Engaging with Trumpers and Trolls

Millions of our fellow Americans support Donald Trump because they believe he represents their values and/or their economic interests. Some of them may be among your own friends and family. We have advice for talking with them about the election here. Those conversations need to be handled with utmost care and respect.

There is a much smaller group of people whose “hobby” – or even paid employment – is to harass and harang every public space and social media platform with pro-Trump propaganda. Their goal is to sow doubt and fear, fuel hatred, spread lies, and create confusion. They want to intimidate and bully the rest of us into believing that we are small, insignificant and already defeated. The problem is we can never know whether someone is a genuine Trumper or just a paid troll, or not even a person. So they must all be handled carefully…

These “Trumpers and Trolls” need to be confronted, not because we have any hope at all of convincing them to vote differently, but because their cumulative effect on other people is demoralizing and debilitating. Our goal is not to argue with them as such, but to counter their lies with the truth, to counter their racism with compassion, to counter their fear-mongering with empowerment and courage.

Below are some suggestions for how to counter the Trumpers and Trolls wherever you may find them. Please remember to keep these basic principles in mind as you do so:

  • Always maintain the high moral ground and do not stoop to their level.
  • Vent your anger and frustration before writing a response.
  • When you write, try to restrain yourself from saying what you want to say.
  • Always be respectful even when they don’t deserve it.
  • Don’t get sucked into petty arguments or down blind alleys, stick to the big picture.
  • Always speak with authority, dignity, and pride. Don’t be apologetic.
  • Provide links to your sources wherever possible.
  • Try to avoid scolding, admonishing, reprimanding people for their views.
  • Instead, simply state the truth as best you can, without apology.


 “Trump cares”
Donald Trump cares only about himself. He does not care about you or your needs.

 “Biden is a socialist”
Socialism is schools and hospitals and roads and airports and wifi. If you don’t want any of those things, maybe you would prefer living on a deserted island?

 “Biden is creepy”
Biden is not perfect, but he is a decent human being. He has humility, honor, compassion, empathy and integrity. Donald Trump has none of these qualities.

 “Biden is duplicitous”
I’ll take Biden over a self-serving, egotistical, pussy-grabbing, bald-faced liar any day.

“Biden will tax us to death”
Wealthy Americans should pay their fair share of taxes.

“Trump 2020”
Thankfully, there are decent, caring, compassionate Americans out there who have had enough of the racism, xenophobia, and misogyny being fueled by this President.

[waving American flags]
The American flag stands for democracy, equality, justice, peace, honesty, integrity, rule of law, unity in our diversity, a welcome to refugees, respect for human rights and human dignity. Donald Trump stands for none of those things.

 “This election will change nothing”
Donald Trump is literally killing people with his mishandling of this pandemic. He is dismantling our democratic structures of government. He is fanning the flames of racism and xenophobia, fueling white supremacy militias, undoing decades of environmental protections, flouting laws, breaking treaties with other countries, cozying up to dictators, and all the while lying to us about all of it. If you think he is not setting us on a collision course with disaster, you are not paying attention.

“I don’t want the government stealing my money”
If you earn more than $400,000 a year, congratulations! You are among the top 5% of earners in the US. That means 95% of your fellow Americans earn less than you. You don’t want to help any of them because you “earned” it and they didn’t? Fine, just pay back the portion of the federal budget that was spent to keep you and family safe up to now, that paved your roads so you could drive your car on them, that put the satellites up there so you could have access to the internet, that paid for teachers, fire fighters, police, and post offices so that you could get on with your job of earning all that money. Oh, and if you earned it through a business, please just pay back the portion of federal subsidies your business received to enable it to compete with companies abroad, to be protected from public liabilities, to have patents or copyrights. And please just pay for the decades of research and development that your business benefited from without paying a penny for it, enabling your business to make a profit and you to be making 95% more income than all those people who didn’t have all that government support to rely on.

“Trump is saving millions of babies”
President Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic has already killed more than 200,000 Americans. He has separated children from their parents and locked up children in cages. He has done nothing about US infant mortality rates, which are among the highest in the developed world and are especially high among people of color. He has denied asylum to people who will likely die. He is killing people right now by removing environmental protections that have saved countless lives from emphysema and other diseases caused by air pollution. Does any of that concern you? Or do you only care about human lives before they are born?

Trump is draining the Deep State Swamp”
There have been 215 criminal indictments under the Trump administration, far more than under any other administration in history. There were 58 criminal charges brought against 8 of his closest associates and all have now served jail sentences. Another 6 are still awaiting trials. Trump has forced government departments to spend money at Trump’s private hotels as his family has traveled around the globe. Trump sidestepped rules that had been designed to prevent nepotism, allowing his son-in-law to serve in a top government role. He has touted companies run by supporters and allies who received government contracts. His administration has allowed former lobbyists to serve in jobs in which they have oversight of policies that affect their former employers. Doesn’t sound like much swamp-draining so far…