Eugene Robinson to Nikole Hannah-Jones: How do we ‘deprogram’ Trump supporters?

Eugene Robinson to Nikole Hannah-Jones: How do we ‘deprogram’ Trump supporters?
Nikole Hannah-Jones, 1619 Project author. (Image: Wikipedia)

Today’s program is brought to you by the letter “C,” as in cult.

On Tuesday, Project Veritas released an undercover video of a former staff attorney for PBS who has modestly proposed wresting the children of Trump supporters from the clutches of their brainwashed evil parents and placing them in “re-education camps.” Presumably, the camps would look something like this:

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The theme of  “deprogramming Trumpists” was also a theme on yesterday’s episode of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Guests included the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and special guest star Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of the New York Times’s “1619 Project.”

For those unfamiliar with Hannah-Jones’s magnum opus, Wikipedia, which leans almost exclusively left in its entries, writes:

The 1619 Project is a controversial project and revisionist history developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones, writers from The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States’] national narrative.”

The project has received generally negative reviews from historians.

Imagine how this entry would read if the authors hadn’t been instructed to pull their punches.

On to the idea exchange of these two intellectual heavyweights. A transcript follows the video. Spoiler alert: If you are a Trumpist, you are beyond redemption.

Eugene Robinson: Nikole, that story you just told is a familiar one, it’s absolutely true, the difference between the white citizens councils and the Klan back in the days of Jim crow. You know, Klan was lower income. White citizens councils were the Josh Hawleys and Ted Cruzes of their day. Here’s the situation, though. We have — there are millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans, who somehow need to be deprogrammed. It’s as if they are members of a cult, the Trumpist cult, and they have to be deprogrammed. Do you have any idea how we start that process, much less complete it?

Nikole Hannah-Jones: Yeah, I don’t. I’m a journalist, I certainly don’t know how we can stop people. I know we can look to history, though. What ultimately breaks that power structure in the South is enforcement. Right? There have to be consequences. And then once you get those consequences, I think then people have to take a second look at their actions and they have to be much more afraid to do the types of violence that we saw last week, the violence that we have seen building with what happened in Michigan, the violence that’s being threatened now. What has long been the case in this country is that we have wanted to quickly move on to reconciliation when it comes to this sort of divide. We have always been afraid that if you actually punish those white nationalist elements in our society, it will only make things worse. But in fact, what history shows is not reacting, not forcing accountability only emboldens those people in those movements. So I think there has to be some real accountability, there has to be some enforcement of the laws. And then after that, I think, is when you can start trying to build reconciliation. But I think what is clearly the case is not doing anything is only emboldening this to expand. (RELATED: ‘To prevent future acts of domestic terrorism, apply laws we already have to white people’)

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."


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