Color me baffled. Or mortified. Or, oh, maybe even bamboozled.
Donald John Trump’s latest outrage — where he equated Nazis and Klansmen with those who oppose them — would seem to the final “last straw” that sends his cadre of supporters scurrying elsewhere.
Hah! Hardly, according to a fascinating New York Times article profiling the Republican Party “base” that continues to hang with the president of the United States.
Here is the article.
Trump’s response to the Charlottesville mayhem has fallen along largely partisan lines, according to the Times. Most Republicans support the GOP president; only 10 percent of Democrats do.
Yes, there are signs that Trump’s GOP base is showing stress fractures, that it might be beginning to slip away. There remains, though, this hard-core base of supporters who stand with him. Why? He continues to stick it in the establishment’s eye. He talks plainly and with politically correct pretense, they say.
According to the Times: “It’s an indication of what now seems an almost immutable law of the Trump presidency. There are signs that Mr. Trump’s support among Republican leaders and some Republican voters is weakening. But in an increasingly tribal America, with people on the left and the right getting information from different sources and seeing the same facts in different ways, it reflects the way Mr. Trump has become in many ways both symbol and chief agitator of a divided nation.”
I’ll concede yet again that I’m a member of the “tribe” that has opposed Trump from the very beginning. He presents not a single redeeming quality to public life. He’s immoral and amoral at the same time. He has no ideology. His life is crammed full of examples of how his No. 1 objective has been geared toward personal enrichment.
Thus, when he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s military service, disparaged a Gold Star family, mocked a reporter’s physical disability and boasted about grabbing women by their private parts, this individual only reinforced every single negative impression I had of him. Accordingly, it has amazed me in the extreme that his political base has held together as firmly as it has … to date.
Again, from the Times: “Larry Laughlin, a retired businessman from a Minneapolis suburb, compares Mr. Trump to a high school senior who could ‘walk up to the table with the jocks and the cheerleaders and put them in their place.’ That is something that the ‘nerds and the losers, whose dads are unemployed and moms are working in the cafeteria,’ could never do. Mr. Trump may be rich, he said, but actually belonged at the nerd table.
“’The guys who wouldn’t like me wouldn’t like Trump,’ he said. ‘The guys who were condescending to him were condescending to me.'”
The president is counting on those folks to see him through this latest “last straw.” I’ll concede this point: When Trump said during the campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and retain his political core of support, he proved to be more correct than most of us ever imagined.