May 29, 2024

Still Voting for Trump?

Who could have predicted the Donald Trump campaign could have sunk any lower going into the second presidential debate tonight? Perhaps, the 42 percent of Hillary Clinton voters in a 4-way match-up that includes third party voters according to Politico’s numbers. That now leaves 39 percent that still support Trump even after the release of a video where Trump enthuses about getting away with sexual assault:

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Did that change anyone’s mind?

In fairness to even Trump supporters, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll even many of them do view the video negatively.

A 74-percent majority of all voters had a negative reaction to the video — including 47 percent who said their feelings were a zero (very negative). But there’s a partisan element to voters’ reactions to the video: 69 percent of Democratic voters said they had a very negative impression after watching it, but only 22 percent of Republicans gave it a zero rating. Ten percent of Republicans said the video gave them a positive feeling.

What about Trump’s apology?

Maybe the only surprise left for anyone is that they still support Trump no matter how low he goes. His apology did sway some of his supporters:

The apology did help Trump somewhat with Republicans: 65 percent said they view him either very or somewhat more favorably after viewing it. But among all voters, only 37 percent viewed Trump more favorably.

The Trump Mentality:

This particular Trump supporter may lend some insight into the Trump mentality:

“I am not voting for him to be pope,” says Cynthia Schiaroli, a retired elementary school teacher in Reading, Pa.

 While Schiaroli was “disgusted” by the tape and said she would have a serious problem with her own husband saying anything like that, she believes Bill and Hillary Clinton have said and done things just as bad, if not worse.

“Hillary gets passes for everything,” Schiaroli told CNNMoney on Saturday.

Still, no one can point to any sexually depraved assault that Hillary Clinton either committed much last proudly boasted about.

However, on the question of single-minded Trump support, even Trump himself predicted in January that:

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.

Just who are these people?

Wikimedia Image:Gage Skidmore
Wikimedia Image:Gage Skidmore

Many Americans have been asking themselves just exactly who are these people? I’d like to give my fellow countrymen more credit than to vote for the most obviously unqualified candidate in living memory. But in answer to the question of just who fits in the basket of who would continue to vote for Trump no matter what deplorable depths he sinks to; let’s look at the numbers.

The Atlantic had a cogent breakdown of Trump voters back in January when Republican voters still had a choice of candidates. (arguably) They found 4 commonalities:

They are not college educated.

In an analysis of Trump’s blowout win in New Hampshire, Evan Soltas determined that the factor explaining most of the variance in Trump’s support in New Hampshire was education.

“For every 1 percentage point more college graduates over the age of 25, Donald Trump’s share of votes falls by 0.65 percentage points,” he said.

And as the Atlantic points out:

Although white men without a college education haven’t suffered the same historical discrimination as blacks or women, their suffering is not imagined. The Hamilton Project has found that the full-time, full-year employment rate of men without a bachelor’s degree fell from 76 percent in 1990 to 68 percent in 2013.

And that is the single greatest predictor of a Trump voter -a demographic that is possibly looking for someone to blame for the economic realities of the recession. Although supporting a man who is a demonstrably incompetent businessman doesn’t appear to be the best strategy to help the economy. Which conveniently leads to the next trait shared by many Trump supporters.

They think Trump speaks for them when no one else does

But according to a survey from RAND Corporation, there is one that’s even better: Do you feel voiceless?

RAND tested several queries to clearly divide Trump’s support from his rivals. For example, they found that Trump crushes Ted Cruz among voters who both strongly believe that “immigrants threaten American customs and values” and among voters who “strongly favor” raising taxes on the richest American households. But voters who agreed with the statement “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does” were 86.5 percent more likely to prefer Trump

In other words, they see competition from immigrants and people they view as outsiders as a zero sum game. A Trump supporter is more likely to view immigrant and other populations gains as their losses. They are not as likely to view the successes of immigrants, like the son of a Syrian migrant –Steve Jobs, as contributing to the American economy for everyone. The vision that they share with Trump of America does not include immigrants helping to make America great. Which naturally leads us to the third most common identifier of a Trump voter:

They scapegoat and want to fight a domestic battle on “outsiders”

The classic definition of authoritarianism implies a tradeoff—more security for less liberty—but MacWilliams says it’s also about identifying threatening outsiders and granting individuals special powers to pursue aggressive policies to destroy them. The best predictor of Trump support isn’t income, education, or age, he says. In South Carolina, it was “authoritarianism … [and] a personal fear of terrorism” that best predicted Trump’s support across the state.

Trump’s ideas to for example keep a Muslim database, which is soundly a violation of American liberties protected by the Constitution, motivate them to support and vote for Trump. Again they will gladly make the shortsighted tradeoff of less individual liberties for what they see as more security. How secure can you be in a country that whittles away protections from invasive policies of its own government? In a multicultural society, there is no, at a core level, delineation between what happens to “them” not happening also to “us”. Ever been frisked by the TSA? Take your shoes off to board a flight? And it’s not just immigrants that Trump supporters view as “outsiders”.

They live in areas that harbor racial resentment

According to the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, who used data from Civis Analytics, Trump’s support is strongest from the Gulf Coast, through the Appalachian Mountains, to New York, among marginally attached Republicans (possibly former Democrats). It is a familiar map for some demographers, since it’s similar to a heat map of Google searches for racial slurs and jokes.

Trump didn’t start the fire of racial resentment but he just may fan it to a presidential victory. A Trump supporter on my husband’s Facebook proclaimed that this may be the last time they can vote for a white person in an election. Again for the Trump supporter, this is a zero sum game where ethnic groups that Trump openly mocks from Blacks to Mexicans to Asians gains are somehow a loss to whites like themselves.

Will tonight’s debate change anyone’s mind?

As Trump has already said he could shoot someone and the diehard Trump supporter which has reliably hovered close to 40 percent will still vote for him. However, the last round in the media surrounding this now infamous video that many American watched and are aware of has caused a small dip in the polls of 39 to 38 percent after he had recovered from the release of his tax returns at 36 percent. My prediction is this is Clinton’s debate and race to lose.

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