I frequently disagree with The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer, but late last year he wrote a piece that should resonate with any person who’s been in the crosshairs of the MAGA right. A fundamental aspect of truly Trumpist political engagement is the intentional infliction of harm on political opponents. Cruelty is the point of their interactions. That’s the purpose of their communication.
I’m making a distinction here between Trump voters and online Trumpists. There are many millions of Trump voters who are kind, decent, and generous people. They’re the salt of the earth and the backbone of their communities. I know them. They’re my friends and family members. They’re the people who help make my community a marvelous place to live. If they were the face of Trumpism, then America would be a less polarized place.
But they’re not — not by a long shot. Donald Trump’s personal pugilism has been adopted, refined, and magnified by a legion of his supporters, and these individuals live to inflict misery. They don’t care to win an argument. They don’t care to persuade. They want to harass and swarm and mock in a carnival fun-house imitation of the online mobs generated by the woke social-justice left.