WHY ATTACKS ON TRUMP DON’T WORK
OR WHY TRUMP'S SUPPORTERS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT HIM IN DEFIANCE OF COMMENT SENSE AND COMMON DECENCY
An article in the Washington Post attempts to fathom why it is that Trump actually gains support the more outrageous his comments and proposals become. You’ve probably seen media reports about the focus group of 29 Republicans Frank Luntz, a Republican media consultant, put together to figure out why this is the case. Frankly, I don’t think he really found out “why” Trump’s supporters continue to support him. More about this later.
A few examples of Trump supporter responses given in the article include the following:
In response to Governor of Ohio John Kasich ad referencing Trump’s Muslim stance that ends “If he [Trump] keeps going and he actually becomes President, he might just get around to you” supporters responded: “It was too far over the top;” “They use very trick in the book to make him look like the ultimate bad guy;” “It tried to make Trump look like the new Mussolini. It ain’t gonna happen.”
So what you can glean from this is that Trump supporters don’t actually believe him, don’t believe that he would do all the things he said he would do including barring Muslims from entering America. They might be right but I, for one, am not willing to take that chance.
Next: The focus group was shown a series of Trump attacks on his rivals:
“He sweats more than any young person I’ve ever seen” (Marco Rubio.) “Carly Fiorina talks like a robot.” Ben Carson is “pathological.” “Jeb Bush has no money and is meeting with Mommy and Daddy for support,”
This greatest hits video caused the group’s hand held measurement devices to soar into the stratosphere. They loved his personal attacks. True, such personal attacks are not only the standard fare in political campaigns but standard operating procedure for the entirety of the right wing media, so no big surprise there.
Also: Only eight members of the group of 29 disagreed with Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. Once again, right in line with the right wing media.
About Obama, there were a few pithy comments like the following:
“I wouldn’t urinate on him if he was on fire.”
“When you bend down to the Saudis, take your shoes off, put your hand on a Koran and then the Bible when you’re sworn in?”
“I would not only piss on him if he was on fire – I would throw gas on him.”
Only three of the twenty-nine agreed that Obama was a Christian. Eight maintained that he wasn’t born in the United States.
When asked if Trump’s statement that Obama wanted to allow 250,000 Syrian refugees into the country was true, nearly every hand went up.
According to the article, “With only two exceptions, the three hours of messaging, venting and friendly arguments revealed the roots of Trump’s support. Participants derided the mainstream media, accusing reporters of covering snippets of Trump quotes when the full context would have validated him. They cited news they trusted – Brietbart was one example – to refute what they were being told.” Luntz was astounded that after three hours of discussing Trump’s negatives, the 29 were even more solid Trump backers than when he began.
Frankly, I don’t think that Luntz’s overall conclusion is complete. Yes, the above is a true statement but it doesn’t get to the root cause of why Trump has garnered so much support among conservative, right wing Republicans despite his intemperance, bigotry and racism to say nothing of his often laughable proposals. The real reasons are to be found in an abject hatred of Obama, seven years of demonization of him and every other public figure with political views to the left of Hitler, the frisson of joy that Trump produces among his followers when he – just like Sarah Palin – “tells it like it is,” and the self-reinforcing of conservative beliefs and propaganda broadcast daily 24 hours a day from within the confines of the conservative media bubble.
It’s no mystery why these folks distrust the mainstream media. It’s because our more legitimate media outlets tend to demolish the closely held, if fantastical, ideas, beliefs and proposals of the right wing. Factual information designed to bring some rationality to the political discussion is seen by them as liberal bias. Even the most outrageous and clearly false mouthings of the Rush Limbaugh’s, Bill O’Reilly’s and Sean Hannity’s from Fox are seen as legitimate antidotes to political correctness, misinformation and manipulation of the lamestream media. Despite every fact, every piece of incontrovertible, legitimate information, every contrary news article – take the Benghazi or the IRS or the Planned Parenthood “scandals” for example – the right wingers honestly believe that all such counter information are just falsehoods designed to divide America and hide the real deal of what’s going on in the country. (Obama has plans to use the U.S. Army to confiscate guns or liberals are secret Communists who want to turn America into a socialist paradise or there were hoards of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after 9-11, for starters.)
It was with the election of Barack Obama in 2008 that the world for conservatives and right wingers went screamingly awry. His election just ripped asunder and smashingly destroyed the America that Newt Gringrich, Ronald Reagan, Grover Norquist and George Bush envisioned, nurtured and protected for them. And into this desolate future stepped Fox News, Brietbart, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage to salve their wounds and repair the breech that Obama had caused. This group of 29 Trump supporters and right wingers don’t want an America that can elect a Black Man as President. Ever. To them this violates every basic tenet of their heart-felt beliefs, of their fundamental vision of what America is. It’s why Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, sitting on the highest court in the land, can say that Black folks are too dumb to get into the University of Texas and get away with it. White conservatives believe precisely the same thing.
One could simply conclude that these folks are too uninformed, too ill-educated or just too God damned stupid to understand how far and how thoroughly they have been duped. But that would be wrong. Their cockamamy views, their bigoted beliefs, their apocalyptic vision of America as having already been destroyed have not only been supported by the right wing media but they have been championed, validated, aided and abetted in their distortions and fantasies by the Brietbart’s, Limbaugh’s, O’Reilly’s and Trump’s – entertainers all - of the world.
And this is the real reason why Trump engenders so much support among conservatives.
The full article is here:
Have a good day in Liberal Communist America!