Thursday, January 3, 2019

Most Voters are Tribal

There's a piece in National Review by J.J. McCullough warning the anti-Trumpists that his supporters aren't "transactional," supporting him merely for his positions on "the issues."

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that the vast majority of Republicans have enormous, across-the-board confidence in everything about Trump: 82 percent said he had good leadership skills, 77 percent said he was honest, 92 percent said he was intelligent, and 80 percent agreed he was someone who “shares your values.” Trump was given astronomically high approval on the management of basically every issue as well, including 86 percent approval for his handling of “immigration issues.”

Do you see what this means? It means that Trump's core supporters are not basing their support on "what have you done for me lately" but on an overall view of him as their tribal leader.

I should say "our," because my support for Trump has a lot to do with his courage in going up against the educated ruling class tribe, fearlessly defending our tribe of deplorables after the manner of a mythical hero.

And humans have a real yearning for a hero. I wonder why? Not.

Indeed, for me, Trump has been something of a surprise, particularly on the taxes and regulations front. I had no idea that the populist Trump would risk a tax cut that mostly gives a big tax rate cut to corporations. And I had no idea that he had a plan to send in the Grim Reaper to scythe away at administrative-state regulations.

And, he stood firm with the band of brothers on the firing line when the entire left went nuclear on Brett Kavanaugh in the most disgraceful display of fascist tactics in my lifetime.

Yeah, lefty friends. You wanna know what fascism looks like in real life -- as opposed to your fever dreams of the nightmare of right-wing supremacy that you have been carefully taught to hate and to fear by your hard-left teachers and professors? It's you chaps during the nomination fight. I mean, what's more fascist than convicting a guy on a mere decades-old accusation?

And now, dare I say, it may be that the Notorious RBG may not be long on the Court. How do you like them apples, lefties?

The truth is that although plenty of people say they vote "on the issues" we nearly all vote with our tribe.

It's true that, on the left, young worthies like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez are all down for free Medicare-for-all and the forgiveness of student debt. (Notice that the former arises out of the insanely expensive and government-regulated third-party health care payment system and the latter arises because of college fee inflation triggered by the gocerent's student loan system.)

But these are not really transactional "issues" but tribal battle cries. Every liberal voter knows that ICE is xenophobia, every word of concern about Islamic terrorism is Islamophobia, every conservative speaking on campus should be de-platformed.

The bottom line on politics is not the tribalism, but how long the loyal rank-and-file hangs on after their leaders have betrayed them.

In the case of the white working class it has taken 50 years after the Democrats abandoned them for a politician to figure out how to lead them -- with a brief intermission for the Reagan Democrats.

But now, I'd say, the white working class is solid for Trump for the foreseeable future. The only question is whether he can tempt in some blacks and Latinos.

And the tribiest tribe in America is the progressive tribe whose natural habitat is the college town or the gentrified close-in suburb. Talk about tribal dances and witch burnings and sacrifices of scapegoats!

I wonder if the Democrats have backed themselves into a corner on Trump. They have taught their tribe to hate and to fear Donald Trump and his tribe of deplorables. Can that win them the 2020 election? Only time will tell.

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