Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

Trumps Popularity Continues To Grow

 

Former President Donald Trump is not your normal political candidate. The only way to understand the amazing durability of his popularity with Trump voters is to recognize him as a uniquely dynamic cultural phenomenon. For his legion of supporters, Trump helps them to define who they are, what they believe, and whom they trust. They identify with Trump on a deeply personal level, without any doubts or reservations, and wear his trademark red MAGA hats and other campaign paraphernalia with the pride of a sports fan.

Trump continues to use his considerable skills to charm and entertain his supporters, while at the same time convincing them that he alone is dedicated to representing their best interests and beliefs, thereby turning his campaign events into emotional and inspirational events.

That is why his Republican rivals, led by former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have been unable to shake the loyalty to Trump. In fact, ever since the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump’s supporters have frustrated the entire “establishment” wing of the Republican party, who have attacked everything he stands for with everything they have, but to no avail. Trump keeps coming out on top.

There are many reasons behind the passionate loyalty that Trump commands. The ideas that he has championed, including his unapologetic “America first” approach to foreign policy and free trade, his support for traditional American democratic and Judeo-Christian moral values; and his successful tax-cutting, reduced regulation economic policies, resonate deeply with working class voters of all types. Trump also plays to their deep feelings of resentment at having long been betrayed and abandoned by both the Democrats and the Republican establishment, which is why they now put their political faith solely in Trump.

CONNECTING WITH VOTERS ON A DEEPER LEVEL

However, the mainstream media coverage of Trump’s campaign events tends to focus almost exclusively on his most controversial statements designed to generate headlines, and ignores the fact that, as one of my colleagues puts it “he talks about all of the same concerns that you have about the state of this country today, and optimistically explains how he intends to fix what is broken. He sees the same problems that you see, but he has thought about them and has the money, ability, and drive to do something about them.”

“Trump is also the only candidate of either party who can connect with voters on such a personal level, with the ability to convince you that the concerns he expresses for your well-being are genuine and spontaneous, not the typical politician’s repetition of poll-driven, well-rehearsed campaign talking points,” he added.

TRUMP’S FOLLOWERS FIRMLY BELIEVE IN HIS INNOCENCE

Trump’s loyal followers, who make up an estimated 30 to 40 percent of all GOP voters, don’t care about the criminal indictments against him. They know that over the past eight years, Trump has been the target of an organized campaign by Democrats and the liberal-dominated mainstream news media to destroy his reputation with an endless series of false accusations as well as two impeachments.

His supporters agree with Trump that he is the victim of politically motivated selective prosecutions, intended by his opponents to prevent his name from appearing on the presidential ballot. These Democrats who are looking to destroy him fail to see the logical fallacy in their argument that they are somehow protecting American democracy by trying to eliminate, through legal chicanery, the only candidate whom most Republicans would prefer to be president and who they believe could defeat Joe Biden. That is why most of his supporters insist that they would still vote for Trump, even if he were to be convicted.

Trump’s public relations genius has also enabled him to invent a way to turn each of his many court appearances into mini-campaign events, giving him more free media coverage with which to blast his accusers, while again proclaiming his innocence of the many civil and criminal charges against him.

HOW TRUMP HAS BEEN EXPANDING HIS VOTER BASE

In recent months, Trump has also gained the support of some Republicans, as well as independent voters, who don’t necessarily like his chaotic, controversial political style, but strongly support his first-term policies as president, such as support for parental school choice, closing the southern border to illegal immigration, imposing punitive tariffs on China and last, but by no means least, Trump’s steadfast support for Israel.

Finally, there are those voters who, for a variety of reasons, are primarily opposed to the re-election of Joe Biden, and who have made the pragmatic calculation that electing Trump as president would be the lesser of two evils.

The groups of less committed Trump voters have also been encouraged by the recent polls which consistently show Trump beating Biden in the November general election. Because these polls confirm their belief that Trump would be the strongest candidate against Biden in November, most of Trump’s supporters now see no need to settle for one of his would-be GOP presidential policy imitators. That is why DeSantis was forced to drop out two days before this week’s New Hampshire primary, and Nikki Haley’s chances as Trump’s sole surviving competitor to win the GOP nomination, after finishing third in the Iowa caucuses, more than 30 points behind Trump, have been a long shot, at best.

REMAKING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

In the process of creating his dedicated voter base, Trump has expanded and reconfigured the demographics and core beliefs of the Republican Party. By doing so, he completed a political migration that began in 1964 with the conservative revival led by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, and was continued in the 1980s by the working-class voters who proudly called themselves “Reagan Democrats.”

That transformation culminated with the spontaneous creation of the Tea Party movement as a grassroots insurgency within Republican ranks. It was a reaction to government policies in response to the financial crisis of 2008, which bailed out the big banks and Wall Street firms that created the crisis, while largely ignoring the suffering of ordinary Americans struggling to maintain their middle-class lifestyles on Main Street USA, as well as a protest against the liberal social and big government policies imposed on this country during Barack Obama’s presidency.

The key to Trump’s initial political success was his recognition that by the start of the 2015 presidential election cycle, there were tens of millions of working-class and lower-middle-class American voters in both major parties who felt abandoned and betrayed by their elected representatives and party leadership in Washington, whose political agenda and priorities no longer supported those voters’ best interests and values.

TRUMP GIVES HIS VOTERS A CANDIDATE TO BELIEVE IN

Those alienated voters were looking for a new leader whom they could trust and believe in. They found what they were looking for in Trump’s willingness to serve as their advocate and public voice, as well as his promises, which he largely kept, to fight for the causes that they believed in. These range from the traditional concepts of American democracy and exceptionalism, to their traditional religious and moral beliefs, which have increasingly come under concerted attack by the secular liberal and progressive advocates who are now dictating the social policies of the Democrat party and the Biden administration.

Today’s Democrat Party no longer reflects the broad coalition of immigrant and ethnic voters and labor union organizers first assembled by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s to fight the economic effects of the Great Depression and then World War II, and which was revived in the 1960s by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to fight the Soviets in the Cold War, for the civil rights movement in the South, and then, the so-called war on poverty.

Many liberal young Democrats first began to lose their faith in America and their own party’s leadership during the late 1960s over the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. It coincided with an era of youthful social rebellion against all forms of moral authority and a revival of radical liberal ideologies that became dominant on college campuses across the country.

THE LIBERAL TAKEOVER OF THE DEMOCRATS

Those radical liberal ideologies first captured the badly divided Democrat Party in 1972, with its nomination of South Dakota Senator George McGovern as its presidential candidate. They were then firmly rejected by the American people by the landslide re-election of Richard Nixon, who beat McGovern in 49 of the 50 states.

By the time Ronald Reagan soundly defeated Jimmy Carter’s bid for re-election in 1980, many Democrats began to be ashamed to keep calling themselves liberals. This led to the creation of the so-called “New Democrat Coalition.” It was epitomized by Bill Clinton, who presented himself as a centrist seeking compromise with Republicans, led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, on a variety of issues ranging from job-based welfare reforms to fiscal responsibility through balanced federal budgets.

The liberal Democrat agenda was revived with the 2008 election of Barack Obama as president. He expanded government control of the health system through the passage of Obamacare. Obama also gradually introduced the liberal social and race-based federal government policies which President Joe Biden has now greatly expanded under the influence of progressive Democrats and avowed socialists, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

THE ORIGINS OF THE PRO-TRUMP “DEPLORABLES”

Obama was also the first Democrat to legitimize the liberal disdain for conservative working-class voters who would later become the supporters of Donald Trump, and whom Hillary Clinton famously slandered as “deplorables,” during her 2016 presidential campaign. Eight years earlier, when Obama was running against Clinton for the 2008 Democrat nomination for president, he was recorded telling a group of liberal San Francisco campaign contributors that the voters living in the declining towns in the Midwest rust belt, who have lost their industrial jobs to China and other low wage countries, “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

The supporters of Donald Trump have already been well-defined by many political commentators according to various criteria, whether they are rich, poor or “middle class,” whether they are white collar or blue collar, college-educated or not, as well as their age, religious, ethnic or racial backgrounds. However, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel notes the need to better understand the defining characteristics and beliefs of liberal Democrat “elites” who now dictate the policies of the Democrats, and what makes them so “out-of-touch” with the opinions held by most of their fellow Americans.

For that purpose, Strassel refers to a newly released poll by the Rasmussen organization whose working definition for a member of the Democrat elites is someone “with a postgraduate degree, earning more than $150,000 a year, and living in a high-density area,” and compares their views to those of everyone else.

UNDERSTANDING THE DEMOCRAT LIBERAL ELITES

Rasmussen’s findings are illuminating. “Among the elite, 74% say their finances are getting better, compared with 20% of the rest of voters. (Eighty-eight % of elites are Ivy League graduates.) The elite gives President Biden an 84% approval rating, compared with 40% from non-elites. . .

“Large majorities of them have a favorable view of university professors (89%), journalists (79%), lawyers and union leaders (78%) and even members of Congress (67%). Two-thirds say they’d prefer a candidate who said teachers and educational professionals, not parents, should decide what children are taught. . .”

With respect to the disputes over bedrock American principles, “nearly 50% of elites believe the U.S. provides ‘too much individual freedom’” — compared with nearly 60% of voters who believe there is too much “government control.” Seventy-seven percent of elites support “strict rationing of gas, meat, and electricity” to fight climate change, vs. 28% of everyone else. More than two-thirds of elite Ivy [League] graduates favor banning things like gasoline-powered cars and [natural gas] stoves and inessential air travel in the name of the environment. More than 70% of average voters say they’d be unwilling to pay more than $100 a year in taxes or costs for climate — compared with 70% of elites who said they’d pay from $250 up to “whatever it takes.”

SMALL NUMBERS WITH ENORMOUS INFLUENCE

While the number of elites is relatively small, their influence over our lives is enormous, especially now that they are setting policy for the Democrat party. Even before that, the elite was already a dominating force in virtually every major institution of American power, from the media to the universities to Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and the unelected bureaucracies of the federal government.

Even the executives of the most successful corporations in the country, who used to be stalwart Republican supporters of the American free market economy, have crossed over to join with the liberal elites to maintain their influence with the powers that be in today’s liberal-dominated political and social environment.

Many of these executives believe that because of the ubiquitous power of the liberal elite pushing their agenda, they have no choice. They have come under intense pressure from groups of activist stockholders, as well as well-funded liberal pressure groups, to make investment decisions based upon so-called ESG principles which are guided by liberal considerations of environmental issues, social issues, and corporate governance. Under relentless pressure from progressive activists, these corporations, as well as government agencies and colleges across the country have been forced to adopt the so-called DEI principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, by making hiring, admission, and policy decisions based on race and equity of outcome rather than based on equal opportunity and relative merit.

The result has been the deliberate general lowering of minimum standards for achievement to the lowest common denominator, and the abandonment of requirements for college admission based on high school grades and scores on standardized tests, such as the SATs, in order to meet arbitrary racial and ethnic quotas, requiring the exclusion of more academically qualified students from over-achieving identity groups, such as Asian-Americans and Jews.

REVISING CURRICULUMS TO INDOCTRINATE STUDENTS

Progressive activists have also insisted upon the inclusion in curriculums from grade school through college of highly controversial liberal ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and various racial and gender studies, at the expense of neglecting a broad range of traditional academic subjects which used to be required for college students to earn a liberal arts degree.

That is why the largest car companies in the world are now investing tens of billions of dollars to convert their production to electric vehicles that they know most of their customers don’t want to buy. It is also why local utility companies across the country are prematurely shutting down their safe, reliable, and cost-efficient nuclear power reactors and natural gas-powered generators and trying to replace them with much more expensive and unreliable renewable sources of energy, mostly paid for by the sharply higher monthly utility bills of their customers and tax-payer funded government subsidies.

America’s largest publicly owned social media platforms and internet service providers have also been coerced by the liberal elitist officials of the federal government, as well as their own progressive employees, into routinely censoring the communications of their customers.

Even while Trump was still president, FBI officials exerted pressure on the executives at Twitter and other popular social media platforms to block Trump’s accounts, hindering his ability to communicate with millions of his followers. At the FBI’s request, the social media platforms and the mainstream news media outlets also censored all mention of a New York Post story, published just two weeks before the 2020 presidential election, about incriminating evidence of influence peddling and possible bribery that the FBI had found and verified as authentic on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. Voter reaction to that story might have altered the outcome of that election if it had not been suppressed and falsely labeled as Russian disinformation in a public letter signed by fifty former U.S. intelligence agency officials, which was instigated by then-Biden campaign official Antony Blinken, who is now serving as Biden’s Secretary of State. Biden quoted them during the campaign, as he insinuated that the laptop was Russian disinformation.

IMPOSING THE ELITE AGENDA ON EVERYONE

Now that their control extends to the Biden White House and half of Congress, as well as the governments of blue states, such as New York and California, and their big cities, the elites are intent on imposing their agenda on everyone, from the top down, regardless of whether the American people agree or not.

No detail of our private lives is too small for elite regulation. It ranges from the kinds of cars and home appliances that we may buy, to the opinions that we may share with others on social media, to the lessons, moral standards, and attitudes that are being taught to our school children from kindergarten through college, to the kind of bags we use to carry our groceries home from the supermarket.

The elites also now have the power to crush anyone who dares to resist their edicts or to question the truth of their accepted “scientific facts,” such as the allegedly dire threat to the future of mankind from human-caused global warming, or the still unidentified natural source of the Covid-19 virus. The elite can force young children to wear masks, arbitrarily close schools, houses of worship, and other “non-essential” businesses and public venues, as they did during the Covid pandemic, and require homeowners to sort through their garbage for recycling, even though very little of it will actually escape being dumped as general waste in landfills.

DEMOCRATS CREATING MORE TRUMP SUPPORTERS

Democrat candidates are now learning to their dismay that every time they help the elites impose another unpopular and unnecessary mandate on the American people, they are creating more angry voters who will be eager to “get even” by supporting Donald Trump. Many of these voters feel that the elites have rigged the government system to profit and protect themselves and their supporters while ignoring the needs of the rest of the American people. They also feel that the elites care more about the needs of other countries around the world, including some, like Iran, which are openly hostile to the United States, than America’s own foreign interests.

The deep resentment at the elite agenda Democrats are imposing upon all Americans now cuts across the income and education levels that used to separate Republican from Democrat voters.

It is alienating both minority and white parents in many urban and suburban neighborhoods who strongly object to the radical liberal curriculums that teachers’ union-dominated school boards are using to indoctrinate their children, while at the same time failing to give their children the basic educational skills and knowledge they will need to succeed as adults.

It is also angering a significant percentage of Latino voters who resent the fact that President Biden and his fellow Democrats have allowed an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants to enter and stay in this country, indefinitely and at taxpayer expense, without having to meet the same legal immigration requirements that they or their parents had to.

BLACKS AND HISPANICS BEING DRAWN TO TRUMP

The latest national opinion polls show that increasing numbers of black, Hispanic, and white ethnic working-class voters who used to vote automatically for any Democrat on the ballot are now realizing that many of those candidates no longer support their best interests. They also know that by voting for Donald Trump instead of Joe Biden in November, they can help themselves while exacting a small measure of revenge on the Democrat elected officials who have betrayed them.

Another result of badly misguided liberal Democrat and Biden administration policies has been the sharp rise in violent crimes across the country due to the Democrat-supported movement to defund the local police and have them turn a blind eye to racially motivated street riots. The excuse given by the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa liberal domestic terrorists for triggering the violence was the May 25, 2020 strangulation death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis policeman while Floyd was being arrested for trying to pass a suspected counterfeit $20 bill.

The George Floyd riots continued for 120 days of looting, arson, death, and destruction in cities large and small across the country, which resulted in $2 billion worth of property damage, over 35 deaths, and the injury of 1,500 law enforcement officers, in addition to the torching of a federal courthouse in Portland Oregon, a police precinct in Seattle, Washington, and a historic church near the White House in Washington, D.C.

DEMOCRATS HAVE CREATED A CRIME PROBLEM

While the rioting eventually played out, the next three years witnessed a remarkable spike in violent crimes and murders in large, Democrat-controlled cities across the country, such as Philadelphia and Chicago, which was largely attributed to the tendency of liberal local prosecutors and district attorneys to treat petty criminals like George Floyd as victims rather than as perpetrators. Similarly, progressive-sponsored laws recently passed by Democrat-controlled legislatures in states like New York, now treat most criminals as victims of the “systemic racism” that allegedly permeates American society rather than as perpetrators, by doing away with the traditional requirement for arrested criminals to post cash bail to get out of jail, and reducing shoplifting or theft of goods worth less than $1000 to petty crimes for which a conviction does not require jail time.

But the result of these forgiving policies towards “petty” crimes, which are mostly committed in poor urban neighborhoods, has been to encourage them at the expense of the local residents, who are mostly blacks and Latinos. As a result, more of these blacks and Hispanics are beginning to resent being victimized and forced to live in fear by the lax law enforcement policies imposed by the Democrat elites, and are switching their support to politicians like Donald Trump, who promises to restore respect and support for local police, and encourage them to resume the strict enforcement of law and order in their communities.

DEFINING DEVIANCY DOWN

In 1993, then-New York Democrat Senator and former Harvard University professor of government and urban studies Daniel Patrick Moynihan published his landmark paper entitled “Defining Deviancy Down,” in which he identified as one of the root causes of the illegal drug-fueled wave of violent crime which was plaguing America at that time as “the tendency of societies to respond to destructive behaviors they cannot control by lowering their standards for what conduct is permissible.”

In other words, when a society gives up on its efforts to prevent unacceptable behavior, its typical response is to try to normalize it by declaring that such behavior is no longer unacceptable and requiring society to learn how to live with it. Moynihan’s point was summed up in the subtitle of his paper, “How We’ve Become Accustomed to Alarming Levels of Crime and Destructive Behavior.”

In 1965, when Moynihan was working for President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Secretary, Arthur Goldberg, to prepare policy for Johnson’s war on poverty, he realized that the expansion of federal welfare payments to families in poor black communities would result in “a dramatic increase in single-parent families. . . [and] would in turn lead to a dramatic increase in crime.”

THE CONSEQUENCES OF BROKEN FAMILIES

In 1993, when he wrote Defining Deviancy Down, the crime wave in poor urban communities that he had predicted in 1965 had come to pass, due to the breakdown of families during that period. As America’s urban black communities were being devastated by the destructive effects of illegal drug use, the number of such families increased from affecting 1 out of 5 children to 2 out of 3 children. Since then, the downward trend in two-parent black families that Moynihan reported in 1993 has continued, with the resulting rise in crime that Moynihan first predicted 59 years ago.

From Moynihan’s point of view, the current progressive response of decriminalizing petty property crimes, and legalizing the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana can be viewed as the next stage of the process of defining deviancy down.

TRUMP VOTERS FIGHTING BACK AT RISING CRIME

The difference is that voters today across the country are not willing to live with the resulting rise in crimes that are being committed by their perpetrators with impunity because they no longer fear arrest or punishment. Instead, more of these minority voters are throwing their support behind Donald Trump and other candidates who promise to restore respect for local police and the strict enforcement of law and order that most Americans today believe are absolutely necessary for an acceptable quality of life in our society.

Taken all together, Trump’s supporters, as well as others who agree with his America first, pro-growth, and law and order policies, or who have become disillusioned with Joe Biden, make up a potentially winning coalition. As a result, many Democrat officials across the country who are standing for re-election this November, from President Biden down, have good reason to be worried.University professor of government and urban studies Daniel Patrick Moynihan published his landmark paper entitled “Defining Deviancy Down,” in which he identified as one of the root causes of the illegal drug-fueled wave of violent crime which was plaguing America at that time as “the tendency of societies to respond to destructive behaviors they cannot control by lowering their standards for what conduct is permissible.”

In other words, when a society gives up on its efforts to prevent unacceptable behavior, its typical response is to try to normalize it by declaring that such behavior is no longer unacceptable and requiring society to learn how to live with it. Moynihan’s point was summed up in the subtitle of his paper, “How We’ve Become Accustomed to Alarming Levels of Crime and Destructive Behavior.”

In 1965, when Moynihan was working for President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Secretary, Arthur Goldberg, to prepare policy for Johnson’s war on poverty, he realized that the expansion of federal welfare payments to families in poor black communities would result in “a dramatic increase in single-parent families. . . [and] would in turn lead to a dramatic increase in crime.”

THE CONSEQUENCES OF BROKEN FAMILIES

In 1993, when he wrote Defining Deviancy Down, the crime wave in poor urban communities that he had predicted in 1965 had come to pass, due to the breakdown of families during that period. As America’s urban black communities were being devastated by the destructive effects of illegal drug use, the number of such families increased from affecting 1 out of 5 children to 2 out of 3 children. Since then, the downward trend in two-parent black families that Moynihan reported in 1993 has continued, with the resulting rise in crime that Moynihan first predicted 59 years ago.

From Moynihan’s point of view, the current progressive response of decriminalizing petty property crimes, and legalizing the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana can be viewed as the next stage of the process of defining deviancy down.

TRUMP VOTERS FIGHTING BACK AT RISING CRIME

The difference is that voters today across the country are not willing to live with the resulting rise in crimes that are being committed by their perpetrators with impunity because they no longer fear arrest or punishment. Instead, more of these minority voters are throwing their support behind Donald Trump and other candidates who promise to restore respect for local police and the strict enforcement of law and order that most Americans today believe are absolutely necessary for an acceptable quality of life in our society.

Taken all together, Trump’s supporters, as well as others who agree with his America first, pro-growth, and law and order policies, or who have become disillusioned with Joe Biden, make up a potentially winning coalition. As a result, many Democrat officials across the country who are standing for re-election this November, from President Biden down, have good reason to be worried.

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