The New York Times had a pretty good article on why many Americans are supporting Donald Trump. And I wanted to use this to further the conversation I began on how Trump remade the Republican Party in his image.
The reluctant supporters
Here’s the part I want to use as a jumping-off point:
“I’m feeling better and better about him all the time,” said Mr. Peters, 63, a retired engineer, who had once been cool to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Fidelibus, 75, a retired banker in a Calloway hat, had also once been skeptical of the president’s bullying and lack of self-control.
“I’m a supporter of Trump now,” he said “He may not always say things the way most presidents before him said them, but what does it matter? They didn’t get the job done.”…
These men, largely Trump voters whose support for him has solidified since his election, are business owners and sales executives, veterinarians and lawyers — men who largely wouldn’t be caught dead at a Trump rally chanting “Lock her up!”
They may cringe at a president who humiliates cabinet secretaries and foreign allies, and who utters a stream of easily disproved falsehoods.
But many have quietly struck a bargain with Mr. Trump: They will overlook his trampling of presidential norms because he is delivering just what they want on the economy, deregulation, immigration and foreign affairs.
The power play Trump used against Turkey to free Andrew Brunson is a powerful recent example of this.
There was NO DEAL made with Turkey for the release and return of Pastor Andrew Brunson. I don’t make deals for hostages. There was, however, great appreciation on behalf of the United States, which will lead to good, perhaps great, relations between the United States & Turkey!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2018
So with the US economy doing well, you will get Republican and Republican-leaning voters like Fidelibus onside.
The True Believers
Now, while a lot of the people in the category above ‘hold their nose’ when voting for Trump and his Congressional allies, there’s another group of Trump supporters who wholeheartedly support his policy shift.
Judy, 79, from Princeton, N.J., a retired social worker – quoted below – is a perfect example.
On media bias:
Trump’s done a wonderful job. He doesn’t hide behind a desk but instead makes the public feel it’s being listened to. He was bold enough to tell the United Nations that America is doing more than its fair share and others [other countries] are starting to pay more.
I still think he can be trusted. But the press does everything it can to make him look bad and focuses on the things that haven’t even been proven. I don’t care about the scandals. And I don’t think most people care about his relationships, which aren’t illegal and happened before he became president.
The whole FBI has been working against him. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were working in the Department of Justice to set up a narrative to demonize Trump, to make it look like he was colluding with the Russians.
The whole thing is a circus. The problem is, she [Christine Blasey Ford] can’t remember facts—like when it took place or the time. You can sympathize with her, but her testimony isn’t credible.
The Democrats are using her to delay this nomination until the elections. No matter how qualified the candidate is, they’ll do what they can do to delay it. Dianne Feinstein knew about Blasey Ford’s allegation in July and could have talked with him [Kavanaugh] about it in private. But they wanted to demonize him. Also, it doesn’t make sense that she [Ford] is afraid of flying but flies all around the world. And the Democrats’ lawyers coached her, while she was in Delaware. Lots of people who knew Kavanaugh support him.
I’m pro-choice, but there needs to be limits. Roe v. Wade is settled law and I don’t think either Gorsuch or Kavanaugh will overturn it.
I support Trump trying to get a handle on illegal immigration and crime. People used to be carefully vetted at Ellis Island, but we don’t do that now.* I’d like to see legal immigration, with people getting permits that allow them to come. ICE is trying to keep illegals out, but it’s getting a lot of blowback from the Democrats. We don‘t need to invite more of them in, since this doesn’t solve our crime problem, like what happened to Mollie Tibbetts, in Iowa, who was murdered this past summer. I know her father said she wouldn’t have wanted her murder to be used politically, but she’d be alive if it wasn’t for the man who was here illegally and stalked her. I’m very opposed to sanctuary cities. And separating kids from parents was started under Bush and Obama. But because of the outcry, Trump is trying to keep them together.
I don’t have a problem getting health care since I have Medicare and good back-up insurance. But Obamacare wasn’t a good idea and didn’t help people. Much of it benefited insurance companies. I don’t object to expanding Medicaid to vulnerable people, who should have a basic level of care. But there are more options to choose. For example, some are trying to form co-ops that could cross state lines to get the most efficient policy. The Republican Congress could have changed the system and didn’t. Medicare for all would be very expensive and I don’t think universal health care is right. We know that lots of Canadians, who have this kind of system, come here for innovative procedures.
On climate change:
Climate change doesn’t have anything to do with the severe weather we’ve had. We’ve always had hurricanes. I’m not convinced there’s much difference now or that man can control the climate.
It was good to leave the Paris accord because it didn’t help us. We’re doing a good job on our own, compared with other countries, working to keep our water and air clean. For example, pollution in China is much worse than here.
But what about suburban women?
The gender gap on support for the Republican party is as high as it’s ever been, with women leaving the party in droves under Trump.
Langer Research Associates, which produces the report, has said the gap reflects the facts that women are more likely than men to be Democrats and less likely to have incomes exceeding $100,000; Republican affiliation and higher earnings have correlated with higher comfort scores.
There have been a few other insights on what’s driving women away from the Republican Party. Politico focuses on Trump’s role instead of economics.
President Donald Trump has historically low favorability among women, with the Pew Research Center now reporting that 63 percent of women disapprove of how he is doing his job—compared with 30 percent who approve…
Trump’s election and performance in office have clearly pushed independent and Democratic women into action, resulting in record numbers of women running for office, and surges of women involved in local political organizing for the first time. But what about Republican women?…
Republican women still overwhelmingly support the president—84 percent of them, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll this week. But that statistic overlooks a broader trend: Fewer and fewer American women identify as Republicans, and that slow migration is speeding up under Trump.
Women are indeed leaving the Republican party in droves. And so the women who are left overwhelmingly support the President. So I would say the Republican Party is increasingly a party of men, of southerners, and of whites.
Let me give you a personal example. I went to high school with Chrissy Blasey’s twin brother. I knew both of them. And I knew maybe 100 girls at Chrissy’s school Holton-Arms, my sister school. So when I watched the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, I did so through the lens of someone who was ‘there’ so to speak, who knew the environment that was being described in the news.
And what Kavanaugh was saying about himself, about quotes in his yearbook, about drinking laws at the time and about his drinking was untrue. He was lying – in an easily disprovable way. And it offended me.
What’s more, as I saw the politics of personal destruction aimed at Blasey Ford, I also saw posts on right-wing sites disparaging her and many girls at Holton who I knew personally in the most vicious, slut-shaming terms. These were people I knew personally, am connected to on Facebook today and socialized with 30 years ago. I knew what these sites were saying was false and partisan. And this offended me too.
So, when I looked at Kavanaugh, I was less concerned about what happened 35 years ago. Instead, I was alarmed at what Kavanaugh was saying today, at the lies he was telling — and how easily these lies were accepted by his supporters.
So, let’s go back to this question about Trump:
“He may not always say things the way most presidents before him said them, but what does it matter?”
It DOES matter. It matters a lot. That’s my view. I like to think I have a moral compass that allows me to tell right from wrong. And I hope I have enough conviction to follow that compass toward truth and honor and away from lies and cowardice.
The reason women are leaving the Republican Party is for the same reason I looked on Brett Kavanaugh with disgust: Republicans talk about issues they know well – and many women are appalled at how those issues are framed and legislated by the party.
I don’t think the Republican Party can survive as the Party of Trump because it will mean women will abandon the party. In the midterms, I believe we will soon see that this much is clear.