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What Would It Take For Republicans To Abandon Trump?

Trump And GOP Elephant

President Trump’s first 200 days in office are behind him and, as I’ve noted elsewhere, he finds himself in a position worse than any new President before him. On the legislative front, there are very few items to which the Administration can point to as successes thanks to the fact that Congressional Republicans have failed to come up with a viable plan to fulfill the President’s promise to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act. While such a measure did pass in the House of Representatives, it did so by the narrowest of margins while the Senate utterly failed to get even a bare-bones repeal measure passed after three attempts at coming up with viable legislation that could get at least fifty votes in the chamber. Other than that, there has been little movement on measures such as tax reform, infrastructure spending, or immigration reform. With regard to that last issue, it seems clear that the plan that Trump backed that would cut legal immigration by 50% is essentially dead on arrival in Congress. As a result, with the exception of the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch and the passage of a few bills that repealed Obama Era regulations, Trump has not been able to get any significant measures through Congress. Additionally, many of the policy changes that Trump have sought to introduce via executive action such as his Muslim Travel Ban and punitive action against so-called sanctuary cities have been blocked by Federal Courts across the nation. Finally, Trump’s Presidency is under the increasingly thick cloud of investigations by both a special prosecutor and by Congress regarding Russian interference in the election and contacts between persons close to Trump and Russian officials.

Despite all of this, and the fact that his job approval continues to be historically low for new Presidents, Trump remains wildly popular among Republicans, and there seem to be few signs that this will change anytime soon. A new poll taken by two academics and published by The Washington Post provides some of the best evidence yet of the extent to which the base of the Republican Party remains loyal to him.

First up, the poll finds that nearly half of Republicans believe that Trump won the popular vote in last November’s election:

Nearly half of Republicans think President Trump won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new survey.

A poll conducted by two academic authors and published by The Washington Post shows 47 percent of Republicans believe Trump won the popular vote.

About three-quarters of Republicans, 73 percent, said voter fraud happens somewhat or very often, according to the poll.

(…)

Trump has in the past claimed that millions of illegal votes were cast in the election, a claim that many officials have rebuked.

Earlier this year, Trump created the Election Integrity Commission to investigate his claims of voter fraud.

A similar poll last month showed 49 percent of Trump voters think he won the popular vote. But the Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted showed that overall, 59 percent of voters think Clinton won the popular vote.

The reality, of course, is that Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes, the largest margin of any candidate in American history who has won the Presidency despite losing the popular vote.

Second, and somewhat more bizarrely, another poll question found that more than half of Republicans say that they would support Trump if he proposed delaying the 2020 election:

Slightly more than half of Republicans say they would support postponing the 2020 presidential election if President Trump proposed it to make sure only eligible American citizens can vote, according to a new survey.

According to a poll conducted by two academic authors and published by The Washington Post, 52 percent of Republicans said they would back a postponement of the next election if Trump called for it.

If Trump and congressional Republicans proposed postponing the election to ensure only eligible citizens could vote, support from Republicans rises to 56 percent.

On some level, of course, poll questions such as these are rather silly because they really aren’t connected to any serious policy proposals. The President has not proposed delaying the 2020 elections, for example, and his comments about having won the popular vote are rather meaningless in the face of easily verifiable facts. On another level, though, they are a reflection of the fact that, notwithstanding all of the problems and setbacks that Trump has experienced, and the ineptness that we’ve seen from his White House on so many levels, his support among his core supporters remains as strong as it ever was and shows no signs of receding in the near future. In many ways, this is a phenomenon that goes back to the race for the Republican nomination when Trump would say controversial and often outrageous things on Twitter, in his many media appearances, and on the campaign trail and yet poll after and poll, and later the election returns, showed that not only didn’t Trump’s support levels decrease but they actually seemed to increase no matter how offensive he became. As I once put it during the campaign, mostly in jest, Trump could perform an abortion on a woman dressed like the Virgin Mary in a Catholic Church on Christmas Eve and his supporters would cheer him on, Trump himself would later turn that into a boastful claim by stating that he could “shoot a guy” in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue in New York City and his supporters would still be behind him. Based on the polls, that assessment appears to be correct and there seems to be little sign that Trump’s core supporters will abandon him anytime soon.

All of this leaves open the question of exactly what it might take for Trump to actually start losing support among Republicans in a way that would have an impact on his ability to influence Congress. As things stand, it doesn’t appear that outrageous behavior or Twitter activity is likely to have any real impact on these people. As I noted, we already saw plenty of that during the 2016 campaign and Trump not only didn’t lose support, but he seemed to become even more popular among his core group of supporters. Similarly, the lack of legislative successes doesn’t appear to be hurting Trump all that much. Instead, polling has indicated that Republicans appear to be blaming House and Senate Republicans for the lack of progress in areas such as health care reform, something which could pose problems for some members of the House and Senate when the time comes for them to face primary challenges next year. Similarly, the setbacks in Court on issues such as the travel ban and sanctuary cities is unlikely to hurt Trump with his base, which is more likely to blame “liberal Judges” for decisions that prevent the President from implementing the policies he wants to on these issues and others, such as the proposed ban on transgender troops in the U.S. military. Finally, the base appears to have accepted the President’s claim that the investigation into Russian interference in the election and contacts between Russia and people close to Trump is “fake news” motivated by those who would seek to undercut the President in the media and elsewhere. As long as this is the case, it seems unlikely that we’ll see any change in behavior from this President or any member of his Administration outside of the foreign policy team of Secretaries James Mattis and Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who often seem to be the only sane members of the Trump Administration.

As long as Trump maintains this base of support, and Republicans maintain support of Congress, the odds of seeing any kind of change out of the Administration are likely going to be somewhere close to zero. Indeed, the greater likelihood is that we’ll see more of the same and that Trump will ramp up his tweeting and his war on the media in order to keep the base riled up in opposition. Perhaps that would change if the laudatory support that Trump enjoys from conservative talk radio, Fox News Channel, and a great deal of the conservative blogosphere started to become more critical of him. There don’t appear to be any signs of this happening either, though, and as long as Trump’s Republican base continues to have these resources to fall back on to reassure themselves in their loyalty to the President, they aren’t going to abandon him. Given that, anyone hoping to see a change in behavior or policy from this President in the future is likely to be disappointed. Trump has his supporters in his corner, and that seems to be all he wants right now.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    Agree, the base seems immovable. Trump’s last round of goalpost moving was to no Russian agents actually working in the campaign. Seems laughable in the reality based world, but it seems to be working in Trump world.

    Smells to me, a thousand miles from DC, like Flynn and Manafort are in big trouble. But Trump may have been a useful idiot for them. Mueller’s likely to find a lot of stuff in Trump’s finances, but the CEC will make money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act sound very technical and trumped up (sorry, but that’s the word) to the base.

    I find it more interesting that Trump is getting more pushback from establishment (mainstream?, whatever?) GOPs. If Ryan and McConnell are forced to bypass the Freedom (sic) Caucus and seek Dem votes, and forced to push back against Trump, where do the Rs go? A schism with Trump taking the true believers out of the party and setting up his own party/media seems possible.

    Wish I knew more about the replacement of the Whigs with the Republicans and party history generally. Doug? Dr. Taylor?

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  2. DrDaveT says:

    Trump remains wildly popular among Republicans

    I’m not so sure. Trump remains wildly popular with about half of the GOP. “Having won the last election” remains wildly popular with the rest. That will only change when those people come to see having won with Trump as worse than having lost — which will not be today, or tomorrow.

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  3. CSK says:

    I did read somewhere recently that the hardcore Trumpkins would like to split off from the Republican Party and form something called the Patriot Party. Apparently if you are not 110% behind Don, you’re a traitor.

    As a side note, Don appears to be throwing Manafort to the wolves. Surely it can’t be a coincidence that the National Enquirer is running a story about Manafort and his “sick sex with underage girls”–just after Manafort’s house gets raided.

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  4. Mikey says:

    Trump will talk all kinds of tough on North Korea, a country that as much as it considers us an adversary has yet to interfere in a Presidential election.

    But his response when the Russians expel 700+ American diplomats was this:

    President Donald Trump on Thursday thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling American diplomats from Russia on the grounds that “we’re going to save a lot of money,” prompting dismay among some of the rank-and-file at the State Department.

    “I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a pool report.

    “There’s no real reason for them to go back,” he added. “I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

    You have got to be shitting me.

    Trump may or may not be correct that he’d be able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose supporters…but it goes without saying at this point that Putin could shoot just about anyone anywhere and not lose Trump.

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  5. Kylopod says:

    Yes, part of what keeps Republican voters in line is the “base” of hardcore Trump fans who will stick with him no matter what, but there’s one other ingredient that’s just as essential, and it’s partisan Republican loyalists who may not love Trump but feel compelled to support him because he’s on their “team.” Trump would never have had any chance at national office with the “base” alone–he also had to have the bulk of the party itself get on board. It really was a test of the intensity of partisanship, whether they would vote for anyone as long as that person had an R after their name. And it was a test they failed, in flying colors.

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  6. Terrye Cravens says:

    I am not so sure. Before Trump, I was a Republican. No more. And I know a lot of other people who have left the GOP as well. There has been recent polling suggesting that Trump’s base is shrinking. And I also think a lot of people will simply refuse to admit they were wrong. But that does not mean that they will vote for him again.

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  7. teve tory says:

    @CSK:

    I did read somewhere recently that the hardcore Trumpkins would like to split off from the Republican Party and form something called the Patriot Party. Apparently if you are not 110% behind Don, you’re a traitor.

    By Duverger’s Law they’d almost certainly just bone themselves and their fellow conservatives if they went third party, so I’m all for it.

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  8. teve tory says:

    Apparently if you are not 110% behind Don, you’re a traitor.

    I was watching a show about the KKK and how they split into 2 factions and spend a lot of time just shooting at each other, and a guy said, “Radical movements are self-limiting–as soon as they get any size at all, they turn on each other over who’s pure and who’s not pure and they factionalize.”

    See also RINOs, House Freedumb Caucus,…

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  9. Gustopher says:

    Dignity, self-respect and an ounce of human decency.

    These things are in short supply though, so they will stick with him until it comes down to self-preservation.

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  10. CSK says:

    @teve tory:

    Oh, of course they would, but hardcore Trumpkins aren’t capable of thinking rationally. And it’s worthwhile keeping in mind that they love Trump for the exact same reasons everyone else hates him: that he’s a loudmouthed oaf/buffoon/ignoramus/charlatan. FFS, they think Paul Ryan is a communist.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    He certainly didn’t do himself any favors in New Hampshire by referring to it as a “drug-infested den.” A locution that, by the way, makes absolutely no sense either literally or metaphorically, given that it makes no sense syntactically whatsoever.

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  12. MarkedMan says:

    Maybe if Fox News and Sinclair turned on him and started to report reality it might have an effect. But their entire business model is to serve up gullible, emotional suckers for advertisers selling worthless crap and outright scams. They have no business incentive to want a smarter audience.

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  13. Kylopod says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    I am not so sure. Before Trump, I was a Republican. No more. And I know a lot of other people who have left the GOP as well.

    I’m skeptical. During the election, it seemed like there were a lot of Republicans defecting. Numerous elected Republicans refused to endorse him–though refused to endorse Hillary either–while a number of prominent conservative pundits took that final step and actually endorsed her. But it was ultimately an illusion: in the end, Trump won 90% of the Republican vote, just a couple of percentage points below Romney, and 8% of Republicans voted for Hillary, just a single point over those that supported Obama. These numbers are negligible; there was barely any movement at all from R to D. She didn’t win a single state carried by Romney but did manage to lose a half-dozen Obama states. And this was in spite of her making a concerted effort to win the votes of sane Republicans who were turned off by Trump.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes pundits made was failing to notice the large number of undecided voters in the polls. I noticed it at the time, and it concerned me, but most pundits ignored it. I recently took a look at RCP’s graph of the race from the first debate on Sep. 26 up until Election Day, and one thing struck me. There was a common narrative that Hillary received a major bump from the debates, and especially from the Access Hollywood fiasco that occurred soon after the first one. But when I examined this graph, I noticed that her numbers remained relatively stable the entire time–basically hovering between 46-48. Trump’s numbers, on the other hand, took a sharp drop. THAT was the main effect of the debates and the tape–he was losing support, but very little of it was moving to Clinton. Some of his supporters may have been shifting to third parties, but probably the bulk of them were simply falling back into the “undecided” column. And what happened in the end is that they ended up “coming home,” the combined effects of partisanship and dislike for Clinton kicking in.

    One of the lessons is that Democrats should stop fishing for Republican votes. They don’t need them to win national elections, and they waste time and resources when they reach for them, as when Clinton campaigned in Arizona while ignoring Wisconsin. If some Republicans do end up voting for them, like when Obama won Indiana and came within a hair of winning Missouri and Montana in 2008, that’s fine–but he certainly didn’t need them.

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  14. al-Alameda says:

    Maybe if he french-kissed Vladimir Putin in front of the Trump Tower at noon on Friday afternoon in New York City?

    Other than that, I don’t see it happening.

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  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    What Would It Take For Republicans To Abandon Trump?

    First, you would have to cure the seething hatred that the loyal 28% feel when they think that ANY of THEIR money is going to benefit OTHERS.

    Then you would need to have them somehow see beyond their own selfish self-interest.

    After that, it’s a cakewalk.

    Trump is the id of the GOP. They LOVE that he is King Baby !!!

    (The id [ and our president] is)… the disorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human’s basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. It is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality. The id acts according to the “pleasure principle”—the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse—defined as seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure (not “displeasure”) aroused by increases in instinctual tension. According to Freud the id is unconscious by definition:

    It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the dreamwork and of course the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. …It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.

    In the id contrary impulses exist side by side, without cancelling each other out. …There is nothing in the id that could be compared with negation…nothing in the id which corresponds to the idea of time.

    Developmentally, the id precedes the ego; i.e., the psychic apparatus begins, at birth, as an undifferentiated id, part of which then develops into a structured ego. Thus, the id contains everything that is inherited, that is present at birth, is laid down in the constitution—above all, therefore, the instincts, which originate from the somatic organization, and which find a first psychical expression here (in the id) in forms unknown to us.

    The mind of a newborn child is regarded as completely “id-ridden”, in the sense that it is a mass of instinctive drives and impulses, and needs immediate satisfaction.

    The id “knows no judgements of value: no good and evil, no morality. …Instinctual cathexes seeking discharge—that, in our view, is all there is in the id.” It is regarded as “the great reservoir of libido”, the instinctive drive to create—the life instincts that are crucial to pleasurable survival. Alongside the life instincts came the death instincts—the death drive which Freud articulated relatively late in his career in “the hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state.” For Freud, “the death instinct would thus seem to express itself—though probably only in part—as an instinct of destruction directed against the external world and other organisms” through aggression. Freud considered that “the id, the whole person…originally includes all the instinctual impulses…the destructive instinct as well”, as eros or the life instincts.

    I hate to copy so much out of Wikipedia, but in reading this if it is not the definition of our president, I don’t know what is. The shoe fits.

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  16. teve tory says:

    Maybe if Fox News and Sinclair turned on him and started to report reality it might have an effect. But their entire business model is to serve up gullible, emotional suckers for advertisers selling worthless crap and outright scams. They have no business incentive to want a smarter audience.

    They don’t want a smarter audience, but they want an angry audience. They could paint Trump as corrupt, incompetent, “just like the RINOs”, etc without developing a new concern for truth. They could just smear him like they smear other people. He’s a RINO, he’s a sellout, he plays as much golf as the lazy Obama, “He hasn’t defeated ISIS–Just like Obama!”, he’s really a New York Democrat who pretended to be a conservative, etc.

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  17. flat earth luddite says:

    They won’t drop him. Ever. Current GOP model appears to be “Us” vs. “Them,” with “Them” being defined as anyone not exactly like us. Zappa’s “Dumb All Over” has been the background music to this sad spectacle…

    History as always taught that the Republic would fall some day… I just didn’t expect to see it careening over the edge of the cliff during my lifetime. As Cracker has opined a couple of times, maybe my generation SHOULD have let Angela and Huey burn this sucka to the ground.

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  18. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Fox, Infowars, Rush, Breitbart etc, would have to turn on him. As long as his core support are sheep living in an alternate fact bubble universe they will stay fans.

    So I guess the question isn’t what Trump would do that would get his base to stop supporting him, but what would he do that would get the agitprop team to stop supporting him. Besides attacking Sessions (that was interesting to watch play out).

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  19. Kylopod says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    So I guess the question isn’t what Trump would do that would get his base to stop supporting him, but what would he do that would get the agitprop team to stop supporting him.

    Aren’t you forgetting that when he first entered the race in 2015, Fox made a concerted effort to stop him? They only got on board after it became clear he was going to be the nominee. The 30% of Republicans who were enough to propel him to the nomination in a crowded field didn’t give a fig about what Fox said. As I mentioned, he needed more than the hardcore Trumpkins in order to win the general election–he also needed the Republican partisans who didn’t support him in the primaries, and that group is capable of being influenced by Fox. But the Trumpkins will never abandon him, not even if Sean Hannity starts calling him a liberal socialist Muslim Bernie Bro.

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  20. Anonne says:

    Trump would have to come out for open borders, or have gay sex in public for them to turn.

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  21. Jen says:

    @CSK: As noted in one of Doug’s other posts, Kasich is polling above Trump in New Hampshire among Republicans right now.

    However, his die-hards remain. I broke my rule to never read the comments on the local media’s sites/Facebook posts on the “drug-infested den” comment, and I wish I hadn’t. The number of “well he’s not wrong,” comments, coupled with the “we should not use NARCAN–let the druggies die” type comments was awful to sift through. I just cannot fathom that level of lack of empathy.

    @Kylopod: Your assessment is correct. I was–I guess–misled by the fact that I knew a number of Republicans who were firmly in Hillary’s camp, which I did not see when Romney was running. It made me think that she had stronger Republican support than she did, reminding me once again that personal anecdotes are no substitute for actual data.

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  22. CSK says:

    @al-Alameda:

    The Trumpkins love Putin. He’s the Christian strongman who hates gays, remember. They’d cheer if Trump was caught French kissing Puti-Pie.

    @Jen:

    Nothing will ever discourage the hardcores–not even a direct personal insult from Donnie Boy himself. They don’t just identify with him; they’ve merged their identities with his. A criticism of Trump is a personal attack on them.

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  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Anonne:

    Trump would have to … have gay sex in public for them to turn.

    Gawd, brain bleach time.

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  24. Cal American says:

    These people are so far gone that if Trump declared himself a Muslim in the morning they would all drop to their knees and shout “Allah Akbar!

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  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    What would it take for Repugs to dump Trump? The economy tanking, especially if it is precipitously. For incidence, not raising the debt limit and the US defaulting on its obligations.

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  26. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    I was–I guess–misled by the fact that I knew a number of Republicans who were firmly in Hillary’s camp, which I did not see when Romney was running.

    I had the same experience. I personally know Republicans who voted for Hillary–hardcore Republicans, who supported Romney in 2012 and who would have supported Rubio or even Cruz in a heartbeat if one of them had been the nominee.

    Even so, I was skeptical even back then that we’d see massive defections. But I realized that even a marginal level of defections could make a big difference. For example, if Trump had received just 2-3 points less of the Republican vote in the crucial states of Penn., Wisconsin, and Michigan, he’d have lost the election. (I calculated this from CNN’s exit polls.) The vast majority of Republicans would still have stayed on board (87-88%), but it wouldn’t have been enough. It really was that close. People were so stunned by the surprise of his election victory that they continually forget he won right on the knife’s edge. Therefore, even tiny defections from crucial groups could have mattered.

    Still, looking at the big picture–and this would have been true even if she had managed to eke out a victory–most pundits underestimated the extent to which most GOP voters would fall in line. And I think that’s the real story of the 2016 election–not the white working class, not the FU vote, not the waaaay overhyped Obama-to-Trump voters. The mistake people repeatedly make is in assuming his victory can only be explained in terms of his Trumpiness and not simply in terms of his Republicanness–as someone running against an unpopular Democrat at the end of two Democratic terms. In other words, possibly the most important reason he won wasn’t because he was Trump, but because he convinced enough voters it didn’t matter that he was Trump.

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  27. Kylopod says:

    @Cal American:

    These people are so far gone that if Trump declared himself a Muslim in the morning they would all drop to their knees and shout “Allah Akbar!

    Your comment made me laugh, but then I realized there is actually a real-world example of what you described. I’m thinking of the Sabbatai Zevi, a 17th-century Rabbi who became the leader of a mass movement of Jews who were convinced he was the Messiah. Then he was brought before an Ottoman ruler and forcibly converted to Islam. Many but not all of his followers, a group that existed into the 20th century, also converted.

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  28. Hal_10000 says:

    Second, and somewhat more bizarrely, another poll question found that more than half of Republicans say that they would support Trump if he proposed delaying the 2020 election:

    Yawn. Polls mean very little. Similar polls showed Democrats would have supported keeping Obama in office instead of a 2016 term. Ask stupid questions, get stupid results.

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  29. Tyrell says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: If any of you or family are near Yellowstone, be aware of reports that show the Calder is taking a more definite shape and tremors are increasing. This is usually the signs of an eruption that may be near. Flocks of animals have been seen leaving the area. This has come in through Newsweek. The main stream news is finally reporting on this.

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  30. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    The Trumpkins love Putin. He’s the Christian strongman who hates gays, remember.

    It’s rather amazing to think back to just a few years ago when Doug posted on the “cultural conservative love affair with Vladimir Putin.” At the time, I and several other commenters thought he was reaching, because the only apparently pro-Putin conservatives he cited were Pat Buchanan and Rod Dreher. How times change; I admit I would never have anticipated that the position of a couple of eccentric paleocons would in a few short years become the default view of the GOP “base.”

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  31. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Similar polls showed Democrats would have supported keeping Obama in office instead of a 2016 term.

    There’s a pretty stark difference between imagining away the 22nd amendment and proposing to “postpone an election.”

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  32. Hal_10000 says:

    @Kylopod:

    There’s a pretty stark difference between imagining away the 22nd amendment and proposing to “postpone an election.”

    Granted. I am just generally dubious of polls and specifically dubious of push polls that ask about hypotheticals. They’re designed to get weird or alarming results.

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  33. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I am just generally dubious of polls and specifically dubious of push polls that ask about hypotheticals. They’re designed to get weird or alarming results.

    I agree. But the example you gave wasn’t a good analogy. (I myself would probably answer “yes” to the question of desiring a third Obama term, and I really resent the idea that it puts me in the company of people who desire to call off an election.) A better point of comparison would be the one from 2011 suggesting that more than half of Democrats seemed to affirm some form of 9/11 trutherism.

    One possible way to test the seriousness of these sorts of results is to ask something everyone knows is absurd. I have the feeling if there was a poll of Republicans asking something like “Is Obama a Martian?” you’d get a substantial percentage of yesses.

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  34. JohnMcC says:

    @Kylopod: The Guardian is reporting tonight that Judge Roy Moore has remarked that “maybe Putin is right” and “is more akin to me than I know” because Vladimir is oppressing Russians who are gay.

    I wonder – what would my father think of his Republican party?

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  35. Kylopod says:

    @JohnMcC: Another point I’d make about the Putin crush on the right is how it exposes the level of extremism of American commentators who resist the expansion of gay rights. In the past several years the usual strategy by conservatives when it comes to issues like same-sex marriage or discrimination in the workplace has been to get bogged down in process arguments (the courts shouldn’t invent a constitutional right and impose it on the states) rather than to argue openly for discrimination. But it wasn’t that long ago that even mainstream commentators like George Will were openly defending the criminalization of homosexuality.

    We tend to forget that. But every now and then the veil slips, and one of the ways it does is when these commentators start defending the practices in other countries. For example, in 2011 Rick Perry criticized a White House memorandum calling for protection of LGBT people elsewhere in the world. Keep in mind that this was written around the time Uganda was attempting to make homosexuality a capital crime. The focus of the memorandum wasn’t marriage or job security, but helping people who were the victims of actual violence, including life-threatening violence. Perry assailed the memorandum for “promoting special rights.”

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  36. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    The answer is simple. The GOP will abandon Trump when hell freezes over. Did Lucifer just skate by you? If not, he is still their fearless leader.

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  37. grumpy realist says:

    Methinks that a lot of Trump supporters fall directly in the “sparrow on a curtain rod category”. They’re quite willing to let the US get totally trashed provided that “it sticks it to the elites.” Add to that Trump’s wish-fulfilment of their dreams of never advancing beyond the self-control of a toddler and well, here we are.

    Stupidity should always hurt. I think the US is about to learn that in a big way, especially if it defaults on its debt.

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  38. teve tory says:

    @teve tory: Mark my words, if they ever turn on trump, they’ll start calling him a new york democrat Hillary supporter on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

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  39. teve tory says:

    @Hal_10000: Swing and a miss.

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  40. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @al-Alameda: Well maybe, but only if they started wondering “is Trump one of them thar’ “funny boys?”

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  41. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The Guardian is reporting tonight that Judge Roy Moore has remarked that “maybe Putin is right” and “is more akin to me than I know”

    Yeah, but wait, that’s probably true.

    And of about 70 or more percent of the GOP stalwarts–establishment or otherwise. Self-awareness can be a good thing, but in the case of Roy Moore and the GOP, probably not so much.

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  42. Tyrell says:

    Seems like every time something new comes out on the news the Trump support around grows.
    It gets interesting around our family shindigs during the holidays. Last Christmas it was Trump 16, Democrats 3. The 3 people were 59 years and over.
    But the real problem here are the Cowboy fans. Cowboys 2, any other team 8, and the rest didn’t care.
    “America’s team” : my rear end !

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  43. Steve V says:

    @Kylopod: I think if all the talk radio talkers turned on him, his base would dissolve. They have a tendency to all say the same thing, so if one of the more prominent ones started to turn then the others would follow. I just don’t think they’ll turn; they spend hours every day complimenting the emperor’s new clothes.

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  44. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    Let me answer this question in three simple words:

    A better alternative.

    The soi-disant elites entrusted with governance led us to a point where Donald Trump was seen by many as the least worst choice. And since the election, your faction has made it abundantly clear that there will be punishments for those who supported Trump.

    Changing sides is not an option for a Trump supporter. They will not be accepted, never accepted, and instead hounded and harassed and punished for their previous sins. And they will be without any possible support from Trump backers, having them left behind.

    Simply walking away isn’t an option. Your side has made it clear that, if someone offends them, they will be tracked down and hounded and harassed. No one ever asked Memories Pizza to cater a gay marriage; a reporter traveled about 100 miles to hit them with that loaded hypothetical, and the next thing they’re the subject of attacks from all over the nation.

    Their only plausible choice is to stick with Trump and hope like hell it pays off in the long run

    Sun Tzu advised: “When you surround the enemy
    Always allow them an escape route.
    They must see that there is
    An alternative to death.”

    You offer Trump supporters no escape route, you routinely shoot those who surrender, and wonder why they won’t just give in.

    You’ve left them no reason to do so. In fact, you’re proud of giving them no reasons to do so. All your appeals based on “reason” and “common sense” and “self-interest” can’t hide the sheer vindictiveness at your core, because they know that they will be thoroughly punished for their “sins” against you.

    So, what can you offer Trump supporters to get them to abandon Trump? You might try something a little more enticing than “eternal contempt and hatred and bloody vengeance.”

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  45. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    The soi-disant elites entrusted with governance led us to a point where Donald Trump was seen by many as the least worst choice.

    If by “soi-disant elites”* you mean “Fox News”, then for once you are right.

    So, what can you offer Trump supporters to get them to abandon Trump?

    Healthcare. Social safety nets. Better education. Opportunity for upward social mobility. Better overall economic growth. Equality under the law. Functional government. Vastly reduced chance of getting into a stupid (possibly nuclear) war. Cleaner air and water. A better world for their grandchildren.

    I could go on, but that really should be enough.

    *Congratulations; this has to be the most self-defeating bit of sarcasm I’ve seen in a long time. Sort of like Miss Piggy’s “Pretentious? Moi?”

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  46. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @DrDaveT: “Healthcare.” You mean “health insurance premiums that keep rising, and fewer and fewer choices.”

    “Social Safety Nets.” That translates to “more dependence on government.”

    “Better education.” At colleges like Berkeley, Evergreen State, etc.? No thanks.

    “Opportunity for upward social mobility.” That ties in REAL good with the “social safety nets.”

    “Better overall economic growth.” Things have been going pretty good so far. Better than under Obama.

    “Equality under the law.” Would that apply to conservatives in the work force? How about accused rapists on college campuses?

    “Functional government.” We’ve seen quite enough of what you consider a “functional” government, thank you. We’ll settle for a less “functional” government.

    “Vastly reduced chance of getting into a stupid (possible nuclear) war.” Ever heard of a place called Libya?

    “Cleaner air and water.” Generally, it’s pretty clean now. Excluding Democratic strongholds like Flint, Michigan, of course. And those places downstream of the Gold King Mine.

    You’re offering pablum, things people don’t want, or both. And those things they might want, you’ve given them no reason to trust that you’ll deliver. In fact, quite the opposite.

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  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, what can you offer Trump supporters to get them to abandon Trump?

    Nothing. I think you’ll find that we’re perfectly content with continuing to pad our bank accounts while allowing them to starve to death waiting for salvation that will never come.

    Three years from now, the Rust Belt will still be rusty, we’ll still hold the vast majority of the capital and they’ll still be losing at three-card monte.

    Truthfully? We’re all engaged in a nice big culture war, but the fun part of all of this is that it honestly doesn’t matter who wins politically – we’ll still come out on top and they’ll still wind up getting screwed & acting out in meaningless fits of pique. They – and you- seem to have the illusion that you have any sort of power to change the game.

    You don’t. You elected the guy who lied his ass off to get your votes, and what’s the first thing that he does? He puts people like me – Wall Street, the guys who loaded up while screwing people like you to the floorboards – in charge. Anybody have the latest tally of Goldman alumni in this administration? Feh …

    With a nod to Tuld, it’s cold hard truth time – there have always been, and there always will be, the same percentage of winners and losers, happy fucks and sad sacks, fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there’s ever been— but the percentages, they stay exactly the same.

    The difference now? The only people who actually gave much of a damn about those rusty Middle Americans circling the toilet, the only people who actually had any interest in doing something, anything, to repair the wreck that their lives have become, were – can you guess? – liberals. I used to be one of them. These days, I enjoy my coffee and marjolaine on the Rue des Archives and collect my $3.5 million a year for passing go while happily giving exactly zero fucks about Middle America. You broked it, you bought it.

    And I’m not remotely alone in that sentiment, pal. Enjoy your “victory”, and thanks for the inevitable tax cut 😀

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  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, what can you offer Trump supporters to get them to abandon Trump?

    Nothing. I think you’ll find that we’re perfectly content with continuing to pad our bank accounts while allowing them to starve to death waiting for salvation that will never come.

    Three years from now, the Rust Belt will still be rusty, we’ll still hold the vast majority of the capital and they’ll still be losing at three-card monte.

    Truthfully? We’re all engaged in a nice big culture war, but the fun part of all of this is that it honestly doesn’t matter who wins politically – we’ll still come out on top and they’ll still wind up getting screwed & acting out in meaningless fits of pique. They – and you- seem to have the illusion that you have any sort of power to change the game.

    You don’t. You elected the guy who lied his ass off to get your votes, and what’s the first thing that he does? He puts people like me – Wall Street, the guys who loaded up while screwing people like you to the floorboards – in charge. Anybody have the latest tally of Goldman alumni in this administration? Feh …

    With a nod to Tuld, it’s cold hard truth time – there have always been, and there always will be, the same percentage of winners and losers, happy f*cks and sad sacks, fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there’s ever been— but the percentages, they stay exactly the same.

    The difference now? The only people who actually gave much of a damn about those rusty Middle Americans circling the toilet, the only people who actually had any interest in doing something, anything, to repair the wreck that their lives have become, were – can you guess? – liberals. I used to be one of them. These days, I enjoy my coffee and marjolaine on the Rue des Archives and collect my $3.5 million a year for passing go while happily giving exactly zero fk’s about Middle America. You broked it, you bought it.

    And I’m not remotely alone in that sentiment, pal. Enjoy your “victory”, and thanks for the inevitable tax cut 😀

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  49. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT:
    @HarvardLaw92:
    May I offer a shorter rejoinder to @Bob The Arqubusier?

    Click.

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  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Yeah, I didn’t figure you had anything. Evergreen State? Seriously? It’s almost cute, in a deformed puppy kind of way.

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  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    “Equality under the law.” Would that apply to conservatives in the work force? How about accused rapists on college campuses?

    Just to re-emphasize the difference between the GOP and the sane:

    Yes. It would. Of course it would.

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  52. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Truthfully? We’re all engaged in a nice big culture war, but the fun part of all of this is that it honestly doesn’t matter who wins politically – we’ll still come out on top and they’ll still wind up getting screwed & acting out in meaningless fits of pique.

    Yes, it’s a war — now. Because the other side is fighting back.

    For a long time, we had a nice set of unwritten rules that kept things from devolving into… well, things like we see in other countries like Venezuela and Turkey and whatnot. But over the past few years, more and more people on your side have been willfully and deliberately violating those rules, without being checked by their compatriots.

    “Political violence is bad.” That went out the window when “punch a fascist” became a rallying cry. Naturally, pretty much not on the left became a fascist, and “punch a fascist defender” also came into vogue. And it kept escalating and escalating, until earlier this summer a former Sanders supporter attempted a mass assassination of Republican members of Congress.

    “If you don’t like the law, change the law.” Or, if you can’t or just can’t be bothered, find a judge to change the law for you.

    “If you want to change the law, win elections. Elections have consequences.” From the day after the election last November, there has been a mass denial of Trump’s election — and an astonishing amount of time, money, and effort expended to overturn that election.

    These are the rules that have kept us out of anarchy. These are the rules that are now being violated wholesale by people apparently on your side, and you can’t be bothered to try to rein them in.

    How much longer do you expect the other side (my side) to keep abiding by the rules as well?

    Here’s one more little factoid: what’s keeping the people on my side from saying “screw it” and tossing the rules aside to level the field are things like their decency, their patriotism, their civility, and their humanity.

    You know — the things your side keeps insisting they lack.

    Keep hacking away at that leash, and you just might release something no one wants freed.

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