Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Still All About Trump's Base

The only political bloc that matters in America in 2017 is Trump's base, despite it being less than a quarter of American eligible voters, because until Trump's base turns on Trump, they will be able to primary any Republican who dares to go after him.  Since nobody wants to be the next Eric Cantor, they run the country now, so the fact that the rest of the country overwhelmingly wants a special prosecutor on Russia is 100% meaningless.

About two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russians and Trump campaign associates, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, and 55% say they are at least somewhat concerned by reports that some connected to the Trump campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives. 
However, the steady stream of news about investigations into those contacts doesn't appear to have affected President Donald Trump's approval rating, which ticked up only one percentage point -- 44% to 45% -- from January. 
Concerns about the reported contacts are closely tied to partisanship, with 71% of Democrats saying they are "very concerned" about it while 54% of Republicans say they have no concerns "at all" about the reports
Among Republicans, a majority feel Congress can handle the investigation, but a sizable 43% support the call for a special prosecutor, as do majorities of Democrats (82%) and independents (67%). Overall, the poll finds that 65% would rather see a special prosecutor handle the investigation, while 32% think Congress is capable of handling it. 
Views of whether Russia attempted to influence the US election at all are becoming increasingly polarized when compared with a January CNN/ORC poll. In the new survey, more Democrats say it's extremely likely that the intelligence community's assessment that Russia did attempt to influence the US election is correct than said so before the inauguration (47% in January, 52% now) while more Republicans now say that it's not at all likely to be correct (from 12% in January to 27% now).

That CNN poll has Trump's approval rating at 90% among Republicans and 58% among independents.  Less than half of Republicans believe the intelligence community's assessment of Russian interference (46%), less than half are even concerned at all about the accusations (46%), and again only 43% want to see a special prosecutor appointed as opposed to a GOP congressional investigation.

So even with this scandal being real for a chunk of the GOP, nearly all Republicans who want a special prosecutor are still willing to look the other way on Trump to give him a thumbs up on job approval so far.

Until that changes, Republicans can sit on their hands and continue to do nothing, and get away with it. No special prosecutor will happen, and the notion that this is all a "massive Obama conspiracy against Trump" will magically become fact for tens of millions of Trump voters heading into midterm elections.

As Steve M. said yesterday:

That's why I think the craziness, of this weekend has done more to shore up the Trump base than a speech was seen as successful. You and I see Trump as a half-mad king making wild accusations with no evidence. The base thinks he's going on offense against the most hated enemy of all. To the base, he's not vulnerable to a new cycle of bad news; instead, he's seizing bad news and jiujitsuing it to his advantage. The base was ready to love "presidential" Trump not because base voters want him to be presidential, but because they want him to vanquish those of us who think he can never really pull presidential off. So that seemed like a win to them. But they think this is better: He's going on the attack and he's taking the bad news head on.

Going after Obama will be even more wildly successful among the Trumpies than "Lock her up!" was. No matter what comes out of this investigation into Russia over the next few weeks and months, they can just yell "It's an Obama conspiracy!" and win.

Until that spell somehow gets broken (and the only reasonable chance of that happening is another Bush-style financial collapse) Trump will remain in power as long as Republicans in Congress fear his base more than the rest of the country.  And in the meantime, Trump can continue to lie all he wants to without penalty.

So when you see Democrats like Nancy Pelosi completely misread the situation like this?

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is telling her rank-and-file members that she is confident a good portion of President Donald Trump's voters will eventually turn on him -- and Democrats just have to wait it out. 
She's using a colorful analogy to make her point -- comparing Trump to a friend's boyfriend who is a "jerk." 
"The way I told my members: It's like telling your friend the guy she's dating is a jerk. You can't tell her that. She has to find out for herself. You can give her clues and then eventually one thing will lead to another, she'll come to her conclusion. But if you tell her right up front, you'll lose a friend. So we're not interested in losing any friends. Let them find out," Pelosi recounted during a small briefing for reporters in her Capitol suite Tuesday. 
"They made a judgment and they're not willing to walk away from their own judgment," she said.

Understand that this is dangerously naive.  Trump's base isn't going anywhere, and will continue to be his most powerful weapon against the country.

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