The Trump “base” revisited.


You know, for 22 months, we had Robert Mueller coming out of our ears. Mueller was like the weather, he was everywhere. The media helped to fuel this feeding frenzy by specifically referring to “the Mueller investigation” on a daily basis, even when absolutely nothing had happened that day. But believe it or not, we have had another media fueled national obsession that has gone on even longer than the Mueller investigation.

And that obsession is the Trump “base,” Since November 9, 2016, the media has been fixated on this mythical creature, this silent, hidden army, that like a swarm of termites, toppled the house of democracy. There are two different aspects of the Trump base that the media loves to chew on like a dog with an old pork chop bone, who is the Trump base, and how big is the Trump base? And like most things Trumpian, the medias commentary on the Trump base tends to be riddled with hyperbole and exaggeration.

How big is the Trump base? Everybody has their own view, and mine hasn’t changed since the 2016 primaries. From where I’m sitting, Trump’s actual ‘base” is between 32-34%. How did I come up with this low ball figure? Simple. It’s what he was running in the pre primary and early 2016 GOP primary polls. In both parties, the primaries are an almost purely base affair, only the “true believers” show up to vote. And from Labor Day right on through the early primaries, Trump was remarkable consistent, at 32-34%. When I wrote in November of 2015 that Trump could actually win the nomination, it was simple math. Trump was running at 45^, nobody else in the field was clearing double digits. With the early states being “winner take all,” Trump could bank enough early delegates to make him impossible to catch once the herd culled down. Which happened. Trump started clearing 50% when he became the apparent nominee. Yeah, and I was a Bulls fan back in the days when you could walk up to the ticket window a half hour before game time and buy any ticket you wanted. Nothing creates fans like winning.

I have seen nothing in the last two years to make me change my mind, in fact, exactly the opposite. Trump won the electoral college with a minority 47% of the popular vote. And where has he been mired for most of the last two years? At between 38-44%.But the important thing to bear in mind is that the Trump base really is the Trump base. In 2018, the Republicans lost the national popular vote to the Democrats by more than double the amount that Trump lost the national vote in 2016! Not only has Trump failed to do what every winning President in history has done, namely to try to expand his base for the next election, Trump has managed the dubious distinction of actually shrinking his base by sending traditional “loyal” Republican voters fleeing in disgust. That is a mean trick, and unfortunately for Trump, it’s only going to get worse for the next 18 months, because for Trump, it’s not about winning, it’s about rallies. As long as he’s serenaded by drooling mouth breathers with chants of “Lock her UP!” at rallies, everything is going according to schedule.

So, what is the actual Trump base? From where I’m sitting, it’s made up of two base components. The first component is his true, rabid, core base. This is the 10-15% that is so politically disillusioned, and lost in the trappings of celebrity and image, that they honestly believe that Trump is all he’s cracked up to be. These cluster FOX bubbleheads actually believe that Trump actually is building the wall, and that Honduran refugee caravans actually do come complete with prayer rugs and exploding backpacks. They’re mostly older, more isolated, and scared, and Trump plays that fear the way Lousi Armstrong used to play a trumpet.

The other 20-25% are nothing more than rabid hack GOP uber partisans, hitching a ride on the Trump garbage truck. And they’re not shy about it, they wear it on their sleeves like corporals stripes. Whether in blogs, on conservative radio talk shows, or in interviews with reporters, they’re blunt and to the point. They wuns dem some Trump simply because he pisses off liberals! It’s the same thing with the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity fan club cards that they carry in their wallets. They admit it, as long as Trump makes libtard heads explode, he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. If the Democrats ever actually started treating Trump like a joke instead of making jokes about Trump, these idjits would disappear back into the woodwork. But we can’t, for the simple reason that the threat that he represents, and the damage he can do, is too real.

And worse yet for Trump, the cracks are showing. The “What the hell do you have to lose?” voters who actually put Trump over the top are starting to find out what they had to lose. More and more of the voters whom last year wanted to “give him more time” seem to be running out of time. MSNBC interviewed a small business owner along the US-Mexico border yesterday, a guy who would get creamed if the border were closed. He voted for Teump in 2016, and the reporter asked him if he was planning on voting for Trump again in 2020. The guy replied that it was “too early to think about that yet,” and that he’d make up his mind closer to election day. If he honestly thinks that Trump is going to do anything to quell his fears over the next 18 months, I’ve got a bridge to sell him that he can use to get his trucks back and forth over the border. I sit in front of the damn TV every day, and you hear more and more of this waffling from previously “stout” Trump supporters.

The secret to ultimate success in 2020 is not going to be the Trump base. It’s going to be in motivating the Democratic base. 2018 was just the first bluebird of spring of what 2020 can be if the Democrats can maintain and build on the enthusiasm of 2018, with national control at stake. If people came out in droves to support congressional candidates, what can it be like when a Presidential candidate is on the ballot, bringing with him or her the promise of an alarm clock to end the national nightmare? I’m one of the few morons out there who don’t think that retaking the Senate is out of the question, and from where I’m sitting, if Yertl the Turtle decides to hang around the house full time after 2020 and pester Elaine Chao, then he won’t think that it’s out of the realm of possibility either. Focus. Legislate for progress now. And GOTV. It’s really that simple. Trump can only win if we don’t show up.

Follow me on Twitter at @RealMurfster35DonaldTrump

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11 Comments on "The Trump “base” revisited."

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Denis Elliott
One concept in the back of my mind that tends to pop forward when I read something like this is how much most people dislike admitting, even to themselves they’ve made a big mistake. It’s simple human nature to, even against all logic hope that one didn’t make a mistake, and somehow something will change and prove our mistake wasn’t one after all. Just as important, and more importantly significant to this discussion is that as much as we loathe admitting to ourselves we screwed up, we absolutely HATE admitting it to others. That includes not just people we know… Read more »
rory darjiit
Humans are…weird. As you say, admitting mistakes is hard. This week my friend was telling me about a work contact that was yelling at him. I said “yes, she seems very tetchy and cranky in that email.” He said tetchy isn’t a word…that only touchy is a word. So I pulled up my Apple dictionary. Tetchy: irritably sensitive. He said it might be in *that* dictionary, but it’s an archaic word never used. Google…used in 10+ major publications this week. So he said I wasn’t using it right…I meant touchy. No, I said she treated you cranky, which is tetchy,… Read more »
rory darjiit
Thank you. I enjoyed the analysis. (And you really followed that logic through well…in paragraph two I was like “I wonder if his base has two components, and that’s where you went shortly thereafter, lol). I wonder about a third group, which might not be accurate to include in “the base.” There may be a group who vote Republican just because they always have. That’s their “team,” and you’re supposed to vote your team. This group…let’s call them “traditionally GOP”…is “squishier.” Under the right conditions, a voter can break off (ie, Nicole Wallace or Steve Schmidt.) Or they can overlook… Read more »
Denis Elliott
Thanks. Always nice to find another Cubs fan out there. Even though I was born and raised deep down in southern Illinois in solid “Cardinal Country” I’ve always been a Cubs fan, and suffered for it starting at an early age. I never had any illusions about them when they sucked, even as certain players were doing well but the team overall wasn’t. I also honestly gave up hope of ever seeing them in the World Series in my lifetime, much less winning it and cursed at my TV as Maddon did everything he could to MIS-manage them into losing… Read more »
rory darjiit
I agree. I cited Nicole Wallace, and that’s a really good example of a terrible example of what I was talking about, ha. She’s not a member of the group that might permanently migrate left…she still believes W Bush was a awesome President, and as soon as a Trump is gone I’d expect this would lend her to support most any other GOP candidate. So not a great example. But in the 2018 cycle the shift left in places like Orange County make me optimistic that we may be permanently winning a distinct slice of voters over. But they’ll have… Read more »