The country seems to be trending progressive, with themes like healthcare for all gaining support. Is it possible that Donald J. Trump has contributed to achieving more attention on progressive agendas than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders could have had if they had won the election?
The extreme-right-wing approach to running the country, and Trump’s own behavior, has presented conservative-thinking and their actions as a shallow and callous movement. The reaction — and pushback — to Trumpism and conservative rationale have yet to be measured by Americans. But, with the next election cycle kicking off, trend lines seem to be developing.
Democrats have gained remarkable interest across the country with the ideas of ‘Healthcare for All’. This comes on the heels of the Trump administration and the GOP-led House and Senate delivering on the Trump-promised healthcare plan he said was “almost done” just around the time he was sworn in as president. Moreover, the option to either keep your private insurance — if you like it — or “opt-in” to Medicare, may be something many voters are ready for.
GOP politicians have said, for many years, that they believe in “free enterprise”. So now they’re confronted with private insurance competing with Medicare. This is interesting political psychology since the option to “opt in” actually provides for more “freedom of choice.” The timing for the healthcare debate may bring voters closer to Democrats, and that may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Another big topic is gun-control, especially in the wake of all the mass shootings of recent years. Most Americans have recently shown little patience for semi-automatic assault weapons. Although sweeping gun law approvable may still a tough road, it could heat up as the NRA is being investigated for having been penetrated by Russian operatives, and as a result, may lose some of its Washington lobbying power. And, lastly, Trump’s ongoing rhetoric and actions to divide the nation, and further setback and marginalize all minorities, may also be a point of contention by many.
Trump supporters, for the most part, don’t seem willing to let anything Trump does affect their support, as he makes them “feel” good. Many believe that they are better than blacks, immigrants, Hispanics, gays, and transgender people. It appears that Trump, whether they will publicly admit it or not, speaks for them. The spectacle of what Trump has created through his actions, his fiery rhetoric at rallies, and his own behavior, energizes and motivates many in ways that Clinton nor Sanders could.
In short, the opportunity to move the country to the left — in a positive and definitive manner — is being led by progressive agendas in the Democratic Party. Topics that were once taboo seem to be going mainstream. There are other progressive ideas that go beyond healthcare, and they too are attracting many voters.
The extreme right has been exposed for supporting and parroting Trump lies, as well as fabrications that most Americans are beginning to see in plain sight. Those that are not Trump supporters have now seen the so-called “conservative” approach to politics and policy.
The social psychology and political psychology is now moving many towards the Democrats as it did in 2018. There are many organizations, like the Parkland Students, women’s groups, and associations across the country who want — at the very least — to see a sensible (and believable) approach to civility and rational thinking in the political environment.
Given the shifting political landscape, Democrats now perceive it is possible that Trump and Trumpism could be a cause to run against. There is now the impetus to move the nation to the left in a manner not seen likely prior to the emergence of Trumpism.
Where will GOP lawmakers position themselves? For better or worse, they have tied itself to Trump as a single entity. They became allies and enablers to satisfy their constituents and now backed themselves into a corner in a zero-sum game. With every outrageous action that Trump has taken, every lie told, and every overreach of the executive branch, the GOP-led Senate and House stood firmly behind him. That cost them the House in a landslide: the Democrats swept through the 2018 midterms in numbers not seen since they lost the House post the Nixon resignation. However, if Trump is wrong, they by default were wrong. Therefore, they continue to double-down trying to steer the national narrative regarding the Mueller Report, other investigations, and all things Trump.
If “conservatives” are likened to Trump, then the GOP may have problems they can no longer lie about. On a national campaign, it seems to this political psychologist That Joe Biden [as a moderate progressive] or Bernie Sanders [as a true progressive] have an opportunity to become a Winning Authoritarian Personality on the left, and transform the U.S. into a progressive shining star!
(Dr. Bart Rossi, Ph.D. is a Political Psychologist, Diplomate Clinical Psychology, and 2014 Emmy Award Winner)