Dec 12, 2022 • 1HR 3M

Theory of Change #053: Melissa Peltier on how Trump superfans changed their minds about him

Filmmaker Melissa Jo Peltier discusses her documentary about disillusioned Trump voters, “The Game Is Up”


Appears in this episode

Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big and devoted many resources to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change can be negative as well as positive. In each episode of this weekly program, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield delves deep with guests to discuss larger trends in politics, religion, media, and technology.
Episode details
Batya Goldberg, a former leader of the Reagan Republican Club of Brooklyn, speaks about her process of realizing that Donald Trump was not someone she could support politically. Still from the film “The Game Is Up.”

Episode Summary

We’ve talked a lot on Theory of Change about the growing threat of political extremism and how far-right activists are leveraging religion and business connections to build power over the minds of millions of Americans.

And yet, despite all of that, it’s also the case that people can change. No matter how strong they hold their viewpoints today, no one was born with their opinions. Having been born and raised in fundamentalist Mormonism, I personally can attest that people can change their opinions when exposed to the facts. The process usually is a gradual one, but it’s real.

The results of the 2022 elections in the United States are also proof of this as well. Almost everywhere, Republicans who actively put forward Donald Trump’s election lies lost their races. And interestingly enough, many of those losses seem to have been caused in part by people who supported Republicans who didn’t promote Trump’s election lies.

In Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and lots of places in-between, millions of Republican-leaning voters couldn’t bring themselves to support Trump’s dangerous sore-loser campaign.

Joining me to discuss what’s going on here is Melissa Peltier, she’s the director and writer of a documentary called The Game Is Up: Disillusioned Trump Voters Tell Their Stories. It’s a film that closely profiles several people who supported Donald Trump in 2016 and then decided to change their minds—and why they did so.

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