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Mark Duplass Tried to Find the “2% of Common Ground” Between “Elitist” Liberals & Trump Supporters

It has to exist, right?


Mark Duplass–the prolific actor/writer/producer director you might know from The League, Togetherness, The One I Love, The Mindy Project, or just about a billion other things—wrote an article for the Huffington Post Friday in which he declares himself “an elitist, out of touch, Hollywood libtard.”

His audience: the “racist, misogynistic, closed-minded xenophobe” Trump voter.

The mission Duplass is on is to try to find the tiny overlapping sliver of the two groups’ belief system Venn diagram, if there even is one. While there are accurate elements in how we view each other—yes, he will “sometimes preach ideals that are less than fully researched,” and yes, he has trouble dismissing “some of the gross generalizations” about Trump supporters because he gets the same vile comments thrown at him online as many internet-bound liberals do—but despite all that, Duplass believes “we all reside much more in the gray zone than social media would have us believe.”

So he set out to find the little bit of common ground we all share. It doesn’t sound like he necessarily wanted to understand and empathize with the part of these Trump supporters that allows racist and misogyny to take hold, although he does ask a lot of seemingly genuine questions of his conservative followers online. The point here seems to be to find out if there’s a part of our humanity that lies outside of the extreme polarization we’ve found ourselves living in.

So this year, rather than throw the big party he thought he needed to for his 40th birthday, he and his wife (The League’s Katie Aselton) hosted a dinner at their home and donated the amount they would have spent on a party to charity instead. Rather than bring gifts, they asked their friends to also donate to a cause that they, a group mostly liberals but some conservatives, came up with together. Something that exists outside of political leanings–something that appeals on a purely human level.

After some awkwardness (and some disagreement that led to some arguing) we all agreed that children, hunger, and clean water were causes that nearly everyone could get behind.

Duplass and Aselton matched to amount gathered by their friends, and then took to Twitter, where Duplass’ fans—”a true mix of liberals and conservatives”—matched that amount. Then the Children’s Defense Fund matched that whole combined amount as a corporate sponsor.

None of this is written from a look how great we are angle. Rather, it’s the model of the mission that’s more important.

We were a group with disparate beliefs who came together and found a sliver of common ground in the charitable space that we could all support and feel good about. We reached across the aisle and it wasn’t that difficult.

He goes on,

Bottom line is, we may disagree on 98 percent of what will improve the world and how to go about it. But what if we sift through the 98 percent of what we disagree on and find that 2 percent of common ground? You might say “well, that’s just lowest common denominator thinking.” And, you’re right. But I also believe that the spirit of giving and support is contagious. That if we start with the 2 percent we share, that number will grow on its own. That once this energy starts, its positivity spirals out of control like a virus. In short, that if we start with what we agree on, instead of arguing about what we don’t agree on, we might be able to grow that seed from the ground up into something big.

He says his new plan is “Finding charitable causes that we can all agree upon. And launching campaigns to help those causes. Together.”

That doesn’t seem like it should be so hard, does it? I have trouble seeing that 2% existing in our political leaders, since if “children, hunger, and clean water” really were apolitical, universal concerns, then Flint’s water crisis, school lunch programs, and innumerable other issues would probably have to be handled differently. But for regular people with even the strongest political leanings, it’s nice to believe we can participate in nonpartisan caring.

As Duplass sums it up,

Call me a libtard. Call me unrealistic. But I think this is doable.

If you’re interested, here’s the charity Duplass launched his campaign with, were you can donate now. GiveDirectly sends money directly to poor families in East Africa, “no strings attached.”


(via HuffPo, image via Shuttertock)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.