When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, he rode a wave of enthusiasm for overthrowing the current balance of power in politics. Over time though, among some of his supporters this enthusiasm has waned. The extent of this rot in his base and in the wider Trump coalition is unknown but nonetheless is there. I can say the sentence prior with great certainty because I would be counted among the Trump supporters whose enthusiasm has waned while they still support the president in general. In conversation with friends and colleagues, much of my sentiment is mirrored.
This phenomenon has the potential for great electoral impact in the general election of 2020 and in down ballot races. If an American is not enthused or is disillusioned with his candidate from the prior election, there is a real possibility that he will stay home instead of going to the polls. Because of this, the phenomenon must be analyzed.
Conservatives and Trump voters at large must acknowledge certain realities of the current political climate in regards to supporting the president. These can be summed up as follows:
- Trump cannot deliver to the extent that he promised
As a caveat for this, we must remember that almost no politicians are able to realize what they promised on the campaign trail. Donald Trump is no different. Let us examine some of his primary campaign pledges and see how well he has executed them. When one looks back on the 2016 campaign one of the first things that inevitably comes to mind is the border wall that the president pledged to construct. Over two years into Trump’s presidency indeed there is progress but only so much. According to Newsweek, since he took office funding has been secured for around 200 miles of the wall but only 46.7 miles have actually been built. Most of this new wall is not actually blocking off new ground but is just replacing “dilapidated designs.” Considering that the southern border is over 2,000 miles long and there was already over 600 miles of barriers of some kind, this is a very small achievement. An achievement indeed, but it is a day late and a dollar short.
Inevitably, when discussing Trump’s promises, one must examine the healthcare fiasco. The House of Representatives passed a repeal and replace bill only to have it derailed by the late senator McCain in the other chamber. Republicans had years to get ready for the final battle over healthcare but when the moment came to change the game, they dropped the ball. Little attention has been paid to this issue since the Waterloo of the GOP plan in 2017. A tweet or two tossed around by the president unfortunately does little to fix the underlying problem that the healthcare system needs reforming but Trump and the GOP continue floundering.
- Trump is under siege and little more can be expected
Point two goes hand in hand with the previous. It is not an exaggeration to say that the majority of leftists in power loath Donald Trump. Just for the purpose of illustration a few remarks from Democratic leaders make their hatred of the president clear. In June, Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a socialist who is known for making comments offensive to common sense described camps used to house illegal aliens as “concentration camps.” In doing so she evokes the images of one of the worst atrocities in human history, the Holocaust and flagrantly conflates it with American facilities used to temporarily hold illegal aliens. One can also not forget when another Democratic congresswoman screamed, “we’re going to go in there and impeach the motherf*cker.” No elaboration is required on the second remark. Whether they are literally shrieking out their disdain for the president or merely fighting him on every issue like it’s Verdun, the Democrats are entirely against Trump and they are going to keep obstructing his agenda. Republicans have also done their fair share of obstructing the Trump agenda.
- Trump is not an intellectual
Since he launched his campaign, Trump supporters have had to put up with quite a few gaffes. He is clumsy with his words and does not speak with the eloquence of poet. Trump’s base has been generous to him by not holding his verbal misjudgments against him. Speaking from experience as one of his supporters, the message is more important than the way it is conveyed. One would be better off accepting a policy that is coherent but explained poorly than one that is destructive but is explained artfully. Barrack Obama was a gifted orator and he had an ability to dress up all his proposals with appealing language and this is a skill that Trump largely lacks. His base has gone along with this for some time and they will continue to have to go along with it until he leaves politics.
The address he gave on Independence Day shows that well enough. His most shocking gaffe is as follows: “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.” Does one need to remind the president that the Army could not man the air because there were no airplanes and it could not [take] over the airports for the same reason? Ramming the ramparts is a strange phrase but he likely refers to colonial forces storming British defensive positions though the way he said it makes one wonder if that is what he meant. Most offensive to the history inclined is that the siege of Fort McHenry which gave us the Star Spangled Banner occurred in the War of 1812 not the Revolutionary War. His supporters can shake their heads at his verbal clumsiness but they must acknowledge that he is not an intellectual and he makes mistakes like this. He has other redeeming personal features like his business experience which is superb and his skill with playing the media like a fiddle but vast intellect is not one of those redeeming features.
This is part one of a two part series of articles detailing a few specific realities of supporting president Trump.
Image credit: CNN “Donald Trump isn’t learning from his mistakes (opinion) – CNN”
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