Trump's opponents need to be honest about his "authoritarian" tendencies if they want to convince wavering voters. They need to stop taking obvious jokes literally, and should address substance rather than reacting with hysteria. That does not convince anyone, no matter how firmly the speaker may believe it.
For example, Trump did not talk about invoking the Insurrection Act to suppress "protests." He pondered sending in the military to suppress riots and rampant lawlessness. (He never actually did it, of course, which is another problem with Trump: He runs his mouth but does not follow through when he should.) No state in the union allows motorists to run over "protesters" with impunity, but does allow motorists to escape a dangerous situation when they are surrounded, threatened and illegally detained without fear of civil liability. I could mention many more examples, and may in a future post, but you get my general point.
As I have said many times, I will not vote for Trump in 2024. But as a former Trump supporter, I can tell you that defending Donald Trump is exhausting, because he goes out of his way to sabotage himself. The "dictator" remark last year in the interview with Sean Hannity was another of his unforced errors. Yes, he was joking. But he knows that when he says things like this, he whips people into a frenzy. This means we are not talking about Joe Biden's bad economy, runaway inflation, radical social policy, surrender to the Taliban, or acts of depravity in the Senate chambers. We are not even talking about Trump's policy agenda of increasing domestic energy production, rolling back burdensome regulations on business or cutting taxes. We are instead distracted by whatever "joke" Trump decided to tell to troll people.
Do Trump's opponents overreact? Do they often lie about what he said? Yes and yes. But openly trolling and taunting the opposition is totally unnecessary. Hannity was clearly lobbing Trump a softball, and was trying to save Trump from himself, but the ex-President barreled ahead anyway. Again, this is why Trump lost the election in 2020, because he motivated so many people to turn out and vote against him.
Trump learned a lot about showmanship from World Wrestling Entertainment, where he was in a featured match at WrestleMania. But he needs to learn he is not playing a "heel" character. He is running for President, and he is a former President. The stakes of the 2024 election are quite high. If he is taking the business of public policy seriously, Trump needs to stop intentionally provoking people. He sabotages himself when he does that.
If you want Trump to be elected, and you want his policy agenda to be implemented if he is elected, you should want him to be focused and disciplined. A strategy with the goal of "Owning The Libs" might be good for the "lulz," but it does not advance a conservative agenda, nor does it win elections. Policy actually does matter, and you cannot implement policy if you are needlessly antagonizing people with childish trolling and mockery.