The inconvenient Trump truth: Core voters love him

The inconvenient Trump truth: Core voters love him, by Gerard Baker.

During his campaign for the US presidency, Donald Trump made a memorable quip about the resilience of his support in the face of revelations about his behaviour: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” he said, miming the cocking of a revolver’s hammer as he looked straight into the camera lens. …

What’s going on? There does seem to be a core of voters who will stand by the president no matter what. Call them the Fifth Avenue Gang, who may account for 20 per cent of voters. But there appear to be more Americans who approve of Mr Trump not out of personal loyalty but out of a broader solidarity and belief that, flawed though he may be, he is all that stands between them and a culture and political system that is tilted against them.

Trump voters are united by their revulsion at an establishment that continues to disdain them and promote a left-of-centre worldview.

To get a sense of what irks them, consider some of the other news this week.

It was revealed that First Man, the new film about the Apollo 11 mission, won’t feature Neil Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon, because in the words of Ryan Gosling, the actor who plays him, the moon landing “transcended countries and borders”. …

This week executives at Facebook and Twitter went to Capitol Hill to insist, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that their platforms do not discriminate against conservatives.

These may not seem like great battles in an existential culture war. But they accentuate the sense among many conservative Americans that their country is being led by people who don’t share their views on issues such as illegal immigration, law and order, traditional American values.

That was long deemed true of the people who run academia and the media, but it looks increasingly as though business, especially technology companies whose products now control the flow of content to hundreds of millions of Americans, is moving in lock-step.

Another event this week will have reminded reluctant Trump supporters why they might look past his misdeeds.

Confirmation hearings for Mr Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative jurist, were repeatedly disrupted by left-wing protesters who tried to shut them down.

Some Democratic senators even insisted that the hearings should not be taking place at all.

It was, in its way, an allegory for our times: a conservative, one whose views are doubtless shared by tens of millions of Americans, trying to get a hearing, drowned out by an insistent, unyielding noise from the left.

While the US political system throw up binary choices like Trump versus Hillary, Trump will continue to fare well despite his much-discussed shortcomings. A drover’s dog could win against yet another PC politician.

hat-tip Stephen Neil