So far, approval ratings for Trump are staying in the 35-40% range no matter what happens. We have an identification of his solid base, and it’s quite large. Larger than many of us would like to see, and large enough that removing him through impeachment is going to be traumatic unless something changes.
The media concentrated on economic issues through the election and beyond, but it’s clear that they have little to nothing to do with the situation. They are excuses, code words, and easy answers for the media who assumed we were in ordinary times, but that’s just plain wrong.
So who are his supporters? What motivates them? I’m going to take a stab at this based on what I have seen in the media which appeals to them (ie, Fox Breitbart, et al) and their general response to events. My purpose in doing so is to help us through the coming impeachment, and I do think it’s coming. The nation is divided enough, and if we don’t at least understand each other things are only going to get worse.
First of all, it may well be that the 35% or so is not the real hardcore base for Trump. Many people who voted for him are simply not that connected to the news cycles and are generally going to stay with him until something very big changes their mind. Since we don’t have Mueller report yet, we can’t say how large that group is. These will be Republicans who simply trust the leadership and have their own lives to lead, not paying close attention.
This is one group that I will not discuss, as they are not people we need to worry about. I think that when the time comes they will be engaged adequately, and they are generally not part of any strong division in the nation.
But who else is there? I see three groups:
Racial Purists: If someone unveils a Nazi flag, you know where they stand. But there are many white Americans who see the nation getting darker, don’t like it, and still don’t say much. This is the appeal of the anti-immigration group. There is a mainstream component to this, voiced by Laura Ingraham in racist dog-whistle easily heard by everyone: “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.”
The idea here is that America is more Latino largely because of immigration, which is not only racist but wrong. In truth, white birthrates have dropped, meaning that everyone angrily carrying a tiki torch would be better off spending their time mellowing out and looking for a girlfriend if they really care about the issue. Alas, that would be accepting blame, or at least digging into the need to work really long hours to get ahead.
In short, there are economic issues at the core of this ripping apart families, but the racial purists are scared by a changing America and looking for someone to blame.
Traditionalists: This group is less racist and more … well, racist and sexist. The issue at hand is not about America becoming darker, but about dark people not knowing their place. But it’s more than that. Women don’t know their place, either, nor do gays and pot smokers and socialists. It’s all about leadership and who benefits from this thing called “government.”
We can see how Hillary Clinton, coming after Obama, has thrown this group into a rage. They generally believe that all social programs are a transfer of wealth from “makers” to “takers” and an effort emasculate the “rightful” leaders of the world, be it in politics or business or simply society in general.
An excellent exploration of this group can be found in an article in the Atlantic. The long and short of it is that the “corruption” we should concern ourselves with is not abusing office for personal gain, but the elimination of the rightful rulers. There is obvious overlap with Racial Purists, but it is not necessary.
Instigators: Libertarian style resistance to government, in any form, is an ancient American belief. It’s also one that has never had a place in conventional politics. Decades, if not centuries of frustration have rendered many Libertarians into something more like anarchists who simply want to burn it all down. Failing that, if they can piss off the “right people” they feel that at least something is happening.
They like Trump simply because he stirs things up. Chaos is the only opening they have. If “those liberals” are kept busy with outrage and marching in the street, they have less time and energy to force their political correctness down everyone’s throat. They take joy in outrage and encourage incendiary talk on all sides – largely because it is fun.
Many in this group are not necessarily voters and really have no interest in the boring details of politics. They are not a force, but they do encourage division and dissent.
There may be more groups that are significant, but these feel like the ones that have crystalized. There is substantial overlap, of course, and it is entirely possible to belong to all three. It’s also entirely possible to loosely hold any of these views and simply await convincing otherwise.
Doe these groups make up a solid 30% or more of the electorate? The short answer is yes, they very well could. Healing after a Trump removal is going to be difficult at best given these attitudes. But the first step is to understand what we are dealing with, and the issues are not economic. There is some overlap with economic issues, but it is small and generally an excuse.
As always, this is only my opinion of what I see and I’d love yours.