Home 2016 elections Stop Thinking the Trump Supporters Will Wake Up

Stop Thinking the Trump Supporters Will Wake Up


trump-rallyIn conversations with a number of Democrats, I keep hearing the idea that once Donald Trump starts putting his plans into action, a good number of his supporters will realize the mistake they made in electing him.  The notion is that once they come to that realization, they’ll start to reject him, Independents will start to vote Democratic again, and maybe they will even take steps to remove Trump from office.  I disagree with this concept.

Throughout the campaign, Trump’s supporters were willing to ignore, disbelieve or overlook any of the bad press he got.  It didn’t matter that he was scamming people, sexually assaulting women, or anything else.  If they elected Trump despite these things, it would be hard to see what he could ever do to lose their support.  If he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people” (as Trump has suggested), supporters would probably say “they had it coming.”

Case in point:  what’s the number one thing they wanted Trump to do, besides “build a wall?”  It was to prosecute Hillary Clinton.  But Trump backed down on that on almost the first day.  What has the “lock her up” crowd done?  They’ve ignored that, and some have even gone on to say it was a brilliant strategic move.  Sure, they’ll whine a bit when Trump breaks his promises, but they’ll never veer off the bandwagon.

These folks will defend Trump to the bitter end, never blaming anything on him, always blaming the media, Democrats, or someone else for any failing.

Let’s continue to point out the hypocrisies — but also, let’s not kid ourselves about the nature of individuals who are part of what looks more like a cult than anything else.

As for the ones who voted Trump but are not necessarily die-hard followers, I think most of them just voted that way to “send a message” or because they were sick of the political system and just wanted to “blow it all up.”  Many of these voters are already jaded and are unlikely to be big participants in the political discourse.  Most of them were Republicans to begin with and are unlikely to switch sides no matter how disastrous Trump is.

We can stand up against the President-elect because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether or not it will cause his supporters to have a change of heart.

  • In other words, you’re arguing that Trump supporters are “irredeemable,” as Hillary Clinton said (and was pilloried for, including by the likes of Chris Cillizza)? Or should we, as Andy Schmookler argues, keep trying to reach Trump voters and help them back to “reason” or whatever?

    • frankoanderson

      I think we all have friends and family who are otherwise good, but have enabled Trump nevertheless. They themselves are not necessarily “deplorable,” but their votes may be irredeemable.

      • This ultimately gets into deep philosophical/moral discussions that probably can never be resolved, for instance about the nature of “good” and “evil.”

    • John Farrell

      “Irredeemable” is above all of our pay grades since redemption is spiritual action involving a higher power.

      “Unpersuable” definitely. And that all Democrats can care about. So don’t waste time on unpersudeables.

      Some Trump voters may be persuadable but most aren’t.

  • Andy Schmookler

    There are many reasons to fear that you are right, that even if/as Trump makes a mess of everything, his supporters will stay with him.

    But assuming the worst is often a self-fulfilling proposition. We should beware of giving up on the basis of mere assumption. As it happens, there are already instances of “buyer’s remorse” among Trump voters (e.g. one well-publicized case of a woman whose home had been foreclosed upon by a bank run by Mnuchin who now renounces Trump for nominating him for Treasury).

    One factor to consider, when it comes to whether we regard this issue as a “Known” or a “Known Unknown,” is that with the coming era of Donald Trump as president, we are entering into something quite different from the usual. Also quite different from having some nihilistic charlatan like Trump as a candidate. And so for ALL OF US, this will likely be — and in many ways, with him as President-Elect, already is– an experience unlike any we’ve had before. That will be true not only for us, but for the Trump voters.

    So much, then, is unpredictable. Just how will events unfold? And just how will Americans of various stripes respond to them? We just don’t know.

    And bear in mind also that Trump’s power — including, for example, how the GOP deals with him — will be significantly determined by his approval numbers. (Recall how W became diminished by the decline in his numbers from the time of “Mission Accomplished” through the growing disaster of his Iraq War and his bungling of the Katrina devastation.)

    How we Democrats conduct our war on Trump can be either well or poorly designed to pry away his public support. So whether we just throw in the towel on his voters because we KNOW they won’t budge, or make an effort to undermine his standing with them, can have real political consequences.

    • “there are already instances of “buyer’s remorse” among Trump voters ”

      As always, the plural of “anecdote” does not amount to “data.”

    • frankoanderson

      If the Trump voters come around, then great! But while things are definitely more unpredictable than ever, I don’t think any Democrats should expect that buyer’s remorse would happen on a significant scale. Even many of those who end up being remorseful will probably keep quiet about it.

      Once you’ve cast your lot with a candidate, you’re psychologically more likely to respond to negative news by defending that person than you are to reconsider your views. For example, it was common knowledge for years that Trump was a serial philanderer. But as soon as women came out to reveal his harassment of them, Trump’s supporters dismissed it all as lies.

      • Frank nails it yet again.

  • stuckinthewoods

    Trump’s failures will be blamed on Obama. Trump’s supporters will develop anterograde amnesia preventing new memories from being formed – but they’ll remember they hated Obama. Retrograde amnesia of earlier memories apparently causes a larger percentage of Louisianans to ascribe the missteps following Hurricane Katrina to Obama rather than to Bush. Either direction….it’ll be Obama’s fault.

  • True Blue

    Great points! Supporters will never change as long as they live in his alternate, fact-free Facebook feed, reality show, twittering universe. “A new PPP poll unveiled on MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ Thursday showed just how out of touch Donald Trump’s supporters are with the real world.”

    “On a slew of questions about simple facts, a large chunk – and, in some cases, strong majorities – of Trump supporters are simply living in a different reality.”

    “The full PPP poll will be released on Friday, but these results show what Donald Trump’s conspiracy-driven campaign has done to our politics and how he has convinced his supporters that the world as it is doesn’t really exist.”

    “Americans are no longer just divided by political ideology, but also by their belief in reality.”

    “Nearly 40 percent of the president-elect’s supporters believe the stock market has gone down under President Obama, despite the fact that it’s nearly doubled during Obama’s tenure.”

    “Even though the jobless number has gone from 7.8 percent in January 2009 to 4.6 percent last month, a whopping 67 percent of Trump voters think it’s actually increased.”

    “Forty percent of Trump fans also believe that Hillary Clinton lost the popular vote, despite her margin over Trump exceeding 2.7 million votes. An even greater percentage – 60 percent – think “millions” of people illegally cast their ballots for the former Secretary of State.”