Five Foundations of Trump Support

Bob Gorrell, a popular syndicated editorial cartoonist, has deftly summarized five key symbols of Trump’s enduring loyalty among a great many voters for whom his questionable behavior can be easily overlooked.
  • The stock market hitting historic highs
  • Unemployment among all groups at record levels
  • America now energy independent and exporting oil and gas
  • Tax cuts and deregulation increase productivity
  • Isis caliphate defeated and its leader dead
They can’t comprehend how, in the face of such heartening good news, Democrats think he should be impeached.  Obviously, Democrats are out of touch with reality and the voting public.

Have Trump supporters built their case on solid rock?

The stock market has been bouncing around its high water mark, holding steady, if one smooths out its wild gyrations.  But it isn’t going anywhere, and hasn’t for the last two years.  To be fair, the Dow rose about 700 points during Trump’s first year in office.  But market indexes are not economic indexes.  As popular as they are, daily reporting on their ups and downs is an odd ball reflection of political winds, economic data, computer algorithms, emotional hiccups, historical trends, and quarterly earnings reports that aren’t always connected to sales and productivity.  What it all means to the average voter is an entertaining mystery.

Unemployment is at an all time low, and that’s good news to be celebrated.  Once more, it’s not a trend that accelerated under Trump, but an extension of one long underway.  As is widely known and felt, much employment is low pay, part time and without benefits.  Making enough to afford a decent lifestyle has not got easier for a great many.  Bold promises of revitalized heavy industrial and coal mining jobs have never materialized.

The U.S. has become an exporter of gas and oil, but it’s not energy independent.  It’s a dramatic change from previous decades, yet for multiple reasons it still imports between 5 and 6 million barrels of oil per day, simultaneously exporting bit more, mostly to Canada and Mexico.  In like manner, we continue to import gas, mostly from Canada and Mexico, even as we have become a net exporter of gas, mostly to Mexico.  It’s a world wide commodities market of buying and selling, trying to make a profit on the spread while fulfilling each nation’s need for fuel.  What Trump supporters are willing to overlook is environmental damage being done now, and extending into the foreseeable future.  No one expects us to eliminate fossil fuels.  We depend on them for too much, but we can become less dependent, and do less damage to the environment in the process.  As an aside, the term ‘environment’ often conjures up something somewhere else abstractly related to nature.  What it really means is human well being in the places where humans live, as well as the surrounding world of nature making up the whole of the world’s existence.

The tax cut legislation continues to be touted as a great victory, even as it’s been revealed as a total bust.  Most benefits accrued to large corporations and the very wealthy.  It produced no new investment, did little to help raise low end incomes, and did not stimulate the economy to greater growth.  Productivity took a nosedive in 2016, recovered in 2017, and has dribbled along since then, dipping a little in recent periods (which may not signify anything).  The point is, productivity hasn’t shown any trend that can be associated with tax cuts or deregulation.  Which brings up another question: Deregulation of what?  Of things protecting human health and safety? 

Indeed, the caliphate is gone, and its most recent leader killed.  Isis is not gone, and like many polycentric groups, new leaders will arise with revenge in their hearts.  Would that it were not so, but it’s the nature of terroristic movements motivated by religious fervor.  It should not go unnoticed that the very people and institutions Trump has blasphemed are responsible for this hard and dangerous work.

It adds up to Trump loyalist convictions anchored in the shifting sand of factually true events given meaning they can’t bear, and credit to Trump for achievements that aren’t his.  They dismiss his immoral and criminal actions as behavioral shortcomings no worse than any others.  They deny the damage his trade negotiations and international policy blundering have done to American honor and credibility.  They cannot see his ignorance and incompetence.  They remain steadfastly blind to his betrayal of the Constitution.  To them, he is a political savior defending American pride, and they cannot be shaken of their convictions.

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