While I’ve been disgusted by many of the things Donald Trump has said or done, even left momentarily speechless at times, I’ve never really been shocked by anything I’ve seen or heard. Initially I underestimated how awful many conservative voters were when, early on into his campaign, I told people there was no way Republicans would allow Trump to win. Even as low as I had set the bar for Republicans, I was still naive enough to believe that, when it came right down to it, the GOP wouldn’t allow someone like Trump to become this nation’s leader.
The truth is, Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP was somewhat ingenious. All he did was build his campaign around the “top comments” you’d see on any typical right-wing blog. He knew conservatives wanted to hear that immigrants and Muslims were destroying the country, so that’s what he told them. He knew most conservatives wanted to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, so that’s what he told them. He knew they hated Hillary Clinton more than anything, so he spent much of his time painting her as evil incarnate. He knew they were a bunch of fake Christians who believe “patriotism” is only meant for “real Americans” (aka white, mostly rural people) so that’s the type of propaganda he pushed. He knew middle America and the rust belt wanted to hear “dirty foreigners and outsourcing took their jobs” (even though most manufacturing jobs have been lost due to automation), so that’s what Trump told them.
Trump did what no other GOP candidate lacked the right amount of ethics to do: He said whatever he knew conservative voters wanted to hear, no matter how dishonest it was, because he knew they’d believe anything he said. He knew it wouldn’t matter how absurd his rhetoric was as long as it’s what they wanted to hear.
While other Republicans had mostly used subtle appeals to racism, or coded language to pander to the types of deplorables who rushed to back Trump, this “president” went “all-in” to say nearly word-for-word the horrible and disgusting things I’ve seen conservatives say to me and post online for years.
I’ve lost count of how many times Trump’s said or done something that’s forced Republican leadership, or even sometimes parts of conservative media, to denounce it as “not representative of true conservative values.”
Of course, reality tells us that Trump’s horrible, often blatantly racist rhetoric is a perfect representation of “true conservative values.”
Yes, Trump’s overall numbers have fallen rather significantly since he was sworn into office, setting records for the lowest approval ratings for any “president” at this point in their “presidency” in history. But those are overall numbers. When it comes to his support among Republican voters, it remains extremely high.
Keep in mind, too, that during his campaign it seemed as if, following every disgusting thing he said or did many felt would “end his chances at becoming president” — his support among conservatives seemed to only rise.
When news broke that he referred to Haiti and African countries (or really any non-white country, for that matter) as “sh*tholes,” I wasn’t surprised. Anyone who was “shocked” by the fact Trump said this clearly hasn’t been paying attention. And anyone expecting his supporters to “turn on him” following such un-American remarks certainly doesn’t have a realistic view as to who these people are and what they believe.
I can guarantee everyone reading this that when the overwhelming majority of Trump’s supporters heard he called countries like Haiti “sh*tholes,” questioning why we keep taking people from nations such as that, they responded with enthusiastic agreement.
Say what you want about Trump, but he knows what the majority of conservative voters want to hear. It’s exactly what has made him so powerful. He’s built a cult of followers who question nothing he says, turn on anyone who dares to question him, and are quite literally living in a version of reality that doesn’t actually exist.
Talking to your typical Trump supporter is like talking to someone living in another dimension. The things most of them believe aren’t just often completely wrong, they typically don’t even seem as if they’re based on the reality in which the rest of us are living. Folks who really think Trump’s responsible for today’s economy, most immigrants are rapists and criminals, the United States is more respected around the world, and Trump’s the “jobs president” despite 2017 being the worst year for job creation since 2010.
Trump supporters seem to truly believe that reality is whatever they want to be real — facts be damned.
Now with each inexcusable comment or shameful moment from Trump, Republicans still seem desperate to continue the facade that “true conservative values” aren’t exactly what Trump represents.
That’s something I’ve found interesting about all of this. Watching Republicans become extremely defensive, if not outright hostile, when anyone dares to call them out or make them answer for something awful Trump’s said or done.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they’re defensive, if not outright hostile. Deep down they know their “side” is supported by a lot of terrible people, including racists, bigots, neo-Nazis, and “deplorables,” they just don’t want to admit the truth.
Republicans like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Jeff Flake, John Kasich, and others can act as if Trump’s rhetoric isn’t what America is all about — and they’re right, it’s not.
But it is what Republicans have become all about.
Though at the end of the day, any Republican or conservative who gets hostile, defensive, or even outright aggressive toward anyone who asks them to defend something this “president” has said or done is only doing so because, after decades of the GOP denying the truth about what their party had become, Donald Trump’s fully exposed Republicans for who they really are.