The political animal in me is intrigued by how and why Trump gained so many votes. This year’s election was not like 2016 when he could run on promises. In 2020, he has a record of four years. Voters can no longer claim they were giving him the benefit of doubt; he didn’t mean what he said.
Why did 70 million Americans vote for Trump?
Trump’s appeal is not strictly his policies, but the story he uses to explain the interaction of social, political, and economical issues to his followers. He makes his followers feel the center of reality. He defines who they are, then declares them special.
When any failures experienced, he points to traitorous elements within the country determined to deny him his rightful success.
Also, essential to his success is the ability to ignore any facts or events which contradict his narrative. A few examples (from a vast range of possibilities):
- Islamic celebration on 9/11 in Newark. It never happened! It’s fake news, but he used it to explain his anti-Muslim policies.
- The Chinese are paying tariffs in his trade war. Says it again and again. Soon it remembered rather than the truth—American companies eat the tariffs out of their profits or American consumers pay the tariffs in higher prices.
- Pandemic response. The Chinese concocted it. State governors flubbed their responses. Dr. Fauci is a disaster. Anyone but him is to blame.
Trump’s policies on the pandemic have been fatally flawed. Insufficient supplies and tests as well as verbally denying the danger. His reaction to the economic lockdown have been insufficient.
Yet none of that matters to his supporters. He has told them. None of it is his fault. It’s the Deep State, the Democrats, the Chinese, and even a few faithless Republicans.
Otherwise, everything would be perfect.
How do they know this? He told them so.
Picture of Trump rally audience by Marc Nozell, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons