Exiting the Trump Train, v1

By Stephen, 18 January, 2019

People opposed to Trump need to stop saying it’s like a cult, as if that alone would work, and look at the tactics that actually work against cults.

Imagine decent Republicans as on a train they have been on their whole lives. It left the station last election cycle, with Trump mocking a disabled reporter, and millions of riders cringed, but didn't get off the train just for that. Weird tweets people wish he wouldn’t say. Says that weird thing about shooting people on 5th Avenue. He mocks McCain, does weird stuff with Putin, declares the people he himself picked to surround him to be wildly losers … each of these is a decision moment, where people get off the train and walk back or stay on the train. Eventually the train is a thousand miles from decency: do you get out and walk a thousand miles, alone, mocked by liberals saying "I told you so"?

Progressive activists need to help people exit the Trump train. They might come join us — that's hard, a big ask. They might join politicians they've always appreciated more — veterans with basic integrity in the McCain pattern, who might finally say enough. They might retire from politics for a while. Any of these exits are the end of Trump's electoral cult: are we working toward this end?

The easiest way to help Trump exits not to ask people to backtrack the train a thousand miles, alone and on foot. Instead, find conservatives exiting the train, regretting their decision. Make sure that Trump voters don't feel like they need to move to Berkeley to leave Trump, they can follow the lead others have set. Find those stories, get out of the way, don't comment on them, just share them widely.

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