Politics - News Analysis
Millions Of People Still Support Trump Despite His Many Failures — Here Are The Main Reasons Why
Psychologists Alan Blotcky and John Talmadge have a piece this afternoon in Rawstory that assesses the psychology behind the MAGA movement such that Trump supporters remain in lockstep with him despite the fact that he so obviously continues to light the country on fire in uniquely destructive ways and oftentimes hurting white uneducated working-class types the most. It is a good article that sets out quite a few theories, too many – in our opinion because though we’re not the trained psychologists, we are professional political analysts, and some of the fears listed don’t play much of a role in our opinion. Meanwhile, others they list are enough, in and of themselves, to guarantee total allegiance.
One thing to remember, we wrote an article a couple of months ago in which we used a quote from a Trump supporter saying “He’s our O.J.” which was very telling. Most of these people know Trump’s full of shit to some degree. They know he’s just blasting the con-game most of the time. Most likely know that something’s fishy with Russia but because Trump’s their O.J. they just cannot get too bothered by it. Most of them can’t stand his constant tweeting and bragging – in fact, it’s that aspect that they’re most likely to admit.
The most-often heard criticism from any MAGA, even the pretty hardcore ones, will always be: “I wish he wouldn’t tweet so much,” and they’re not saying the volume is the problem, it’s the embarrassment he brings on himself that’s the problem. But again – “O.J.,” they’ll just deal with him as he is and not hold it against him.
With respect to some of the official psychological breakdowns, the authors point to:
Some Trump supporters have a strong desire for rebelliousness and chaos, and view Trump as the perfect vehicle for achieving their personal goals. These supporters tend to become “anti-establishment and anti-government,” even when it is against their best interest.
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This is listed first and, in our opinion, is the single most significant non-racial, non-tribal, element. The thing to remember about the MAGAs is they would far rather hurt you than lift themselves up. Indeed, one of the few measures of success they can claim is that they’ve pissed you off. It matters not that their “help” actually got Mitch McConnell’s gigantic wealth transfer focused primarily upon “people” like Wells Fargo and Boeing (Uniquely “American” socialism finds its historical roots) when it could have gone straight to workers, giving them perhaps $3000/month while COVID ran loose, or put a minimum wage in place that would lift every non-executive up. That doesn’t matter. They got you.
They have given up on the idea that anyone will ever look out for them. From an economic point of view, they have a moderately legitimate claim. Democrats have traditionally done more than Republicans for the poor and middle class, but not anywhere near enough. It is true that the GOP blocks even the stuff Democrats do put forward, but since we’re the enemy it really doesn’t matter.
Pay attention to that word – “enemy.” Whether you view other Americans, the MAGAs that support Trump as “the enemy” in a true sense, as in a bigger threat to the U.S. than any outside force, more than China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia, whether you do or don’t, have no doubt, they see you as the enemy and have since probably Bill Clinton, definitely since Barack Obama. They are to the point that the only significant political victory that they can score is to piss us off. “Own the libtards” as we always say. It is absurd, but it’s real. They love that Trump infuriates us to the degree he does, they even know some of it is warranted, and just don’t care. A MAGA head wrote me on Twitter this morning saying “I love watching leftists cry … ” and explained some reason. I wrote back, “I know. It’s the only thing y’all ever really ask of Trump, make the liberals cry. It’s the only deal-breaker.”
I doubt that he understood the insult.
This one is understated in the article. The analysis is limited primarily to psychological issues with illogical leaps and “magical thinking.” It is actually quite a bit simpler. Any population, especially the lesser-educated (which doesn’t mean lesser dignity), can fall to a sophisticated propaganda program filled with misinformation. These people have been fed propaganda since Rush went on the air, got more of it when Fox replaced real networks, and it’s gotten much much worse under Trump, and not just because it might now be an “official” propaganda program run elsewhere, by the people that invented “propaganda.” The information they get is textured (or created) to feed them the message needed.
How can you possibly be against Trump when you don’t know anything’s wrong?
The article doesn’t go into it enough. It assumes that most MAGA heads know the truth, thus making it “irrational.” But it’s not irrational if they don’t know. The article says that they’re even accepting 180,000 dead as a “success” despite that being facially outrageous.
But when you consider the fact that most of these people actually don’t know that we’re last in the world – indeed Trump doesn’t seem to know, he seems to believe other countries are fudging their numbers – they truly believe that Trump has managed COVID well because the propaganda network told them! They believe 2 million would be dead right now were it not for Trump, even though that’s not possible (for another year or two) under the worst circumstances. They don’t know that we could have less than 20K dead had we acted immediately with greater urgency, perhaps even fewer if the White House epidemiology team that Trump fired in 2018 had gone to Wuhan the first week of January to work with the Chinese. Obama’s Ebola team did exactly that, and it was an Obama victory despite all the complaints. Trump roared the loudest about Obama and Ebola. Two Americans got Ebola – TWO! – neither died, both were nurses who transferred a patient from Libera. Two versus 187,000. They don’t know. The little bit they do know, they misread.
The article then goes through some lesser issues before they get to the only one that they really need: “FEAR”
The world is changing. For the first time in history, we have instant communication – free – with anyone in the world. I get correspondence from readers on five continents. That’s absurd. It is also exciting – to most. It opens up a world to more cooperation, greater efficiencies, less war, exposure to more culture and on and on. Except, that only works if the person doesn’t “fear” that new world.
Fear drives racism, fear drives xenophobia, fear drives hatred of “others,” including “leftists” or “globalists” or “elite” or whatever word they want to use for you that day. The world that they love is ordered, and they have a special place in it, being white, Christian, conservative. It has given them a leg-up all their lives and they’ll be damned if they’re giving it up now when it’s most needed.
The fear of losing their “whiteness” isn’t necessarily always driven by pure racism, hatred of people of color. Even in the deep south, most white conservatives interact with black people and have more black friendships than many white liberals in big cities. There is a reality to the fact that the refusal to give up their exalted status can sometimes – not always – be more about fear of losing everything than it is about hatred of blacks or immigrants.
It is a tough section to navigate because it’s complicated. It doesn’t make racism any bit more forgivable, it’s just more nuanced and less easily addressed because it’s not all unbridled hatred – for some. But this is perhaps the “other thing” that Trump offers them that is a deal-breaker. They need to piss off liberals and they need their whiteness “appreciated.” Trump set himself apart from the 18 other Republicans not by being more conservative or even more racist, what set Trump apart was his willingness to say it unapologetically. This is critical and in our opinion outweighs all the psychological daddy issues, “hierarchy needs,” or “celebrity status” and other categories examined by the psychologist. There may be some truth in those other “needs.” It just doesn’t matter.
The fact is that so long as Trump gives them the primal satisfaction of “owning the libs” and appreciates their fundamental whiteness, and they don’t know the true extent of the picture, the vast majority of MAGAs are sticking with him throughout. He is their “O.J.,” and a lot of MAGAs hate certain aspects of Trump. But they need those two elements, so they have “no choice” but to follow.
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