Why does Trump continue to enjoy the support of more than 40 percent of the country, and what might change that surreal level of support? We have been thinking about these things for a long time. We are sick and tired of thinking about them. But they remain a puzzlement. And they remain a public concern of the first order of magnitude.
In working out puzzles, I have found that it’s wise not to overlook the obvious. Washington Post columnist Harry Olsen reminds us of some obvious points. The Republican Party, Olsen allows, is made up of five components (my terminology, not his):
- people who care about low taxes more than anything else,
- people who care deeply about deregulation,
- people who care deeply about social issues, notably abortion,
- people who dislike and fear brown people, and, last and maybe least,
Olsen says that when you add up the first four categories—and, I assume, eliminate any overlaps, because surely there are some who fit more than one category—you are talking about 80 percent of the Republican Party.
And, in Olsen’s analysis, the puzzle of continued support for Trump isn’t a puzzle at all: 80 percent of Republicans continue to support Trump, because 80 percent of Republicans are getting what they want. This is why a “moderate,” such as William Weld, poses no risk to Trump if he runs against him in a primary:
The Republican Party is now the party of Trump, but not for the reasons anti-Trumpers think. It is not Trump’s party because he has bent it to his will; it is his party because its voters have bent Trump and the party to their will. Anyone who wants to lead today’s GOP must engage with that will, or they will continue to feel politically homeless.
As far as I can tell, Olsen is pretty much right, as far as he goes. He doesn’t explain—he doesn’t even address or pretend to explain—why so many people are so morally depraved that they will accept racism, mendacity, narcissism, tinhorn dictatorship, and treason as long as they get their preferred tax rate.
But let’s reason from the facts, however much we dislike the facts. And let’s go from there.
What will cause Trump’s house of cards to collapse onto itself?
Logic tells us that will happen if and when—and only if and when—Mr. Tax Cuts Über Alles and Ms. I Hate Brown People and Mr. I Love Fetuses come to realize that continued support for Donald J. Trump is counterproductive, in light of their own idiosyncratic objectives.
Like their God Emperor Trump, these folks appear to be shameless. Certainly, they have a grossly distorted value system. Lots of them are addicted to Fox News, and have come to have a tenuous grasp on reality.
But when they see their God Emperor going down, maybe they will reevaluate their continued support.
On that note, once again, Happy Michael Cohen Day.