Trump Voters Aren’t Stupid
As a lifelong liberal, Democrat, and political junkie; one of the most perplexing problems I have is describing why Donald Trump ever received, and continues to get, such deep support. Deep in the sense that while current polling shows him at 33% approval rating, that third is deep, strong, and committed to his cause.
How did a billionaire from New York City get millions of working class, mostly white, often rural or suburban voters to not only vote for him, but believe in him deeply? Watching the Huntington, West Virginia rally last night it is absolutely clear his support is intact. While the chants of “lock her up” seem outdated, the sheer emotional connection is apparent. Maybe I’m showing my “cosmopolitan bias” (still haven’t quite figured out what that means), but how do t-shirts and MAGA hat folks relate to a guy whose idea of casual dress is a golf shirt and slacks?
Here’s why many from the “Resistance” think Trump voters are stupid.
First: Trump supporters are all biased against the first black President, and the election results are payback. That may be true for a few, but it doesn’t explain the phenomena of the Obama/Trump crossover voter, which carried the election in places like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Second: they live in an “alternative universe,” where Fox News, Sinclair, and Clear Channel Broadcast groups control the “facts” and the rest is dismissed as “fake news.” Again this may be true for some (having watch Hannity on Fox last night, it is hard to imagine that the same set of facts can be twisted into such a different outcome.) I believe most Americans are discerning enough to filter whatever they hear, either from Fox, MSNBC or elsewhere. We ALL know a “sales pitch” when we hear it, whether it’s Hannity or Joe Scarborough.
Third, Donald Trump has sold them a “pig in a poke” (so in case that doesn’t make sense, a pig in a poke is a pig in a bag, if you buy it you don’t know what the pig looks like.) It means that the true “Trumper” believes that everything, from “the Wall” to the “Muslim Ban” to “Clean Coal” is going to happen, and Trump will make it so.
I think most Trump supporters understand that Trump is a salesman, just like other politicians. They are hoping that he CAN achieve some of his promises, and that they are well aware that a billionaire from New York City really doesn’t relate to them. What they do want is change, a nation where things are better for them. They feel that the both political parties have abandoned them for others, and that this is the only reasonable alternative.
I also think that many Trump supporters believe that ALL elections are stolen, won by cheaters, and that the Russian involvement is just another form of cheating. Like taxes, professional wrestling, and The Apprentice, it isn’t about the cheating, it’s about the outcome. With that view, it’s easier to see why there’s outrage about trying to change the election results, especially when it’s Trump’s “team,” the Republicans, that are letting the investigations happen. Trump won “fair and square.” Even more outrageous: that at this “late date,” investigators are looking at Trump’s finances for the past twenty years or more. Again, if he outwitted the law then, it’s “no fair” to go back now.
So what will change?
For some true believers, nothing will change their minds. Nixon on the day he resigned had a 29% approval rating. If Trump leaves office before the end of his term, there will be a significant chunk of Americans who will feel cheated, and will believe the system took “their President” from them.
Many Trump supporters will continue to look for a candidate or party that really represents their needs and views. Trump tapped into that, and Obama did too in 2008, but neither party has found a consistent message that works.
Most Trump voters aren’t stupid. They voted for their perceived needs, and they are hoping for the best from what seems like a rigged system. Regardless of the outcome of the current Constitutional crisis, that perception won’t change.