What Will It Take For Trump Supporters To Fall Out Of Love With Dear Leader?
Trump Supporters Stand By Their Man No Matter How Utterly Ridiculous His Presidency Has Been
Here’s a hypothetical scenario for you. Let’s say Donald Trump went on television, right now, and announced to the world that he plans to lower healthcare costs in America by euthanizing the elderly. Yes, I recognize how ridiculous this is — even Trump wouldn’t go that far (knock on wood). But let’s just pretend for a moment that he did. How would Trump supporters react to this proclamation?
You’d think these “family values” voters would be the angriest of everyone of anyone in America or the world, right? After all, it was their ilk who so vehemently opposed Obamacare in the early days of that legislation over the make-believe “Death panels”, right?
Well, if their reactions to Trump’s other scandals — he’s had them weekly, if not daily, it seems — are at all telling, I think we can all safely assume how Trump supporters would react. They’ll label it “Fake news” and try to pretend it didn’t happen, a ruse which they’d continue only long enough to concoct a defense of Trump’s horrendous policy.
“They’re old, they deserve it!” they’d bitterly shout. “Do you know who likes the elderly? OBAMA! Obama wants to kill everyone under 65!” Breitbart would put out a listicle of “Ten Reasons Your Grandma Hates America” and Fox News pundits would proclaim Medicare as a key component in some evil socialist plot.
Some of you reading this are saying “No way, Trump supporters are better than that! They’re smarter than that!” But are they? Let’s examine a few of Trump’s past scandals, shall we?
Trump Supporters Will Back Dear Leader No Matter What Happens
Twenty years ago, or maybe even ten years ago, any of Donald Trump’s moderate-sized scandals would be enough to end his presidency in a single serving. And yet somehow, Trump’s most avid backers will stand behind him even when those scandals are twice as powerful as the asteroid that wiped the dinosaurs off the face of the Earth.
Trump defending white supremacists and referring to Nazis as “Good people” should’ve been more than enough to end his presidency. Had any of Trump’s predecessors said something that heinous, they’d have been censured, investigated, and driven into resignation. But even knowing that their continued allegiance with Trump affiliates them directly with white nationalist scum, Trump supporters are quick to defend Dear Leader and pick up on his rhetoric.
You’ve seen Trump supporters make these arguments recently. We all have. “There was violence on BOTH sides! The alt-left is full of terrorists! If Antifa never showed up Heather Heyer would still be alive!”
These arguments are, of course, utter nonsense. But Donald Trump said them, so clearly they were worth repeating. After all, nobody has “better words” or a “better brain” than Donald Trump, right?
This behavior has been on full display after all of Trump’s more outrageous scandals. Mocking a disabled journalist? Thinly-veiled threats of nuclear annihilation toward North Korea? Those horrendous “Grab ’em by the pussy” Billy Bush tapes? The Russia investigations? The defamation lawsuit? It’s an incredibly long list of presidency-harpooning scandals and gaffes… and Trump supporters have somehow maintained the energy to defend their chosen one through all of it.
What Would It Take For A Trump Supporter To Abandon Him?
At this point, I’m thoroughly convinced The Donald could go on television right now, throw up a Nazi salute, drop-kick a puppy into the throngs of journalists covering him, defiantly proclaim he’s joining ISIS, and then drop his pants and go number-two on the floor in front of the world, and Trump supporters would still somehow see the good in what he was doing. They’d claim Hillary would’ve left a less-impressive turd had she won, reveal they’re suddenly allergic to pet dander, and then blame Barack Obama for not having the courage to pledge himself to ISIS.
Remember earlier this week when Donald Trump, in all of his infinite wisdom, glanced up at the solar eclipse without wearing those silly commemorative glasses everyone will find buried away someplace eight or nine years from now?
That was the perfect analogy for Trump supporters’ allegiance to their glorious Dear Leader. That’s the image that pops into my mind when I think about his Faith Militant (500 points for everyone who gets that reference without Googling it). They’re blankly staring into a solar eclipse, grinning and hapless and carefree as can be.
Is it hurting them? Definitely. Will they all later regret having done it? Yes, surely. Will they now have an even harder time processing color than they had before? You bet. But don’t waste your breath with warnings. These are the same people who ignore scientists when they urge us to act on climate change. What makes you think they’ll give one eighth of one crap when scientists tell them not to stare into the eclipse?
To them, it’s fake news. It’s nonsense invented by scientists so they can sell those aforementioned commemorative eclipse glasses. They aren’t blind yet, so it’s obviously not hurting them. And it snows in December, so climate change? That’s also bullshit, Al Gore be damned.
It doesn’t matter what Donald Trump says or does. It’s not about his words or his actions. For the Trump faithful, it’s all about their allegiance to Trump’s cult. His cult of personality. And Donald Trump? He is their Jim Jones, their David Koresh, their Marshall Applewhite, their Yahweh Ben Yahweh. The Art Of The Deal is a religious text, and those red baseball caps are their vestments.
There will always be that wedge of the American populace who refuses to abandon Donald Trump. He could instruct them to chug Kool Aid tomorrow, and their only debate would involve the flavor.
So how do the rest of us handle Trump supporters? Do we try to play nice and invite them cordially to civil debate, knowing full well they’ve never once shown any semblance of civility in discussing politics? Could we somehow de-program their brainwashing? Do we deal with them the way you’re supposed to always deal with an army of clowns, and go for the juggler? We both know you laughed at that cheesy joke. You’re not fooling anyone.
I don’t have the answers. Unlike Donald Trump, I don’t make an effort to over-sell my own capabilities. One thing I do know? For Trump supporters, it’s not about domestic or foreign policy. It’s not about campaign promises being kept, or walls being built, or brown people being deported. It’s all of those things, but it’s none of those things.
For them, it’s all about that cult of personality. They’ve sworn fealty not to “President” Trump the man, but to Emperor Trump the God King. And if you’re a Trump supporter angrily reading this article out of spite right now, feel free to prove me wrong. Comment below with an example of something Donald Trump could do today that would cause you to abandon your support for him tomorrow.
Just remember that those of us who read that comment plan to hold you to that statement in the future when Trump actually does that ridiculous thing you’re imagining he would never, ever do. I can pretty much guarantee at this point you can’t outdo his crazy. No mortal being possesses that much creativity.
Featured image courtesy of Ralph Freso/ Getty Images
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Matt Terzi is a political satirist and essayist from Binghamton, New York, who has written for some of the most prominent satire publications in the country. He’s now moving into more “serious” subject matter, without losing touch with his comedic roots