Donald Trump Is The Man Republicans Believe In, And That's A Damning Indictment
They Love A Racist Crook With All Their Hearts
Donald Trump’s latest indictment is not going to hurt his support in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, and could very likely improve his already considerable lead over Ron DeSantis and the rest of the field. The core voters in the Republican Party have shown over the years that nothing can tear them away from Trump, not impeachment or his disastrous handling of COVID or international embarrassments and certainly not his open racism and misogyny.
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They are more loyal to Trump than they were to George W. Bush when he was cutting a swath of death through the Middle East and screwing up the domestic economy. The core Republican voters are more into Trump than any other standard bearer in recent history, including Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush and probably even Ronald Reagan.
He is their everything, the purest expression of the things that Republican voters value most in the world.
Contrast this to the situation in 2007-8. Following eight years of Bush and crushing election losses — the theft of 2000 and the disaster of 2004 along with the post-9/11 mess of the 2002 midterms — Democratic voters went more with their hearts than with their guts in choosing their nominee. Despite all the supposed negatives against him like his race and his name (Hussein!), Barack Obama won the party nomination. When the chips were down, Democrats picked an eloquent public speaker who set as his central message the idea of a united country where people with differing political backgrounds could come to great national consensus to solve big problems.
Faced with a similar level of political desperation following eight years of Obama, Republicans chose… Trump. The purest expression of their ego was a carnival barker reality television star who pushes conspiracy theories and bigotry.
I think this is the strongest indictment of the Republican Party and the conservative mindset. They love hate. Even when the party elders like Mitch McConnell try to misdirect and say conservatism is more practical-minded and levelheaded, the voters keep making it clear: No, they really like this hate stuff. They are willing to stick with Trump through thick and thin to keep the hate flowing through their veins. There is nothing they love more than Trump and outlets like Fox News giving them something to feel superior about, whether that is Blacks, Muslims, transgender people, or women — whatever works at the moment.
Even if you accept the faults and foibles of the Democratic Party to be true, the gut issues motivating the party’s most fervent voters isn’t hate. If anything I would argue that core Democratic voters have a pathological naivete about things, constantly looking for an upside that often isn’t there in pursuit of some sort of Star Trek-style utopia where everyone gets along to confront really big issues like climate change or the Borg. Actually, you would have many Democrats arguing that some Borg could be turned against the collective, just like they think that some Trump voters are still persuadable, but I digress.
Democrats love love and happiness almost to their own political detriment, while Republicans embrace hatred. Even when the right talks about love, there are so many caveats — just for white people, just for rich people, just for Christians, and really, just for men — that it still ends up as an expression of hate.
Trump is the perfect candidate for such a toxic world view and that is a large part of the reason why other candidates aren’t peeling off his support. Why indulge in DeSantis’ weaker brand of hate when Trump is giving the pure, uncut stuff out to everyone?
That said, the Republican embrace of Trump brand bigotry has a price. Without the quirks of the electoral college, Trump would have never held office. Hillary Clinton got nearly 3 million more votes than he did. President Biden doubled that margin four years later when he won the popular vote by a 7 million vote margin, along with his electoral college win. Trump lost the 2018 midterm elections and his handpicked candidates helped to turn the projected 2022 “red wave” into more of a red trickle.
The average voter may not be as much of a utopian as the core Democratic voter, but they aren’t a group of Fox News-obsessive haters like the people who back Trump no matter what. It isn’t that Trump can’t win again, but his toxicity is not winning over new voters to the Republican cause and election results make more of a case for the idea that he is turning them off and sending votes to Democrats.
I’ve argued for a while that Democrats don’t always need to pick the most exciting candidate. President Biden does not get voters excited the way that President Obama and before him President Clinton did. Yes, it’s better for a candidate to peg the excitement level to its highest possible level because that communicates a winning feeling that the public at large can pick up on, but voters shouldn’t always set the standard as high as “yes we can.” Sometimes, “build back better” is more than good enough.
And it is superior to the Republican plan, of sticking with a moral black hole and a criminal, who doesn’t see America as the union of red and blue that Obama spoke about in 2004, but instead believes the country is his to rule by any means necessary — including in a coup like January 6.
Trump is the man for that Republican Party and it is why they cannot be trusted with any power.
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