Why Trump Opponents Shouldn't Ridicule Him
Let's be clear about one thing: If there's anyone that makes it easy to ridicule the Trump administration, it's Donald Trump himself.
When the president routinely puts his subordinates in a position to defend his actions, only to then go out and give an interview that totally contradicts their reasoning, he makes it easy for us to ridicule him -- and them -- as liars.
When the president insists that millions of people voted illegally, in an election that he actually won, it makes it easy to ridicule him as childishly insecure.
When the president pulls out of a global agreement to combat climate change, and his cabinet can't definitively say whether he still thinks global warming is a "hoax," it makes it easy to ridicule him as a gullible conspiracy theorist.
When the president is driving an effort to repeal Obamacare, only to then praise another country's form of universal healthcare, it makes it easy to ridicule him as embarrassingly uninformed.
We can go on and on -- the examples are not hard to find -- but the point will remain the same: The president of the United States makes it easy to ridicule him as unfit for the job.
And yet, despite Trump's tendency to undermine his own legitimacy, mocking him is ultimately unproductive. In fact, ridiculing Trump, his administration, and his die-hard supporters might be something worse than unproductive: counterproductive.
There's been plenty of coverage of Trump voters that shows why, too.
There's an idea that those who oppose Trump (and, more specifically, those on the left) do so obnoxiously and condescendingly. The reaction, in turn, for some of the president's supporters has been to simply tune out any dissenting opinion and to cling even more to their cult.
Need proof? Try this.
In May, one Trump supporter told the Associated Press that the wave of scandalous stories revolving around the White House has not had any effect on how the president is viewed among his voters.
Not only have I not heard of anyone turning their backs, I've seen people become more in solidarity with the president because they feel he's getting a raw deal.
On another day, we can debate whether the ridicule is deserved or not. For now, the bottom line is pretty clear: As a persuasive tool, ridicule does not help.
That being said, there are still real, legitimate problems that an apparently incompetent administration presents for the country. One of them is a lack of ability from the media and "the resistance" to communicate the very clear potential dangers of this presidency.
If you're at all worried about those problems, it'd probably be best to do these four things instead of ridiculing the president.
1. Don't overreact.
Reacting to every Trump misstep like it's the end of the world is a misstep in itself. When the world ultimately keeps on spinning after every wave of outrage, it undermines the underlying cause of the outrage in the first place.
Think back to January, when people were freaking out over Republican senators "voting to take away health care."
It's June, and Obamacare still hasn't been repealed.
In fact, it doesn't even seem clear that Republicans will ever get their act together and actually come up with a good healthcare plan they can agree to.
So what those who feared the worst shouted was happening didn't actually happen, which is actually a legitimate reason for others to not listen when the overwhelming majority of those who oppose Trump freak out in the same way the next time a big story comes around.
That brings us to this next point.
2. Offer dispassionate opinions.
Here's the good news. Trump's administration is so amateurish and lacks so much basic competency that it doesn't even take much disprove much of what the president tries to pass off as wise.
In arguing against leaving the Paris accord, we don't have to passionately scream about how the planet is doomed.
Doing that ignores an argument that is much more simple and palatable to both liberals and conservatives: The agreement didn't have to be withdrawn from in order to make changes.
Some of Trump's voiced (or tweeted) stances are so clearly flawed that it'd be much better to rely on the most dispassionate arguments against them, without even having to rely on dramatic proclamations.
The facts, without huge doses of hysteria, might just be much more effective.
3. Know the other side.
In order to do that, it's worth knowing what the opposing argument is.
To point out that leaving the Paris accord was unnecessary, which it was, you'd actually have to know Trump's reasoning and understand that it doesn't square with actually withdrawing.
To point why the AHCA sucks for people who are both Democrats and Republicans, which it does, you'd actually have to know what Republicans claim is wrong about Obamacare.
We all know the simpler and cynical conclusions we could make -- Republicans hate the environment and hate that people have healthcare -- but neither of those attacks helped win elections and ultimately did not stop Trump from entering office.
In the end, we all might be better served by understanding what exactly the opposition is about in order to more effectively combat it.
4. Be able to defend your own.
If you're against a travel ban being imposed, you should know why exactly it wouldn't stand up in court. If you're for a certain type of healthcare system, you should get informed on how that system would be sustained.
If you're for impeaching the president, you should know whether that's even possible with the current make-up of Congress before appealing for it.
You might simply assume these things are obviously just, but the next person can make just as lazy of an assumption about his or her own ideas.
Being able to comprehensively defend your positions and understand others' -- along with every other point discussed here -- will probably go a much longer way to helping us figure out how to solve our problems than ridiculing our president does.