There's a peculiar subset of ultraliberals I followed on Facebook before they drove me screaming away from the platform entirely- acquaintances from when I was in Seattle. One had been my landlady. She would make giant dinners for the neighborhood every two weeks and feed anybody who walked in the door. Another was the doula we used for my wife's first labor (regrettably, it turns out- she had no formal training, hated hospitals, and charged us $500 for nothing more than a desultory offer to pour holy water on my wife's back during the process). Another was a second grade teacher at the public school down the street. All of them voted for Bernie in the primaries. All of them excoriated Clinton in the generals. All of them vowed not to vote if given the choice between her and Trump. All of them- ALL of them- are curiously supportive of Trump now on social media. To a point of mania.
He stands against everything they purported to support before the election. He's the embodiment of white rich male priviledge they rail against. "grab 'em by the pussy"? "Shithole countries"? "Good people on both sides"? This is gruel that, from anybody else, they would not stomach. But every time a new negative story emerges, they cry fake news, or they find a way to spin it, or they mention how Obama did the same but worse.
They're not Russian bots. They're not sleeper conservative agents. They're true blue, dyed-in-the-wool liberals. And I'm convinced the only thing holding their tattered souls together right now is, as you say, cognitive dissonance. These were the people who not just refused to vote in the generals but when the grease hit the pan ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNED against Clinton. It could be argued that this is the demographic that gave Trump the election through intransigence, antipathy, bullheadedness. And all on the precept that neither candidate was any better than the other. I had discussions on this very site with people who said the same. And of course it's nonsense. Clinton wouldn't have made the court nominations that Trump did. She wouldn't have gutted Obamacare from the top down. She wouldn't have shut down government in a quixotic mission to build a two thousand mile wall (how absurd does that sound when you read it out loud). She wouldn't have used the bully pulpit to dog whistle racism, cheerlead intolerance, insult women, muslims, south and central Americans, Africans... she wouldn't.
But to admit this, or even to admit that the current president is wrong in doing so, would be to admit that of course there was a better candidate and a worse candidate. Which kicks a central strut out from beneath the Bernie-at-any-cost ethos. To admit such would be to admit that, okay, not only was I wrong, but I was so wrong that I set my own stated goals back by years, possibly decades, and when you take the supreme court into account, perhaps even generations. I voted America's screaming, pants-shitting id into the most powerful station in the country, maybe on earth. So what do they do? Dig in, drink the piss-flavored kool ade and insist that things are, in fact, going better than when that horrible Obama was at the catbird seat. Cognitive dissonance.
I understand it, but it still infuriates me.