A Continuing Discussion on Setting Boundaries & Disrupting Normalcy

When I write a thread for Twitter, I can’t predict if it will go viral, or what the responses will be. I don’t know how it will be misunderstood, or where my words aren’t clear, until I see the responses to it. I always wish I could revise it for clarity, but you can’t edit tweets. With the thread about Trump supporters, all responses so far (they are still coming in) have fallen into 3 categories:

-85% of the people who responded love the thread. They said things like: It was a balm! It was a relief! It gave me hope! I didn’t realize I needed permission to stop putting up with the abuse. I wrote the thread for these people.

-10% of the responses are from die-hard Trump supporters. They typically haven’t read the thread and just take a moment out of their day to call me a cunt, yell at me for being intolerant, call me a fascist, and say they feel sorry for my kids. I block them and delete their comments.

-5% of the people who respond are not Trump supporters but feel very protective of them. They insist we can’t just “give up” on Trump supporters.

They say stuff like: we know you’ve been patient and understanding for 5 years now, but if we’re just more patient and more understanding, they’re bound to come around.

They explain that Trump supporters first and foremost need our compassion because of: a) “economic anxiety”, or b) they don’t even realize they’re openly racist, or c) they’ve been fooled and hoodwinked by Fox News (implying they don’t know how the internet works so they can’t find better information?).

I mean. Stop. Do you hear yourself? So they’re just allowed to continually shit on everyone around them? Why the endless excuses to protect them?

And the excuses aren’t even real. Research has been done on this. It’s not an economics question. Their main reason for voting Trump is racial anxieties — they are voting against equality.

I know many Trump supporters in real life, and none of the above excuses would apply to them. They are educated. They are well-off. Their lives are stable. They have access to the internet and know perfectly well how to find better information. They can see as well as I can that long lists of public-facing life-long republicans have rejected Trump.

They are choosing chaos, pain, and death for everyone else, while demanding normalcy for themselves.

Why be so protective of them? They are abusing my fellow citizens. They are abusing me. People are dying. Families are separated — at the border, and with travel bans. Huge amounts of jobs have been lost. The courts have been stuffed with unqualified right wing judges. The already weak safety nets in our country have been weakened further. Their actions hurt themselves too and they don’t care. Their primary goal seems to be to cause any non-Trump supporter pain.

Why is your first priority protecting the abusers? Why do these abusers never face consequences for their actions? Is there such a thing as a consequence that you would be comfortable enforcing? Or do you believe they should get to retain their normalcy despite the abuse they dole out?

You seem convinced they are the victims, and they are convinced they are too. But for four years they’ve had the Senate, the Presidency, the Courts, and they had the House for two of those years too. They won! They cheated, sought Russia’s help, suppressed votes, gerrymandered, and won. So how are they the victims? How will they be less a victim and more a winner if Trump is elected again?

If he wins, they won’t be magnanimous, they won’t want to help their fellow citizens, they will still claim victimhood and demand that we compromise and accommodate them.

Let’s talk about cult-thinking. There is no conversation you could have with a Trump supporter that would bring them around. That’s not an exaggeration. Consider: What new information could be brought to light which would persuade a Trump supporter now?

The answer is: Literally nothing. If there were hard evidence of Trump as a serial killer who made skin suits out of his victims, his supporters would find a way to excuse it (Fake news! Or: Well, what do we know about the people he killed? They likely weren’t the most morally upstanding folks…).

Some people have read the thread and worried: If Trump supporters are being cut-off, then who will engage them in the important conversations about racism and police abuse and reparations? It’s a good question. And something my fellow white people need to keep in mind, since we know it’s our job to dismantle white supremacy.

Personally I’ve been having these hard conversations for years and find that they do work. I get emails all the time from people who said something we discussed here on Design Mom shifted their thinking on gun control, or institutional racism, or the role of police in society.

BUT. The conversations don’t work with Trump supporters. They have built a non-reality for themselves where Q is real, and vaccines are evil, and Trump is an upstanding guy who values religion. There is no hard-but-important discussion to be had with someone who believes Tom Hanks is eating babies to bring on immortality. They didn’t use logic to get themselves where they are, and we can’t use logic to get them out of it.

To be clear, even if we agree that 25% of the country are Trump supporters who will never be “brought to the light” through civil conversation, there are still plenty of people who can be engaged in tough conversations/debates about things like defunding the police, prison abolishment, gun reform, universal basic income, etc..

It’s not like 25% of the country is Trump supporters and 75% of the country is highly progressive. The 75% holds a very wide variety of beliefs. That’s a worthy place to spend time. And I do spend time there.

But the 25%, the die-hard Trump supporters, won’t be able to hear our words, no matter how carefully we craft our discussion.

I think our best bet is trying to jolt them out of the cult-thinking.

Let’s talk about setting boundaries. I used the word shunning in the thread, and I probably prefer it, but if it’s stressing you out, feel free to use “setting boundaries” instead.

What are you picturing when I say shunning or setting boundaries? You may have been shocked at mentions of Ikea and Target. (How dare I! Too extreme!) To that I say: Oh come on. I have zero say in who gets to shop at any store. If I throw out an example that I have no power to implement (and how would you implement that anyway?), then it’s not serious. What I was trying to describe is disrupting an easy, comfortable aspect of a Trump supporter’s life to jolt them out of their cult-thinking.

When you read “shunning”, you may be picturing ending the relationship and never speaking again. I didn’t get into details in the thread, so you can imagine whatever you like. But here’s what I was picturing:

We know that logical discussions don’t jolt people from cult-thinking. We know that threats don’t either. If someone told a Trump supporter: I’ll hurt your sister if you vote for Trump, they would not believe it and they would still vote for Trump. They know non-Trump supporters are decent (and we know this because they constantly demand and receive our decency, while offering abuse in return).

So what could we do to jolt them from the cult-thinking? I think our best bet is to disrupt their normalcy. Let’s imagine a 70 year old white man who gets a shave and a trim from the barber on the corner every Thursday at 11:00 AM, and who has done so for a decade at least, and is all in for Trump. He wakes up one Thursday and there’s a sign on the door that says: This shop is permanently closed, the barber passed away from Covid-19.

The man would mourn for his barber. And the man would mourn for his routine — the next nearest barbershop is miles away and closed on Thursdays(!). Now he has to take action and change his routine. He has to face the fact that Covid-19 is not a hoax and that he was wrong — the virus affected his very own life. He has to consider what else he might have gotten wrong. This is the basic narrative of many Trump supporters who have come around — a disruption to their normalcy provoked a change.

So should we cause a Covid-19 death in every Trump supporters’ life? Obviously not (though with the current trajectory, those deaths may sadly happen anyway). But are there smaller boundaries we can set that disrupt their normalcy? What if decent people set consequences or boundaries for the die-hard Trump supporters in their lives for the next two months?

Hey Dad, we’re not attending the family Sunday brunch from now through the election — and maybe longer if Trump is re-elected.

Hey Instagram Follower, I’m not going to give you access to my content while you’re a Trump Supporter.

If a Trump supporter I know personally was hungry, would I feed them? Yes. Would I say hello if we passed in the grocery store? Yes. But I would not respect them. If we had a trusted relationship before, I would not feel it’s trustworthy now.

In my experience, respect is involuntary. You either feel it or you don’t. If you don’t respect someone, but say you do, you’re just pretending. Interactions begin with an assumed respect. But if someone tells me they’re a Trump supporter, the respect disappears. I can’t just choose it back, even if I want to.

Above I said: I think our best bet is trying to jolt them out of the cult-thinking. But honestly, I don’t even think it’s very good bet. It just seems to be the only option on the table. On the other hand, setting boundaries does a lot of good for those being abused by Trump supporters, so it would still be worthwhile even if it didn’t jolt a single Trump supporter from their cult-thinking. What a relief for the decent people! What a relief to stop the abuse from now until the election — or beyond!

Let’s talk about time. Perhaps you feel that if given enough time, Trump supporters will come around. Well, you’re correct! They will. When Martin Luther King Jr. was alive and protesting, most white people hated him; white conservatives especially so. But time passed, and now they love him and deny ever disliking him. They’ve convinced themselves they’ve always been lifelong fans.

The same thing will happen with Trump. At some point the Trump reign of terror ends, and then time will go by, and we’ll watch as every Trump supporter distances themselves from the Trump-era. As years pass they will deny ever supporting him. Their future grandkids will eventually find Trump flags in the attic, and they’ll pretend they’re just “souvenirs of that time period”.

We don’t even have to convince them. As time passes and the culture progresses, they’ll get on board. In 15 or 20 years, most Trump supporters will have shifted their opinions. By then, gay marriage will be such a long established fact that they won’t ever remember fighting it.

Things like Q and the “Deep State”, will fade much faster. It’s just like the caravans. Trump supporters were obsessed with the caravans until the midterms, and then… poof! the caravans disappeared overnight. Never to be mentioned again. Q will also disappear the moment they no longer need that particular bogeyman.

But the election is in two months. Your “kill em with patience and love” strategy doesn’t apply.

Maybe it’s time to study what happened to the families who split apart in the Civil War. Did love and patience bring them back together? Did the confederate family members ever see the error of their ways? Did relationships mend eventually?


At the beginning of this post, I talked about how responses to the thread were split into 3 different categories.

To the 85% of respondents who loved the thread: I’m so glad the post was a balm and a relief for you. Writing it was for me as well. I hope you feel confident that you do not have to put up with abuse from Trump supporters. Set your boundaries. Try and remember, this hell won’t last forever. Double check your registration and make a voting plan.

To the 10% of respondents who are Trump supporters: There is nothing less interesting to me than your thoughts or opinions. If you leave a comment it will be deleted and you’ll be blocked. The boundary I’m setting: you don’t get access to my creations until the election. (If Trump wins, be aware that boundary will likely extend.)

To the 5% of respondents who think the thread was too harsh or went too far: If you’re not feeling abused by Trump supporters, the thread wasn’t written for you. You should probably skip it and move on. To be honest, I find your reaction troubling and your motivations suspect. I’m not sure I can trust you as a friend or ally. If fascists were after me, I suppose I would conclude that you wouldn’t be willing to hide me.


Logical conversations don’t work. Threats don’t work. Time works — but only if you have decades. Jolting someone out of cult thinking, because they’ve had a disruption to their life that has affected their normalcy, is probably our best shot. And even if it doesn’t work, the boundaries provide huge relief to people being abused by Trump supporters.

Thoughts? Do you think this followup makes the thread more clear? Less clear? Do any specific actions come to mind when you consider disrupting normalcy?

189 thoughts on “A Continuing Discussion on Setting Boundaries & Disrupting Normalcy”

  1. Hey Gabby I just wanted to send you some love and hope you’re doing ok. It is really awful to watch the situation in the US unfold as a non-American so I can only imagine the stress and devastation you must be feeling when it is your own family and community being threatened under this “leadership”. I remember when he was elected – we didn’t even know the worst of it – but just knowing he was a reality star, a billionaire, a caricature, it left a sick feeling in my stomach all the way from over here in Australia. Every time I see him on the news that feeling comes back. Gosh I just don’t know. I hope it changes. I hope you’re ok. I hope you feel the strength and courage you are able to inspire in other people, yourself. Much love.

    1. It’s horrifying. As an Australian living in the US (I’ve been here for 8 years) I’m grappling with the reality that I might not be able to live here anymore. We might lose our visas (whether via administrative changes or outright banning of our visa) soon and will have to up and leave our home.

      My child who hasn’t seen another child since March may never see his friends ever again, we might not be able to hug our friends goodbye. There’s a myriad of things that are absolutely devastating right now. It’s exhausting, and I wish I had the power to contribute to meaningful change. Mostly I’m devastated for the American people who won’t have the option to leave.

  2. Thanks for this and for your original post. It is like a balm in these insane times.

    I find law and order/Trump supporters are constantly ranting about being pro really old-fashioned ideas for raising children, like corporal punishment. Spare the rod type thinking. But for adults, if you dare make a judgement, set a boundary, oppose openly immoral behavior, somehow you are wrong. Somehow once adulthood is achieved for certain white people, they are meant to be immune from even something as mild as “natural consequences” for how they act.

    So for the 10% and the 5%: would you not expect a child or teen to experience negative reactions and boundary setting when their behavior is morally wrong and hurts others? If you would expect that, why don’t you expect the same should happen to an adult who, in the case of Trump and all his supporters and enablers, is doing vastly more damage by their behavior than any child or teen could every hope to? Why the double standard?

    Everyone should be prepared for the consequences of their actions. No adult should be immune. Ms. Blair is simply extending that principle to a lot of adults in our society whose actions and behavior are shocking and cannot be tolerated by decent people. Simply like that.

  3. One comparison I can think of that may resonate with many white Americans is dealing with racism and homophobia in our grandparents and other elderly relatives. For most of us, most of the time, it doesn’t feel worth it to lecture Grandpa about saying the n- word. It makes him mad, it makes our parents squirm, it’s awkward, and it feels futile. Besides, his generation is dying out and those views will recede naturally that way. BUT, if he’s about to get a Black son-in-law or his granddaughter is coming out as a lesbian, suddenly it’s urgent and worth it to at least try to make him get over his biases. If he can’t change and act decently to the family member, everyone will pull away from him, just to preserve their own mental health. That’s where we are with our Trumper relatives. We don’t need to coddle them and act like all views are equally valid. We’re all bringing home our new beloved gay, black fiance to Thanksgiving, and we need Grandpa to behave.

      1. Oh my. This hit home. My daughter and her wife haven’t been home for ages to see my family. I don’t blame them. My family doesn’t deserve the honor of their presence.

    1. Oof yes, this is so hard! I have a 90-year old great aunt who is a Republican. Her eyes, knees and plenty of other parts don’t work, but her brain and mouth can’t seem to quit, so she never misses a chance to bash President Obama, say micro-racist things, and talk about her donations to the RNC. It’s heartbreaking, frustrating and just…annoying, honestly.

      I try to focus on the parts of my relationship with her where we have common ground: old films, books, a love of travel, all things Japan, family history and genealogy.

      While I don’t honestly believe I can change her perspectives or jolt her out of her thinking at age 90, I DO believe that I can ju-jitsu her impact on me (which has been largely positive over the course of my life) back out into the world. Which means that I, too, donate money to worthy causes. I also donate her stuff to causes I know she doesn’t support because of her beliefs, ha!

      Children’s books she’s given me get donated to little free libraries, her very fancy handbags and clothing go to a women’s shelter to help with their Dress for Success program, her wacky hats and furs have gone to high school theater programs, and her stockpile of sewing fabric got donated to Opera Colorado for costume-making. She would like me to hoard everything she’s ever given or passed onto me to myself, so instead, I very lovingly and thoughtfully give it all away.

      Maybe it’s doing too little, but it’s the way my family has decided to balance the scales with our particular old racist!

  4. I loved the thread. My biggest question and potential heartache is, what would you do if you found that one of your adult children had become a Trump supporter, despite your best efforts in education and persuasiveness?
    I am honestly curious. It is one of my parenting fears.

    1. I agree it would be heartbreaking. I already disagree with my grown-up kids about lots of things, even big things like religion, and it doesn’t affect the relationship. And I don’t fear political disagreement either — my mom is Republican and my dad was Democrat and that’s fine.

      So it wouldn’t be heartbreaking because of the disagreement, it would be heartbreaking because if they choose Trump they’re choosing indecency.

      If it helps, here’s something to keep in mind:

      I learned in a parenting class that once your children reach adulthood, they have control of the relationship with you. As parents, you no longer really get a say. They get to decide how often they will talk with you, and how often they will see you. You can makes plans to see them, or set a weekly family call, but they can choose not to participate (and if you have a crappy relationship, they probably will choose not to participate). They are adults.

      If Ralph or Maude or Olive (my 3 adult children) did a 180 and decided they were supporting Trump, they would still know what my beliefs are and I would assume they would limit their interactions with me of their own accord. And if we have to limit (or eliminate) interaction while a dictator is in office, I think the relationship can weather that.

      But who knows. I don’t like to worry about things that may or may not happen and that I have no control over.

      1. How do I do this with my mom? How should I speak to her about these issues? I actually gave up bashing my mom for her Trump views in 2019 for Lent – it was that big of a deal in our relationship, to me at least. I do feel that she has somewhat come around to not liking him in the past year or more but I still believe she would vote for him again. I just don’t discuss it with her. We had a very difficult relationship from when I was about 12 – 40!! Now we have had 10 years of calm, I don’t want to go back. It is so hard. Most of my family are Trump supporters. I just say to them, “I always thought you were a smart person until now”.

    2. This is a big fear of mine too. I have seen the consequences in my husband’s family with one family member supporting Mussolini. And yes, that was a long time ago – but the consequences were still being felt two years ago in our family and it is so sad that a sibling relationship was completely tainted because of it.

  5. Excellent.
    We have a model we can follow here, a historical one at that. I believe that Trump supporters must be treated as Nazis were (because they are, dammit) in post-war Germany. They chose evil, and they must be faced with the consequences, just as locals were marched through the death camps so they would not be able to deny any longer what they had denied for years.
    I know many think comparing Trump supporters to Nazis is hyperbole, and they are wrong. All that is different is that they have yet to achieve absolute power over the rest of us, and that only because America is (somewhat) more robust than the Weimer Republic.
    I am a lifelong Democrat living in a red state. If you voted for McCain or Romney, we can be friendly. If you voted for Trump in 2016, but are truly sorry, you’re on probation, but it’s possible. If you’re still supporting him, locking babies in cages, and blaming the victims of police shootings, and refusing to wear a mask. them GFY.

    1. OMG Did we just become best friends?! Yup! I consider myself a more moderate democrat and have tried for so long to teach and practice tolerance in every aspect of my life. I would “mute” people for 30 days on facebook and cross my fingers that when they became unmuted in 30 days their perspective was different. Now, you say something remotely positive about the current administration and Trump and you are immediately unfriended and blocked. I just can’t anymore. Gabby is right–the abuse has become too much. Your entire post are some of the exact words that have come out of my mouth. AND WHO WOULD THINK WE WOULD BE ON THE SAME SIDE AS ROMNEY? WTF!

      1. The best decision I’ve ever made was deactivating (not deleting) my Facebook account. Read the daily lies re-posted my my Trump supporting family made me physically ill. Now I’m blissfully unaware and when my mom tries to discuss FB gossip or politics, I say “I’m not on FB. I’ve no idea what you’re talking about”. It really takes the wind out of her sails. Win/win in my book!

      2. I was muting people and praying as well. Now I’m right where you are. I just unfriend. It’s been four years of my trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. I just cannot do it anymore. I recently had a friend say, “Are we just going to “unfriend” everyone we disagree with?” This is not a disagreement. This is a fundamental difference in beliefs and values.

  6. For four years I have struggled with how to deal with my Trump supporting relatives. We never, ever discuss politics but their FB postings tell me that their support for Trump is absolute and nothing I could say or do would make the slightest difference. I am still struggling with the situation while planning my vote and hoping desperately that we will not have another 4 years of this. I have been more shaken by the mindset of my fellow citizens than anything in my 72 years.

    1. Pauline Campbell

      I agree with you. For me it started during the first campaign. I would read posts from friends and family on FB that at first shunned Trump and eventually evolved into the cult like worship of his “celebrity” and “worth”. It was difficult to see what they wrote and then face them in person knowing all they supported with such disgusting comments. The vitriol that was produced was enough for me to delete my account 5+ years ago.

      And yes, I admit that at that point I began to filter who I spent time with (on line and in person) and who I faded away from. These people only wanted a relationship where hate and intolerance of anything anti Trump the main conversation. They still do. You can literally be talking of daisies and puppies and somehow it will devolve into a Trump support meeting.

      I had to leave because the stress of it all was exhausting and depressing.

  7. Gabby, I loved your original post and I think this clarification is spot on. Rarely seeing the family members who I know or suspect support (or supported) Trump is a fairly effective boundary for me. I already didn’t want to give them much of my time partly because of their beliefs.

    For myself, I’ve just begun the process of applying to be a poll worker. I’m a little nervous about it, but also feel it’s crazy important to be part of ensuring free, fair elections in this country. I can’t even believe I’m having to say that …

  8. Trump put it best himself: he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and his supporters would still love him. We’re wasting our time and emotional energy trying to gently lead the willingly deluded towards the light with our lovingkindness.

    1. 180,000 Americans have died and his supporters enthusiastically support him. And these are supposedly pro life people. How can anyone have a sane discussion with them?

    2. It’s funny that you bring that quote up. There’s a similar quote in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that refers to the title character- he could kill their mothers, and they’d still love him (I’m paraphrasing 😂). I couldn’t believe it when I was teaching the play a couple of years after Trump got elected and read that line.

      Anyway, I appreciate Gabby’s clarification. I wonder if we will be rid of Trump though. At least two of his kids seem hellbent on getting elected, and I think we’ll see another President Trump unless this administration goes down in flames somehow, which I sincerely hope it does. And soon. Or I guess they could destroy each other with family infighting. That would work too.

  9. Pauline Campbell

    I have family members who are of the far right extreme and 100% support, with “Patriot!” “Sign the OATH!” “WWGOWGA!” tags on FB, Twitter, IG and all signatory statements on mailings and texts, and are donating with EVERY paycheck to his account.

    Lest any reader think there is still hope, these Trump supporters are *in favour* of rewriting the Presidential term limits to allow him a life long term, then “HOPE” for Ivanka, then right on down the Trump chain to have the same privileges, because yes, he is the chosen one from God. They HOPE for a Trump controlled national media, they HOPE for laws to be put in place where Trump has the power to overthrow anything he deems as corrupt. The HOPE for law enforcement laws to be created where it is at the discretion of every officer to decide whether or not they can shoot to kill, break into, or essentially break laws to get the “bad guys”. They have zero problems with “kangaroo courts” -if it takes out who they feel is the enemy ->and they are “waiting for the day when all this goes down, because yes, Trump has a plan and he is going to clean them all up in one big sweep to purge this nation of them all! In ONE day everyone who is against Trump will rue the day they were born! And we cannot wait to see that happen!” They arm themselves with military grade weapons “in preparation for the new civil war, because it’s coming baby, and we can’t wait to kill every damn lib!”

    This is the thinking that cannot be changed. They ADORE him and LOVE that he has power, and HOPE he gains more and more and more power to take out whomever. If anyone dare go against Trump, they “wish them dead by any means Trump can devise.” They do not fear Trump at all because they believe he is akin to God -literally, and therefore “cannot go too far”.

    If these words do not frighten the tar out of you, then there isn’t much we can do for you either. If you are not literally hearing these words from your Trump supporters it is because they haven’t felt “safe to share the plan” with you. Trust that if they are ardent supporters, they feel these same things.

    As much as I think they are brain washed, they think the same of me. We are at a stalemate that cannot be any less than those in the original civil war. It’s horrible and ugly, and until we can see eye to eye -the “shunning” took place in this family *from both sides* about the end of April.

    1. Thank you! I try to describe it and never quite get it right. Your description is so good.

      On Facebook I commented the other day that I know I sound like the crazy one when I’m talking to them. It’s me saying: that’s not true, that doesn’t exist, that didn’t happen, he didn’t say that… I’m basically saying their whole reality is false, and that makes me sound crazy.

      The idea of trying to convert them through civil conversation is a joke. And at the very least, the shunning gives the non-Trump supporter some protection. Save your conversation energy for people who, at a baseline, want things to improve for all citizens.

      1. “As much as I think they are brain washed, they think the same of me. We are at a stalemate that cannot be any less than those in the original civil war. It’s horrible and ugly, and until we can see eye to eye -the “shunning” took place in this family *from both sides* about the end of April.”

        This is what is so fascinating to me. It truly is a stalemate, where both sides view the other as brainwashed because of differing core worldviews. I’m not familiar with the rhetoric you describe, but I have heard the way both sides describe the other and it saddens me because it shows that it is no longer possible to have an exchange of ideas. We’re too far gone for that.

        1. I agree it’s a stalemate, Jessie. And I feel so crazy. Am I the crazy one? If I won’t have a serious conversation about Soros and the Deep State am I being intolerant and close minded? Am I really supposed to give equal weight to advice from scientists/medical experts and a random anti-vax instagrammer? When did it become a bad thing to be educated or smart?

          1. YES. Was it the rise of social media and giving these random “activists” and arm chair “experts” a platform that did us in? I see so many Trump-supporters demanding others to “think for themselves” and “question your government” except…they’re blindly following Trump and the non-experts. The irony is too much.

          2. What are we supposed to do? I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m experiencing all of this with my relatives. I try to refute their deplorable comments about B*den, that the protests are all out of control and that there is mass “rioting” in Democratic cities, that voting by mail will increase voter fraud and that there is no racial bias in policing, that Covid-19 is not a threat and that there’s no truth to the efficacy of wearing masks with facts and get nowhere because they believe in their own “common sense” and “gut” and don’t need facts or stats and they don’t need to listen to experts. Their “research” into a subject generally consists of following people on YouTube or listening to Fox News.

      2. This!!!! This comment is everything to me. I love all your content lately. This really resonated, because this is where I’m stuck. I’m just at WTF?! I wish, I hope, I will vote for our country to move toward a future of common ground and not think everyone is crazy. I’m so tired. I have cut off every person that is a Trump supporter, I just can’t listen anymore. So many great voices, like yours Gabby, that give me hope. I hope that’s not “too echo chamber” of me. But I have to do it to get through to November.

        Thank you!

    1. Oh please Barbara. Joe Biden has my vote and full support! If you’re not seeing his name come up on this thread, maybe it’s because we’re talking about Trump supporters, and he isn’t one.

      If the topic of the post was Reasons I Support Joe Biden, or Joe Biden’s Plans for America That I Like Best, I’m sure you’d see his name more.

      But even if I didn’t like his plans (I do!), the reality is: Because he’s not Trump is a plenty good enough reason to vote for him.

      You’ve made comments here before that say, “I’m not defending Trump, but… ” If you’re still on the fence, I don’t make content for you. See yourself out.

      1. I freakin’ LOVE YOU, Gabby. The boundary setting here is gold. And I can hardly wait until we are no longer held hostage from our own White House. Wish I could vote a million times for anyone else. Biden works for me.

    2. I support Biden but I will honestly say that I would vote for ANYONE but Trump. Trump is a despicable human being who is undeserving of the office he holds.

      1. I feel the same way. Biden was not my first, second, third, or fourth choice among the Democratic candidates (though Kamala was!), but I will certainly cast my anti-Trump vote just as sure as a die-hard Joe supporter will. I hope enough people feel enthusiastic enough about Biden to get out and vote despite the pandemic.

    3. WHAT is the point of this? I see this “gotcha” idea all over Trumpland — my own sister said it to my mom last week — that people don’t support Biden, they just hate Trump. What does it matter how much people support Biden if they are voting for him? What difference does it make? Do they think people are going to be swayed from Biden to Trump if they point out that they don’t “really” support Biden, they just hate Trump? Are they trying to instill a sense of apathy in Biden voters, stoke interest in a third-party candidate (who, Kanye West maybe?)?

      1. I don’t HATE Trump!
        But he is despicable, a racist, believes he is a GOD to his supporters, he’s run this nation into the ground, his lack of intelligence has embarrassed us in the face of other nations, he’s NOT an advocate for persons who have physical, emotional or mental challenges, persons of color, women, persons who need the support of welfare services who are down on their luck or have lost their jobs during Trump’s term, BUT more IMPORTANTLY, he’s the WRONG PERSON for this job. I won’t call him a MAN because he lacks the characteristics an honest, caring, supportive, emotionally stable MALE would be in my eyes.
        He has divided us even more than the GOP did during Obama’s term.
        The GOP is to be held accountable for not having the BALLS to call him on his SH-T! And, they too are equally despicable!

    4. Barbara, I’m not sure if you realize the level of absolute antipathy towards Trump. I would literally vote for a potted plant against Trump. I am not kidding. Besides, Joe is fine. I don’t have to be passionate about him….besides, that’s the point, he doesn’t elicit passion. Many of us want someone normal, boring, and nice. We don’t need to feel passionate for our candidate. Being vehemently, passionately, AGAINST TRUMP is all the passion we need.

    5. I like this quote: “Voting isn’t marriage, it’s public transport. You’re not waiting for ‘the one’ who’s absolutely perfect: you’re getting on the bus, and if there isn’t one to your destination, you don’t not travel- you take the one going closest.” I want to get away from racism, from division, from corruption and incompetence, and towards climate solutions, bipartisanship, and good governance. Biden takes me that direction even if I haven’t been a lifelong Democrat or agree with all of his policy positions.

  10. this boundaries follow up is so right on. there was a comment in the original post that echoed these starts, and it resonated enough I printed it out!

  11. Just looked up the fact check you suggested and you didn’t get it right. This is direct from a Reuters’s post in June this year…….
    Firstly, these photos do not show real children. They are images of an art installation that popped up in Des Moines, Iowa, in February. The installation was created to raise awareness of migrant children being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border and elsewhere in the country ( here , here ).

    Not 2014. I think your post just proves the point Gabby makes.

  12. I think setting boundaries with die-hard Trumpers, the ones who will never change, is important for personal sanity, whatever those boundaries look like. I also think that continuing to engage with people who don’t love the things he says but are willing to support him is a noble and valuable thing to do, because people can change. I’ve had people express gratitude to me for continuing to post information about his administration and politics–the people expressing gratitude weren’t the die-hard Trumpers I sometimes engaged with, but the lurkers. Eventually some of them have decided not to vote for him. It’s true we don’t have a lot of time left before the election, but I continue to hope that there are people on the fence (particularly those who have a hard time letting go of the Republican party because of abortion issues, but who otherwise hate Trumpism) who can be swayed. For me, boundary setting is more about personal sanity than a wider mandate.

  13. I respect you SO MUCH for not caring one iota if you lose views/clicks (and therefore money) for standing up and speaking up for what is right. A true badass for our time.

  14. Yes. I absolutely agree that they’re like cult members. I only have a few people in my life that are Trump supporters (oh but abortion. oh but Israel) and honestly, I’ve pretty much cut them out. I can’t sit over a meal with them anymore and act like it’s all okay. Because it’s not. I applaud these posts, Gabby. But despite feeling like we are the majority viewpoint, I know that clearly there are millions of Trump cult members, and I am mentally preparing myself for another 4 years because I don’t have hope that he (or Russia) won’t steal the election.

    1. Don’t give up hope! Remember the midterms! If we get out the vote we can totally win. There are way more of us then there are Trump supporters! Let’s just work our butts off. Widely share the photos that came out yesterday of Biden eating pizza with Firefighters. Widely share his speeches — they are really good! And such a contrast with Trumps. Biden is so clearly a good person. Share Kamala’s speeches too! Make sure everyone you know is registered to vote. Discuss your voting plan on social media — what time? where? in person? by mail?

  15. Curious – I had never heard of you until an Instagram account I follow – I believe “Momma’s Gone City” – reposted your twitter feed. Now I am an enthusiastic supporter and have followed you everywhere possible. I would be curious to know how many new readers you have following this viral post. I also know you have really hit a nerve as one of the most read conservative, religious bloggers – Rod Dreher – has excoriated your twitter feed in his column. His followers are loving slamming you. Good for you. You struck a nerve that men will never understand.

    My husband and I are truly friends with only one outward Trump supporter. He and his wife are our traveling companions. I just said how happy I was that all travel has been pretty much canceled as the last thing I would want is to be on a trip with him right now. It is so hard for me to keep silent about my political beliefs, but for the sake of his wife I do.

    1. Welcome Barbara! Jessica of MommasGoneCity is a longtime blogging friend of mine and I was greatful she shared the post. Good to know on the conservative blogger. I woke up to a bunch of spammy, angry comments and figured someone had linked to the post.

      I’m not sure how many readers I’ve gained for the blog — it’s hard to calculate. But on Instagram, I went from 92k followers to 124k. And on Twitter I went from 92k (yes both my Twitter and Instagram were the same) followers to 108k.

      1. Thanks, Gabby! I think Jessica and you are such brave women as you are willing to not compromise your values – no matter what. Very few are so brave these days. I remember clearly the day I marched in Washington – with 5 million of my closest friends – and how strong the bond was that day. I believe fervently that this bond has continued to grow. Women will decide this election.

        I am one of those women who have been blessed to have never been sexually abused or assaulted. Many of my women friends have not been so lucky. One woman – quite beautiful and a reasonably successful actress – has, sadly, been abused several times. I believe she spoke for many women when she said Trump reminds her of so many of the creepy men who assaulted her. He is very triggering for her. I believe this is true of many women and something men will truly never understand.

        So glad I found you. I love Normandy and am excited to follow along as you renovate your home!

  16. This is how you would react to your father for being a Trump supporter- “Hey Dad, we’re not attending the family Sunday brunch from now through the election — and maybe longer {maybe forever? my edit} if Trump is re-elected”? I would never give Trump that sort of power over me or how I react to my family or friends! That is exactly how I see it: giving Trump more power than he actually has. As far as shunning goes (or whatever we could call it), I would hope all of us would be protected against it, certainly not just Trump supporters. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries…we all do that daily, but being disrespectful (for politics?) is not my plan. You imply that you do not trust my motives or that I would be untrustworthy generally (at least I think I am probably in that 5%). I am sorry that not agreeing with you gives you that idea. I will vote Biden and hope that it makes a huge difference in the way the country is run if he gets elected. That, I feel, is the most important step I can take.

    1. Well, I can’t really say, because my father passed away a long time ago, but if he was alive today and all-in for Trump, obsessed with Obama and Hillary (who are no longer in politics!), claiming the virus is a hoax, etc., there would certainly be no Sunday brunches. I wouldn’t want to be around him at all. Perhaps at some point in the future if he was no longer obsessed with owning the libs, we could repair the relationship. I’m sure it would require lots of therapy for both us.

      And I wouldn’t be “being disrespectful for politics”. This stopped being about politics before Trump was even elected — when he openly mocked a man with CP and bragged about grabbing women by the pussy — and it’s only gotten worse. If my father could vote for that, he’s not anyone I would be willing to spend time with.

      Do you really think these disagreements are political? You think that’s the issue? That we can’t agree on the definition of fiscal responsibility? Come on. That’s disingenuous at best. If you’re in the 5%, the thread was never written for you. Obviously, you are having a different experience than a lot of us; you are not feeling abused by Trump supporters. Okay.

      I’m glad you’re voting for Biden. We all need to. But I’m not convinced we would like each other in real life.

      1. My beloved father also passed away some years ago but no matter who he chose to vote for, although I might disagree with him, I would not have let Trump (or others from the past) stand between us. Perhaps I am not understanding your points clearly and for that I am sorry. I realize this thread was not written for me but it interests me to read different ways of looking at it and learning what the majority believe here. In truth, we have liked each other quite well in real life, I believe, and I still like you as much as ever. I have always thought you very intelligent, a clever writer with a wonderful husband and darling children. Hopefully we will both be correct on Biden!

        1. JP, I’ve voted for both Republican and Democrat presidential candidates in my lifetime. If a family member said: Biden and Romney are equally bad, or Biden and McCain are equally bad, that would not affect our relationship. I might prefer one over the other, but to me they are all in the same realm of decent human beings.

          But if a family member said: Biden and Trump are equally bad, and they meant it, my respect for them would evaporate, and it would be involuntary. I wouldn’t be able to respect them if I tried. Trump is in an entirely different universe of grossness. They’re just not comparable.

          I maintain that for a decent human being, the choice between Biden and Trump is extremely easy, the simplest choice in the world; a decent person would never even consider voting for a man like Trump.

    2. My father and most of his family are all Trump supporters. I am actually thankful we live in a different city at this point and won’t/can’t travel because of covid. Anytime I post something in instagram or facebook like many of my friends do my family comes after me. My dad unfollwed me on instagram. Then when he called to discuss it he told me he loved me “despite this” meaning my political beliefs. I think this idea of creating boundaries is extremely healthy, this part of my family has chosen to come at me and not accept who I am as an adult person, so they don’t get access to all of my life. And as long as they are not taking covid seriously, my family will not be visiting.

  17. I don’t really know if this thought will go any further, but somehow this being afraid of or avoidance of setting these boundaries or finding excuses for Trumpists reminds me of co-dependency.
    While boundaries set in an environment of addiction might not help the addict, they are often the only chance for the addict’s primary social contacts to avoid co-dependency, abuse and bitter regrets.
    This boundary-setting can be tough stuff and can come at a personal cost. But at this point, the last years of cleptocracy and fascism have already caused so much damage and if this egomaniac cannot be stopped the worst is yet to come.

    1. Anne, I’ve been thinking about boundary setting with addicts while reading these threads and the comments, too! This all should feel familiar to anyone who has an addict in their life and didn’t want to enable that person and wanted to protect themselves.

      1. Agreed – I especially relate to the idea of letting go of control, because I cannot force you to see what a monster Trump is/not vote for him/have common decency for your fell humans. But, I can at least let you feel the consequences of your actions, and not shield you from them. It feels eerily similar to dealing with an alcoholic spouse or family member.

        1. I agree with this comparison, as well. I was thinking of my alcoholic father as I read this thread and all of my painful experiences with his denial of reality, word manipulation and the eventual heartbreaking boundary setting I’ve had to do. He is a hardcore leftist, and I think it would be ironic if he realized how often he falls into the same psychological patterns of Trumpers.

          1. My narcissistic sister, father, grandmother were all heavy drinkers. I learned that drinking is a coping mechanism that masks the underlying personality disorder.

    2. It has to do with narcissism, empaths, co-dependency, flying monkeys. All of this is a narcissistic, dare I say “swamp” on a national scale. Lately, I’ve seen the word “gaslighting” in major news headlines ie the recent RNC was a gaslighting extravaganza. Two years ago I wouldn’t know what that meant.

      I dealt with a narcissist all my life (a sibling) and only learned that she is one and what that means about 2 years ago.

      What do you do with a toxic person such as a narcissist in your life? You go “No Contact” forever. If you don’t, you’ll suffer for the rest of your life.

      What do you do with a president narcissist? You vote his ass out.
      What do you do with the president’s “flying monkeys” (his rabid supporters?) you ditch them. It’s for your sanity.
      It’s hard. I just ditched my brother and his wife cuz they support this monster.

  18. I learned yesterday that my husband was voting for Trump again. I was shocked. I thought once he had proof of the last three years he would change. I’ve lost so much respect for someone I thought was a good guy and I’ve been married to for 33 years. He doesn’t understand the consequences of his decision. One son called him a racist to his face — he’s at risk of losing contact with our granddaughter. The other one doesn’t know yet and that will be bad too. I’m in tears. Honestly not sure how to move forward. Very timely article.

    1. Anonwife,

      Same here. My husband is voting for Trump again as well. I cannot convince him otherwise. He is being obstinate. I’ve known him for 34 years. If I harp, he’ll dig in even more. He is influenced by the hardliners and conspiracy kooks at his work. And he thinks the stuff I share with him about Trump is fake news.

      It’s hard to deal with being married to a dummy.

  19. I grew up in a conservative family in which there was usually only one “correct” side on most issues. When I became an adult, and my circle of friends widened, I found myself becoming gradually more socially liberal. I have tried to teach my children that there are multiple sides to most issues and that if there was only one correct point of view everyone would see that. Recently, one of my children asked why I am so adamant that there is only one option (Biden/Harris) in this current election when I have always talked about seeing both sides. The question took me aback but sources like your blog helped me put the reason into words. There are no “two sides” to evil. There is no two sides to whether it is okay to shoot a person in the back 7 times. No two sides as to whether it is okay to radicalize a 17 year old and send him across state lines with a semi automatic weapon into a protest. No two sides to slowing Covid testing that would have saved lives because the virus was mainly causing death in blue states. No two sides to the blatant racial scare tactics aimed at suburban white women. And anyone who can see two sides to these issues, or can rationalize them in anyway, is not someone with any decency. It is crazy to me that Trump supporters (particularly those who came to him reluctantly) can’t see that our country is teetering on the brink of fascism. Thank you, thank you, thank you for using your platform this way! It is truly a balm. I also recommend the Lincoln Project podcasts. I can almost feel hopeful when I hear recovering Republicans like the Lincoln Project founders taking on Trump and his enablers.

    1. Such a great comment Valerie! I was cheering while I read it.

      And thanks for the Lincoln Project podcast recommendation. I follow them on Twitter and see the excellent videos they make, but I didn’t know about the podcast.

      Speaking of videos, if you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend it.

  20. I literally just told my husband Trump supporters will never change their minds, which he agrees with. It’s like the abortion issue you mentioned, which I have always said ~ I respect a woman to have a choice, but the other side has no respect for choice.

    So…thanks for taking the long view, it makes me feel better during a challenging time. You and David Brooks (who just talked about where he’s at in the NYT) :).

    You are such a logical/realistic/honest/clever thinker and writer; I appreciate you. If you ever decide to stop blogging, I think you have a long career in front of you with many options ~ which should always include writing.

    I was thinking about Alt Summit the other day and how that could evolve beyond bloggers and ‘influencers’. You have a lot to offer that could help us all move beyond what we considered ‘normal’ just a few months ago, and into a new better ‘normal’.

    I’m not a mom, but somehow I am glad to have found your blog a number of years ago, and then Alt Summit. I’ll keep coming back for more of this, as well as the ‘light stuff’ ;).

    Glad you are here. I respect you. Thanks.

  21. I’m in the 85% – I loved this thread. However, I wouldn’t lift the ban after the election regardless of the outcome. We’ve seen what they think and what they can justify. They are hopeful Ivanka will be a future president?! What the heck.

  22. Gabby, are there people in your family that you have cut off contact with because they support Trump? Can you share your experiences with that?

    I was one who wrote that it felt like my parents were in a cult. On Sunday, after visiting with my mom and dad, my mom admitted to my husband (not to me, lest it look like I had won), that she was not going to vote for Trump again. You don’t know every single Trump voter personally. Nor do you know my family or what tactics work for them. I do want to know if the fight is personal for you, though, as it is for me. Do you have a personal stake in this push for shunning?

    1. I remember your comment from yesterday, Anne, and I assume you have your parents in mind. For me, it’s not my parents. I come from a very conservative town, and am part of a very conservative religion, and I can’t count the number of people who have been/are important to me who are Trump supporters. At least 2 aunts, 1 uncle, lots of cousins (probably more than I even realize — I have a shocking number of cousins), a significant number of friends from high school, and an unnerving amount of fellow Mormons I’ve shared congregations with.

      The push for boundaries for me is personal. I want the Trump supporters in my life to know very clearly that their choices have fundamentally changed how I perceive them; that the strong respect that was once there, isn’t anymore, and I can’t fake it, nor do I want to. I want them to understand the things they are doing are incredibly hurtful — to a huge swatch of people generally, but also to me personally (which I would assume would resonate more).

      If I imagine I am all-in for Trump, and someone I respect and have a good history with is disgusted by Trump, I might be able to blow that off — just mute their FB posts or not talk about the news. But if that person, who I respect, told me directly they could no longer respect me, and that our relationship could not remain the same (or maybe even exist at all), I’m pretty confident that would shock me. It may not shock everyone, but I think it would shock me. I can imagine myself feeling defensive, and thinking: Woah, why are they taking this so seriously? It’s just an election. Who cares? And then hopefully it would dawn on me, that the friend cares, and definitely takes this seriously, and that I’m hurting them. And I don’t want to hurt my friend, so maybe I start to examine my beliefs.

      But as I said in the post, I get that this is still a long shot. If they are all-in on the cult-thinking, it may not have any effect at all.

      It’s also personal to me in the same way it is to all the commenters who felt relief when reading the thread. It feels like relief to me too. I don’t have to put up with the abuse.

      1. Thank you for replying. It helps to read that you are in a similar situation with Trump-supporting family members (as opposed to someone who has only liberal family members). I also have a large, extended LDS family (on my mom’s side). Of my aunts, uncles, and cousins who live in California, none like Trump (my mom included), and none are voting for him (as of Sunday). Of course, not all of them are still Church members. Of those aunts and uncles who live in Utah, all support Trump and continue to do so. I find this split…interesting.

        I do think it is different with parents who support Trump as opposed to extended family members, but your post on Friday did push me to discuss things in depth with my very conservative dad, whereas before I was just meeting his anti-Democrat barbs with similar anti-Republican barbs. Thank you.

  23. Appreciate the post! It is giving me logical justification for my feelings towards my Trump-supporting parents and brother during the upcoming holidays and strength to be bold enough to say that is my/our reason for not attending. Thank you! I’ve shared this with multiple people.

  24. I appreciate this second post. I didn’t feel it was necessary but, every time I can read another sane post about these scary times I feel just a bit calmer. I am so worried aboutthis Presidential election – whatever the outcome. If Biden wins (please god) I will be so happy to know that the majority of voters (yes, I know that Hillary won the popular vote) did not support a man who I believe is mentally unstable and who is doing tremendous hard to our democracy. But, there is along time between the election and Biden’s swearing in and I believe Trump will do tremendous harm – purposefully — during that time. And I also believe that we will have to forcefully remove him from office. I am concerned their will be civil unrest the likes of which we have not seen in my lifetime. If Trump wins….well, I just don’t know how I will pick myself up out of the depression I will be in. So, yes, please continue to write. Your thoughts, your sane support of decency is a salve to the wound that has resulted from the last election.

  25. “If fascists were after me, I suppose I would conclude that you wouldn’t be willing to hide me.” Yes. This. This is what I have realized about my mother-in-law. Thank you for writing this, and continuing to explain and deepen your discussion of this. I really appreciate seeing these words in print.

  26. First, loved your original thread/post. I wish I could plaster it on my face and force everyone around me to read it. Although with Covid, the people around me are my husband and my baby, so…

    Second, this post reminded me of the defense of privileged people who commit rape/sexual assault/other heinous crimes that always amounts to “but you have to think of his future!” Why? Why wasn’t he thinking of his future? It is their responsibility to protect themselves and their future, and it is mine to protect myself and my future. People should absolutely be held accountable for their actions, and I don’t care what their intentions are. One of the consequences of Trump-supporters’ actions is that now they’ve lost all their interesting friends. I do not mourn the loss of their influence in my life.

    Third, I read/heard somewhere that really the only tactic we have left is shame. The modern world has seemed to make make shaming shameful, but shame is a huge influence in keeping society humane. Let’s bring back shaming. Trump supporters and apologists should be ashamed of themselves. Those Covid deaths (and ICE detentions, and missing children, and police brutality, etc etc etc) are on Trump, but they’re on them too.

  27. I just have to say that I’ve been taking great delight in your comment edits from trolls, etc. I’ve already been so comforted by these past two threads, and those edits are the cherry on top.

  28. This post and your previous post are the smartest things I’ve ever read about dealing with Trump supporters anywhere. Really wonderful & thoughtful writing.

  29. My MIL asked me, “But don’t you think Trump has done a wonderful job with his children?” I laughed in her face and said, “No.” That was before he cheated and became president. He has done everyone a disservice. He does not like people. He only likes himself. I’m with you 100%, Gabby! I’m glad you did this post because I don’t use Twitter. Thank you a million times over!

  30. I’m waiting for the person who comments that they are done with you now because you said the word “shit”. Because THAT is the breaking point!

    But yes. Love this post. I forwarded it many times. The language of setting boundaries and shunning is apt. We would be encouraged to do that for any abusive, hateful or toxic individual

  31. When I read your post and you suggested shunning Trump cult members, it reminded me of a college class that I took back in the late 90’s – ‘History of the Native American’ – and one thing I learned was that many Native American tribes employed the use of shunning as discipline. In a community that relied on everyone doing their part and contributing to the safety and well-being of the group, behavior that put the community in danger would result in shunning of the individual. The length of time would depend on the nature of the infraction. But the entire community would enforce this – no one that would speak to you or even acknowledge you, not allowed to participate in community events. The source stated that it was very effective, not violent, and easily within everyone’s ability to enforce.
    I think it is a great idea – I am currently doing a little shunning of my own. My mother voted for Trump in 2016 – she said for Pence. I have a bi-racial daughter, which my mother professes to love. At first I tried to talk to her about it, bringing up the racism, the misogyny, the greed, the sexual assaults – she was unmoved. So I have spoken with her sparingly over the last four years. And now she has said that while she won’t vote for Trump, she is going to write in the name of ‘some good Christian’ – and I’m out. I explained to her that she can afford to do that as a white woman living in Alabama because it didn’t matter who was elected, she would be fine – that it was selfishness. But she won’t budge. So I hung up and that has been it. I tried to explain how hurt I was that she would vote in such a way that would endanger my daughter’s life. But she just doesn’t care – there is no amount of fact that will change her mind. And I desperately need all the mental health bandwidth I can get – there is no space for trying to speak truth to someone who just doesn’t care. I agree that they are a cult – and as such must be left strictly alone until they can decide not to be that any longer.

    1. This is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote about the corollary to it takes a village to raise a child. This is it! Thank you for sharing. I think it is a crucial part of a functioning society to have a mechanism to indicate to other adults that their behavior is putting the community in danger and it will not be tolerated, but they can rejoin when they stop hurting others (in this case, intentionally and knowingly hurting/killing others). This perfectly summarizes what I took away from this and the previous post.

  32. I grew up on the Mason Dixon line, and my mom had two branches of her family who still did not speak to each other because because they fought on different sides during the Civil War. I guess I’m saying, there is no going back to normal. I think ever since Trump was elected I’ve been in mourning. I mourn the good people I thought I had in family and friends and now I realize I never really knew. I mourn the country I thought was mostly decent and kind because I was white and middle class. I’ve gone through denial and been stuck on rage for years.
    It has been an ugly awakening, but it’s time for acceptance. We are where we are as a country. I agree with Gabby. Time to stop bargaining with Trump supporters and move forward to fight for democracy.

  33. [Deleted because Mattie, in her Trump-shame, made an attempt to create a gotcha moment about religion and embarrassed herself. Poor Mattie is unaware that I’ve publicly criticized my church more than she ever could.]

  34. I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of support and appreciation for your words and this thread. I’ve struggled to articulate my feelings towards family members and others who continue to support Trump, and am exhausted from hearing “don’t ruin a relationship over politics”. This is not politics. Thank you.

  35. I love both of these posts so much, and am sharing them with anyone and everyone. Thank you, Gabrielle, for your powerful words and boundary setting example. I especially like how you talk about how over time, Trump supporter’s views will shift regarding the issues they are literally killing people over right now. I’m hopeful that for at least some of the “big voices,” we have their words in writing and there can be long-standing implications for what they are currently saying and supporting. Nuremberg trials anyone? Brava and thanks for your words. You are changing the world with your writing, no doubt.

  36. Your original thread was always clear to me. I have well educated family members with masters degrees, doctorates who voted for Trump. They are part of the team mentality cult of voting only with the Republican party. For them voting against the Republican party would be akin to turning on their favorite football team. After almost four years, I asked my brother why he voted for Trump and he said that he didn’t like him as a person but he likes what he did for the economy and for his taxes. This is not someone suffering financially but is willing to sell his soul for a few dollars. It’s been very painful and there have been times that I thought the only right thing to do is burn bridges with my parents and siblings but I haven’t. And it scares me a bit because so much has been normalized that never would have been pre-Trump. So you have opened me up again to setting those boundaries, perhaps burning those bridges….

  37. I am a Trump supporter. I am not a conservative. I would never call anyone vile names. Not all Trump people are bad. I am not “choosing chaos and pain for everyone”. I am not part of the Trump cult. I am truly disappointed with what is happening in this country and it is sad to me that you would pass judgements on people that don’t agree with you. I don’t pass judgement on you and wish you the very best.

    1. I’ve thought to myself many times over the last four years, if you have to clarify that not ALL supporters of your candidate are “bad” (I’m assuming that’s code for racist), that should be a red flag…

      1. I could say the same about people that have the same opinions as you, though but I don’t. I am stating that because people In the comments assume all supporters are the same, which is not true. Not all Biden supporters are bad- I have lots of them in my life. I also come from a liberal family and we love and respect each other- regardless of our views. Have a good day.

        1. Carol, if you are a Trump supporter, you are in effect still supporting ALL of the bad things associated with him, not just whatever part of his policies you personally have decided are worth voting for.

        2. What’s sad, Carol, is that you can look straight at the bullying, the abuse, the petty abuses of power, the injustice and racism and calls to violence, all of it, and still support Trump. Looks like you even think you’re a decent person; after all, you don’t use “vile names.” Never mind that the usurper you support loves nothing more than to fling around insults and taunts!

          You’re putting whatever you like about his policies (maybe you got a fat tax cut?) above the lives and dignity and futures of hundreds of thousands of people in America and millions of people around the world. That choice makes you — yes, you! — a despicable human whether or not you use “vile names.”

          Actions speak louder than words. You aren’t worthy of respect. You deserve to be shunned. You deserve to be judged.

          PS Your liberal family doesn’t respect you as much as you like to think.

        3. Your liberal family is probably not being honest about what they really think of you if you’re honest with them about supporting Trump. Have you considered the possibility that people in your life have chosen not to be honest with you because it would fundamentally disrupt your relationships? Personally, I have a very hard time even speaking to the Trump supporters in my family. All I hear when they speak is, “They don’t care if I have health care. They don’t care if I’m safe from white supremacists when I work in a synagogue. They don’t care if the planet is inhabitable for future generations. They don’t care if my LGBTQ and POC friends are safe. They’ve made their choice; they are beyond reason, and they have deeply disappointed me.” Would you rather they keep not telling you the truth so you can have the illusion of respect? Or would you rather consider changing your viewpoint and have real respect?

    2. The thing is though, you are choosing pain and chaos, because that’s what Trump brings. You may think you are choosing anti-abortion, or tax write offs for your rich corporation, or whatever it is that is somehow appealing to someone, but those are just smoke screens for the pain and chaos. That’s like saying the Civil War south was fighting for states’ rights, not slavery. Yeah–the states’ rights to OWN SLAVES. You are aligning yourself with bad people. That makes you a bad person. You don’t get to say, I’m going to vote for this horrible person who has done horrible things but please, I’m not horrible at all, the rest of you just misunderstand me.

      1. I am not going to go into what my views are because they will just get ripped to shreds in this thread. 😂 They are different from yours and that is ok- and I actually think we may even agree on some issues. There are some pretty wonderful people on both sides of the political spectrum and I love it. We need kindness in this world, people.

        1. That’s a sign, Carol, that your views cause harm to people and you know it. If you can’t speak about it, isn’t that a problem?

          Kindness isn’t separating thousands of children from their parents or using children as “bait” to arrest immigrants, kindness isn’t allowing Americans to continue dying of COVID-19 while accruing enormous medical bills if you survive, kindness isn’t alienating our allies and putting our troops at more risk, kindness isn’t continually praising despots like Kim Jong Un who have documents human rights violations, kindness isn’t repeatedly lying to military families who get their hopes up falsely by saying to the press that he is bringing “most of the troops home” when the numbers are pretty much the same as they were before he took office.

          If you support this, then really you just enjoying chastising people about “being kind” and hoping they sweep issues under the rug that you are privileged enough not to have to actually deal with but causes actual harm to the rest of us.

          So no, your comfort is not important and no one should be expected to make you feel better about supporting a man whose hallmark is CRUELTY.

  38. I read your original thread as setting boundaries. In my experience as a white middle-aged woman, just the act of setting boundaries can infuriate certain people. I’m not sure there’s a way to phrased or frame it that they won’t object to. Your boundaries make perfect sense, and I appreciate your ability to communicate your thinking so clearly to people. ❤️

    1. One more thing: my mom, when I was young, set a boundary with a relative who only sent bday gifts to the white children in my multiracial family. She told that relative that if she didn’t accept all of us, she needed to not send gifts to any of us. That’s the kind of strong, courageous love you are showing and boundary setting you’re doing right now.

  39. These are the words I needed to read today. Your Twitter story got me thinking about boundaries and platforms and today I deactivated my FB account for two reasons – 1) my mom and brother’s content has become the worst right wing propaganda in my feed and it truly impacts my mental health to see it daily (and they often target me with passive-aggressive posts against liberals). It got to the point where I didn’t want to post ANYTHING because there would be a kind of retaliation, despite the fact that they post unapologetically and 2) I refuse to contribute to someone having a platform to support Trump or any of his ridiculous conspiracy theories. (I also figured out how to block Fox News from my Apple news app). After I deactivated my account I started to realize that I feel like I’ve lost some closely family members to a cult in the last four years, and I’m mourning what can never be fully restored. Thank you for creating a community of like-minded people.

  40. New to your blog. Follower on Instagram. Thank you for helping me muster up the courage to finally have a serious talk with my Mormon 80 yr/old parents about their 2016 vote and their continued support of Trump. It’s indirect support—thankfully—but support nonetheless. By indirect support, I mean that they allow me to point out what a complete nightmare he is at the dinner table (and they often agree) but I fear they will still vote Republican. I know they love me (their gay son) and they tell me that often, BUT them aligning themselves with the Trump vote has been weighing SO heavy on me this year. More than ever before, for obvious reasons. I’ve sat in bed awake many nights thinking of what I could do that would be respectful, but would also push things beyond dinner conversation. The approach of setting boundaries with them is exactly what I needed to hear. It’s logical and respectful. This post and that kick-ass Twitter thread has had a great impact on me. My most sincere thanks!

    1. I wonder what they would say if you told them it hurt that they didn’t love you enough to help protect you — that they actively seek to harm and disenfranchise you when they consider voting for Trump.

  41. Gabrielle, I know multiple family members of mine that are voting exclusively on abortion. Like, if we don’t care for the least of us, where are we as a country? I have talked myself blue in the face with counter arguments. Is there any way you have any further framing for this group?

    1. Oh man. It’s so hard. The anti-abortion leaders have put a picture in their supporters’ heads — when they hear the word abortion, it’s like they see a chubby 6 month old baby having its limbs torn apart, as its pulled from wealthy and selfish woman, who is also a slut who couldn’t keep her legs closed, and who “uses abortion as birth control”. Everything they have been taught about abortion is imaginary.

      A couple of points that might help you in your conversations:

      -75% of all abortions are to women living below the federal poverty line. Women know they can’t raise a child on 13K a year.

      -Separate from the poverty line, “I can’t afford a child” and “my relationship is unstable / I can’t be a single mom” are the top reasons for abortion.

      Want to fix abortion? Fix those problems. That means: Free birth control, universal health care, paid family leave, funding for domestic violence shelters.

      This is why abortions go down under Democrats — the policies of Democrats strengthen social safety nets and work toward fixing those problems. Here is a graph that makes the same point.

      It’s not a secret how to reduce abortions. We can look at the Colorado test that used high quality sex education, as well as made birth control easily accessible (free/affordable). Abortion rates fell by almost half. But guess which political party tried to end those things even after it was shown to decrease abortion? That’s right, the Republicans did.

      Related to that, it’s pretty easy to make the argument that Republican politicians don’t want to solve abortion. It’s too valuable to them as a tool of manipulation. They know they can say the magic words: “I’m Pro-life” and they’ll automatically get certain people’s votes. Even if the politician doesn’t actually do anything to reduce abortion. Even if the politician has paid for abortions and pressured women to have abortions to hide his affairs. As long as he says: “I’m Pro Life” they’ll vote for him. Voters are being fooled.

      If Republicans actually solved abortion, they would no longer have that handy manipulative tool.


      If you want to help combat the image in their heads of the full-term baby:

      -Two-thirds (65.4%) of all abortions occur at 8 weeks or earlier.

      -88% occur at 12 weeks or earlier.

      -91.1% were performed at or before 13 weeks.

      -39% of abortions are non-surgical — meaning that are induced by a pill. For most people, medication abortion feels like having an early miscarriage.

      -1.3% of abortions happen at or over 21 weeks (remember: a typical pregnancy is 40 weeks — so abortions in the last half of a pregnancy are rare).

      -Abortions late in the pregnancy represent huge personal pain to the family involved, and happen after careful decision making and weighing complex options with a doctor. They are not flippant or casual.

      In the vast majority of cases in which a woman becomes seriously ill late in pregnancy, doctors are working to save both the woman and the fetus. But in rare situations, it’s clear the fetus will not survive, and then the patients and their loved ones must make a decision about whether to put a sick woman at further risk with a delivery.

      -“Full term” abortions are not a thing. Getting an abortion “moments before birth” is infanticide and is illegal. It’s not a thing.


      Another thought: re-read my abortion thread. The key to reducing abortions is preventing unwanted pregnancies. Unwanted pregnancies are caused by irresponsible ejaculations by men. So unless the anti-abortion people you know are demanding plans from politicians on how to regulate irresponsible ejaculations, and demanding plans for how to hold men accountable when they ejaculate irresponsibly, they aren’t really interested in reducing abortion, they just like feeling self-righteous.

      Yelling at women and calling them murderers does not reduce abortion.

      Voting for pro-life candidates does not reduce abortion.

      Voting for Democrat candidates DOES reduce abortion.

      Those are facts.

      1. Gabby’s absolutely right. The GOP has held a Supreme Court majority and appointed the majority of circuit court judges in my lifetime. They’ve had complete control of the federal government several times. The LAST thing that Trump and McConnell want is a repeal of Roe v. Wade because it riles up the base and gets them votes.

      2. [Deleted because Emily, someone I don’t make content for, stalks this blog and leaves comments under lots of different names.

        And Emily, if the story you told is true, then why in the world wouldn’t you make it a priority to help the woman get birth control? (It’s a rhetorical question, I don’t really want you to answer.)]

      3. I found this article from David French (conservative Christian anti-Trumper) to be so helpful in explaining to people why they should not vote for president exclusively on abortion.

    2. Sadly, you can’t. They don’t want to reduce abortion. They want it illegal, and they want women to be forced to give birth. The majority of these people are living below the poverty line. A high percentage are women of color. These are the populations that must be kept in check. Keep them poor, keep them away from quality education, keep them disenfranchised. They should keep having babies they don’t want and can’t afford. Maintain the cycle of poverty, desperation, abuse, violence, and incarceration. It keeps them from being able to vote much.

    3. This might be an insensitive comment/question for people experiencing fertility difficulties, and if so, please delete it: I often wonder during an abortion conversation how many people who vote only on abortion have used IVF. If someone doing IVF is fortunate enough to have created five viable embryos and only implant two….they’ve just aborted three viable embryos, haven’t they? Is this ethically different than what abortion accomplishes (more embryos than someone is equipped to reasonably/safely accommodate)?

      1. Just to answer your question, Eliza, I do know conservatives who believe IVF is against their beliefs for the same reasons as abortion. They’re the type of people who wouldn’t criticize a woman for either one, but wouldn’t choose it for themselves (and gee, lucky for them, haven’t had to even think about it).

  42. These posts have put my feelings into words. My brother was severely disabled. My family was horrified when trump mocked a reporter with CP and the crowd cheered. Two years later I jumped into a Facebook conversation during the ACA Senate debate among my husband’s nieces. I stated that I personally knew what would happen to those with preexisting conditions based on my family’s experience and that I would speak out in my brother’s memory. One niece, a trump supporter, replied that she understood that I was honoring my brother but I had to do it with “respect”. WHAT THE WHAT!!!?? I had to treat the president who made fun of a disabled man with respect? Goodbye to you. I will not like your posts on your fun outings, I will not wish you happy birthday, I will block you because you let me know who you are and I have no respect for you.

    1. I had a dear friend who tells me she doesn’t love everything Trump does but still votes for him- that his treatment by the press is often “unkind and unfair.” I am flabbergasted by this thought process-no one in public office says and does as many “unkind” and “unfair” things as Trump. Why should he receive any respect or kindness when he is so horrible?

      1. The things I always come back to with regards to the press are:

        1. He benefits hugely from the media’s attempts to be unbiased and their language is often quite soft (for example: using passive voice, not calling lies “lies,” not fact-checking him in the headline and letting his lies lead, editing out rambling and incoherence, etc.)

        2. If it seems like the media hates him, have these people considered that it’s … because members of the press have met him? I know people in my inner circle who’ve worked for the Trumps (specifically Jared and Ivanka) and they have nothing good to say about any of them.

  43. Krista Tippett interviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2017, and I’ve often thought about something he said in that interview that I think applies now. He was talking about how Malcolm X influenced him in regards to writing on his own terms. He described his beginning career in journalism where he would be in meetings full of white people and they would be talking about cultural references he didn’t know (The Brady Bunch, some indy bands, etc.). He said nobody explained the references to him, he was expected to figure it out and “catch up.” Now he looks at his writing that way too, if white people don’t need to explain The Brady Bunch references, then he isn’t going to explain Wu-Tang references either because the white people can catch up. In terms of Trump supporters, and climate change deniers, etc., the more we engage with them on their bad terms the more legitimate they think they are. Your idea to shun them or put up boundaries is a great one, we are also saying catch up to them when we just refuse to explain why Trump is terrible. Catch up, or don’t, but don’t expect me to use my energy to explain things anymore.

  44. I was one of the 85% of respondants but I also want to add while I agree in 90% of situations I have a few exceptions in my life. People who I truly see as if someone I love has become entangled in a cult. They’re legally adults so I can’t kidnap them and hire a deprogrammer (is that even real or just on TV anyway?). So I pray and I spend some time with them and I try to keep all conversations away from the “guru” and his lies. I’m trying to play long ball and will occasionally toss out a Bible verse or song that I know they used to love that contradicts something they say if they bring it up.. But will move on to food or music. Talks and visits are short and nonconfrontational.

  45. Gabby, thank you so much for writing these incredible thought out posts. An instagram account I follow wrote something that really jolted me. I feel the same about trump and his supporters as you.i cannot tolerate or respect them. But what she said was that shunning and distancing yourself from them does not pose a violent threat to us, white women, the way it does for BIPOC. Our BIPOC brothers and sisters get the job of dealing with it. We should not turn our backs on the problem at hand.

    1. Hi Beth. I agree with those thoughts. A commenter on instagram (a Black woman in the UK) brought up something similar and I attempted what I hope is a thoughtful response in this followup blog post.

      I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to read this post yet, but there’s a section where I talk about the opportunities for fruitful conversations, contrasted with the fruitlessness of attempted civil dialogue with someone who believes Tom Hanks is kidnapping babies and using them to become immortal (which I realize sounds ridiculous, but is a real thing Q people believe).

      We have two months till the election, and limited amounts of time and energy. Let’s use our energy effectively as possible. Let’s use it for the hard conversations with people who are not trapped in cult-thinking. After the election, we’ll have time to focus on the cult-thinkers — and breaking them from the cult-thinking will likely take a ton of time.

      1. I am still left thinking about moving away from these issues and leaving them on the doorsteps of the black and brown people they effect the most. While I respect and understand your take, I will continue to engage and enrage and fight against those whom choose the Trump way. You are doing so in your way as well, I know.

  46. So glad you created a new post furthering the discussion. Thank you.

    I am not surprised that you categorize my comments to your last post in the 5 percent and among the untrusted. I get why you don’t trust me.

    I am not going to respond to you point-for-point because I think the core of our difference is in how we define the problem, which perhaps highlights a reason we differ in approach. And it is situated in the issue you bring up–the Holocaust.

    Years ago I read a book by the Jewish philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, MODERNITY AND THE HOLOCAUST. His question revolves around why regular people participated in perpetuating fascism and genocide. He noted: “We know that people enlisted into the organizations most directly involved in the business of mass murder were neither abnormally sadistic nor abnormally fanatical. We can assume that they shared in the well-nigh instinctual human aversion to the affliction of physical suffering” (20). He asks “How were these ordinary Germans transformed into the German perpetrators of mass crime?”

    This is where I fear categorizing people as evil or cult-like misdirects defining the problem. It misses the key question of what is causing the transformation of people. (Asking that question is very different than protecting or validating their choices, which is one of the places I believe you misread my responses).

    His answer includes seeing that “moral inhibitions against violent atrocities tend to be eroded once three conditions are met, singly or together: the violence is authorized (by official orders coming from the legally entitled quarters), actions are routinized (by rule-governed practices and exact specification of roles), the the victims of the violence are dehuamanized (by ideological definitions and indoctrinations). He also notes that “the increase in the physical and/or psychic distance between the act and its consequences achieves more than the suspension of moral inhibition, it quashes the moral significance of the act and thereby pre-empts all conflicts between personal standard of moral decency and immorality of the social consequences of the act (21, 25).

    There is no way in a post that I can adequately convey the persuasiveness of Bauman’s argument. I suggest though, that his book raises the question of where and how to intervene to stop and diminish those processes (which continue to happen today on many levels).

    I believe that what you are trying to do is give consequence to the moral significance of the act of supporting Trump. I see it. I respect it. But I see it as inadequate because it only addresses a portion of the problem…and even at that ineffectively. Most of the people you give consequences to won’t care that you did. It is unlikely to change their response.

    The strategy I offered in response to your earlier post is different (and also inadequate), but I think valuable. And it grows out of my reading of Bauman. I try, through conversation, to help people see how authorized violence, government practices, social distance, and ideology can frame our response in such a way that we do not see the moral consequences of our choices and dehumanize others.

    I believe what we are fighting against is bigger than Trump–he is not “the” problem. He is a symptom of larger problems, structural and global.

    Thus our efforts must be directed on multitudes of planes. In my comments, I’ve only touched on one of the places I believe effort should be directed.

    But the strategy of continuing to engage in conversation with people who plan on voting for Trump grows out of my belief that knowledge can be power. So….in my conversations, I try to help others see how they (and I) can be had by modernity and how it can obscure and hide from us the consequences of our choices.

    That does not make me untrustworthy. That does not mean that I would not help you in a time of need. What it means is that because of the question I ask–why are people making these choices?–I respond differently than you.

    Finally, to help illuminate my point, the physical and psychic distance between us structured and invited your response categorizing me as a percent without fully understanding me or my position. I do not accept that label. I find it a modern construct that distances and dehumanizes me. I am not a percent. I am not unredeemable. What I am is more complex, more nuanced, more active, and more worthy of being seen than the number and associated label suggests.

    1. You seem intent on convincing Gabby that she should engage in the conversations with Trump supporters that she has been explaining that she will no longer have, Cynthia. I’m not sure why that is important to you, but your arguments demonstrate to me that you’ve lost her thread, here, on her page and in the discussion that she has framed.

      I understand Gabby to have explained to us how she has managed to protect herself from people who attempt to justify voting for someone who is the modern day equivalent of George Wallace in every meaningful way. Ignorance of who Trump is and what he represents is no longer possible for anyone of average adult intelligence. It isn’t lack of information that is leading to their support of Trump. Everyone knows. It’s beyond an open secret. Ignorance at this point can only be willful. It’s not 2016.

      I understand Gabby to have written these posts to offer a safe space and permission to protect ourselves to those of us who seem to need it. I was moved to tears when I read her words, so it turns out that I needed it—in a number of areas of my life. I’m not alone, which is why there are so very many comments from people saying that they felt relief upon reading her words. That appears to be her sole intention here, now, with so little time left before arguably the most consequential election of modern times (if not ever).

      If you would like to further understand how the Holocaust happened, which I consider to be very instructive here, you should research the difference between bystanders, upstanders, and nice neutral collaborators. This opinion piece in the NY Times might help. The TL;DR version: nice neutral collaborators are the ones who made it all possible. Not everyone has to be a hero, and asking heroism in the form of being an upstander of people turns the vast majority toward neutral collaboration.

      1. Thank you so much for your response and your question. I love that you ask my motivation. It points, I think, to a place I’ve been pretty poor at communicating that, in fact, I am here trying to figure out the best way to get Trump out of office.

        So in regard to your question. I came back to post because I do care so deeply about this election and about how many in our country are turning away from democracy. I was trying to articulate what I see as an important way for us to keep Trump out of office–actively reaching out to people who are considering voting for Trump and inviting them to change their vote.

        Secondly. I come because Gabby does such an amazing job in giving a safe place for thought-provoking discussion. I so admire how she writes with courage and insight and tha–even with the depth of her caring–she opens up a safe place for people to come and bounce off their different ideas with others. I appreciate that she took time to respond in depth to me even though and maybe even because she disagrees so much with me. And she is so crackling smart that she invites me to examine and re-examine what I say and believe. So….as a person who loves good conversation, I’m not inclined to walk away.

        I’ve been assessing what I’ve said that has made you and Gabby think I am protecting and/or defending Trump supporters. And, honestly, I’m so surprised that you sent me to the article you did. My guess is that instead of seeing what I was saying as a means to stop Trump, you see my message as collusion. My main thrust, which I obviously have not communicated well, is to plead that we open ways to move people away from Trump. I want to maximize our efforts to get him out of office. Thus my plea that we not walk away from “supporters” but that we continue to engage them in conversation and challenge their support.

        I’m pretty new to commenting on social media and here’s what I’ve learned so far and wish I had done differently.

        First of all, I would ask clarifying questions to help me see if I understand what is being said (In this case: 1) How do you define a Trump supporter? and 2) When do you think telling people you’ve lost respect for them is appropriate?)

        Secondly, acknowledge where I agree (Trump is terrible, those who vote for him enable him to do terrible things, many avid Trump supporters do terrible things, and there are times to protect oneself against harassment.)

        When those things are done…then is the time to bring up the points I bring to the table.

        My two:

        In an election year when the polls show the chances of Biden losing to be so close, I believe it can make a huge a difference if those opposed to Trump actively seek out those who plan to vote for Trump but show some discomfort with him and then use our energies to persuade them to vote for Biden?

        And how can seeking to understand the societal forces that incline people to choose to vote for Trump help us in our efforts to turn the tide of populism away from the non-democratic and discriminatory direction it is headed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top