Trump supporters aren’t exactly perplexing — it’s easy to see the forms of xenophobia and ignorance that could lead to the defense of a candidate purely because he’s outrageous and has a false air of “telling like it is,” when “telling it like it is” means asserting that Mexico will pay for the massive wall he wants to build on the border and propagating the idea that a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country is what needs to happens. But the sheer quantity of Trump supporters is frightening, and clearly is making many of us who aren’t Trump supporters personally assess our place among a population who’d let an inflammatory bigot (whose most famous quote was, prior to his run, “You’re fired!”) get this far in a presidential race.
Among the various late night TV hosts, Samantha Bee has been providing some of the best primary election coverage we have — giving, like John Oliver, comedy that doesn’t just escalate the spectacle Trump thrives on, but cuts into it. And recently, she decided to “force herself” to listen to Trump supporters — following stories about violence at rallies and a man telling protestors to, yes, “Go to Auschwitz.”
“Trump has millions of supporters — they can’t all think Auschwitz is still in business,” she says. She seems right — perhaps part of the problem is being too quick to generalize about the pro-Trumpers; how are these accusations and generalizations going to change their minds? Won’t they simply make them more fervently supportive of the candidate? Samantha Bee sat down with a group of young, educated, seemingly reasonable, and multiethnic Trump supporters, and tried to truly listen to what they had to say. Bee’s segment proved that it’s not as easy as purely “having a dialogue.” For it didn’t take long for them to start regurgitating the same offensive ideas other advocates have said in more blunt terms.
“He has such a simplistic, evocative language, that speaks to a lot of people on a primal level,” says one man.
“So you acknowledge Trump is speaking to our lizard brains,” replies Bee.
Bee acknowledges that these supporters “were intelligent and thoughtful,” until they “talked about Muslims.” When Bee asked them if they support Trump’s idea for the aforementioned ban, they were all quick to jump and remind her that the ban on Muslims coming into the USA would “only be temporary,” and that it’s “about security, not religion.”
The best line comes after one of the supporters calls Bee “a trickle down media whore,” after she mentions Trump’s own media-whoring antics. “You’re just getting the remains,” he says.
“In the big bukake of media, I’m the one at the bottom of the fuck pile,” Bee replies. Then she does something truly brilliant: she gives them champagne and talks to them, with a fact-checker at her side.