Six Reasons Why Trump Supporters Won't Turn on Him Even if He's Impeached by the House [Part 1]
The allegations against Donald Trump are exactly the kind of behavior that the founders of America feared and why there is an Impeachment Clause in the Constitution.
Illuminate: "The framers of the Constitution and other founders of America, like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, feared the influence of foreign powers in our democracy. In 1787, they were most concerned [and rightfully so] with the corrupting influence of England and France in our elections. The threat of external interference in America's politics has evolved over the last two centuries, but the fear that our democracy could be undermined by foreign interests has never abated."
As witness after witness testifies that Donald Trump attempted to force Ukraine's president to dig up [or manufacture] dirt on the Bidens in order to advance his campaign for reelection, the President's Republican base seems to be holding steady at about 40% of voters, and it probably won't change much even if the House impeaches him.
This loyalty to the President is not because Republican voters don't think the allegations are serious - they do, by a large margin, according to a new poll conducted by Grinnell College. In the survey, 81% of Republicans said it was improper for a candidate to seek help from a foreign government to win an election. There was almost no difference between the views of Democrats, independents and Republicans on the issue.
So, how is it possible that Trump can retain the support of 40% of the voting public even as the evidence against him piles up? There are six reasons, with a lot of overlap among them and a few contradictions. The first three relate to Donald Trump and the political climate today, and the second group concern specific issues which are important to his base.
1. The President's supporters have always realized that he is a deeply flawed man. Speak to almost any Trump supporter and they will admit that he isn't someone they admire personally. For instance, we have documented [see here and here], that even his most avid fans realize that he lies constantly, about almost everything. They don't care, and pointing out his checkered history with the truth won't change their minds.
His supporters don't expect him to act ethically and even his blackmailing of Ukraine's President won't change their minds. They will say, "he is who he is, move on."
2. Right-wing Talk Radio and Fox News. The President's defenders don't get their news from their local papers, CNN or the New York Times. Many abhor what they like to call the "lame-stream media." They started to tune it out when Rush Limbaugh began broadcasting in the 1980s. Rush's audience [like Fox's today] has always skewed toward less educated, older white males. The same audience later found a home at Fox News with Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson, and especially Sean Hannity whose show now revolves almost completely around defending Trump and proving a "deep state" conspiracy against the President.
Rush pioneered the opinion-based ‘infotainment’ prototype that Hannity has fine-tuned into a "conspiracy theories all the time" model which a former colleague, Fox's chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, calls "snake oil." It's utter nonsense but it feeds into his audience's anti-mainstream media, anti-establishment mindset.
As the President faces almost certain impeachment by the House of Representatives, right-wing media outlets will circle their wagons to convince their listeners/viewers that this is just another attempt to overturn the 2016 election. And they will pressure Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators to reject Trump's removal.
CNN Business, Oliver Darcy: "Much of Fox currently serves as an arm of the White House messaging operation. Make no mistake: If Trump survives the deepening scandal he now finds himself in, it will be because of Fox and the rest of the pro-Trump media machine muddying the waters and poisoning the public conversation."
Former GOP Congressman and current Presidential hopeful, Joe Walsh, absolutely believes in the power of Fox news to prevent Senate Republicans from abandoning Trump:
“They [Republican Senators] don’t fear Trump. They fear his voters. They know his voters digest Fox News every day, so they toe the line with what Fox News is doing [and] put out crap about the ‘deep state’ and all this other stuff they [the Senators] really don’t believe in.”
So far during the impeachment investigation, only Utah's Republican Sen. Mitt Romney has consistently criticized the President and he is paying the price. Few other Republicans can afford that kind of negative publicity from conservative media outlets.
3. Tribalism. We live in an age of political "tribalism" in which Americans have chosen sides, not based upon philosophy, but upon "belonging," and self interest. Political scientists call it "tribalism" because it's driven by the same primal instincts that caused humans to join small tribes ten thousand years ago to heighten their own individual chance of survival in a dangerous world of scarce resources. Their bond was simple; you protect me and I'll protect you, no matter what.
Today's tribalism is driven, in part, by the increasingly segmented media landscape in which Americans can [and often do] seek out only news and opinion that reinforces their beliefs and prejudices rather than solutions which reflect a "common good." Day in and day out, voters move further apart as they hear about the virtue and integrity of their leaders and the sins of the opposition. And, thus, tribalism is causing deeper rifts in America and making it more difficult to find compromises that serve the national interest. Our politics in becoming more of a zero-sum game in which there can only be winners and losers.
George Packer of the New Yorker explains it well.
The New Yorker: "We live in a time of tribes. Not of ideologies, parties, groups, or beliefs—these don’t convey the same impregnability of political fortifications, or the yawning chasms between them. American politics today requires a word as primal as “tribe” to get at the blind allegiances and huge passions of partisan affiliation. Tribes demand loyalty, and in return they confer the security of belonging. They’re badges of identity, not of thought. In a way, they make thinking unnecessary, because they do it for you, and may punish you if you try to do it for yourself. To get along without a tribe makes you a fool. To give an inch to the other tribe makes you a sucker."
Donald Trump is the poster child for the ills of tribalism, of unthinking loyalty. In a few short years he has transformed the GOP into the party of record deficits, protectionism, and isolationism. He has denigrated war heroes, undermined the nation's intelligence services, bragged about immoral behavior, and cozied up to the authoritarian despots who rule over America's global competitors. Trump's Republican party would be unrecognizable to Reagan or Eisenhower, and even the Tea Party has jumped on board. And this miraculous transformation didn't result from some philosophical soul searching within the party, quite the opposite. It's pure tribalism. The party's elders simply lined up behind him with barely a peep regarding ideological purity. Even with all his faults, Trump brought them power, and they won't relinquish that without a fight.
Look for Part 2 next week.
4. The LGBT Movement and Abortion.
5. Globalization, Immigration & White Nationalism.
6. Taxes and the Undeserving Poor.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content