Monday, December 25, 2017

Trump and his Supporters

A year ago, I didn't think much of Trump but I liked a lot of his supporters.  There has been a partial reversal of that.

One of the things I had disliked about Trump was his coarseness, which has significantly diminished since he became president. I have other objections, but for the moment I put them aside.  Those also are diminished, especially his unforced errors. I like some of what Trump has accomplished, and I don't mind saying so. Foreign policy remains the giant question mark, though I like what I see.

Perhaps I am misreading what his supporters are like, getting caught up in my irritation at the least-rational of them and ignoring the majority. It is likely that his people are not that different in personality than they were a year ago, and it is my impression that has changed.  Yet I am seeing a lot of commentary from people who seem to think that having a fight with your opponents is the solution to everything.  They like Trump because they see him as willing to fight, and don't enquire too closely what exactly that fight is going to be about. Trump is willing to fight, or at least, signal that he is going to fight if pushed.  However, his best-selling book is The Art of The Deal, remember? There is also this continued idea that they fought with the GOPe and defeated them, rather than competed against them and won their cooperation, however unwilling, because that's the way party politics works.

I suppose the GOPe may have looked at them in the same way if the roles were reversed. There was certainly history of that with Pat Buchanan and Sarah Palin. The Democrats look at Bernie that way also.

Other than 1964, 1972 and 1984, Republicans have either won close presidential elections or lost them since 1940.  To believe that moving from a close loss to a close win is the result of the vindication of a small group of Americans is a first-order denial of reality.


Sam L. said...

I think what part of the support of Trump is that he doesn't roll over and play sidewalk. Which is what a lot of Republicans seem to do. Which does Republicans no good.

RichardJohnson said...

I concur with what Sam L. wrote. Trump was not my first choice. I noticed last year that those who attacked him most vociferously were far from being my political allies. I also noticed that Trump often attacked back, which I liked. Others have referred to Lincoln's quote on Grant: "I can't spare this man,he fights."

Yes, Trump has some rowdy supporters. So what? There are plenty of rowdies on the other side.

I am tired of being told I and others are racist...fascist..deplorable..troglodyte.. for not following the Demo line. As such, I care little about the rowdies on my side. At least the rowdies on my side don't try to shoot Demo congressmen.

Grim said...

The problem is that people who think about politics don't realize how different they are from the swing voters who decide elections, who prefer not to (and mostly disdain those who become politicians). People who think about politics have ideologies and clear principles that show that My Party is right on everything (or almost everything); the Other Party is against all those right things.

The swing voters who decide elections think there are two teams, R and D, and you go with whichever one is in charge until they don't seem to be getting it done any more, or until it's just been a long time and it feels like 'time for a change.'

This produces victories that the partisans interpret as endorsement of their policy agenda and world view by the ordinary American voter. It's nothing of the sort, and it isn't going to last.

I think some of the professionals have figured this out, which is why we are approaching zero compromise with the opposing party these days. The party out of power's task is to gum up the works until a crisis point is reached, at which point the swing voters will vote for them instead. The task isn't to produce the best government possible, but a sense that things aren't working and 'it's time for a change.'

Donna B. said...

Grim's take makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense to me is liking Trump's "supporters" a year ago. Perhaps we're defining "supporters" differently and I'm only identifying with the "anyone is better than Hillary" gang.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, Donna, it is important to remember that Trump continues to do an exceptionally good job of not being Hillary Clinton, which is all that a lot of people asked of him.

For those Trump supporters who want to defend how he acts, I want you to understand I do not object to his "Lyin' Hillary" campaigning. That may be necessary, because she does lie, and it is important. I don't think Trump is remotely racist, and I think his opponents and his supporters are about equally racist, so it's a wash. Yet I object strongly to campaigning on the ugliness of Carly Fiorina's face, and repeating crazy conspiracy stuff about Ted Cruz's father, and complaining how gross breast-feeding and menstruation are. Melania told him not to talk like that, remember? His current supporters try to pretend that never happened. It happened, and I can't see how the deep state is defeated or the republic is improved by that sort of idiocy.

Grant did fight. He fought with honor.

There is the idea that there is this package deal, that you can't ever get someone who really fights unless he is also a dirty fighter, so Trump being a dirty fighter is a necessary thing, and all criticism of him is forbidden, because people just don't get that it's necessary. For Christians, not all means are allowed. Being rude and insulting may not be the worst things, but they are real things, and I am not at all convinced that they are just fine just because some people think it's entertaining.

Donna B. said...

Ah... so Trump fights dirty and without honor. I'm not going to defend that or pretend that it isn't worthy of criticism, but I'm also not going to support or vote for any candidate that tries to use this as a reason to be "anti-Trump".

I think it's actually a bit weaselly of you to frame this as not liking Trump's supporters. From where do you acquire the moral authority to choose his supporters? Do you really want to go there?

This is the same question I ask a certain set of family members who will always be (as far as I can tell) #neverTrumpers.

Politics and Christianity might be mutually exclusive. A pure politician will object to Christian motives and a pure Christian will object to political motives. I don't know anyone who is pure.

Unknown said...

I was just wondering where you get your impressions of Trump supporters. Is it from personal, one on one, experience or is it from media, including blogs? I ask because I can't sort out objective reality from the click bait and white noise. I just assume what gets into the media is "enhanced" and or cherry picked to attract eyes, as in traffic. In other words, it wouldn't be published or aired if the topic or POV was pedestrian. My impression is that much of what is presented as newsworthy is out right fabricated, or recycled rumors, or half baked hypotheticals, or idle speculation. Somehow, the existence of Trump makes this blatantly obvious. For that, I am grateful.
The month before the election, I was having my car inspected at a shop in southern New Hampshire. There were several customers in the waiting room. The conversation turned to the election when it became apparent that it was safe to express Trump support. I just want to remind you that a lot of Trump supporters are in the closet.

Unknown said...

I don't remember which website I get this from, maybe it was even a Canadian one. From the Deplorable Phantom: "Millions of voters got off their sofas to vote for Trump because anybody else would have been more of the same." Still true as far as I can tell.

RichardJohnson said...

No, I didn't like Trump's statements about Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz's father, and Carly Fiorna. Ted Cruz was my first choice. It was obvious Republicans had nominated a bigmouth who at times fought dirty. At the same time, I had long decided that it was a cop-out to vote Third Party- which I first did in 1980- and I would vote Democrat in the big race over my dead body. So I was going to vote for him. And given that dirty fighting has been the Democrats' MO for decades, tit for tat.

No, it is not necessary to be a dirty fighter to be a fighter. I am reminded of the teachers I had in junior high. One was a battleax, the other was a nice guy. Both were good teachers- who maintained control of their classes.No, it is not necessary to be a battleax to maintain control of a junior high class. But that is the route some take, probably in the fear that letting up would result in an insurrection.(She was a battleax, but also praised students.Her students feared her and disliked her, but learned.)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think I will go with a separate post.

Texan99 said...

I wouldn't say that Trump's willingness to fight is an all-purpose winning trait with me, but I do appreciate that he doesn't wither under the scorn of the chattering elite. If he has a bad idea, I want him to abandon for some reason--any reason--other than that.