Some liberals are expressing dismay that Donald Trump managed to get so many votes even if they weren’t enough to get him reelected president. If anything, his base has actually expanded in the last four years.
The counting isn’t done yet, but Trump has attracted more than 71.6 million votes as I write this, an increase of seven million over his 2016 total and the second most votes ever for a presidential candidate. (Joe Biden holds the new record.)
This unswerving loyalty blunted the “blue wave,” helped Republicans gain ground in the House of Representatives, and probably held their majority in the Senate. The vote also made it clear who is in charge of the Republican Party, and likely to be its king maker for at least four more years.
As things stand now, Trump can make or break any Republican seeking public office. That’s why nobody who wants to get reelected in two years or run for president in four years is objecting publicly to Trump’s bogus claims of voter fraud.
Liberals find all of this perplexing. Ben Rhodes, a former speech writer for Barack Obama, summed it up well when he expressed shock “that this many Americans took a hard look at Trump and determined, ‘Yeah, I want four more years of that.’”
Trump retains a lot of this loyalty because a lot of Americans—generally whites with less money and education—continue to resent liberal institutions that mock their values and generally dismiss them as unimportant. As a popular saying among his supporters goes, “Guns, God, Trump.”
Many of these people seek shelter and validation in an information environment that shapes and mirrors their world view. And no, Fox News is not the only one to blame.
If you are one of Trump’s almost 90 million Twitter followers, you might have cast your ballot thinking Biden was a socialist and would take away your guns. In this information ecosphere, Hunter Biden’s laptop was a bigger, more important story in October than the 225,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 and kids being forced to stay home from school because, you know, it’s a Democratic hoax.
Trump’s dismissive attitude toward the coronavirus pandemic is largely to blame for the widespread resistance to wearing masks and practicing social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. The result? While we have less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States has 20% of the world’s COVID-19 cases, and we’re hitting new daily records of infections as I write this.
Trump was reluctant, ambivalent and late to embrace masks and social distancing. He mocked Biden and other public figures for wearing masks, and even claimed they wore masks to hurt him politically.
He trotted out Dr. Stella Immanuel in front of the White House and retweeted a video of hers saying masks aren’t necessary. Among other things, Dr. Immanuel has claimed that cysts, fibroids and related issues are caused by having sex with demons, that McDonald’s and Pokeman promote witchcraft, that alien DNA is used in medical treatment, and that half-human “reptilians” work in the government.
Trump supporters actually believe this stuff. A recent Indiana University study found that 57% of Trump voters say they believe QAnon stories about pedophiles and cannibals serving in the U.S. government are definitely or likely true. That may explain why two QAnon supporters have been elected to the House of Representatives by Republicans.
Nearly three-quarters of Trump’s supporters said mail-in ballots cause voter fraud and that Biden was mentally unfit to be presidents—two narratives pushed ceaselessly by Trump and right-wing media.
To site two other examples of the magical thinking found only in the right-wing media, podcaster Joe Rogan pedaled a debunked conspiracy theory with his millions of listeners that left-wing protesters lit forest fires in Oregon to prove climate change exists. He later apologized.
A Newsmax reporter with 250,000 followers tweeted a map that illustrated blazes. “If the fires in Oregon & Washington are ‘climate change’ then why do the fires stop at the Canadian border?” she wrote. Maybe because her map showed only U.S. data. Nevertheless, the bogus story had 4,000 shares and 6,700 likes.
But Trump’s supporters apparently love this stuff. There are reports that his supporters are deserting Fox News for Newsmax because it refuses to acknowledge the possibility that Joe Biden has won the election.
Closer to home, Terry Rapoza of Shasta County, a leading drum beater for the State of Jefferson movement, posted a short video from Facebook in which Biden “admitted” he and Obama rigged the election. Rapoza urged his followers to view it before Facebook took it down.
No kidding. The video was such an amateurish edit that only a bozo or somebody inherently dishonest would post the tape, let alone believe it. This kind of magical thinking, dishonesty, and lack of intellectual rigueur will keep Trump a major influence in the Republican Party long after he dies.