During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump had an important epiphany and verbalized it at a rally:
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? (1/23/16)”
His point was that once a voter decided to support him, it would take something truly massive to get them to change their minds about that support.
He was correct.
And he still is.
This is not just because he is so good at getting his message to his supporters. It is also because his opponents are so frightfully bad at communicating with Trump’s supporters.
On paper, there are plenty of issues with Trump. But none of his opponents, Republican or Democrat, have figured out a way to get these across to his core supporters. For one thing, they have not figured out the new media rules (e.g., how to bypass the press and use Twitter instead).
They are also not willing to be as crass as he is. But as Trump’s supporters know, crass is another word for telling it like it is. They are tired of politicians that speak in politically correct B.S. They don’t, why should their politicians? It is similar to George W. Bush: many people did not agree with his positions, but they admired his ability to take a position and stick with it. They may not agree with all of Trump’s positions, but they admire his street fighter approach to standing up for them.
Until one of Trump’s opponents is willing to engage him in a street fight, Trump will hold onto his supporters through thick and thin.Who will that be? So far, the only possibility from the 2106 campaign season is Bernie Sanders, and it is not clear that he wants that fight.