Writing in the New York Times this Thursday, columnist Thomas Friedman says that if Joe Biden is going to be successful against President Trump in 2020, he needs to "speak to the sense of humiliation and quest for dignity of many Trump supporters, which Hillary Clinton failed to do."
"It has been obvious ever since Trump first ran for president that many of his core supporters actually hate the people who hate Trump, more than they care about Trump or any particular action he takes, no matter how awful," Friedman writes.
"The media feed Trump’s supporters a daily diet of how outrageous this or that Trump action is — but none of it diminishes their support," he continues. "Because many Trump supporters are not attracted to his policies. They’re attracted to his attitude — his willingness and evident delight in skewering the people they hate and who they feel look down on them."
According to Friedman, people will "absorb" hardship, but if you make people feel humiliated, they will respond with a "ferocity unlike any other emotion," but if you show them respect and affirm their dignity, "it is amazing what they will let you say to them or ask of them."
Friedman points to a new book titled "The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?" by Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel, who says the "politics of humiliation” is part of why Trump surged to the presidency -- he tapped a "wellspring of anxieties, frustrations and legitimate grievances to which the mainstream parties had no compelling answer."
"Unless Biden finds a way to speak to the sense of humiliation felt by many working-class voters, Sandel warns, even Trump’s failure to deal with the pandemic may not be enough to turn these voters against him," Friedman writes.
Read the full op-ed over at The New York Times.