When Trump finally lost his base
It wasn’t the racist stuff.
“He’s not racist! The Antifa Black Lives Matter liberal college professors and snowflake students and fascist protesters are racist!”
It wasn’t the daily lies, insults, nasty divisive rhetoric, and public conduct unbecoming a gentleman, let alone the President of the United States …
“He speaks his mind! He says it like it is!”
… or the potentially criminal hush-money payoff to a porn star he canoodled while his wife was pregnant, or the other women he used and abused.
“He’s a real man! That’s what men are like! All billionaires do that! What about Bill Clinton? What about Hillary?”
It wasn’t the revelations of Crazytown White House and shockingly inept, erratic, reckless, raging, ill-informed, unstable, “f*cking moron” president as depicted in books including “Fire and Fury,” “Unhinged” and “Fear.” Or the anonymous New York Times op-ed by a desperate senior White House official. Or the countless news stories quoting horrified White House staff who ask not to be identified out of fear and also so Sarah Huckabee Sanders can dismiss their comments as liberal fake news.
“Trump does things his own way! It’s his management style! He’s shaking things up! That’s why he’s a billionaire and the most effective president in history!”
It also wasn’t the mounting convictions and guilty pleas by Trump associates won by a straight-laced, buttoned-down, by-the-books Republican special prosecutor appointed by a Trump-appointed Republican at Justice. Or the rising probability that Trump’s real estate dealings broke financial laws designed to prevent screwing people to get rich, which is why he’s so afraid of Mueller.
“It’s a liberal Democrat Hillary-loving witch hunt!”
It wasn’t even the indisputable proof by our intelligence agencies that Russia attacked America to elect their candidate, Trump. And then Trump threw America under the bus at Helsinki to suck up to Vladimir Putin whose oligarchs probably financed his real estate deals so they have Trump by the you-know-whats.
“No collusion! No collusion! No collusion! No collusion! Witch hunt! Witch hunt! Witch hunt!”
It definitely wasn’t that Trump killed Obamacare, promising a better system without delivering anything at all, jacking up middle-class insurance payments (mine by 200%) and happy to screw cancer patients and anyone with preexisting conditions (e.g., humans) not qualified for free, government-paid Medicare or Medicaid.
“Obamacare sucks! Government healthcare is socialism!”
It wasn’t even when Trump insulted everyone south of the Mason-Dixon by calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “this dumb Southerner.”
“Trump is right! Have y’all met my in-laws a few miles outside Tuscaloosa? With all due respects, Sessions is just plumb stupid to get crosswise with Trump. If brains were leather, he weren’t have enough to saddle a junebug.”
Or that Trump smeared, insulted and denigrated a true American war hero and patriot, John McCain, just because McCain called him out.
“McCain was a tool of the liberals!”
But let’s now imagine the absolute worst happening. Would the Trump base bail on him?
“Nope. Trump colors don’t run.”
How about if the stock market and economy crashed in 2020? Would the base care that the collapse was caused by the Trump tax-cut sugar high, record deficits, and trade wars and tariffs, shutting down factories, throwing millions out of work, hitting Trump Country the hardest, and forcing #MAGAs to crawl to the government they despise for handouts that suck?
“The Democrat socialist liberals killed the great Trump economy.”
What if Trump started nuclear wars with North Korea and Iran, and Russia invaded Eastern Europe, thanks to Trump’s threats, insults, proud ignorance about geopolitics, rejection of experts because they know more, evisceration of U.S. diplomacy and global alliances, and pandering to Putin?
“We stand with the troops. Unlike the treasonous blacks and stupid liberals who take a knee, spit on the flag, and disrespect our troops.”
How about the starvation and deaths of tired, poor, huddled immigrant children at the border? Or the election of Trump-backed KKK members to Congress? Or the marching of white supremacist self-appointed militias armed with flaming torches and military-grade weapons to protect our white homeland blood and soil?
“That’s Trump making America great again like he promised.”
What if Trump suspended the rule of law, due process, the First Amendment and other Constitutional rights (except to bear arms)?
What if he imposed martial law, outlawed protest, and rounded up and jailed anyone who criticized him like I’m doing here on Medium?
“Good on Trump! He’s finally doing something about the goddamn liberals who are destroying our country. Like Trump said, ‘believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.’”
So then it’s OK to jail a few CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and other fake mainstream media news reporters to teach them a lesson about free speech and free press, just like Putin, Kim Jong-Un and other dictator despots teach their media?
CNN sucks! Fake news! Enemy of the people!
Sounds like it’s also fine if Trump launched “Operation Lock ‘Er Up,” sending a heavily armed U.S. Navy SEAL Team to chopper to Chappaqua, rappel down to the Clinton mansion, seize Hillary as she’s enjoying her breakfast scones and herbal tea, fly her to an undisclosed location, and waterboard the woman for those emails?
“Oh yeah! Awesome! Finally!
How about if Trump walked out of Trump Tower, stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and shot a random guy, like he promised, just to prove he could without losing his base?
Well, it was about time! The dude was probably a New York liberal. He definitely looked ethnic, maybe he was an immigrant, maybe illegal. Whatever, the guy had it coming.
So what finally would cause Trump’s base to realize he used, abused and screwed them, lose faith, and walk away?
What would make #MAGA finally quit him, admit he’s bad for America, allow his boot-licking GOP Congress to finally impeach and remove him from office, and let Citizen Trump face charges for financial fraud and finally make orange the new orange?
What possibly could turn #MAGA against Trump?
Absolutely nothing would make Trump lose his base.
America could be in smoldering ruins because of Trump, just a few crispy red hats left, and he’d still have his die-hard 25 percent. Maybe not 90 percent of Republicans like today, once the Dow fell a few hundred points.
Even with the country in complete Trump devastation, his base might still stand behind him, like Horton hatching the egg, declaring, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”
Trump is not just a person. Not just a president. He’s a symbol, a rebel yell, the savior and last chance for the hung-down, brung-down white resistance screaming like Twisted Sister, we’re not gonna take it anymore.
No — go back a decade: Trump is the newscaster Howard Beale in the 1976 film “Network News” inciting people to open their windows and scream, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
No — go back another decade: Trump’s base is today’s ’60s counterculture hippies and Trump is their Abbie Hoffman, calling for revolution, tearing down the establishment and fighting The Man. This time, the liberals are the establishment and The Man, making their locavore gluten-free non-GMO culturally respectful kale smoothies post-Pilates or Peloton more important than real people out in real America.
Sure, Trump is pandering to white hate and resentment and whipping it up, attacking people who disagree, and dividing the country. That’s his political “lodestar” and survival. But bless their hearts, even if Trump destroys the country, he’ll always be ace to his base. If he’s felled, well, martyrs can empower movements. #MAGAs will always follow Trump, even if he makes America much worse again.
“It’s not Trump’s fault! It’s the stupid liberals! Deep State! CNN sucks! Fake news! Enemy of the people! Lock ‘er up! No collusion! Illegals! Animals! ICE ICE ICE!”
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer