President Donald Trump points to cheering supporters as he leaves a campaign rally, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
If you’re a Republican or independent voter who used to be a liberal Democrat, you understand the feeling a person has when they experience their wake-up call.
Oftentimes it’s something that has happened over a period of time. You begin to question your beliefs, what’ve you been fed over the years by the media, your college professors, perhaps even your family and friends. And then at a certain point you realize you’ve been hoodwinked.
Other times, it’s almost instantaneous. Like this sudden feeling that you “get it.”
Whichever way it happens, it’s a very liberating, freeing experience. I know, because I’ve been there myself.
Dr. Karlyn Borysenko is another liberal who has been mugged by reality. So much so that she announced in a blog post on Medium that she’s getting ready to leave the Democratic party and register as an Independent after what she saw at a recent Trump rally in New Hampshire.
Borysenko, a psychologist and author, first wrote about how the unhinged social justice warriors in the online knitting community inadvertently influenced her to question everything it was she felt about Trump and his supporters:
But when I witnessed the amount of hate coming from the left in this small, niche knitting community, I started to question everything. I started making a proactive effort to break my echo chamber by listening to voices I thought I would disagree with. I wanted to understand their perspective, believing it would confirm that they were filled with hate for anyone who wasn’t like them.
That turned out not to be the case. The more voices outside the left that I listened to, the more I realized that these were not bad people. They were not racists, nazis, or white supremacists. We had differences of opinions on social and economic issues, but a difference of opinion does not make your opponent inherently evil. And they could justify their opinions using arguments, rather than the shouting and ranting I saw coming from my side of the aisle.
Not long after, she heard about the #WalkAway movement and found out that, contra to MSNBCs rantings to the contrary, that it was a very real movement full of people who had done as the name suggested – walked away from liberalism and the Democratic party. She noted that getting to know people in the movement was “like a breath of fresh air” that everyone “talked and shared their perspective without shouting or rage or trying to cancel each other.”
Several months later, she decided to attend the Trump rally in New Hampshire a few days after attending Democratic events where multiple presidential candidates spoke. Of her experience at the Trump rally, here’s what Borysenko wrote:
These were average, everyday people. They were veterans, schoolteachers, and small business owners who had come from all over the place for the thrill of attending this rally. They were upbeat and excited. In chatting, I even let it slip that I was a Democrat. The reaction: “Good for you! Welcome!”
Once we got inside, the atmosphere was jubilant. It was more like attending a rock concert than a political rally. People were genuinely enjoying themselves. Some were even dancing to music being played over the loudspeakers. It was so different than any other political event I had ever attended. Even the energy around Barack Obama in 2008 didn’t feel like this.
She stated the attitudes and atmosphere at the Trump rally were completely different than what she saw at the Democratic events she attended:
With Trump, there was a genuinely optimistic view of the future. With the Democrats, it was doom and gloom. With Trump, there was a genuine feeling of pride of being an American. With the Democrats, they emphasized that the country was a racist place from top to bottom.
She said after she left the rally, she had a gut feeling that Trump would not lose in November.
Borysenko admitted she voted for Pete Buttigieg in the primary, but said that this week she was going to change her voter registration from Democrat to Independent. She also tweeted that she wasn’t sure who she’d vote for in November but that there’s a possibility it could be Trump depending on who the Democratic nominee ends up being.
When she tweeted to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell about her conversion, the tweet went viral, and she had a ton of positive feedback from people congratulating her on walking away:
Hi @Lawrence. I’m a D voter in NH. I was also at Trump’s rally last night. You just asked on @msnbc if @realDonaldTrump had ever spoken to a NH voter that didn’t already support him in a way that would convince them to flip. You said no. You were wrong. https://t.co/TJLBLn1sXm
— Dr. Karlyn Borysenko (@DrKarlynB) February 12, 2020
Being a convert from liberalism to conservatism myself, I often tell people that when I am debating Democrats on their ideas, my goal is to plant a seed in their minds in hopes that one day they see the light. They don’t even have to become a Republican or rock-ribbed conservative. But if they ultimately ended up walking away from the left, I’d consider it a victory. Better that person be an independent thinker than a liberal thinker.