Stop Telling Yourself Trump's Supporters Are Turning On Him
Inside the anti-Donald-Trump bubble (which, statistically, encloses most of humanity), we're very sure that it's just a matter of time until everyone else sees through this charlatan. "Don't these Evangelical Christians know Trump hasn't even picked up a Bible unless it was to kill a spider? Don't these unemployed rust-belters know his budget cuts are bad for them too?"
The media is more than happy to feed us stories proving we're right about this, that he's finally losing support from his base! So many that at this point, Trump's support should be several points below zero. Something is wrong here ...
It Started Even Before Election Day
In September of 2015, back when most of us thought Trump was a mildly amusing sideshow we'd soon forget, The Washington Times was already telling us how he was losing Evangelical support to Ben "How the Fuck Did I Ever Get a PhD?" Carson. That was more than a year before the election.
Narratives like this continued through the primaries, and then the general election campaign. A month before Election Day, The Economist laid out with graphs and everything "Donald Trump's Dwindling Support."
It's not just that headlines thought he wouldn't win, though I could crash your browser with a list of all the articles and columns saying that. It's that there was a narrative that the Trump party was over. We'd all had our fun, now it was time to get on with the formality of actually retiring this guy to his YouTube show or whatever he had planned for his post-politics life.
And then, of course, he won.
After The Election, The "Trump Finally Losing Support" Narrative Picked Up Steam
Since taking office, Trump has apparently lost more support than you've lost socks. In April 2017, Politico shocked us by saying "Trump's base turns on him." What a stark and unequivocal headline. In June, The Week couldn't get any sleep as it was plagued by the question "Are Republican voters finally turning on Trump?" God, were they? There was no time to answer, because in August The Guardian simply showed us "The conservatives turning against Donald Trump." And then in September, when all that turning was surely making the nation dizzy and nauseated, shit hit the fan when "Angry Right-Wingers Turn on Trump, Burn Their 'Make America Great Again' Hats." Shit! Those fucking burned hats are contributing to climate change!
It seemed pretty clear that Trump had to be losing support in September of 2017. "These are the supporters Trump is losing" CNN told us. Only a month later and "Rural voters are starting to turn on Trump." That one hurts, man. The rurals? Those are the sad people The New York Times keeps profiling in order to understand the Trump phenomenon! The ones with all the economic anxiety!
So was there any proof to back up all these claims of Trump losing support, or were they just digging through the trash of various homes, looking for discarded red hats?
They Kept Picking Through Data To Support What We Wanted To Hear
The reality is that the world is full of data, and if you go looking hard enough, you can find what you need to tell whatever story you want. In November 2017, The Independent ran "Donald Trump is losing his base support, new poll finds." So sure, there was a poll. The poll in question was a Lucid poll, which showed Trump losing three points over the previous week. Then it goes on to point out how a bunch of other polls don't agree. Science! Political science!
To celebrate 2018, Newsweek asked "Are Trump's biggest supporters turning on the President?" I don't want to spoil the end of this article, but what do you think the answer is? Write it on a Post-It, then we'll come back to it in a few minutes!
February 2018 saw The Atlantic telling us that "White Women in the Rustbelt are Turning on Trump." That shit sounds devastating. A month later, "Angry suburban voters, turning on Trump, endanger GOP grip on House." Holy balls, not the suburbans! They're right below the urbans and superurbans!
For the summer of 2018, the media was at least trying to explain what they'd been telling us for three years. "Here's why these workers who supported Trump are turning on him." This was essentially detailing how Trump promised prosperity, it never came, and people were pissed. But then we learned that "Haitian-American voters could turn on Trump," in a twist no one saw coming. This implied Haitian-Americans were actually supporting Trump during the seven months between the article claiming they'd turned on him and the time he called Haiti a shithole. Maybe they were just following the conservatives who turned on Trump in "Conservatives turn on Trump after Putin presser." (A Putin Presser is what they call it in Moscow when you get a handjob that ends with a poisoning.)
As late as August 2018, support kept collapsing, as "Wisconsin Elections Suggest Trump is Losing His Grip on the Rust Belt." Holy shit! At this point, new people are moving to the Rust Belt just so they can hate Trump.
Yet Somehow, His Polling Numbers Haven't Budged
Now, no one's arguing Trump's doing a good job or anything, or even that he's a popular president (he's not). But look at this poll data from FiveThirtyEight:
This covers the start of Trump's presidency through July of 2018. The green line is his approval rating, and the orange disapproval. Do you see multiple huge approval drops and disapproval spikes? Hell no you don't. The data is aggregated from literally dozens and dozens of polls, which you can read more about if you like being super bored. It shows that Trump, within a handful of points up and down, has had a consistent level of love and loathing directed at him for the first half of his presidency.
Compare Trump's fairly consistent polling with these graphs of other Presidents. Of course, this follows their full terms, but come on:
Look at that goddamn roller coaster George W. Bush was on, and the utterly flaccid lameness of Gerald Ford. The closest you get to Trump here is actually Barack Obama, whose numbers coast a fairly smooth curve all across the board.
This Gallup poll shows pretty well how far we haven't come in terms of Trump:
He was at 45 in January 2017, and in June 2018 he was back at 45. If you dig into the finer points of "Strongly approve" or "Strongly disapprove," you get the same damned thing across months of crazy news stories and scandals. Despite the proliferation of articles about everyone and their uncle turning on him, they sure as shit didn't turn far. But if you really want to be sad, you go back to before Trump was even elected. Here's Gallup data from the months leading up to the election, where Trump'a ratings of favorable vs. unfavorable are compared.
Look familiar? That's the same spread-open ass crack Trump had after he was elected. He's as predictable as Twitter wieners hating on Star Wars. This is the part where you look at the Post-It I asked you to set aside earlier. Did you write "Fuck no, Trump has lost no support at all because we live in a Black Mirror insanity loop?" You should have.
There is something the abundance of articles detailing Trump's failing support do show when you add them all up, and it is that we're going to be reading these same stories until Donald Trump is 105 years old serving out his first, endless, lifetime term as Emperor of All That Is and Will Be from atop a throne of gold-plated skulls. Because right up to the end, that is what we'll want to hear.
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For more, check out How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind and 5 Absolute Wrong Ways To Respond To Remorseful Trump Voters.
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