Most Republicans Don't Really Believe Trump's Election Fraud Lies; They Just Love the Trump Show
Like most writers on politics and political science, I've reviewed all the polling on GOP support for former President Donald Trump's increasing bizarre election fraud nonsense [reinstatement - really?]. Surveys show about 60% of Republicans believe the election was stolen from the former President by "elites" [Democrats in league with the "deep state," globalists, child-eating pedophiles and big-tech tycoons who also might be child-eating pedophiles]. Apparently, these folks believe thousands of Democratic and Republican election officials across the country conspired with these "elites" to falsify millions of Biden votes in order to oust the former President. These election officials then conspired with law enforcement, the FBI, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and thousands of state elected officials to cover it all up.
The reality, of course, is that the whole thing is ludicrous and even most Republicans understand that. It's all more Trumpist theater meant to "own the libs," annoy the elites, and assuage the former President's bruised ego. We wrote about the phenomenon back in 2018.
Illuminate: "To his supporters, Trump's lies are "performance art", a flamboyant display of his aversion to the smug intellectuals, and snide journalists that they abhor. And they love that he "lies big" in the face of overwhelming evidence that he is just making things up."
In the same article we discussed research into why many Trump supporters are willing to go along with even his most outlandish falsehoods.
Illuminate: "A recent study reported by USA Today helps to explain all this. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon and MIT found that "Trump supporters were more enthusiastic in their support of him to the extent that they justified Trump’s lie as a form of "symbolic protest." In other words, it's not what he says, but what the lie "represents".
In that light, Trump's election fraud lies aren't about actual fraud, they represent anguish concerning the growing power of minorities and younger voters in American politics and frustration with the influence of mainstream journalists, academics, and big-tech in defining objective truth. Sit down with them, and you will soon realize that they know Trump is a lying, orange windbag, but he seems like the only politician sympathetic to their fears and prejudices and they trust him a hell of a lot more than Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio to protect their interests and voice their concerns.
So, what does this mean going forward, what does it say about the GOP's future? Several things, but foremost that Donald Trump isn't going to leave the stage just yet.
1. Most Trumpist Republicans know that the former President is an imperfect vehicle for their views, but all the impersonators [Cruz, Cotton, Hawley, Pompeo, Haley] have all the pizazz of a night out at TGI Fridays. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is gaining a larger profile with Trumpists, but, like the rest, he just can't capture the zest or conviction that Trump has when opining about armies of antifa radicals invading the suburbs, cancer-causing wind turbines, rapist immigrants, or injectable disinfectants. Trump will remain the face of the GOP until he is dethroned, but there is no one yet that can combine his showmanship with his utter contempt for the truth.
2. Second, there is no easy or quick way out of the mess we are in. President Joe Biden believes he can usher in an economic boom that will help revitalize America's small towns and rural areas. That's probably true, but it ignores the culture war issues that drive many Trump voters; abortion, race, LGBT rights, immigration, guns, and religion. These issues, more than economic concerns, drove Trump's victory in 2016 and they still resonated in 2020, making the election closer than it should have been. So, expect more of the same:
Salon: "CNN's Ron Brownstein took a look at some recent polling of Republican voters and the results lay out a roadmap for their strategy. He found that in one recent survey of GOP voters, "anxiety about America's changing identity in an era of growing racial and religious diversity has emerged as the core unifying principle of the GOP coalition" with immigration, lack of support for the police (read: Black Lives Matter), liberal media and moral decline as their top issues. A poll in January showed that "roughly 9 in 10 Trump voters agreed with a series of stark propositions: that America is losing faith in the ideas that make the country great, that Christianity is under attack in the US and that discrimination against Whites 'will increase a lot' in years ahead." Virtually all of these people are convinced that there is no discrimination in America against well, anyone except them."
America is slowly becoming more diverse, secular and tolerant as younger, more educated voters slowly replace baby boomers at the polls. However, boomers still vote more often than any other age cohort so don't expect the culture war to end anytime soon. Whoever supplants Trump will rely on those issues to get the GOP base to the polls.
The 2022 and 2024 elections will still look a lot like 2020, so don't expect smart, nuanced discussions of America's future.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content