I get the idea of lauding Trump because of some of the things that he achieves that are aligned with one’s ideological beliefs, but being nuanced enough to state that Trump himself is deeply flawed. Not enough people do this; not enough Trump supporters are honest with themselves.
However, too many Trump supporters are so dedicated to Trump and his support that they overlook or even praise the bizarre or immoral behaviour he exhibits. I have previously talked about this a fair amount:
The American electorate are surprisingly fickle and forgiving; they will allow the many transgressions that Trump commits in favour of the fact that one or two of his decisions or ideals go their way. We, as liberals, often portray and label Trump’s support base as racist and bigoted. However, the Cato Institute recently carried out some research that split Trump’s supporters into five groups. Only one of those groups (American Preservationists) was deemed “to be generally hostile to racial and ethnic minorities per se” [Olsen’s words]. In this sense, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of Trump’s supporters.
Whilst on that research, from the libertarian institute, it looks to be wrong to tar all their supporters with one simplistic brush. I think we can safely say that, as mentioned before, they are very forgiving. Perhaps another way of putting this is hypocritical, as mentioned previously with regard to certain moral issues. It is a case of very selective cherry-picking of what Trump stands for and of what he does.
Another thing that is most probably at play is the notion that Trump’s supporters do understand the moral transgressions and do disapprove, and this might include some of the policy decisions that Trump makes, but that they simply can never bring themselves to vote Democrat. This is the nature of the polarised political landscape that we now live in. You are simply one team or the other. There is no in between. It’s rather like supporting a sports team. Take Manchester United and Manchester City in English Premiership football; whilst one team might have a bad manager and poor players at any one time, it’s not as if you stop following the team on account of a poor run of personnel. You will always support one team or the other, no matter the highs or lows. I think it is this kind of tribalism that now represents politics in the US, and to a growing degree, elsewhere, such as in the UK.
We now have Trump, at a rally, celebrating Greg Gianforte, the Montana Congressman who body-slammed and punched a Guardian journalist. The reaction of the crowd here is equally as bad.
There is something about Trump’s complete lack of reading of the context. A Bulgarian journalist has just been raped and murdered. A Saudi journalist, a US resident working for a US newspaper, has just been murdered by the Saudis, and his body cut into pieces, his head dismembered (by the order, it seems, of the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman). Trump is awaiting an investigation, and in the same breath, he is celebrating physical violence against the press, arguably in violation of the First Amendment.
I’m not going to be nuanced here: Trump is a dick of the highest order. But the fact that his immoral behaviour pleases so many of his supporters, or that they can dismiss it so easily, is really very troubling.
In a statement, the Guardian US editor, John Mulholland, said: “The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the first amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.
“In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.” [source]
Every time I think about what is good and right for the world’s most powerful country and the world’s most powerful leader to do, Trump and his administration do the exact opposite. They are a moral black hole, and his supporters are enablers of the worst sort. The man has mocked disabled people, victims of assault and sexual assault, has supported sexual assault (pussy grabbing), been accused by 22 women of sexual assault, been involved in suspect tax schemes, has ties to Russia, is casually and overtly racist, and has a list of further moral misdemeanours as long as my arm.
I would dearly like a Trump supporter to come on here and defend from in a robust and moral fashion. I would just like to see the mental contortions in gerrymandering that would take place.