Trump Base Can’t Be Shaken or Stirred

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The Trump Base
(Flickr/Gage Skidmore) Trump Supporters
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The Trump base, according to a Wednesday Politico article about a sample of his supporters, still believes in him.

That article got me thinking about the kinds of people who support Donald Trump. There are often assumptions about his base. Such misconceptions include the “deplorables” crack and the working-class caricatures.

As a social scientist, I know it is hard to put people into boxes. Still, I think it might be useful to think of them in four categories.

Trump Base Among the Business GOP

For many in business, Barack Obama was terrible, and the Trump regime is terrific. Some of my relatives are in this group.

Both from a policy and personnel standpoint, Trump has done everything to favor business. Trump’s deregulation, tax cuts, and industry-friendly Cabinet officials are the reverse of the Obama agenda.

Thanks to these policies, a large section of the GOP will overlook all but the most egregious Trump actions. Apart from a few in Congress and outside, this base will probably be quiet.

Nevertheless, some policy actions and Trump people could trouble this base. Immigration bans, foreign policy crises, and incompetence could stir some adverse reactions.

Trump Base Among the “Holy” Right

There are three groups among the ‘holy” right in Trump’s base. Note that these groups are not mutually exclusive.

First, there are the “Christian” groups who are virulently socially conservative. In alliance with parts of the GOP, they see the Trump regime as a way to advance their agenda.

Second, some religious groups and figures detest Islam and Muslims. Together with some Beltway thinkers and sections of the security complex, they merrily fan Islamophobia with Trump’s encouragement.

The third part of Trump’s base among the “holy” are pro-Israel religious groups. With their careful monitoring of Trump’s Middle East policy, this coalition includes both Christian and Jewish groups.

Trump Base Among the Haters

Although holiness and hatred should not co-exist, parts of Trump’s base do exhibit both. For example, the Islamophobes mentioned above include both the “holy” and those who are not religious but fearful.

For many in the Trump camp, Muslims are not the only hated group. Depending on background, they may also be bigoted against Jews, women, immigrants, blacks, and gay and transgender people.

Surprisingly, the hate does not always correlate with ignorance. Sometimes, the phrase “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” applies to many in this group.

However, fear caused by ignorance does lead to hate. For example, some of the most hostile anti-immigrant sentiments are from people who don’t live in areas with many immigrants.

Trump Base Among the Hopeless

As I have mentioned before, there is a striking coincidence among Trump voters and the regions of the opioid crisis.

Such groups in Trump’s base, as revealed in the Politico article, includes those beaten down by modern times. For them, the last few decades have unleashed unnerving cultural and economic change.

In response, these people without hopes and dreams for the future see Trump as a disruptive force. When Trump trumpets praise for the past, it also stokes their nostalgia.

Shaking the “holy,” haters, or the hopeless from Trumpism will be a hard task for Democrats.


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