There’s one number that’s holding steady, however, and it’s the number that may very well decide if we are looking at four more years of this hellscape or if we’ll get new leadership that actually takes competence in government seriously: Donald Trump’s approval rating hasn’t budged below its baseline of around 40 to 42%. The initial boost Trump got from the rally-round-the-flag effect during this crisis has pretty much evaporated. But so far, that baseline is as immovable as Trump is from a TV camera.
In a sane country, the president’s approval rating would be crashing as people absorbed the should-be-indisputable fact that this crisis is his fault. The evidence for that is not exactly hidden! There have been repeated blockbuster reports laying out how Trump resisted taking any measures that would have slowed the spread of the virus for months, believing that people would never notice disease and death so long as he kept saying it wasn’t real.
Just this weekend, there was another such report, a damning New York Times article that laid out Trump rejected or ignored warnings from health officials and blocked any useful response in favor of propaganda. Meanwhile, the coronavirus spread throughout the country, indifferent to Trump’s apparent belief that lying about viruses will make them go away. And yet, that baseline approval rating doesn’t budge, even as Trump voters cannot deny the soaring number of COVID-19 cases and the subsequent economic devastation.
The most apparent cause of this delusional behavior on behalf of nearly half of American voters is that these folks are encased in a Fox News bubble. Trump voters have been encouraged to reject legitimate news sources as “fake news,” and instead to get all their information from Trump-worshipping radio and cable hosts who spent months minimizing the virus and then switched seamlessly to swooning over how Trump will single-handedly defeat it with his magical snake-oil cures. Of course, these folks also listen to king Trump himself, a shameless liar who will declare victory no matter how badly he fails.
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But that explanation only goes so far, in no small part because the propaganda Trump voters inhale is so transparently stupid. Trump voters are clearly smart enough to tie their shoes, shoot their guns (AR-15s) and find their way to a voting booth, so it’s unlikely that they are lacking the baseline mental acuity necessary to see through the host’s manipulators on Fox News.
But it’s unlikely that even the dimmest bulbs in his audience will forget that, in February and March — which, for those keeping track, are the months that come after January — Hannity himself accused the mainstream media of “fear-mongering” about the virus, falsely claimed that the seasonal flu is “much more dangerous” and repeatedly argued that Trump had everything under control. Hannity was obsessed with pushing this “don’t worry” message, so that even the most casual Fox viewer received it.
King Trump’s own spin efforts are also comical, at least in how delusional and unconvincing they are. On Sunday, Trump actually tried to spin the declaration of a 50-state national emergency as if it were a testament to his leadership.
Back in 2018, I wrote a lengthy blog predicting just this: No matter how bad things get under Trump, his voters will stand by him rather than admit they were wrong to vote for him in the first place. The psychological experts I spoke with explained that admitting you’re wrong is tough for anyone, because it’s such a blow to the ego.
To face reality now would mean giving into the twin humiliations of admitting they were wrong and the liberals were right, a double humiliation that is clearly too painful to bear. King Trump, being a terminal narcissist, understands the importance of ego preservation implicitly, which is why he often reframes criticism of his own failures as attacks on the people who voted for him. During impeachment, this worked beautifully. Republican voters could see as well as anyone that King Trump was guilty as hell, and that his blackmail scheme against the Ukrainian president was just the latest in a pattern of lifelong disregard for the law. But that 42% would rather deny the facts in front of their nose than admit that they were wrong and the Democrats were right.
Now we see Trump supporters demonstrating in Michigan on the steps of the State House to complain about the democratic Governor Whitmer strict social distancing rules. There they are with guns in hand without masks or social distance…again I say morons unite for King Trump. Vote Democratic in November 2020 and send The Mad Man Trump home to Mara Largo, then send him to prison in New York for tax fraud, insurance fraud and bank fraud. Hell Michael Cohen testified under oath to congress two years ago regarding his tax, insurance and banking frauds.