There are just some things of which the President’s not capable…
It’s easy to say all Trump cares about anymore is winning re-election. Even if it’s just to “win”. And it is true. So between now and Election Day he’s just going to do whatever his gut tells him will give him the best shot.
And forget about polls right now, most of which show Biden with a widening lead. Pollsters are going to poll. It’s way too early for polls to mean very much of anything.
Also, we think it could go either way this time on people “secretly” voting for a candidate they’d never publicly admit to supporting:
- We can still see some people out there who’d never admit to a pollster they’re voting for Trump, but then do. That’s what happened in 2016. We can see that happening again if white people—who would probably say they’re not racist—feel something like this comment we lifted off our Twitter feed: “People were locked in their homes for 3 months, now they’re further locked in their homes”. Trump’s already exploiting that line of thinking, Tweeting Democrats are promoting “Crime, especially against you and your family”. In fact, these are the only voices he heeds. He’s not even pretending anymore.
- We can also see some people out there who’ll never admit to a pollster they’re voting for Biden, but then do. If they’re surrounded by rabid Trump supporters but believe deep down “this is just too much, this is just too crazy, this isn’t hyper-America, it isn’t America at all”. That was a factor we didn’t see last time, but we think is at least a possibility this time. Where everything that’s happened involving the President this year evinces the need for change.
Neither of those things, if we’re right about them, are going to show up on polls.
So with that in the background, let’s get back to the thesis that we see a lot of people promoting on Twitter and elsewhere these days that Trump’s just gonna do whatever he feels gives him the best chance of getting re-elected.
Because the President does look at polls. A lot. But often concludes polls are wrong if he does something he thinks will give him great advantage, yet loses ground in polls. Who’s to say he’s not right? He was last time.
That kind of thinking on the President’s part is very much in evidence in an interview he gave this week to his former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who now works for Newsmax.
Spicer oh-so-gingerly asks the President:
“Do you think that right now the nation needs you to express…comfort and healing that some people need to heal?”
Trump, without hesitation, answers:
“Right now, I think, the nation needs law and order because you have a bad group of people out there and they’re using George Floyd and they’re using a lot of other people to try and do some bad things. And what we do and I — we have it totally under control.”
Only after a super-angry rant about “super-liberal” mayors including, again the mayor of “Mindianapolis”, does the President finally consider the original question for a moment, then says:
“So yeah, we need healing but we also need strength and we need toughness and we need law and order. We need it all. But we do need healing.”
Here’s a link to the clip on YouTube if you want to watch it.
That presents an interesting “what if”? What if Trump’s polling suggests to him the American public doesn’t support his “I am the President of law and order” stance that much, and suggests people would react better to some expression of unity? If all the President is trying to do is get re-elected and his polls show him he needs to maybe temper his message and methods to increase his chances, would he?
Of course not! Because—as shown in the exchange above—he can’t. Trump, who’s loyal to no one, is incredibly loyal to his furious base. At least sort of: because he does a lot of things that directly damage his base. But they still love him. Secondly, he’s not going to suddenly become empathic or even pretend to be, even if he’s shown data suggesting it would increase his chances. Because he just can’t. It’s not in him.
So he’ll discard those polls as wrong, and instead decide that what’s wrong is divisions aren’t deep enough. There needs to be an even higher, bigger fence around the White House. Whether it’s figurative, or literal like the one we’ve seen going up in the last couple of days. Or perhaps there needs to be a defense secretary who doesn’t blink at ordering American active duty troops to occupy America.
Because rage—in a lot of cases coupled with hatred—is what drove Trump over the top last time, so he’s always gonna believe that’s the way to go. Compassion, empathy, togetherness, as campaign tactics even though they’ve worked for Republican before: “compassionate Conservative”, “thousand points of light”, “a shining city on a hill”, are to Trump, fallacy.