Who are Trump's Remaining Allies?

As the presidential campaign approaches the finish line, it seems a good time to take stock of what remains. For Donald Trump, the despised titular head now of the Republican Party, there remain over 40% of the electorate still planning to vote for him. That's about 64,000,000 potential voters.

But if we look at traditional institutions that might align with one candidate or the other, the picture is bleak, particularly since his burn-the-house-down antics of the past week. Here's the current situation, as best I can fathom.

Former Presidents: There are two former GOP presidents and neither supports their party's candidate.

Republican Party: Republican voters may still support him, but the party establishment is unenthused. Some have openly disavowed him (Romney, Kasich, Graham) and others have flip-flopped, some several times since the Convention in July. Neither the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) nor the Senate Majority Leader (Mitch McConnell) will speak or campaign for him. In fact, hundreds of prominent GOP leaders -- including six of the last seven GOP nominees since 1988 (exception being Bob Dole) -- have publicly opposed his candidacy.

Top Donors to Republicans: Charles and David Koch have diverted their substantial donations down ballot. Many others have asked the GOP to replace Trump.

Major Daily Newspapers: Not a single major newspaper in the country has endorsed Mr. Trump for president, including many that have never before endorsed a Democrat, such as the largest papers in Texas, Arizona and Utah. Then this weekend, two small daily papers became the first. Compare that to 147 for Secretary Clinton, only 53 of which endorsed President Obama in 2012.

CEOs of Large Corporations: Though businesses cannot directly contribute to political campaigns, an examination of the Fortune 100 CEOs in September showed not a single one donating to Trump's campaign, though a full third of them donated to Romney. Clinton however has doubled the support Obama received from top CEOs.

Veterans: In the wake of his attacks on Senator John McCain's service, on the gold star Khan family, then his dismissal of generals, his shady alliance with Vladimir Putin and his insult to veterans suffering from PTSD, Mr. Trump may well be the first Republican nominee NOT favored by military veterans. In a September poll, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson ("what's Aleppo?") emerges as the clear favorite.

So Mr. Trump cannot count on his party, major donors, the media, his peers in big business, nor the GOP's most loyal constituency for support. That leaves what entities in his court?

The Right-Wing Media: Breitbart News, Fox News, Alex Jones and others stand by Mr. Trump, enthusiastically defending each new controversial development.

White Nationalists: Support from the KKK's David Duke, The Daily Stormer, The Traditionalist Workers Party and the rest of the white nationalist/supremacist groups is unyielding.

Rural America: Among (white) rural Americans, Trump leads Clinton by a large margin, particularly among those with no college education. This is his vital constituency.
Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin: Trump's best allies seem to be in the Russia-to-Wikileaks pipeline, dredging any possible digital thefts from Secretary Clinton's advisors and allies to uncover whatever nefarious bits they can harvest.

So what do you do if all the traditional sources of support turn against you? You charge them with corruption, claim the process is rigged, and fire up those still on your side. The downfall of this strategy is obvious though. We end up, post-election, with a weakened democracy as a large segment of the (often heavily armed) population disavows the outcome and threatens violence.

This is where we are.


  1. Who supports Trump: a great many voters. Fox, AM talk radio have listeners. Hillary Clinton says that women, blacks, Hispanics, gays and other groups are disadvantaged by unacknowledged prejudices that are out there in the public. Trump is exploiting them. The upper middle class prosperous males I have visited with sometimes acknowledge discomfort with "political correctness". It is a bit like the developmental work of learning careful table manners or the courtesy of lifting up the toilet seat and then lowering it back. They observe the civilizing pressure to break an older habit of discourtesy. Trump is exploiting that feeling as well. Plus Republican and GOP are 150 year old brands. Brands mean something. Put all that together--add in some hate-Hillary habituation--and you have a majority of American voters. That is where we are. But wait, there is one more thing: Trump says and does outrageous things so a few of those resentful whites--especially women--and a few of those men breaking old habits and some of those brand loyalists peel off from support for Trump and that brings him down from a majority to a minority.

    And That is where we are. No, there is one more thing. The Trump supporters feel stronger about their resentments than the non-Trump and pro-Hillary people feel about electing Hillary. Trump voices strong emotional arguments and Hillary presents a future of incremental progressive struggle. So where we really are is that we have a Trump majority, eroded into a motivated minority, facing an election which takes place among the people motivated to vote and not turned off by the whole thing, which re-advantages Trump after all, and it means that among likely voters Trump has reliably red-brand states plus hair's breadth elections in enough swing states to win. And THAT is where we are, or will be on election day. Peter Sage, in Medford, Oregon www.peterwsage.blogspot.com Attending political events and observing from up close.


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