You know when someone is so confident in the correctness of their views that they think if they just explain them enough times, everyone will say “Oh! I see now! Thank you, now I finally get it and am totally with you!” The good word for these people is “insufferable.”
Another version of this idea is to call on progressive white women to convert other white women who support Trump. Nobody calls on white men to convert white men, because everyone assumes that’s impossible, but for some reason, white women who hate abortion and taxes and Obamacare, who want to “build the wall” and “lock her up,” are supposed to be pliable—and it’s the duty of liberal white women to expiate their own racism by bringing them around. It reminds me of the time years ago when a group of Nation interns came back after spending a weekend at a conference of Evangelical women. They beat themselves up about how those women weren’t feminists; again, it was all our fault.
Pollitt’s point (which is right) is that trying to “convert” people who are voted for Trump is a waste of time; if they can look at the dumpster fire of his presidency and think “this is awesome!” they are not going to change their minds easily. The job is to reach the people who don’t vote at all.
There’s been some stupid commentary since the election about how Beto O’Rourke didn’t beat Ted Cruz because he didn’t reach out to more conservative voters. That’s just nonsense; Beto O’Rourke did better than any Democrat running for a statewide office in Texas has in twenty years. He did it by saying what he thought, and a lot of people who typically hadn’t voted came out and voted for him. Yes, it helped that Ted Cruz is about as likable as a herpes sore, and that Beto is naturally telegenic and articulate (although my Mom insists he waves his arms around too much!).
Democrats need to take a lesson from Beto, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other progressive candidates who achieved some measure of success by actually taking stands and articulating them. (And for record, I don’t think either of those three should run for president in 2020.) You can reach people who are disengaged. You can reach people who are frustrated.
But you’re not going to reach people who sincerely believe that Hillary Clinton runs a crime syndicate, Barack Obama is a secret Muslim, or that Donald Trump understands how trade works. You’re not going to reach people who are appalled at poor people having healthcare but not about a child in ICE custody dying of thirst. Stop wasting time on it.