Here is a case study why political dialogue with a Trump supporter is so difficult. Too many of them speak in staccato talking points and go silent when you ask for their sources or present sources of your own to make the dialogue as fact-based and respectful as you know how.
In a recent Facebook dialogue between a Georgia member of my family (who prompted the discussion and will go by “Georgia” here), my brother “Bob” (his real name) and a woman who supports Trump, who will be called “TS” here, the topic turned quickly from the suffering caused by the virus (i.e., worsening a housing crisis) to the wearing of masks to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In that dialogue TS went straight to the cure-all, which was “Gotta reopen!!!”
Here is how that dialogue went, and how it petered out to silence after I painstakingly presented a counter to each of the assertions of TS. What took TS a minute to compose as a hodgepodge of unsourced assertions – all portraying Trump as a competent leader on the virus and the Democrats (especially Pelosi) as the real villains of the piece – took me more than an hour to take seriously, research her assertions and respond to her.
Some will say I was wasting my time, but I am in a waiting time at home now and thought maybe I should at least devote the effort on behalf of Georgia and Bob, even if TS lacked the courage of her convictions or the patience to respond.
Georgia : There is a SEVERE affordable housing shortage that is about to crush us. Lack of affordable housing has been a growing problem for some time. The pandemic has brought it to a head. Both renters and small landlords who need to pay property tax and revenues needed by cities to operate will be crushed if more aid doesn’t come to get us through this in the short term. And then we need to figure this out!!! This has been a thorny problem for some time, now that’s growing and growing!
TS: Gotta reopen!!!
Stephen: Fauci warns that ‘consequences could be really serious’ if states move too quickly to reopen.
Bob: We already reopened with a “guidance if you feel like it” plan. The result is over 110,000 additional deaths in this country. With that said, I think certain areas can reopen, but it is not a one size fits all plan. No matter what the circumstances are regarding the severity of the virus in a given area, wearing a mask in all public places should be mandatory and enforced!! The CDC said last week …if everyone wears a mask for 28 days (two cycles of the virus) it will nearly eradicate the virus. That, followed by testing and contact tracing, can beat the virus. But reopening without strict enforcement will only spread the virus. That is obvious if you look at what has happened in the last three months
TS: A mandatory mask requirement simply isn’t enforceable – unless we were in a police state and I’m sure that would go over well. I wear a mask, but it’s not even enforced at stores that “require” it, Publix etc.
Bob: Stores like Publix can enforce it if they choose. No different than “no shoes, no shirt, no service” policy. The local governments where I live are fining those who violate the mask mandate in their cities. Given it is not enforceable legally, if Trump requested a mandate, then more people would participate. It is his base of followers who are the most resistant to wearing a mask.
TS: Well that would be me and all my peeps wear masks
Stephen: I do think most Trump supporters are not so foolish as to not wear masks, but the hard thing for me to understand is how you can stand by and watch the man outright lie about the leadership he has shown on Covid-19? With almost 180,000 people dead, many of whom would not be dead if he had taken the virus seriously and not politicized it, how can you support a man who runs a video at his convention totally denying what we all remember as coming out of his mouth.
TS: January 31 Trump declared coronavirus a public health emergency- that very day Democrats proposed the No Ban Act- late February Trump asked for 2.5 billion to fight virus- Pelosi delayed it- February 28 Pelosi does her “come to China Town no worries “ thing-March 18 Trump suspended all foreclosures on homes- the rest is well documented
Stephen: It is very frustrating dialoguing with you, TS, because you say your assertions are documented, but then you do not provide sources.
Here is what I find on the assertion that Trump declared a public health emergency on January 31. That is true, but its purpose was to support a travel ban from China. Here is that reference and my following comments will address your other assertions.
Trump Declares Coronavirus A Public Health Emergency And Restricts Travel from China
Stephen: And the No Ban Act, which was indeed proposed on January 31, was not about the coronavirus at all, but part of the (D) leaders continuing effort to oppose Trump’s previous travel bans based on religion. You can disagree that the travel bans discriminated based on religion, but the proposed Act had nothing to do with a ban on travel from China to prevent the spread of the virus. The (D)-majority House did not even pass that Act until July 22 and of course the (R)-controlled Senate killed it. Here is my source for that.
House Democrats just passed a bill to repeal Trump’s travel bans
Stephen: Then as it pertains to Trump declaring an emergency with real meaning that authorized powerful federal action to combat the virus, that did not happen until March 13. Here is the White House source for that:
Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak | The White House
Stephen: Between the end of January and March 10, President Trump consistently misled the public on the seriousness of the virus. Here is my source for that:
FACTCHECK.ORG: Trump’s Statements About the Coronavirus
Stephen: As to Pelosi supposedly promoting “come to China Town, no worries” on February 28, I think you are paraphrasing what Trump said in a tweet about Pelosi’s visit to Chinatown. This was the reporting on that, and please don’t call it “fake news” because it comes from the Washington Post:
Analysis | Trump vs. Pelosi: What happened in Chinatown
Stephen: In case you could not resist dismissing the Chinatown story as “fake news,” here is some corroborating information about that:
Trump’s False Claims about Pelosi and Chinatown
Stephen: As for Trump suspending all foreclosures on March 13, that was true but it applied only to HUD and FHA federally insured housing and was only good through the end of that month, according to this report: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/coronavirus-trump-says-hud-will-suspend-foreclosures-evictions-until-end-of-april.html
Although the following report says that the suspension on foreclosures was for 60 days.
Trump orders HUD to suspend evictions and foreclosures
In any case subsequent bipartisan Covid-19 relief legislation has extended the suspension. I’d have to look up where we are on that now.
Stephen: As for your assertion that Pelosi delayed $2.5 Billion in virus aid, here are the facts on that. That story “was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.” You can check every one of these facts if you like, and I hope you do. When your source is the right-wing Red State, you are not reading widely enough.
PolitiFact – Fact-checking claims that Pelosi held up coronavirus aid
Stephen: TS, now that I have shown you my sources for challenging your assertions, would you place in the future, in the spirit of honest dialogue, show me your sources when you make your points that argue for continued support of Mr. Trump? Please.
(End of discussion as TS went silent.)