The Secret to Cracking Trump’s Base

New polls show that some of the most hard-core Trumpsters are starting to get a clue. It might be because he finally crossed a line: He’s now insulting them.


Comments: 226

  1. Voters have a very short memory. What counts is the next presidential campaign not now.
    Between now and then people can change their minds very many times.
    Voters also do not always vote based on logical considerations or based on what is good for them.
    Decisions are often made for rather quixotic reasons.
    Don't get your hopes up too much Mr. Egan. Plenty of time.

  2. @Joshua Schwartz. . . Yes. Voters vote on emotion, not logic. Politics is the art of persuasion. It is a sales process. Politicians sell, voters buy. The GOP sells the most powerful emotion of all: fear.
    Ted Cruz has belatedly come out swinging, spreading the word that Beto O'Rourke is a socialist and commie. Most ignorant voters in Texas under 45 don't even know what a "commie" is, butnit must be bad if Ted Cruz SAYS it is.

  3. @Joshua Schwartz

    I, for one, am going to take heart with Mr. Egan's thoughts. Given that Trump's base is less than half the voters (and shrinking), it won't take very many of them to flip a seat here or there by refusing to vote for the Trump-imitators now running for House and Senate.

  4. Trump has “the best words”, doesn’t use words like Quixotic. Doesn’t that mean covfefe?

  5. Trashing Obamacare is not the best strategy for Republicans. I guess it was when Obama was President and the House Republicans could vote to repeal over 50 times, knowing that Obama would never sign their bills to repeal. I would recommend that commenters Google "Rose Garden Beer Party" to see the photos of the happiest middle aged and older white guys in one setting. The Chicago Sun Times had one of these photos of a grinning Paul Ryan, Steve Scalise, Donald Trump and others on their front page with the caption "They win, 23 million lose." That number was derived from the USA editorial in the same issue that calculated that 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance over the next 10 years if the bill got through the Senate and was signed by Trump. Fortunately, Senator John McCain put the kibosh on that.
    Every Democrat running for Congress should use these photographs to show just how happy Republicans can be when they hurt their fellow Americans.

  6. @tom boyd

    Yep, well put; they hate us. They love money. They love Russia. Traitors: Republicans.

  7. Unfortunately by the time the majority of Trump lovers realize the devastation he has caused to their lives, it will be a little late to reverse. How sad that this showman suckered so many people into thinking he could fix things when his past proves he is a loser and a cheat. I just hope in the future these same people will get their news from someplace other than Fox and Trump's twitter feed. The mainstream media is the truth no matter what people like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump say; Fox has always been referred to as "Faux News". So people, get out and vote in the midterms, this is your future - pay attention to what people say and what they promise and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember Democrats have always been the party that cares about the needs of everyone, not just the filthy rich.

  8. @Mary Dalrymple
    Democrats only care about illegal immigrant and refugees. Oh, and unisex bathrooms. Not a winning platform.

  9. @Mary Dalrymple
    " The mainstream media is the truth no matter what..."

    This would be a more accurate expression of liberal mindset.

    P.S. Does it only apply to the US media? Or would you include e.g. China, Russia, India, Poland?

  10. They won’t “ever realize.” They will NEVER concede that they have been bamboozled — they will never believe it.

  11. As bad as Trump is for the country, I never blamed him for what has happened to us. He's just being himself. We knew what he was about EVEN BEFORE the election yet his voters and the GOP not only voted him in but they still continue to this day enable him. They still choose him to be their moral, intellectual and spiritual standard bearer. Blame them for how we got to where we are.

  12. @Michael
    "They still choose him to be their moral, intellectual and spiritual standard bearer."

    If this is what you and liberals think, you're missing the forest for the trees.
    Trump is but a tool (not a fool, though, as many libs likes to gloat). May not be the best tool but the one we have.

    "The secret to cracking" us is in plain view. Stop brainwashing my nation with your liberal ideology that, as any other religion, has no scientific basis.

    As I've said many a time - slaughter your sacred cows, and i'll slaughter mine. Boy, what a party that will be!

  13. I doubt strongly Trump is losing Any support from the White south, ( or midwest for that matter) no matter what the usually iunreliable polls say Now. Trump’s insults of undereducated white people in those locales, as well as most rural areas of the countrywill fall on deaf ears. So long as their Leader continues to reassure them He will keep them safe from black Americans, immigrants or anyone who generally does not look or sound like them, Trump will reign supreme for them. It’s simply wishful thinking to believe they will ever abandon the only person who they think will save them from Themselves.

  14. @KB - Agreed! To paraphrase a long ago Utney Reader, "Most of us, when presented with facts that run counter to our pre-conceived positions, will ignore the facts rather than change our viewpoint."

  15. Egan assumes Trump voters will be able to connect the dots between diminishing government services locally and decisions made back in Washington to destroy everything that helps anyone but the well-connected rich. I make no such assumptions. To the extent that Trump's base of non-college educated whites attempts to inform itself, it seems to do so by listening to Fox News which may as well be headquartered in Trump Tower. Until and unless the harm that this wretched president is responsible for comes and squats over these people’s daily lives, Trump can continue to count of their support. Because he gives them someone else to blame for their problems: immigrants, liberals, blacks, the well educated and Democrats.

  16. @Christian

    I understand the view that college educated people are perceived as more intelligent. However, I do not believe this to be true in reality. Today a college education means little more than a high school diploma meant 50 years ago. A college degree, by itself, generally means the parents could afford to extend childhood four more years. Accordingly, it is a poor benchmark of general intelligence.

  17. @Christian
    There are plenty of college-educated people who believe in voodoo economics or that the universe is a few thousand years old or that the sexual misdeeds of priests and other leaders should be covered up. Southern universities used to have many faculty who believed in the Southern Way of Life (but preferred it North Carolina style rather than Mississippi style).

    Such people do not need more facts, but rather a change in the framework within which they handle them. Such a change is like losing or gaining a religious faith; like these changes, it can happen quickly or gradually.

  18. Unfortunately you continue to share in the narrative that the President's base is only rural whites. Actually, his base is Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the legislators who prop him up at every turn.

  19. @George Wood
    I see it a bit differently. I think Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, due to their greed and corruption, are hostages of Trump and his base. They must have a rubber stamp sitting in the presidency to pass their agendas and need Trump's base to vote for the GOP candidates in Congress. Hopefully, this scenario is falling apart and fading in front of their eyes due to the transparency being brought forward by Mueller and members of Trump's own administration who are growing more concerned about Trump's mental state and the damage to our country.

  20. @George Wood - Ryan, McConnell, et al are not Trump's base. They are his ACCOMPLICES and enablers. Not the same thing at all. Which makes them, actually, "base" in the rotten sense of the term.

  21. @George Wood
    I'd say Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republicans in Congress are all working for our very own oligarchs are the people Trump is really working for, still trying to get an entry to the elites, who despise him. The rural whites base is no more than a means to get all of them what they want.

  22. Trump support has little to do with policy or economics. The bigger question, as with any other reality TV show, is when do people just get tired of watching the same nonsense and change the channel?

  23. @Ken That's exactly what we did in 2016. No way were we gonna tolerate more of the same. So we changed the channel, and no one's touching my remote in 2020.

  24. @Ken - Bingo!!

  25. Mnuchin's statement: “Not only will this tax cut pay for itself,” he said, “but it will pay down the debt” is absurd considering the wealth of evidence that clearly shows that doesn't happen. We were first told this during the Reagan years in the '80s. We've now had several decades of tax cuts which prove that tax cuts don't pay for themselves.

    Convincing people like Mnuchin that supply-side economics doesn't work is like convincing many Trump supporters that Trump is a pathological liar who really has little interest in promoting programs that help his base; he is only interested in himself. Optimists believe that truth will always win out even though the process may be slow. I hope it is true that truth and integrity will prevail. That's our only hope.

  26. @RF - Supply-side mumbo jumbo has worked great for the Mnuchins of the world.

  27. @RF
    Mnuchin is just another acolyte of the thrice-failed trickle-down economic policies of U. of Chicago libertarian economics professor, Arthur Laffer. Reagan and Greenspan embraced his Laffer Curve as the new gospel of economic recovery. The Great Recession was the final straw in exposing this theory for what it has always been: tossing the 99 percent under the bus in favor of the investor class.

  28. @RF
    What is obvious but never said is that if taxes are zero, economic growth is perhaps greatest but revenue will be zero. So part of the Laffer curve must show revenues falling as taxes decrease and rising as taxes increase. Even if there is a place on the curve where lowering taxes will spur enough growth to increase government revenue, there are also places on the curve where lowering them will decrease revenue.

    The questions never raised or discussed are: where we are on the curve and how do we tell where we are. This is because it is obvious (and recent tax cuts have confirmed) that at current tax rates we are on the part of the curve where lowering taxes decreases revenue.

    Mnuchin does not go there because he doesnt want to.

  29. Trump's base likes him for the same reason that they like their idea of God: he hates the same people that they hate. But if they finally see that Trump hates them, too, they might turn on him. It all depends on whether Fox can give them an alternate-universe explanation that they can stomach.

  30. Trump supporters have always told us, many of his outrageous comments are just examples of him saying out loud what everybody is thinking. This we have been told is refreshing. Ironically, this time they are right.

  31. Let the Trump supporters speak for you, CDJ, but please do not presume that they speak for me or for "everybody."@CDJ

  32. This is wishful thinking. We need to re frame the way we look at Trump voters. It's not what they are for that matters, it's what they are against. Trump defies the normal metrics for success because his voters don't support him for what he does. They love him for what he's against. Trump is against the political establishment ,the media, the Republican Party, the Bushes and the Clintons. Trump is against rapid change which for the working class encompasses everything they had but fear they are losing. Trump is against globalism and unrestricted immigration which has taken jobs from many Americans. It's not that a third of US voters are fervently on the side of Donald Trump - what's more relevant is that they are adamantly on the opposing side of a culture war that's been brewing here since the 1980s. Trump isn't causing this populist revolt, he's reflecting it. It's Conservative values vs Liberal values. Liberals are losing. The mainstream press can rage & shout about his tweets until there's ice on the equator...it won't change the mind of one person who voted for Trump. The more you complain the more he will rub it in your face. Isn't that obvious. What progressives & their co-dependents will never be able to understand is that Trump supporters revel in the non-stop drama, are galvanized when he punches back. Far from being embarrassed by his antics, they're thrilled by it & in their heart of hearts can't get enough of it. He's their champion. Trump is here until 2020.

  33. @Bill Brown This week, according to several polls, tRump lost about 10 points of support among Independents. So his rabid base, whatever their feelings, aren't going to matter in this election. The majority of voters are going to vote for Democrats on November 6, and we can, for awhile, stop trying to understand what on earth is going through the minds of people who vote against their own best interests .

  34. @Bill Brown - until his criminal background catches up with him and he's forced from office. And then I agree...in the fevered minds of the Trumper's it will be "Evil Democrats conspiring with Deep State can't stand America being made Great Again"!

  35. @Bill Brown
    Agree with you about those voters not changing their minds; the problem is not in their heads but in their guts. When block-walking for Beto, we knocked where a Democrat was known to live--but his old mom opened the door, and the moment she spied the Beto T-shirt my colleague was wearing, her face turned ferocious with hatred. No Democrats allowed here--git off my proppity! We backed away apologizing for bothering her as she slammed the door--hard.
    How do people come to hate so viciously? Several commenters, among them Aubrey, have pointed out that it's not what they're for--it's what they're against. It's not only Whozis who tells them that blacks and browns and immigrants and successful women are the enemy. We can thank Rush and Faux as well for slyly pointing to the people they resent, the ones now pulling even or ahead of them in life thanks to liberal policies. Right-wing outlets are spewing the lies and hatred that deflect attention from the real enemy of us all: the greed of the obscenely wealthy few who are funneling our money into their offshore coffers.
    As for liberals "losing," turns out liberals and carpetbaggers and the people they champion may be fervently hated in the holler, but they're in the majority in this country, and they are, as the young folks say, woke.

  36. Too logical. Too rational. Trump’s support among non-educated Whites is totally emotional. Even if he doesn’t deliver on his promises, he can blame Hillary or Obama and they’ll buy it. As for insulting Southerners, there’s little downside. Who’s going to beat him in Alabama? Oh, and he can easily do a 180 and put his arm around Sessions. The base will stay strong. Where he and Repubs will lose is with moderates who hated Hilllary. They have woken up to the damage THEY, not the base, have caused.

  37. @Cloud 9 Let me add that Trump's support among educated whites is also totally emotional. I have regularly been astonished that conservative but formerly rational friends have now totally gone off the deep end, enthusiastic passengers on the Trump Crazy Train.

  38. Trumpers will keep on loving the tax cuts, until they find out we have to gut social security and medicare to pay for them. A free lunch always sounds good until it gives you food poisoning.

    That is how a con works, promise the dupes exactly what they want to hear while you are picking their pockets.

  39. @Ronny The beneficiaries of the trump tax cuts, the wealthy and corporations could care less about Social Security and Medicare cuts. My guess is that if you follow the Republican-trump playbook they/he will blame those cuts on the Democrats, maybe even Obama and do it with straight faces.

  40. @Ronny

    Of course it was a free lunch. It was free for McConnell, Ryan, and Trump et al. They snuck out before the check arrived and stuck is with them he bill.

  41. @Ronny - Yabbut, the folks who got the tax cut do not have to worry about social security taking care of them down the road. Of course they are happy to help themselves to that money.

  42. The suggestion that Congress should be “a check” on the President is a compelling theme for Democrats to run on in regions that believe Trump did nothing impeachable. For those constituencies, even if Congress turns blue, Trump should be a full-term President.

  43. @Abbe Bensimon
    It's so unlikely that the Senate would vote to remove Trump in any impeachment proceedings, that it's futile for Democrats to run on doing that. It's not just people in those regions who believe Trump did nothing impeachable.
    A lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of removing a president. It has never happened and we don't know what it will mean for the future.

  44. I have lived in a few parts of the country, including rural Washington State, on the other side of the Cascades. I met and conversed with many Christian conservatives. They are filled with such hate and disdain for the Democratic Party, that I found it difficult to speak with them, but I wanted to know the source of their feelings. I never did. What I learned was that voting for a Democrat went against every fiber in their soul. Their feelings left facts and logic behind and entered the religious realm. They saw Dems as pure evil and out to destroy their freedom, take away their guns, allow women family planning services, legalize gay marriage, and inviting foreigners into the purity of this country. There was no arguing or discussing. Their beliefs are set in stone. Many of them anyway. A recent conversation with a good conservative friend revealed that nothing has changed in their beliefs about evil Dems. Trump is a reality they can tolerate, and is far better than the alternative.

  45. @Tom Rose
    It's funny, but I have been feeling like the evangelicals and Uber conservatives are the evil ones.

  46. The propaganda they consume avers that Obama “wanted” to “weaken” Social Security, and that Trump promised not to touch it. Don’t expect any awakenings soon.

  47. @Tom Rose I live in Seattle, the other side of the Cascades. My experiences in Eastern Washington were a mirror of your own. Religion was the most significant influence and it was cult like. It truly is the opiate of the masses.

  48. "Dumb Southerners" could be the phrase that finally brings down the Trump regime. After the election, the media elite, to use the cliché, kept looking for a rational economic explanation. The real explanation is that these are willfully backward people who prefer the world the way it used to be, and they were tired of feeling that they weren't good enough for the future. They had no interest in preparing for or contributing to the idea of a better future. They were suspicious of education because it might compel them to reconsider their world view, but Trump loved them for their lack of education. The educated elite looked down on them. Trump's coarse, loud ignorance reassured them they were good enough.

    They thought Trump's message was that you don't need no education; you're too smart to be bamboozled by some fancy education.

    No, Trump voters: he meant that he was gleefully grateful that you were dumb enough to vote for him. He thinks you're dumb Southerners. He's far worse than the elite, disdainful New Yorkers you despise; he's only pretending to be your friend.

    This is the moment when I stop hating Trump voters. I ask them to do what's right. You keep telling us you don't like the white nationalism and racism, so deep in your hearts you must know it's wrong. Trump is not your friend. He's using you. It's hard to leave your abuser, but you know what you have to do if you really want your pride back.

  49. @C Wolfe

    Or maybe these are the forgotten people, that because of lack of resources, location and just bad luck they go what they got. Tell you one thing, if I was in a foxhole, probably want one next to me.

  50. @C Wolfe There was a time when progressives were loath to attack or criticize poor and working class people; in fact, most progressives were working class people. While stereotypes may carry a kernel of truth, with time they become chains that bind their subjects.

    Are these people 'willfully backward' or have they been manipulated by big money interests, Rupert Murdoch, the Kochs, et al.? And do Democrats share some culpability for failing even to talk to these people once it became apparent that Democrats could not win on a state level in places like WVa and Mississippi?

    I might suggest that if we want them to listen to us, we should start talking to them. And listening to them.

    And frankly, I have more trouble with suburban voters that supported Trump. They were in a position to know better.

  51. @C Wolfe
    What I wouldn't give for Omarosa to have a tape where Trump was caught calling his base dumb Southerners. It's really not that hard to imagine what he calls them in private. Personally, I don't need a tape.

  52. Mr. Egan says that economics won't move the Reality Show Con Artists supporters. I disagree.

    In 2003, George W. Bush led the US into the most ill conceived war in our history. In 2004, he was reelected.

    His favorability only started to dip when he introduced a plan to privatize Social Security.

    The "poorly educated" supporters may not care about the children of South Americans or the Grifter in Chief calling African Americans the N word, but they sure do care about their COLA.

    The way to reach conservatives is not to talk about compassion for "others" but the one person they really care about - themselves.

  53. Excellent point.

  54. "Their vote for him was more about status anxiety in a changing nation than financial uncertainty"? No, Mr. Egan, their vote for him was more about racism. Or maybe 'status anxiety' is just an anodyne term for the same thing.

  55. @Katy R. Actually, i think it was mostly misogyny.

  56. @Katy R. You realize many of these same "racist voters", especially in swing states, voted for BHO, twice? If the democrats had not taken them for granted and offered anything besides unlimited immigration and higher taxes, they'd have won in 2016.

  57. @Katy R

    Then explain how Trump did better than Romney among blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans. But if it makes you feel better to call his voters, including those blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans, racists, by all means do so.

  58. To crack Trump's base you need to win over the men 50-64 who support him (see the polls Tim cites). This is virtually impossible without openly sympathizing with their perception of modern America, which reflects a change in acceptable discourse and a dilution of their status. Effectively, this aggrieved "American Buffalo" male subculture cannot be detached from Trump. He offers them a restoration of power, vindication, a freedom to voice anger toward other groups, weapons (the right to "carry"), etc.

  59. @G C B I do think you have nailed it, for the most part there are lots of angry white men with a sense of entitlement. I have observed this in work, personal, and public places, such as on transportation.The younger men are not like the generation(s) cited above. Unfortunately, the group above has for the most part had a choke hold on power and money, which impacts the rest of us. There are still legions of white men whom not only have a sense of entitlement, but they expect you to make them feel good about it. AKA how hard they work, how much they are doing for you, etc. Trump as offensive as he is voices what many men 10 years either side of his age think.

  60. More wishful thinking from the left. As much as his base might get a clue, which is doubtful to begin with, they are right about one thing: Trump might be disdainful of them, but the progressives undoubtedly, without question and completely, hold them in contempt. As a matter of culture and social class. And, because it’s true, Trump will always have that safeguard that he can summon to rally the base, any time he needs it.

  61. @MWR. You raise a great point that the Left often forgets about. However, as Mr. Egan states, the issue at this juncture is more that Trump has hurt his own people not just with jibes but with concrete policy moves that have taken away health care, raising interest rates, etc.

    No matter how much those on the Left curl their upper lips at them, they are making policy proposals that have the education, physical health and financial well-being of the vast majority of Americans at heart.

  62. @MWR " but the progressives undoubtedly, without question and completely, hold them in contempt."

    Oh, you mean in contrast to all the love and respect that Trump's base shows for the rest of us?

  63. @MWR

    Most progressives pity the Trump base. Perhaps that is a form of contempt, but Trump has no pity for them which at least provides a salve to their pride.

  64. Many of the "Trump voters" love The Donald just because he says hateful things about the people that they hate. The people who voted for The Donald in 2016 had many reasons for supporting him, but a major reason for many of his supporters was just plain racial/cultural/religious antagonism.

    When I go to church or other public places I encounter many of The Donald's faithful. Many of them don't expect him to do anything for them in terms of government policy; they are just happy that he is making it tough on people with dark-skins, different religions, etc. This is not really anything new in southern politics. The southern political playbook for over a hundred years with both the old southern democrats and modern republicans has been for politicians to run against the "other." Most politicians used code words such as "law and order," "states rights," "family values," etc. but the faithful know what they are talking about.

    Much of the growth of the "Tea Party" was because of race -- that is specifically the race of President Obama. People who did not know diddly about government policy could look at the television and see that President Obama was black.

    Another way that The Donald is like the old-line southern politicians is that his supporters get the pleasure of seeing/hearing him make it tough for the dark-skinned, but the well-to-do and big business actually get all of the economic and financial goodies.

  65. @Aubrey So don't expect many of The Donald's faithful to leave him anytime soon. He will need to make a major and concerted effort to insult them before most will leave him. If they left him, where would they go? He may say insulting things about them; but he is doing things to make it tough on those they dislike.

  66. @Aubrey
    Don't forget about oppressing women. Evangelicals are in love with that notion as well, even a good number of the women. Go figure.

  67. @Aubrey: Spot on, Aubrey. I spent five years in the South (Mississippi and Tennessee), having transplanted myself from CA. I worked for a wonderful non-profit, and met many educated and progressive people, but also ran into a lot of predijuced and under- educated people who are stuck in their provincial lives and don't want to change. Unfortunately, our nation has fallen hostage to this type of thinking. However, on the other hand there are many wealthy GOPers who are making mucho money on their investments who are reaping daily rewards and also prop up the Trump presidency. It's a dichotomy that racks my brain, but all I can do is vote and that I most certainly do!

  68. Another Friday! I look forward to reading Timothy Egan's weekly column. The only thing I am critical of is the constant references to white non degreed people as likely to vote for Trump. I, for one, am not one of Trumps lunkheads and I don't like the lumping of people without a college education, most of us, as part of the Trump base. In my forty year career, I did just fine as a none degreed individual although its less likely these days to do so. Aside from that insult, I agree with everything else.

  69. @mikeyh If the "uneducated" stay with Trump then I say continue to insult them for their bigotry and ignorance. I am tired of suffering fools gladly.

  70. @mikeyh

    Its not an insult. Its a fact.
    Even so, the rest of us sane people very much appreciate you!

  71. @mikeyh

    It is my reflection on Egan's comments that, while all Trump voters seem to be the "lunkheads" you described, not all 'lunkheads' voted for him. As a perfect metaphor to your eloquent remarkes, first year law students learn: while all poodles are dogs, not all dogs are poodles. I have so many friends, and now a brilliant and gifted son-in-law, who never went to college but went on to honorable lives.
    I hope this eases your worries about what Egan was trying to say about the non-degreed Americans.

  72. I'll always remember the PBS interview of a few people from Kentucky. One woman described how her cancer treatments had been covered by Medicaid, and said "I'd probably be dead without Obamacare." The next words out of her mouth? "But it's the worst thing that ever happened to this country." I don't think the threat of ACA repeal is likely to affect the voting behavior of Trump supporters unless Fox News tells them they should change.

  73. @gmshedd

    Reminds me of the signs at Trump rallies: Government - hands off my Medicare!

    That's why Trump loves poorly educated folks - he can relate to them.

  74. I'm still trying to figure out why Evangelicals chose to support a Godless serial philanderer who used to be a Democrat and advocated abortion rights until 2016. I'm still trying to figure out why Republican free traders and deficit hawks decided to support an isolationist who added $1.5 trillion to the deficit, starts trade wars with all our former allies and taxes tariffs American businesses and consumers with unnecessary tariffs. I'm still trying to figure out why rural folk chose to support a New York real estate grifter who holds them in contempt and whose gilded penthouse in Manhattan is light years removed from a West Virginia holler or an Iowa soybean farm. Maybe they'll change their minds when they lose their health care, when tariffs start costing them their jobs, when their Social Security and unemployment benefits are gone and when the federal government can no longer afford disaster relief because all government revenues have been sacrificed for tax cuts to the rich. But by then it will be too late.

  75. @Christy No, I doubt they'll change their minds, they'll just blame Obama or Hilary like they do now.

  76. @[email protected] No, I doubt they'll change their minds, they'll just blame Obama or Hilary like they do now.

  77. @Christy
    It's the Supreme court as we've seen in the Kavanaugh hearings. The Evangelicals want conservative justices, period. The other stuff will work out, they hope.

  78. Wish that it were so. But, living as I do in the reddest part of North Carolina, I do not see it. The so-called base, which consists of two factions - the wealthy who care only about the tax cuts and the stock market, and racists who care only that he is sticking it to The Other - is immovable, and constitutes approximately 35% of the electorate. But those who swung from Obama to Trump out of hatred of Clinton do indeed appear to be waking up. That is the segment that will make the difference in 2020. In the meantime, it is vital that the turnout for the midterms is large enough to overcome voter suppression and gerrymandering. Here's hoping that it is. The signs are encouraging.

  79. @Michael Very good comment. A major problem for the Democrats is voter turnout. Many of the recent congressional special elections, and indeed the presidential election which Hillary lost, could have been won by the Democrats if Democratic voters, who are already registered to vote, had turned out.

  80. @Michael I’m praying that you are correct.

  81. @Michael
    The contempt showed against Trump voters is an explanation in itself why they opted for him. Uneducated you say? Racist? Xenophobic? Ignorant?
    No. They chose not only to pass on Clinton, as if in its self was not reason enough, but decided that the country needed a President who would make its citizens proud again.
    Obama promised and did not deliver. Americans got tired of the: you will keep your doctor, 1.9% is the new normal. Americans were also tired of a weak America here and abroad that keeps saying: sorry/ we will continue to pay more than what is due for NATO/ we give $ to Iran on top of a bad deal/ spied on a supposed friend (Merkel etc)/ we will bring in millions of immigrants, and among them many that are not properly vetted.

    Since 2016, we have learned even more how bad Obama was: title IX/ regulations that stifled business/ spying on Trump/.

    So please, realize that people are smarter than you think. Continue to insult fellow citizens, and praise illegals, see you in 2020.

  82. Trump is a great showman. He is charismatic, engaging, and knows how to energize an audience. Good entertainment. I bet a lot of people simply enjoy his energy, and therefore support him. Maybe that is all they need to think he is great.

  83. I grew up in the South but choose to not live there as an adult-The amount of hate that exist south of the Mason Dixon Line amazes me-No longer is it the south I grew up in-Don’t get me wrong there are many wonderful people that still live there but they are the minority now-Hate is a strong emotion and DT knew how to play on exactly that-It’s scary and not limited to the south-

  84. @ann nicholson I, too, am a self-exiled southerner (Alabama) but now living in what once was the most progressive southern state. The GOP's "Southern Strategy" was all about exploiting fear and hatred for political advantage. Trump is helping his party perfect it.

  85. Bill Clinton could speak to the south and so can others. Self interest can be explained.

  86. The difficulty is that you are totally ignoring the positive things which have happened since January 2017.

    But maybe these people who are Trump's base can see through your prejudice.

    Undeniably, the man has faults.

    But if you see ONLY the faults, then people can see through you and see that your are biased.

    America needs a rational party and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans fit the bill. But a "Trump-hating" party is a one issue party without much by way of principles except, "Let us kill more fetuses and bring socialism."

  87. Enough commentary; we all agree!

    Let's get out and utilize whatever energy, time, effort, persuasion, and money we can muster to defeat ALL Republicans in November's elections; and return America to sanity and democracy.

  88. It's also football season. Maybe people are just ready to change the channel.

  89. How long before Fox "News" gets a clue and jumps off the Trump train? It can't be much longer. They're looking more and more ridiculous as they try to rationalize his policies as some form of brilliance. They've got to know inside, that none of this will be work they will be proud of down the road.

  90. "Status anxiety" is, as noted in comments, racism, but is precisely what floats Trump's popularity among his supporters despite the clear fact that his tax and healthcare policies disproportionately harm them. It is the fear of a changing population that freaks them out. Of course, they cannot change the demographic trend no matter how many children they detain indefinitely and no matter how many US citizens are denied their passport renewals because they were not born in a hospital. The supporters also seem to revel in Trump's thuggish behavior and desire to undo anything Obama accomplished, like the Paris Accord, regardless of the consequences, which will, Trump knows, not be obvious until he is out of office. Trump is not a king, but a clear and present danger to his supporters and the rest of the country and free world.

  91. You quoted Lincoln saying, "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar," but it didn't sound like Lincoln to me. Though the quote appears at dozens of websites without variation and always attributed to Lincoln, not one site provides an origin, and the quote does not appear in Bartlett's.

    Can anyone track down where Lincoln said this? If not, then I think it casts doubt on whether he really said it.

  92. You want to go after Trump’s base? Then you remember that President Obama, the Black son of a Kenyan born father captured no small portion of it. That’s right. There are millions of passionate Trump supporters who voted for Obama.

    - Talk about economic mobility and job training in rural areas that have been ravaged by the closing of factories;

    - Talk about patriotism and America’s greatness rather than focusing on her frailties;

    - Stress the importance of personal accountability and honest work rather than blaming a handful of criminal police officers for violent crime, which devastates cities;

    - Run a candidate with a fresh face and compelling back story, but someone without the baggage of decades in the public eye.

    In 2008, Democrats won Indiana ( yes Indiana) Pennsylvania, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Michigan with a Black candidate with a “foreign” sounding first and last name not like that of any others previous President in history. Trump voters can be reached.

  93. @Mark
    Too bad Dems are tacking hard to the far left. I won’t be voting for them.

  94. His hardcore followers will never change their opinion of their leader. Because their adoration of trump is not based on facts. It is based on a believe, a religion if you want. It is no coincidence that it is mostly evangelicals who turn out to be his most loyal followers. Because with them, there is a deep need for a supreme being; an entity that makes sure they don't have to take responsibility for their lives themselves, complete with the hollow promises of a "better hereafter". Whether that supreme being is something floating in the clouds or a loudmouth in the White House, that does not matter to them. 30% of the people in this country are deeply religious. They are the kind of people who are intensely tribal; denounce science and want your kids to be taught creationism in school. They are the people who might one day lead this country to its destruction. And YES, they will ALWAYS support trump. No matter what he says or does.

  95. Mr. Egan, the president’s treatment of Jeff Sessions is a case in point. At one time the GOP nominee’s staunchest defender, his southern drawl notwithstanding, he’s been abused since his recusal with no end in sight. The president's contempt for southerners is as rabid as it is for the eastern elites who scorned him when he was just a playboy masquerading as a real estate developer. Now his base sees him as an equal opportunity hater. It’s not about race after all, it’s about money, and gaming the system.

    The biggest clue for the president’s contempt for poor and rural whites is his gold-laden Cabinet of millionaires. These are the people he feels comfortable being with, not coal miners, farmers or tradesmen who are far beneath him. When he demeans his AG, he’s demeaning them as well. Maybe they are waking up after all.

  96. When the central American kids stormed the border during the last election, Trump won. Suspend the asylum/refugee program and Trump and his GOP enablers will wither away.

  97. Tim, You know how to write an essay. I envy your gift.

    I am a southerner and have the same feeling that you have. Right below the surface of the Trump populist movement is a feeling that Mr. Trump is incapable of understanding the needs of American's. His shrinking base supporters are smart enough to realize that they are being ripped off by the tax cut for the very rich and whatever chance their children had for a better future is being stolen from them.

    Southerners have a rebellious spirit and a strong sense of fairness. I think on November 6, they will demonstrate that they want a better deal than they have been getting out of this administration. A blue House of Representatives can check this President with their Constitutional prerogatives on the purse strings and essentially make his pile of executive orders, worthless.

    I just hope Democrats will sense their need for greater opportunity for their children and for those that have been left behind in the massive shift that we are seeing in our demographics and cost of living, to start a national conversation that will improve the outlook for people regardless of origin, race, or religion or social class.

  98. Trump's supporters in the rust belt, Appalachia, and elsewhere need not be ashamed: Trump has suckered some of the world's largest and most sophisticated banks. Scamming people is his only core competency, but he's stunningly good at it.

    The global banks gradually caught on to his con, but it took time. If Trump voters figure it out by the November elections, they'll still have wised up faster than the financial elite did.

  99. Continue to write articles like this one and all you do is pump up those who voted for Mr Trump.

    Tearing someone down has never been a successful strategy to get yourself or your ideas ahead. Never.

  100. @Matt

    Never? It’s the strategy that got Trump elected. Emails! Birth certificate! Benghazi!

  101. The US needs a lesson on what makes for a successful civil society

    Paying taxes
    Voter participation
    Living wage
    Affordable healthcare
    Access to quality education
    Respect for all

    Trump is a 24/7 wrestling match in a nascar stadium- drama and chaos distract while our institutions and agencies are dismantled

    Vote November 6 and accept that taxes are the backbone of a functioning civil society - taxes are good and we should all pay from the same progressive rate table

  102. To paraphrase a Lyndon Johnson quote: "Give a person someone to look down on and they'll empty their pockets for you." More than anything this tactic won the election for Donald Trump.
    Mr. Egan's right: Now that Trump's been caught looking down on his own base, it will cost him like nothing else could. People who like to feel superior don't care to be shown that someone is laughing at them behind their backs.

  103. Mr. Egan: If Trump's base actually believed that Trump was insulting them you might be right. But so far his base appears willing to believe Trump's ridiculous claims and denials about everything. Because they love Trump's us v. them and "US first" attitude, they will refuse to believe that they have been betrayed and claim that all evidence to the contrary is the result of a media witch hunt or "fake news." It's going to take a lot more than sporadic personal insults about certain members of Trump's base before there are any meaningful cracks in his support.

  104. I believe you are wrong. Trump's support levels have fallen since the election, but not by much. In fact after running at about 45% approval for the first two months, his numbers have been amazingly consistent. He hovers at around 40% approval regardless of what is taking place with his circus presidency.

    Trump's election win was a bit of an anomaly that is probably not reproducible. Enough moderates were duped to bump him over the threshold. A few months into his toxic tenure they realized their error and his support fell to around 40%. The people who still support Trump, after 20 months of daily examples of his unfitness, will never abandon him. His mendacity feeds their spitefulness, and their adoration feeds his narcissism. It's a deceit symbiosis. Both parties are getting to much out of it to admit they are wrong.

  105. Am praying for divine intervention to help Democrats frame a clear, effective message. Saying "The Koch Brothers are spending huge amounts of money against us" was insufficient in the last election. Saying "Surprise! The alternative to Obama Care turned out to be No Care" might be a start.

  106. The Base’s vote was a “Stick it to the man” vote. As long as Trump can keep them believing he’s a victim of entrenched power, they’ll keep supporting him.

  107. Much of U.S. politics is a form of show business that closely resembles professional wrestling. Success is the result of producing a rigidly scripted emotional outlet that expresses basic audience mindsets of fear and anger, symbolized in often nonsensical character roles. It's a sad simulation of how democracy works.

  108. I’m waiting to see what changes the mind of my employer’s VP of HR. A white, educated northern Virginia man and loyal trumpster who’s intractable.

  109. Here’s hoping that much of Trump’s base realizes that they were props in his Trump Apprentice Reality show.When he held rallies in airplane hangars to advertise the happy days which would come again when he made America great he was being a salesman.What he did not advertise was lack of health care, abysmal treatment of immigrants and his mission to put on the Supreme Court judges who would negate Roe vWade.He did not tel” them he would engage in a tariff war which would hurt them and he gave no assurance that he could assemble an accomplished team.He sold lies- time for a reassessment.

  110. Mr. Egan,
    2018 is The Year of the Dog, and while Trump's presidency might have been saved if he had brought in the Marilyn Monroe of shelter canines to The White House, we can continue with the political bickering, or leave this administration in the dust.

    There is heavy support for 'Wilbur', as our president is affectionately known by his followers, and he has promised that we will enjoy the best of bacon. We wait.

    Let us look to our country in fields where we remain united and build on these in a spirit of solidarity, and vote. This September 13 last, the Democrats in our town are already on the move in the primary elections. On November 6, both parties will meet at our voting house and eat home-made cake.

    You may wish to keep an eye on a new generation of leadership for Upstate New York, and Antonio Delgado who is running for Congress.

    As for the 1 M. Christians who have requested a donation to prevent the destruction of Trump's presidency, I am unable to accommodate them because God won't allow it.

    Even the most staunch of Republicans are beginning to cast an anxious and weary eye on Trump and his presidency, and we are in need of a tax-plan that puts working and middle-class families first. While many of us remain armed in our houses, some of our children are sleeping on used mattresses.

    Mother Nature has our attention this weekend with our country folk in The Carolinas, and preparations are being made to help without trumped-up faith.

  111. Good essay. Now how do we get it to the people who need to read it?

  112. So Tim, were these the same polls used for the 2016 election? The ones that predicted a 98% chance of a Clinton victory?

  113. The mistake the uber-left - represented by most bylines on these pages - continually makes is to see the current occupant as anything more than a harbinger of the future of Presidential politics. His victory was not, despite his well-honed sense of self-importance, at all about him. His was the election that elevated “payback” over “promise”. However shotgun errant the approach, it was payback for banksters, for never-ending war, for the surveillance state, for the palpable sense of erosion, of division, of decay. And the next election, whichever the “payback” that prevails, be it the loony left or the ridiculous right, it will be of similar cast, aroma...and ineptness. So many hypocrisies, so few the righteous.

  114. @Hemmings Trump's election was "payback for the banksters"? When the financial bust of "liar's loans" hit ten years' ago this week, it was -- and the seeds were planted -- at the hand of incumbent George W. Bush, Republican.

  115. @Hemmings The banksters and their lobbyists wanted to end Dodd-Frank banking regulations and Trump signed this deregulation into law. Now the elites are free to fleece their clients again without repercussions.

  116. It is a bit like the 'Stockholm Syndrome' where ill informed victims identify with the ones who have captured them.

    I include Trump and the GOP as the criminals here: McConnell and Ryan at the head of the column. Fox News is complicit in a very big way.

    Will it unravel as Tim hopes? Bit by bit until, among other things, the ACA, SS, and Medicare/Medicaid are gone.

    In the meantime, how many of us have to die to see the light?

  117. While it's possibly a hopeful sign that Trump's acolytes are beginning to wake up to the fact that they've been conned, it doesn't mean that they are experiencing any sort of enlightenment. They'll just be looking for the next grifter to feed them a concoction of platitudes, lies, misdirection and phony concern that plays to their fears and hatreds.

    It's not like Trump was any kind of a mystery. His trail of lies and financial failures, his extreme narcissism, misogyny, classism, and sheer amorality had been paraded in their living rooms for years.

    They wanted to be the ones to yell, "You're fired!!" instead of being the ones who got fired.

    And nothing has changed. They're still bathed in a daily onslaught of media propaganda that tells them how they've been wronged and feeds them a diet of half-truths, untruths, and irrational analysis resulting in fabricated solutions and misdirection. And they're still lapping it up.

    So don't get too hopeful. Trump 2.0 will eventually show up to pick up the torch.

  118. Avarice and arrogance, the two-fisted punch that fueled theinsidious wave of economic woes and ultimate near collapse of our economy in 2008. It started in the halcyon days of "Voodoo Economics" when credit cards were the elixir that allowed everyone and anyone to partake in gluttonous spending sprees that after two decades culminated in the housing crisis. Borrow and then borrow some more to pay off what you borrowed but can't quite keep up with those inflated interest rate charges you just sort of ignored. And the there was POTUS and his kind,using bankruptcy and tax dodges to stay afloat. He and his fellow oligarchs didn't lose their jobs (when the owners went overseas ) or their homes, they simply rose from the economic rubble (remember the federal support of the banks and the automotive industry) and didn't miss a beat. And, while much of the Country started to get back on solid ground, many didn't - lo and behold, the emergence of the great White Hope reality television star, savior of the Red Belt rusted and downtrodden -he would get them jobs, lots of money and do things for them the Country had never seen. Well, his prevarications, specious promises and rants may finally be falling on some deaf ears... the Rust Belt faithful aren't seeing the bounty they were promised and this, if nothing else, may make them less inclined to support POTUS and his cabal of thieves and lairs the next time around. Let's hope that crack in the wall of support sees the wall crumbling.

  119. The vast majority of people who are successfully conned fall into one of two categories: One, they never realize they've been conned and go on living as if nothing happened; Two, they realize they've been conned and blame somebody else for their foolishness, but never themselves.

    And so it will go with the Trump supporters. They will bumble along, underpaid, over-taxed, under served, no health care, limited job prospects, fearful of everybody with skin a shade darker than theirs, holding to the belief that life under Trump was the best it's ever been. Or, they will blame immigrants, the Democrats, Hillary, the Tri-lateral Commission, the media, liberal coastal elites, and anybody else standing outstanding their tent when it all falls apart.

    But never themselves. If Trump is insulting his base,the chances are better than even that they'll believe him... but not that he's talking about them.

  120. By the time enough of them figure it out, all the tax cut money will be stashed in off shore accounts, and the Courts will be packed with strict conservatives. Whatever Dem is unlucky enough to be elected president in 2020 will get blamed for the economic mess, just like Obama was. Paul Ryan will return from self imposed exile to lead the conservative movement in 2024. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  121. When Trump won, I immediately recognized that this was "The Revenge of Flyover States".

    Those in the Midwest and South are well-accustomed to the gut punches of calling the land that they love - their homes - "flyover".

    Keep the condescension coming, Egan. You've had 2 years for introspection. And you still can't understand your own role in all this?

    The Trump voters are using him. Yes, they will discard him when the see fit. But as long as they have folks like you (and many many others) referring to their home states as "flyover country" - they can take a few ribs from the Donald. The real gut punches come from folks like you.

    I've visited over 44 states, 20+ countries - have lived in Vietnam, Cambodia, Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, England. I've never met a "flyover country", much less a flyover state.

    When I moved to NYC, I first heard that detestable term: "Flyover". Wait. That's where I'm from. Was my confused internal reply.

    I'll tell you something about my home state - Kansas. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who have ever asked me "where are you from?" KNEW the name "Kansas". Every single person. Even in remotest Vietnam. "Of course I've heard of Kansas", the offended reply would come. As though I was accusing them of being uneducated.

    Movies (like all media) have a way of spreading information like that. Your condescension about mid-American states? That spreads too. Trump is being used by people who needed defending from people like you.

  122. @Patrick: Yes, yes, yes and YES!

  123. Trump's support is based not on him, but on the end of patience with promise-anything but do-nothing career politicians.

    A turning point will come when a sizable subset of those supporters starts to finally realize not just that Trump's wrecking ball administration is actually hurting them personally, but that he is being aided and abetted in this pain infliction by most of the same politicians he ran against!

    It is one thing for voters, in populist anger, to throw a "molotov cocktail" (in Michael Moore's parlance) at do-nothing establishment politicians. It is another thing when they realize that that molotov cocktail is being successfully dodged by those politicians and thrown back at them!

    Eventually, some of them then start to realize that the only ultimate solution to Bad is not Less Bad (Obama), nor is it Worse (Trump), but competently and Reliably Better. Too few reliably better candidates are running this November, but with Worse progressing to Even More Worse, some of those Reliably Better may get into power as of next January, and with luck, start to truly push back (not just posture) against both the Bad and the Worse.

  124. Thank you sir, for the line:

    'Trump clearly doesn’t have the bandwidth for the magnitude of his mendacity.'.

    I'll be chuckling over that all day.

  125. It's just good old brainwashing. Trump supporters have loved him on TV playing the successful business mogul on "The Apprentice" since 2004. They are convinced that his shenanigans are the mark of a savvy businessman whose brilliance is beyond comprehension.

    The more that his detractors point out his defects, the more they are convinced that he is "a prophet not without honor save in his own land". The evangelicals, the farmers, the coal miners, the store keepers, they all seem to be convinced that there will be something in it for them as long as they keep the faith.

    By the time the Trump faithful figure out what happened, the 1% will have made off with their health care, social security, their hopes and their dreams, leaving their children to pick up the pieces.

  126. A trickle often remains just that: A trickle. But sometimes it surges into a torrent. I'm not holding my breath that Trump's notorious base will ever run like a river.

  127. Beto O'Rourke... Texas..... What if he wins in the big red? Even if Trump comes to Texas to support his guy, Ted Cruz? There are O'Rourke signs lining the streets of red voters. There is support. How much? Don't know yet but emotions can shift. There are these signs that show a shift.

    Trump's cockiness is a certain kind of show. People may want to change the channel. It might be just as entertaining.

  128. Glad to hear New York is watching our Texas senate race. I’ve never but up a yard sign before. I have my Beto sign out and have made several contributions to his campaign.

    Most importantly, I will vote! The numbers are supposedly against us but we’re not giving up hope. Cruz is an abomination of a representative of the people.

  129. Your column is well written and mostly true imo.

    A few points to add that Lincoln taught us in general how to deal with this issue.

    Not all Trump supports are racist or women haters. 90% of them are conservatives that had legit concerns re social issues, trade, Wall Street, wars etc.

    Listen to them when they are right, respectfully tell them when you think they are wrong and educate them when you are right like with ACA, deficits etc. that directly harm/help them.

    Last but not least don't call them degrading terms like Hillary did. Call out Trump when he is at his worst (which is most of the time) but don't dwell on it like she did.

  130. I am as cynical as most of the commentators. Waiting for the #PLIC's supporters to turn against him is like waiting for them to believe that wrestling is a real contest and their "heros" are just actors.

  131. So much energy is going toward 'trying to understand' the 'base', assumed as those left behind, lower educated and low socio-economic class. additionally, among us, the racists and white supremacists. The broader truth is, and we know or are them, are the millions of decent folks that vote GOP regardless of the candidate-they are the enablers of this disastrous administration. They literally are allowing the scuttling enviornmental protections, accessible healthcare, education, the deficit, social security and global stature for a minor tax cut. No greater vision or care for the future.

  132. I agree, there is a 3rd group that is rarely mentioned. It is the well off “I’ve got mine and I want to keep it and even get more” group.

    This group is typically well educated and financially successful and feel no commitment to the greater good. They’re willing to ignore Trump’s bigotry and bad behavior as long as it helps their investment portfolio and lowers their taxes.

    Sadly, we know several of these people and it is a strain on longtime friendships.

  133. On Morning Joe this am from Oxford Mississippi they had a small group of Mississippians who voted for Trump or HRC. The question was what do they think is Trump's strong point. The answers were he is direct, does not test the political winds before he decides, when he decides he just goes, and he is "strong" (in quotes because I have no idea what strength they mean). None of those are policy, just cult of personality. Though on his weak points it was interesting to hear he does not seek nor listen to advice of people who have knowledge.
    One of the guests commented he does deny deny deny when the error of his ideas or actions is pointed out. I insisted that he was raised by Hugh Hefner and his magazine and the movie with the biggest impact on him was The Guide To The Married Man (I do not think he would have seen the original play). In the movie Walter Matthau says when caught Deny Deny Deny.
    These are the codes Trump lives by. He will always have 25% of the country, just like Joe McCarthy even after the Do you have no decency exchange that brought him down and the 20% that supported Dick Nixon at resignation

  134. Flyover states have continually voted against their best financial interests. Like most people, they vote their biases. As long as 45 keeps up the hateful rhetoric, the cult will live on.

  135. Art imitates life. Having watched the first season of Netflix's Ozark, a show described as Breaking Bad, the Family Edition, I was gobsmocked (SPOILER ALERT) by the response of Darlene Snell, the wife of the local heroin producer to Del, the Chicago drug kingpin, calling her and her husband "rednecks". The response was a shotgun blast to the head. The show's writers understood at a visceral level it is possible to push people only so far.

    Mr. Trump is painfully learning this lesson. I do not wish him a shotgun blast to the head but I would like him just as permanently off the stage--Please God!

  136. Eventually, the good folks of Kansas saw through the con Governor Brownback foisted off on them and the Republican controlled state legislature voted to raise taxes, so I do hold on to some optimism that economics will be a part of eroding support for Trump.

  137. @Michael Roushbut like the good peoole of the south , they voted overwhelmingly for Trump

  138. A major question is how long before reality penetrates the virtual world constructed by Fox, Breitbart and Trump himself. Trump's lies have managed to fly in the face of reality for years, and he's still got the vast majority of Republican votes, almost certainly because he has no public opposition in the Republican congress. His poll numbers may be down a bit, but the voters who chose Trump over Clinton would likely do so again tomorrow.

    And what difference does it make if Trump goes? We still have Republican dominance to deal with, and Republican dominance is simply Trump without the comb over and crude tweets. Republicans in congress would doubtless be happier with Mike Pence, but peril to the nation would remain as dire as it is now or worse.

    We need to sweep the Republican Party out of government. Trump is just the ugly bare parts of the party of oligarchs, plutocrats, and nativists.

  139. Trump supporters who benefit from Obamacare probably don't appreciate it so much. It's like who enjoys going to the doctor let alone hospital? And having to pay something for it, whether in premiums or copays. Much easier to have a heart attack and get "free" care -- or just die. Preventive care is for Democrats.

  140. I am tired of the term “base” to describe Trump’s followers. That renders a level of political legitimacy to these people, suggesting a foundation upon which something meaningful can be built. I certainly don’t fault people for voting to radically shake up a wayward political system. But after nearly two years of childish behavior by this wretched president, anyone with half a brain and the energy in their thumb to click off Fox News should recognize the mistake made in the last election. Yet his “base” attend his rallys to provide Trump the opioid fix he needs to pump up his fragile ego.

    Mr. Egan and others are right: “cult” is a more apt descriptor. People in a cult abandon all rational thought and suspend critical thinking to embrace the whims of the cult’s leader. The sad part is, they become so psychologically connected to the focus of the cult, that they willingly step up to the vat when the Kool-Aid is served.

  141. ...and they feel personally "connected" to their cult leader because he "reaches out" to them daily, via Twitter.

    Not enough attention has been given to this method of political & psychological manipulation, which I believe is part of the reason so many of his supporters seem to adore him.

  142. Mr. Egan, while I'd like to believe your analysis about "cracks in the base" my view is that even a forest of metaphorical two-by-fours, carried by expert upside-the-head batters, will not move the base as long as Trump's racism, nativism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism remain front and center in his speeches, rallies, and tweets. Face it Tim, we really are NOT in this together and the 35% of the electorate who have embraced Trump are not leaving or changing their attitudes. The only good news is that they are all out of the shadows now and their white supremacist agenda is on full display for the world to see.

  143. incredible as it may seem, it's often very difficult to make people see that the "Emperor has no clothes". Even though Trump stands there naked to the world, letting it all hang out, his Nationalistic Evangelical believers think he is quite richly attired and almost swoon when he holds one of his rallies dedicated to self praise and adulation.
    How does one tear down generations of bigotry and racial hatred so prevalent in our country? For that is one of the things that drive those "uneducated" voters to pull the republican lever. The other is that they have been brought to believe they are being marginalized by the government and those pesky "Socialist, Atheist, Democrats that want to "Take away their guns and bible.
    In our sorely divided country it's becoming more and more the city and suburban dwellers opposed by the rural small town folks that live in such different worlds. Us verses Them seems to be the new political mantra.
    It will take a far far better man than Trump to bring this country back together again when it's being pulled apart by economic, racial and social differences that have such deep roots.
    Crack Trumps base? Try a high-power jackhammer.

  144. @USMC1954

    Trump wears the clothes of patriotism, rational and legal immigration policy, employment growth-- especially for minorities--and a strong military.

    If you think that is "naked" it is naked legality, patriotism, jobs, due process, and a powerful defense for our nation.

    I emphasize "legal" immigration policy, because despite the dishonest propaganda spewing from the DNC machine, with the aid and abetting of many commentators, it has been the law since 1996--Clinton's administration's Flores Settlement --that alien migrant minors not otherwise placed with relatives or parents' friends, must be separated from these facilities by housing the minors in age-appropriate facilities. This litigation was brought by very liberal groups including ACLU, to protect children from adults in detention and not to harm them, as propagandists have been insisting. It is the law and must be followed by all presidents. Hardly "brutality," the child-protection groups who fought for separation for 9 years before Clinton settled, have repeatedly returned to court to ensure that minors be separated from adults quickly. See:

    https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2016/07/06/15-56434.pdf

    for a good history of reality.

  145. At last Trump is being exposed for the com man he is. He speaks and campaigned as a populist, but acts like an oligarch. He was going to bring back the factory jobs, replace the ACA with something much better, cut middle class taxes, not touch social Security and Medicare and balance the budget, Instead he has cut upper upper class taxes, increased the deficit, no factory jobs, and would repeal with out replacing the ACA if the congress would let him. The only way to get the deficit under any control is to gut Social Security and Medicare. There are even Fewer deportations than under Obama, just more brutality.
    Con Man !!

  146. What really needs to be cracked is the apathy of the tens of millions who don't vote, of those who withheld their votes because their preferred candidate didn't get the nomination. Aside from those voters, a substantial percentage of D's and R's are straight-ticket partisans whose minds aren't going to be changed. D's have foolishly left white working class voters out of their advocacy for decades, and that's the slice of trump voters that were reachable. Let's don't forget decades now of right wing media propaganda that has convinced millions that everything wrong in the world is the fault of democrats and liberals. The democratic response to that has been to shun, rather than show those voters that they are human beings and not the cardboard cutouts that Limbaugh, Murdoch and company make them out to be.

  147. I, for one, can't wait to see President Trump tossing paper towels at South Carolinians.

  148. @dbg

    Perhaps you have not been watching MSNBC which reported that FEMA has already placed supplies where they will be needed--ahead of the storm's arrival.

  149. @dbg The first one should go to Trump Enabler #1, Lindsey Graham.

  150. The phrase "Dumb Southerner" might be offensive, but the good people of the South certainly did vote for Trump in droves. Maybe he finally said something true!

  151. @EDK as did the good people of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio , Arizona , compromising 29 states , 10 of which were southern

  152. Let's not forget the story of FEMA money being used for immigrant detention camps. After Hurricane Florence leaves a trail of devastation, I'm sure the Southerners in North and South Carolina will be wondering if that money could have been better spent on hurricane relief.

  153. "That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works." - Colbert : White House Correspondence Dinner 2006

    The Don's supporters are thinking with their gut, and their guts tell them everything is Obama's fault. It frees right to them deep down in their gut ... so hard to argue with it.

  154. A very inconvenient part of the democratic process is that even dumb people can vote. And, as you may well see in many countries including mine, they tend to vote for the worst possible candidate who appeals to their belly.
    Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time for them to realize that they made the wrong choice, and during this time a lot of damage can be made.

  155. It's a cult.
    Entirely different rules.
    It's grounded on angering the 'others': the 'libs'; the 'elitists'.
    As long as the media continues to report that he is succeeding in that department his base with weather the incidental disparagement of them as well.
    Rather than improvement of their own lot, they want company in their misery.

  156. The base has been salivating at having their own blustering, bad-mouthing, bully-in-chief. Their Obama-bashing, Hillary-hating, press-pummeling hero has thus far rode the wave of their discontent.

    However, even "they" have the ability to not want to be entirely conned or verbally abused. The comment about the "dumb Southern accent" of Sessions was an example of "dumb Northerner arrogance" that has to make many of these Trump followers uneasy at best, and mistrustful at worst.

    The Trump boast that "I can shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it" is starting to wear thin. Yes, they love his performance antics combined with the beating up of factions they dislike, but there may be more to them than being a simple cheering section for their hitherto hero-in-chief. We have to hope that they have some more substance and depth than they've demonstrated so far.

  157. Trump's base and Trump himself are two different things, but joined at the core by some deeply immoral evil.

    For Trump supporters, the Slave States of the Confederacy were their shining city on a hill that they lost in 1865. They went on to spread the myth of the Lost Cause and to eventually continue the Civil War s the Culture War.

    For Trump, the ends justify the means, and if being a narcissist is the path to being seen as a rich man, and shady deal making with Putin's Russian Oligarchs is the price to be paid, he will pay it.

    Southerners are don't dumb, but their misty eyed support for the Slave State Confederacy is every bit as evil as Trump.

  158. @UTBG might mention that Trump won with a majority of northern and western states ad well. Interviews of Trump voters in Wisconsin sound exactly like interviews with Trump.voters in Alabama, fear of mexicans, hate of blacks, liberal educated peoole telling them.what to do . A Trump rally in Ohio and one in Geotgia are the same Trump rally. If this poison was just southern , he would not have won , it took the entire country to exhibit this kind of backward thinking

  159. The flip side of a passionate love is a passionate hatred. Just consider the emotional fireworks let loose in any tempestuous, ugly divorce. Trump’s core white supporters, as set forth in this excellent analytical column, can be expected to turn all of their fawning adulation for their plutocratic hero into a furious hostility once they wake up from the fantastic manipulation that the Fake President has falsely created explicitly for them. It will not be pretty. The next question is, where does this voting bloc go from there?

  160. @John Grillo this column isn't the least bit analytical. It's an opportunity for Mr. Egan to vent his disgust for the South, which he knows nothing about.

  161. @John Grillo
    Change "once" to "if ever".

  162. @John Grillo Death from untreated (no money or coverage) heart disease, lung disease, various cancers, toxic poisoning from the factories, suicide, family annihilation, alcoholism, what have you.

  163. "the aging, white, rural and southern people who make up Trump’s base."....

    Mr. Trump got plenty of help from the middle and upper middle class suburbs. You know, the ones with the college age children (formerly known as dependents) and who used to be able to deduct state and local taxes.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2016/11/22/donald-trump-clinton-...

  164. @Charles thank you. This article is nothing more than demonization.

  165. @Charles You're right. The studies since the election have shown that the bulk of his votes came from whites who had the means to be above the working class.

  166. A recent transplant to South Carolina, I'm getting a front row seat to why some of the under-educated poor white diehards don't leave Trump.

    For far too many poor and working class whites of the South, the success of Barak Obama was too much to handle. Not only was a black man in the White House, but Barack Obama empowered southern blacks to believe in better days and brighter futures.

    This new found black empowerment didn't sit well with countless whites. They need their South to rise again so that they can once again feel superior over African Americans and other black populations. Trump gives them this.

    The only thing that could possibly upend the racial undertones that shore up Trump's base is financial. If his supporters get hit with their wallets they might stop backing Trump, but in doing so they would have to turn on a key component of their racial identities to do it. That might be too much for their psyches to handle.

  167. @Sarah What I've been saying since Day 1. People vote with their emotions until their financial situation becomes threatened.

  168. Good column. An unambiguous, full-blown "Lonesome Rhodes" moment would do wonders to seal Trump's fate with his supporters. As a native Southerner, I marvel at how the most ignorant, least well-read president in recent memory can call anyone "dumb." A challenge for White House reporters: Please stump Trump with a question such as, "Do you still think Frederick Douglass is doing an amazing job?" We can watch the hilarity ensue.

  169. Tump feeds his base's emotions, not their stomachs and a large majority of them would rather starve than change course admitting they've been duped.

  170. Tim, Trump's base does not feel insulted by Trump's words, because many of them use the same words to describe the "other", the one who does not look like them, the one who has taken away their jobs. They curse a lot, they swear a lot, they drown their sorrows in opioids.

  171. As long as the liberals and progressives keep promoting silly ideas while those who thought their jobs and way of life was a right, then Trump will keep winning. Democrats, stop supporting and getting press for doing what you think is right for the moment. As a liberal, even I see it as off-putting. And as for not having a dog, maybe he doesn't want to carry the you know what around in a plastic bag.

  172. Trump's Make Americans Hate Again campaign always had a short shelf life with those who were angry with Washington and voted for him. They may be having voter's remorse. However, he will remain popular with many who are just angry as he remains a perfect channel for those who rage against immigrants, minorities, women, and liberals.

  173. Finished Woodward's book last night. Few surprises. But the interaction between Trump, Cohn and Mnuchin on trade issues was disturbing. Trump continually said he wanted to help the American worker who has been hurt by trade. As much as I detest Trump, fighting for blue collar America is a good thing. Dems have been trying to do this for decades and have not succeeded because corporate America and the Republicans have fought it. Cohn and Mnuchin consistently made the point that trade deficits were good. That we have become a service economy. They do not realize, or do not care, that service jobs do not pay the bills; unless you work 3 or 4 of them. This attitude toward blue collar workers, that they should accept service jobs for a poverty income, is the largest part of what put Trump in the WH. There are solutions to this but Trump is too stupid and dysfunctional to find that solution. Democrats have the solution. They need a majority in both houses of Congress to effect that solution.

  174. Nafta was put in place by Clinton. It is the pro-business democrats who have shafted blue collar america.

    Trump has so far succeeded in a political realignment - moving working class white democrats into his camp, while the leaders of big business, especially new big business, have mostly shifted from republican to democrat.

    Trump and Bannon can apparently do math - there are more angry blue collar people in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania than there are ceo's of Google, Apple, and Goldman Sachs in those states.

    The Democrat's offering of race and gender policies, open borders, abolish ICE, etc., while failing to propose anything helpful to blue collar america will not move the needle much in the next election for them.

    "Democrats have the solution. They need a majority in both houses of Congress to effect that solution." What could that be?

  175. Considering how often he's been recorded saying idiotic things off the cuff, I'm hoping that there will be a "Lonesome Rhodes" moment where his "loyalists" can hear with their own ears a recording of what Trump REALLY thinks of them.

    A video with sound would be even better.

  176. Trump was as surprised as anyone that he managed to win the election. But he knew how to pick his Cabinet. And the GOP Congress has played along. Now Trump and his GOP are working diligently to stack the courts. If the Senate doesn’t flip (and it probably won’t), then Mueller could be stymied and who knows how much further Trump could go.

    Still … you cannot afford to turn on your base. Romney had his 47% comment. Hillary had her deplorables. Now Trump has his dumb Southerners.

    The thing Trump does best, aside from lying and conning, is playing to his crowds. So his denigration of Sessions in this way is an unexpected and potentially fatal gaffe.

    Let's look at the current Gallup poll numbers.

    "In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?" (Aug 1-12 2018):

    Republicans: 28%
    Independents: 43%
    Democrats: 27%

    "Donald Trump Job Approval by Party Identification" (Sep 3-9 2018):

    Republicans: 85%
    Independents: 36%
    Democrats: 8%

    While 8% of Democrats support Trump, 15% of Republicans do not. And even though Independents are split roughly 50-50 Republican-Democrat, only 36% support Trump.

    Destroying Obamacare may not be enough to flip Trump loyalists in November. But maybe the “poorly educated” dummies that Trump loves/hates will finally get Trump’s real message and prove not so loyal after all. We can only hope.

  177. @Blue Moon The Dems could easily win by doing nothing more than convincing the imbecile 8% of Democrats who approve of Trump to question why they identify as Democrats at all.

  178. Even using the most generous assumptions, Trump was always going to have run out of things to say by the time he pardoned his first turkey.

    Trump's criminality greatly limits how he views other people, his lack of knowledge and interest in government or global issues prevent any serious or even interesting policy statements, and his disdain for experts who could fill in the gaps means that most of the time no one does. There is no mechanism for generating new and compelling content other than obvious blunders and in-fighting. People have grown tired of both Trump's act and that of the hangers-on who often seem to try to sound just as absurd as the president. Perhaps more damning, people may have come to accept that some of his actions are extremely costly unforced errors that any other president would be unlikely to make - mass detention of children, disruptive tariff wars spread around the world, and, now with recent attention, the worst of the worst - botching the hurricane response in Puerto Rico.

    This administration was on borrowed time from the beginning. Like any reputable bank, the calendar no longer seems to be lending to Trump.

  179. It seems to me you fail to adequately consider that two things elected Trump: 1. A poor Democratic candidate, and 2. A general dissatisfaction with an administration that seemed intent of weakening the US and recasting our country as the root cause of most of the worlds’s problems. It is not that people “liked” Trump as an individual, it is that they did not like the way things were going. The fact Trump is a blowhard does not change these basic facts and I see little indication that these same people wants to go back and less indication they want Nancy P back in a leadership position in the House.

  180. @TW Smith
    Your "two things that elected Trump" are interestinng choices.

    To the contrary, there is evidence
    that Trump was elected due to:
    1. Russian active measures
    2. The corruption of Facebook, now under investigation by the F.B.I., the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission.
    3. Gerrymandering
    4. An Electoral College not honoring its Constitutional oblgations.

    Footnote: HRC, the "poor candidate," won the popular vote by 3,000,000 votes.

  181. @TW Smith, well, you seem to ignore the fact that Hillary received 3 million more votes than Trump. She wasn't a weak candidate, we just have an undemocratic method of selecting president.

  182. @TW Smith, your facts are wrong. The fact is that the GOP, Fox News, and right-wing talk radio relentlessly denounced Obama for "weakening the US and recasting our country as the root cause of most of the worlds’s problems" when he did no such thing. It shows how corrupt your sources of information are.

  183. I would be surprised if anything, anything at all, causes him to lose support from his "base". Yeah, they are base, all right. I bet they don't even read the publications that pass on the news about his disrespectful quotes, and if they do, they don't believe them.

  184. Egan continues the tradition of the cocktail circuit elitists by misinterpreting he motivations of Trump's support base.

    He cannot do otherwise, because ideologues are incapable of introspective self-criticism. They are already 100% certain that they are right and that everyone else is badly misinformed, at best.

    This is fine with the rest of us, who understand that the real reason for Trump's election had to do with the sellout of ordinary citizens by elitists in both parties, and mor important, the fundamental threat that the Progressive left poses to our Constitution and opur nation.

    Trump's administration has returned federalism to its rightful prominence over statism, has reversed many of the unconstitutional overreaches of Obama and his cabal, begun to rationalize the income tax system, begun to restore balance to the federal courts, elevated individual rights over those of the collective, and has begun to eradicate the social engineering of the Progressive left.

    Elitists like Egan can never grasp that Trump supporters have read the Federalist Papers. He thinks they are all stupid, and susceptible to foolish propositions such as the one presented here.

    That's good.

    He and his fellow statist collectivist lefties won't even see it coming, when they get trounced again in November.

  185. @Objectivist
    In Federalist Paper #86, Hamilton asserts that a primary purpose of the Electoral College was assure that the voters had "(made) a good choice and to avoid the election of anyone not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."

  186. @Objectivist I actually laughed out loud at your post

  187. @Objectivist "Trump supporters have read the Federalist Papers." The Donald's faithful that I know don't even know what The Federalist Papers are.

  188. Insulting the "base" is not going to change anything as long as they see Trump demonizing and attacking immigrants, Mexicans,Muslims, and people of color and blaming the them for the poor life situation of the "base.

  189. @Richard

    No, I think if they were convinced he was insulting THEM they would not be amenable to it. His most loyal of loyalists are bigots. It's the reason he got away with the fact that only two newspapers endorsed him in 2016 and one of them was the KKK's official newspaper. (The other one was the National Enquirer.) It's okay for him to insult minorities, but if he insults THEM, and they hear him doing it, he's a goner.

  190. The "dumb southerners" and "hillbillies" felt offended and maligned when Obama said, "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

    But, for some reason - is it that Trump and Obama have different skin tone - when Trump offends and malign them, not just in words, but in deed as well, they flock to him and follow him like lemmings, or should I say, loyal pet dogs.

  191. @chickenlover
    Here comes that LBJ quote again ...

  192. @chickenlover Don't discount this dumb southerner who disdained Trump from the moment I laid eyes on him in 1982.

  193. @chickenlover
    Please point out one item in Obama's comment that is not true. They are a summary of the reasons that Trump won.
    Here's another, more blunt version, from an article in The Atlantic:
    "Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good."

  194. I don't have a solution, but I do have a clue. I don't remember who said this, they were on Bill Maher's panel one night. The panelist said, "what would make his viewers stop watching him". Trump's guiding light is ratings. He remains popular with his reality TV viewing followers, that's his fuel. That's where to strike.

  195. To crack Trump's base you would have to own up to the corruption Judicial Watch and the courts have been uncovering through FOIA requests in the Obama administration--corruption in the Dept of State, the IRS, the DOJ, the FBI, etc.

    You would have to stop trying to use methods that would not hold up in court to fire, dishonor and expel people--methods that disregard due process. The use of anonymous sources, accusations alone, deemed "credible" but not so proven--it all reeks of the very sorts of standards this country was formed to get rid of.

    You would have to convince people that having a strong military creates instead of prevents wars. There is nothing like being unprepared militarily as the Chinese and other potential military adversaries build up their forces on earth and in space.

    You would have to convince the base that unlimited unvetted immigration from all over the world should be our policy, regardless of any deleterious effects it might have on our citizenry, and that the standard for our immigration policy should completely disregard our needs in favor of the needs, desires and goals of aliens. In that regard you would have to convince his base that as supply of labor grows, so do job opportunities for our citizens, as well as wages, when every economic model shows that as labor supply grows, businesses don't have to compete for labor by raising either wages or benefits.

    You would have to show his base how lack of patriotism is a good thing.

  196. @Oxford96 Clearly one would have to convince people to accept facts instead of propaganda and lies which is what most of what you say the base believes, BELIEVES not knows for a fact. You and the base so easily dismiss Trumps offenses and lies and buy into any conspiracy theory put forth by FOX, infowars and Breitbart. If you were consistent and correct in your what-about-isms then you also would hold Trump accountable. By giving Trump a pass you can't be taken seriously.

  197. This is a particularly irritating example of a wingnut sticking to the cynical Karl Rove policy of attacking the opponents' strength. The Obama presidency, while hardly perfect, was spectacular in its lack of financial scandal, corruption, and abuse of public office.

    It was a point of criticism for some that Mr. Obama was so opposed to slopping at the public trough that politicians in both parties saw him as a snob. So -- shrewd wingnuts won't call him a snob, they say he was awash in scandals that are apparently still secret, but being unearthed by diligent GOP operatives brandishing FOIA requests.

    I don't quite get the comment about abusive firing -- don't we now have a President whose reputation is built on firing people abruptly, and whose administration's revolving door has to be treated with WD-40 to keep it from wearing out?

    And then this writer cites anonymous sources (that terrible Woodward book!) and a belief in unfettered immigration as further sins of the Left that render us powerless to shake the "Trump base." Well, Mr. Woodward is NOT a Democrat operative (ask Bill Clinton!) and Mr. Obama was responsible for deportations on a scale much higher than his predecessor. Perhaps you'd fault him for not wanting ICE to traumatize immigrant children.

    The weakest part of your response was that you didn't even really address any of Mr. Egan's points. I'll give you this: those right wing talking points are still working.

    For now.

  198. @Oxford96

    Apparently you have not noticed all the men who have been accused but not convicted of "unwanted touching" years--sometimes decades--ago, not convicted except i a the court of Democrat public opinion, losing their jobs based on allegations alone.

    Someone just lost his job after 36 years for telling an employee not not to say anything about him she could not independently verify--a standard to which Woodward and Bernstein were held by their editors, by the way, when they wrote the story of the break- in to Democratic campaign headquarters.

  199. Dear Trump voters,

    My son is a professional athlete. Trump's tax cuts put an additional $740,000 tax-free dollars into his pocket this year alone and in doing so raised the national debt an additional 1.5 trillion dollars.

    Who is going to pay that bill? Neither my son nor his children. By the time the bill comes due he will be retired and the vast amount of his income will come from dividends and capital gains which we know are taxed at a lower rate than income is.

    Your children will pay for it.

    My family thanks you. Keep voting first and asking questions later. I can't wait to see what "Incompetents Rex" does for me and my kid next.

    If you progeny ever figures out why they are in such dire straits, it will make for a very interesting Thanksgiving dinner. Don't invite me. I'll be busy teaching my granddaughter how to down-shift her Ferrari.

  200. @Crazy Me since it is obvious that your granddaughter really needs that Ferrari to feel good about herself. So there is no reason for your son to stand up and say anything about not needing this or future tax cuts.

  201. Perhaps the trump presidency is another example of the failure of top-down change. The entire political apparatus underlying the republican party is for all practical purposes the same as it was before...think McConnell et al here. The change that desperate trump voters had hoped for has not come. But, there is hope on the horizon. It takes the form of bottom-up change as the amazing wave of true progressives succeeds in unseating entrenched incumbents. I look forward to seeing how bottom-up change fares relative to the top-down route we are currently living through.

  202. @PJM

    The top-down power structure of the Repugnant Party keeps all members in control, in lockstep. By contrast, the Democratic Party, representing a vast cross-section of the nation, consists of many races, cultures, religions, and levels of economic status. Ours is a bottom-up organization. That's how you represent the American People. Unfortunately, it can also feel like herding cats.
    But we work to build consensus through understanding, empathy and compassion, not to be measured by how well the investor class is doing.

  203. To admit that a closely-held belief turned out to be wrong is exceptionally difficult, and that's why it is rarely done.

  204. "We’ll soon be running a trillion-dollar deficit, up 32 percent this fiscal year, thanks to the tax cut. Wasn’t this the sort of thing that roused Tea Party opposition to President Obama — crippling our children with a legacy of debt?"

    Mr. Obama was not the source of those trillions in debt. They resulted from the Bush tax cut, the wars, and a faulty Medicare Part D.. Mr. Obama simply put spending that had been kept off the books (for obvious reasons) back on the books where it belonged. The Tea Party embraced the lies about that debt, and that is what drove their movement. There is no way to run up trillions in debt with a stimulus package less than a trillion dollars and a health care plan that kept the economy from crashing.

  205. @Francine Ironically, Obama inherited an economy from Bush where we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, the unemployment rate was well over 10%, and the annual deficit was 10% of GDP. Despite everything cynical Republicans could do to thwart ANYTHING Obama did, he left Trump with an annual deficit that was 5% of GDP, halving it in 8 years. He had steadily decreasing job losses his first year, and steadily falling unemployment rates for the next 7 years, ending up in the mid-to-low 4% range. Trump, who has criticized Obama's economy even as he tries to take credit for the longest running positive economy in at least modern times, has lowered the jobless figures ("fake numbers" he called them while Obama was still in office), but his largess to the billionaires, corporate executives, and the military has shot the deficit up almost to the record set in WW II (25% of GDP). Even the Congressional Budget Committee is predicting Trump's wild spending on the rich elite will surpass the deficits of WW II next year. And, he is not even fighting Fascism, but embracing it.

  206. Who, when & where will the truth about Trump’s tax cuts be broadcast- especially in midterm debates?
    As Florence & gas explosions highlight the importance of good government & infrastructure investment- voters can wake up to this truth right now.

  207. Can I say this? My elderly parents grew uncharacteristically surly feasting on a daily diet of Fox News. But Trump disgusts them. That meant switching off Fox because that's his center stage. It took awhile, but joy and laughter has returned to my parents' home.

  208. Your comment is spot on. For the last few years of her life, my mother had a steady diet of Fox News. It clearly made her hateful and angry. When we could get her to skip Fox and stick to Animal Planet or HGTV her mood always improved. I believe Fox robbed a vulnerable person of some of her last good times, even if she was a willing victim.

  209. @Jimmy McLemore Best news of the day. I hope the word spreads that people can make themselves happier just by switching off Fox. And probably all cable news.

    My elderly mom has an unfortunate addiction to CNN, and while she's probably getting better information than your parents got from Fox, 24-hour submersion isn't good no matter where it comes from.

    It seems obvious, but we might make the lives of a lot of older people better by making it easier for them to read books and newspapers and by expanding their social outlets. We might also ween them from Fox.

    Cable news is a sugar high--it goes down easy but, in the long run, makes you feel bad.

  210. @Jimmy McLemore The most encouraging comment of the day!

  211. Haven't heard from the Tea Party lately, have we? Remember how obsessed they were with the deficit; during the Obama administration. Amazing both how quickly they changed their tune now that the deficit is financing Republican priorities (rich people/corporations) instead of Democratic ones. It would be nice if the media were to stick a microphone in one of their faces and ask them about it, but that is asking too much.

  212. Excellent assessment, Mr. Egan, but also a column filled with speculation and hope that the Trump base will awaken. We have two months to get to that point and we know that our misguided leader will do a great deal to encourage them to turn away . . . if only they awaken.

  213. Patterns of reaction and non-reaction to Trump's contemptuous remarks about Southerners and hillbillies should highlight a fact which political analysts point out to us every once in a while: that a substantial portion of Donald Trump's base does not fit the stereotype of rural Southern, Appalachian, or Heartland American. It's not even working-class. It consists of people who probably don't care what Southerners are called as long as they get their tax cut.

    Of course, Trump and his cohort can ill afford to lose any part of the base, considering that it's already a distinct minority of the electorate -- even, I would venture to say, after voter suppression.

  214. Being a con man necessitates despising those who are ignorant enough to fall for your con. The dynamic of the con is that those being conned can never admit to it as it would validate their worst fears. Not only did their ignorance allow them to be lied to and cheated, but that the con man always saw them as such. It allows the whole relationship to continue until such time as the pain of the real nature of that relationship becomes greater than the reward of protecting one’s ego. For some that day may never come.

  215. @Eric

    very insightful!

  216. @Eric
    You mean like - if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor?

  217. @Eric

    Agreed. See also The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the way the Duke and the Dauphin played The Royal Nonesuch.

  218. I suspect that the election results -- in 2018 and 2020 -- will prove you wrong, Tim. But meanwhile, keep telling yourself that there's no need for Progressives to change their elitist approaches to politics an culture, and that the only people who need to change are those you deprecate as the Deplorables. If I were you, Tim, I wouldn't be so sure that your arc of history is even an arc, much less bending in the Progressive direction.

  219. "They’ll stay with him only so long as they allow themselves to be easy marks for the insulting con of this presidency."
    So true; but nothing new.
    The 250th anniversary of the founding of this nation is fast-approaching. Yet, he were are with over 200 years of ample proof that citizenship and qualifying age alone make a mockery of the "right" to vote. A passing grade in just a ten-question civics test at the top of the ballot in order to be counted deserves attention.

  220. Mr. Egan should more carefully choose his words. Comparing Trump supporters to "Dogs" smacks of disdain for 63 million Americans who participated in a democratic election.

  221. Being a con man necessitates despising those who are ignorant enough to fall for your con. It seems to be the dynamic of the con is that those being conned can never admit it as it would validate their worst fears. Not only did their ignorance allow them to be lied to and cheated, but that the con man always saw them as such. It allows the whole relationship to continue until such time as the pain of the real nature of that relationship becomes greater than the reward of protecting one’s ego. For some that day may never come.

  222. It's one thing for a person to realize that they have made a mistake, it's another thing to admit it.

  223. Great....THEY deserve it because they voted for him and continue to love him. It's the rest of us who are the collateral damage that I feel bad for.

  224. Far easier than flipping Trump supporters should be getting his opponents to actually vote. So why isn’t it? If you dislike Trump but don’t plan to vote for a check on him, please help me understand why.

  225. The true cultists who adore Trump are more than willing to go down with the ship no matter what he says, tweets or does. He is giving them (with the help of a complicit GOP Congress) the chaos they voted for in addition to the Supreme Court. The question becomes how much chaos can American democracy endure before we come apart at the seams? Maybe a few more months, or maybe two years but certainly not six years. What will the lunatic in the Oval Office do today?

  226. Considering Trump's recorded on-camera insults have indirectly hit parts of his base without diminishing their polled support, these unrecorded insults are likely to be merely another smoking Fifth Ave gun.