Perhaps, like me, news of the recent NBC/WSJ poll, showing Trump job approval at 46 percent, has made you feel the need to race to the bathroom before the projective vomiting kicks in.
I feel your pain. Indeed, I share it.
But it’s only one poll. I think the current average from FiveThirtyEight.com, depicted above, is probably more accurate.
That said, I confess that I am dumbfounded by the recent uptick in Trump support (whether or not is has begun to trend down slightly in the last day or two). But—dumbfounded or not, nauseous or hungry—I think we must keep on struggling to explain the inexplicable.
I want to make two points this morning.
A Tad o’ Cognitive Bias
First, we are probably seeing some of our old friend, the form of cognitive bias known as the “backfire effect”—“the reaction to disconfirming evidence by strengthening one’s previous beliefs.” In this case, it would be overwhelming evidence that Trump is a bad man paradoxically confirming Trump cultists’ preexisting belief that he is a prince among men.
But I think it’s mostly something else.
A Coalition of Fierce Minority Partisans
Trump supporters are folks who are deeply devoted to white privilege and/or very low tax rates on the wealthy and/or zygotes and/or Christianism and/or deregulation of the fossil fuel industry. It’s logically possible for a person to be fiercely devoted to all of these things at the same time, but I think most Trump followers are only devoted, in a truly passionate way, to one or two of them.
These folks perceive that their chosen objective(s)—oppressing brown folks, preserving zygotes, or whatever—is (are) under attack, from the country’s majority.
And that is an accurate perception.
They also perceive that preservation of zygotes may only be accomplished by joining together in unholy matrimony with the white privilege supporters and the low tax crowd. In other words, strongly embracing minority positions, they see there is no path toward achieving their goals (or preserving their gains), other than putting together a coalition of minority positions.
And that is also an accurate perception.
As Benjamin Frankin remarked, in a very different context, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
And they see that the progressive attempt to undermine Trump threatens the person who, at this point in time, is best equipped to keep their unholy alliance together.
Unworthy Objectives, Rationally Promoted
In short, I think this crowd is acting more or less logically, though in support of highly unworthy objectives.
How Long Will They Support Trump? Let Me Tell You.
If that suspicion is correct, they will continue to support Trump with vigor until such time as it appears he is going down for his criminal conduct.
At that point, his utility to the zygote lovers and the low tax mavens will be at an end.
And they will ride their horses over him in the street.