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.38 Special

The polls are coming in thick and heavy. 49% of polled Americans favor impeachment plus removal from office. (Depending on poll, see fivethirtyeight for consensus polling).

The number that should surprise no one is the percent of Trump’s faithful who are sticking with him no matter what. That magic number is 38%.

Bob Altemeyer at the University of Manitoba wrote a book called The Authoritarians about 12 years ago about this number. His book was a review of studies on authoritarian followers. Altemeyer probably saw Trump from a mile away and now that he’s here, he has profiled his followers.

As other authoritarian followers, they tend to rely on the views of others and consensus reality to form their opinions. They haven’t spent a lot of time listening to alternate points of view. They’re poor analysts. They tend to be religious, both in terms of church and thought. They can be indoctrinated. They tend to trust liars too easily if the liar supports their views.

It would be a mistake to characterize them as stupid. It’s more a matter of how they have been shaped to see the world.

There’s more insight from Altemeyer on Trump’s supporters but the bottom line is that his support will be stuck at 38% for a long time. These people are stubborn and Trump plays them constantly.

We know from other studies that authoritarian followers and conservative brains are wired differently. They have more sensitive hippocampuses and amygdala. They’re more likely to vote for strong guys who promise to protect them. This support may crumble if their mortality is threatened but they’ll probably end up looking for someone even more tyrannical.

That might be why Republican politicians are so afraid of primaries. And they should be afraid. They have gerrymandered so many districts that only a Republican can win. If only a Republican can win a district, wouldn’t that likely result in more extreme forms of Republicanism? After all, to tack to the center would look like socialism in a deep red district. So, a Republican rep in a safe district or senator in a red state will need to toe a pretty hard line to prevent someone even crazier from dislodging them.

(There’s a certain degree of cowardice here as well but I digress)

I heard this morning that Nixon’s support stayed pretty steady too until the last couple months when it plunged into the 20s. I don’t expect that to happen this time around. Back in 1974, we didn’t have Fox News. Fox will reflect opinions and views right back to the authoritarian follower. Fox doesn’t feel obligated to be truthful. It’s not really “news” in the traditional sense. It’s more of feeding tube. As long as the authoritarian follower watches Fox and associates with other Fox watchers, that 38% will barely budge.

It will take some major news event to jostle them.

So, how do you proceed to impeach and remove from office the most destructive president in history when his base stubbornly refuses to yield to facts and evidence that they are unlikely to see or believe?

It’s uncharted territory, I think, unless there are recent historical examples. I can’t think of any but I am not a historian.

I’m going to put my faith in our good old American ingenuity. We know what the parameters are. We know what the objective is. Maybe all that is required is a gigantic push of energy into the system. A blitzkrieg is what we need.

Or we could continue to watch Donald unravel. Even the Fox News viewers might watch that.

15 Responses

  1. Yeah, I have attempted to debate some of them online, and they are literally unmoved by any argument…or any fact presented to them.
    Even more unnerving is the thought…if you do manage to dislodge Trump from office, how do his irrational and easily threatened followers react?

    • It would be nice if we could ignore them. But we can’t.
      One thing to look forward to: they’re easily persuaded by the opinions of others. So if a candidate becomes REALLY popular, there’s a possibility that we may see some defections.
      They don’t like losers.

      • So, we can sway them if we propose ideas that can make their lives better and those ideas become popular. We may be able to do that….

      • They really don’t like losers and that is why I have been saying the GOP has to be repeatedly beat at the polls until their voters understand what the majority of Americans think of them.

  2. Trump is in downward trajectory mode. This is not going to resolve in a positive, or neutral, scenario.
    Trump owes many, many debts to nefarious entities. Our country will pay the price of Trump’s grasping greed for a long time.
    But, Trump will be gone, he has no fortitude, nor strength of character, to outlast that which waits him.

  3. I should have put a comma between greed and for.

    • Yeah, that’s one of the many defects of TurdPress; you can’t correct your mistakes unless you notice them before you post. 😡

  4. Joe Cannon, Ascended Madoka bless him, sometimes goes off the rails, but I think he makes sense this time.

    A Mega-Theory of the Trump Era


  5. IBW, you have given me some hope for the future. I have been thinking (nah, dreaming) that very soon someone is going to leak or stumble upon proof that the 2016 election was rigged by both the Russians and the GOP to put trump in the WH and that he is illegitimate. Nothing in the Constitution will help resolve this, there is no precedent other than the SC deciding an election for Bush in 2000. Either the SC makes Hillary whole and she is Prez from 2020 to 2024 or we have a referendum, a national yes or no vote on whether Hillary should be Prez in 2020 by virtue of what happened in 2016. The latter option would be very pricey and contentious so let’s say it is the former (I have the tin foil hat after all). The SC vote is taken without Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, they have both been voided. Hillary is declared the winner if for no other reason than trump defrauding the American people and there is no reason to question the votes she received in 2016. Hillary will then by virtue of her reputation and alliances work to roll back all that the evil doers have done if our allies and other parties agree to reinstate all agreements in effect before trump squatted and defecated in the Oval. Turkey gets kicked out of NATO. What’s left of the poor Kurds will get all the aid they need from us to fight Assad and ISIS. Putin will get pushed out of Ukraine and with luck out of Russia. Hillary picks two SC Justices and RBG can finally step down and live her life in peace which will allow Hillary to pick a third Justice. Hopefully, criminal charges can be brought against a whole slew of people including McConnell. We need a big broom, lots of disinfectant and rat traps if this country ever hopes to live up to its expectations.

  6. He seems to have lost Drudge. He’s lost at least some of the FOX commentators. Some Republican congresscritters and senators seem to acquiring a bit of a spine, as well. Things are not looking good for the Orange Man. I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to count on that 38%,

  7. A blitzkrieg is what is happening right now every day if you haven’t noticed. Everyday the story gets worse and worse for Trump. It is like the dam has broken and every awful thing the GOP and Trump have done since January 2017 is being vomited out of the IC and the state department and practically every other institution in DC.

  8. Re historical precedents. I rather suspect that the former Confederate states would have protected Andrew Johnson and made impeachment much more difficult, had they been re-admitted to the Union in 1868.

    Given that Johnson was all about undoing the Civil War and re-establishing white supremacy (which was the true subtext of his impeachment, even though the main count was his violation of the Tenure of Office Act) it would have been much harder to impeach him if those states had been represented as they are today or as they had been in 1860. And his acquittal would have been a foregone conclusion, rather than coming down as it did to the one vote of Kansas Senator Edmund Ross.

    Lunatic red states have punched above their weight throughout our history. The much maligned and more recently appreciated Grant Administration was a wonderful example, in some ways, of what our government could be if these states had no say in how the nation does its business (sigh).

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