The appeal of Donald Trump to Republicans remains baffling.
He’s leading in the early primary polls in a party that opposes socialized healthcare, despite praising socialized healthcare in the first debate. He’s a classless bully winning supporters who once called Obama a classless bully. He’s a billionaire who brags about using his ties to politicians to enrich himself who is hailed as a populist man of the people.
In order to try to understand why Trump supporters support Trump, I look to Trump’s PR outlet, Breitbart. It’s a website that, when a Buzzfeed journalist wrote an article that portrayed Trump honestly (and thus somewhat negatively), wrote a long article reciting Trump’s one-sided attack on the reporter, McKay Coppins.
The article by famous Breitbart writer Matthew Boyle attacks Coppins for allegedly doing things that Trump’s supporters cheer Trump for doing. Case in point:
Trump himself said Coppins is a “scumbag,” recalling that at his Florida resort, Coppins said he wished his wife looked like two beautiful women who had just walked by.
We know it is terrible to compliment women on their looks, since Trump is so politically correct.
But Trump himself complimented his own daughter on her looks in a creepy way:
“Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father …”
Of course he also attacked his opponent Carly Fiorina for her looks:
“Look at that face!” he cries. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!”
So we know that Trump and his supporters have no problem with men either complimenting or demeaning women for their looks. In the first debate, Trump famously defended his claims that various women were “fat” or “pigs,” calling it politically correct to keep one’s attacks on women focused on substantial reasons–and then he went on to attack moderator Megyn Kelly for having “blood coming out of her whatever.”
Breitbart’s John Nolte, who ranks Trump among his top five favorite candidates and has written positive things about Trump, thought it was “classless” when the Obama campaign released an Tumblr image extolling women to “Vote like your lady parts depend on it.”
So what did Nolte think when Trump referred to Kelly’s lady parts in a much more vulgar way?
Nolte has been supporting Trump and forwarding his attacks on Kelly since the debate:
If anything, debate co-moderator Megyn Kelly is taking on the most damaging post-debate water.
By fearlessly and relentlessly going after a very powerful journalist who works at a very powerful network who he believes treated him unfairly, Trump is sending a painfully obvious message to the rest of the mainstream media: If you don’t treat me fairly you will pay a price.
So we know from this that Nolte has no problem with a politician viciously attacking reporters–particularly female reporters and Fox News. So what did he write when President Obama attacked Fox News?
He doesn’t see the opposition as loyal, but as bad players — his enemy. This is especially true of Fox News, which Obama ripped as anti-poor bigots during a Wednesday afternoon summit on poverty.
We’re used to this Obama, the forever-partisan who has never seen himself as president of all the people but only of those who worship him.
Yes, because who would support a demagogue whose followers worship him? Can anyone think of any presidential candidate like that???
Well, Obama is a narcissist with “creepy, narcissistic cult of personality merchandise” on his campaign site, per Nolte. In fact, Nolte even “violate[s] [the] U.S. flag code.”
If this were Mitt Romney putting his “R” logo in place of our stripes, the media would be in Armageddon mode right now over how egotistical the move is and how incompetent any campaign must be to sell something that so clearly violates the flag code of the United States.
I can only try to imagine the media hyperventilating over a campaign promo in the form of a flag. Why? Because it would probably never happen. Nolte and some other conservatives seemed to be the only ones outraged when a particular candidate did that. In a kind of reverse phenomenon, Scott Walker introduced the flag into his logo, and clearly and rightly didn’t get any flack for that. (He did get some flack from a company that thinks he copied their logo.)
The “imagine if a Republican did this” argument is a lazy one used too often by conservatives, because it lets the writer get off the hook from actually analyzing the issue at hand and instead analyzing imagined media bias that didn’t happen. One could look at an actual example that did happen and see if there was proportionate outrage.
For example, if a Republican candidate like Donald Trump put his own face into a portrayal of the American flag (along with Nazi troops), would John Nolte be just as outraged as he was by Obama?
Well, Nolte didn’t appear to write an article either way about that, which does indicate he wasn’t outraged enough when Trump did it to write an article but was outraged when Obama used the flag for his own promotion.
What does Nolte think about vicious, demeaning and mean-spirited comments meant to humiliate their targets? Well, he attacked Obama in 2012 for releasing “a vicious, demeaning, and mean-spirited ad meant to humiliate its target.”
Would calling people “losers,” “scumbags,” “pigs,” people who are bleeding from “wherever,” “loser and a village idiot” (about a farmer in Scotland standing in the way of Trump’s golf course development), a “dummy,” or “a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants” be considered “vicious, demeaning and mean-spirited” comments “meant to humiliate their targets”?
I have created this table to help summarize what is classy and what isn’t:
|Obama selling a campaign promo that uses Obama’s logo in the American flag.||Trump tweeting an image of the American flag with his face in it and Nazi soldiers.|
|Obama issuing an image that says, “Vote like your lady parts depend on it.”||Trump stating that Megyn Kelly was “bleeding from her eyes … bleeding from whereever.”|
|Obama selling a tee shirt that says, “Healthcare reform is still a BFD” [big fucking deal].||Anything Trump says.|
|Obama “disses” Vegas.||Trump says, “Atlantic City is a disaster.”|
|Vegas tourist industry gets subsidies, benefits from government.||Trump brags about how he contributes to politicians to get “something from them,” supports the government using eminent domain for his own private economic development, got a widow’s house bulldozed to build his own parking garage, and tried to get the government to prevent others from opening competing casinos.|
|Obama’s spokesman tells Fox News reporter not to take it personally when Obama attacks Fox News.||Trump attacks Fox News, retweets their reporter being called a “bimbo,” calls conservative columnists “a dummy” and someone “who can’t buy a pair of pants”, among other things.|
|Politico writes an article about a major Romney donor.||Breitbart writes an article about a small-scale Obama donor.|
|Obama builds a cult-like following with catchy slogans and little substance.||Trump builds a cult-like following with catchy slogans and little substance.|
Being that Trump shares (and to a worse degree) many of the problems Trump’s supporters have with Obama, I wonder why they support Trump? What is it about Trump that makes him different from Obama?