Updated: Jan 6, 2020
What motivated people to support Donald Trump in 2016, and will it be enough to motivate them again? In this series, I will examine the “Trump Mystique”, what it is, what is/was its appeal and how it could support his re-election bid. I am, NOT a Trump supporter, but to beat your opponent, you first have to understand them.
“I love the poorly educated," said Donald Trump in February of 2016. Obviously, he still does, because it's this bases of supporters who were most responsible for his election.
To understand the Trump mystique, those are the people you must understand. It is a fact that 37 percent of Americans have a four year college degree. While this number is the largest its ever been, that still leaves a majority of Americans without one. And a great many of these individuals simply equate ratings with facts.
In large measure, this is his base.
Because of this lack of education, these voters are more likely to rely on innuendo and conspiracy theories than factual information. They won’t do the research, and instead rely on others to provide them with what they are supposed to believe.
And since they rely on a single source, they ignore everything else, believing facts to be “Fake News”.
Trump has duped his base into believing he is “one of them”; a blue collar, self-made billionaire who had the great fortune to make it despite the obstacles put in his way by government regulations.
They see images of him in a hard hat or behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and immediately self-identity with this persona. They see the reality television personality and believe they know him, based upon the image he portrays.
His meandering, unfocused, lack of any form or substance style of attack-mode speaking appeals to their limited memory by tossing in incendiary comments to create a sense of unity with chants like “Lock Her Up” or “Send Her Back”. His inability to form articulate sentences further enhances their belief that he is like them, as they regard proper grammar as a sign of “uppityness”.
Furthermore, Trump’s lies and constant spreading of conspiracy theories lead his base to believe in “alternative facts” to explain the real facts being presented by the media.
Damaging information comes to light and the spin masters offer an alternative explanation, no matter how outlandish, to defend against it. Either that, or they create a new false controversy by drumming up a story about the opposition that his base is only too willing to believe.
The base is Trump’s main source of support. They are the ones attending his raucous rallies with MAGA hats and signs with few words. They stand behind him, screaming their approval at every outlandish comment, true or not.
Whenever things go sour, Trump can depend upon them to be show up and boost his fragile ego. Indeed, Trump already is using his recent impeachment as a rallying cry for his base, and from the looks of it, that strategy is working.
While Trump continues to show tremendous support among Republicans, it is his base that gives Trump his adrenaline rush. So long as they continue to back him, Trump will keep on believing he can do no wrong. This is what he pins his re-election hopes on.
And his base does not show any signs of wavering.
Next in this series: Evangelicals.