Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why Trump Had A Turnout Problem

In case you missed it, press secretary Sean Spicer was sent by the Orange Emperor to blow up at the media today and dispute the crowd size numbers from the inauguration. Tellingly, he did not talk about the wave of protests today, since it was blindingly obvious that Trump's opponents had vastly outnumbered his supporters in the streets of New York. And that didn't even count the hundreds of thousands in other cities.

I am not going to discuss crowd sizes in terms of hard numbers, but rather get at why there is such a disparity. With Trump now in power, he is having to face two harsh realities. Reality number one is that he benefited from the left being divided over Clinton. With her out of the picture they can unite over their dislike of the right, making the left much stronger. Second, Trump's base of support is much smaller than he and many others have assumed.

Remember, he did not even win a majority of the Republican votes in the primaries. He obviously lost by almost three million votes in the general election, getting only 46% of the popular vote. The people who did not vote for him really really dislike him. He won the presidency with the votes of Republicans, but a lot of those Republicans were really just voting against Clinton. None of the conservatives I know were Trump voters in the primaries, and since the election they have basically washed their hands of him. They voted for him as an imperfect choice or as a way to hold off their enemies or get a favorable Supreme Court pick, but without any real enthusiasm and many reservations.

This has all been obscured by the media's portrayal of Trump as a "populist." He is in actuality an authoritarian nationalist, and he does not have the support of the majority of the country. In fact, it is easy to assume that over half of the country actively dislikes him. That number certainly includes many who voted for him.

This situation could be a boon or it could be a disaster. Congressional Republicans would certainly feel more at ease resisting a highly unpopular president. On the other hand, Trump not being loved and adored will likely cause him to have temper tantrums with the full power and might of the United States behind him.  We are entering into uncharted territory for sure.

No comments: