Over the last year, everyone who talks politics for a living has tried to explain the phenomenon of Donald Trump. Most of them do this without having the slightest understanding of the average American. They’ve been trapped in the Beltway for so long, they think The New York Times still speaks for the country. Or they are so entrenched in promoting conservatism that they are missing one of the most exciting things to happen to Republican politics in a generation.
Either way, the answers can be found in a new Quinnipiac University poll. According to the poll, 90% of Trump supporters don’t think that public officials care about the average voter. 91% feel their values and beliefs are under attack. And 96% believe that America needs a powerful leader in the White House to turn things around.
“Trump supporters are true stand-outs,” said the poll’s director, Douglas Schwartz. “They want a leader who is very different from the leader sought by other voters.”
Gee, ya think?
9 in 10 Trump supporters believe that his campaign is about more than the real estate mogul himself – they believe it is a movement.
See, that’s the key right there. Almost every Republican you meet will agree that traditional conservative values are under attack; how could you not see that? “Powerful leader” is a somewhat nebulous term, so of course people are going to agree. And it’s hard to imagine anyone, Republican or Democrat, who really believes that the average politician gives a damn about his constituents.
But that last thing – it’s a movement. That’s what the pundits need to realize. That’s why almost nothing will turn 30% of Republican voters away from him. It doesn’t matter what kind of trap the media sets for him. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous he gets on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if he gets into a feud with the pope. It’s not about him. He’s the figurehead for millions of Americans who literally do not recognize this country anymore.
As for Trump’s critics in the conservative blogosphere, they don’t seem to understand that ideological purity isn’t selling in 2016. We’ve heard one too many lies from Republican senators and congressmen. Oh, they sound like Reagan at the microphone, but their actions don’t match the rhetoric. Maybe that will prove to be the case with Trump as well.
But maybe not…and that’s what his supporters want to find out.