It’s difficult to know how much of Trump’s recent misery in the polls represents legitimate deterioration of support, and how much is simply the manipulations of a media that has become feral in its loathing. Though given the utter trouncing of his pilotfish in Wisconsin’s Paul Nehlan, I think the former can’t be discounted.
If so, it speaks to the still vast number of cuckservatives and mashed-potato moderates that orbit just outside his appeal. I think this is probably true even when considering the effects of his personality alone. Trumpism–a term that begs for permanent replacement–faces powerful headwinds even absent its namesake.
Those who are turning away from Trumpism obviously include a significant cohort of people who typically vote republican, and probably even a fair number who broke for Trump himself in a primary. In many of these individual equations, a fertile frustration with the establishment has given way to an even greater recoil at semi-nationalistic rhetoric and policies.
And while this here but not there logic offers an understandably shallow appeal, few seem to be tracing the lineage of their shift away from the republican stable-boys in the first place. Much of this shift was grounded in the bi-party’s overt anti-nationalism that formed the political soil from which Trump emerged.
As a result many in the alt-right, and almost certainly Trump himself, assumed that the most effective stance in a country furious with America-Lastism was open advocacy of American interests. Or similarly, promoting Muslim bans to a people who no longer find those immigrants’ antics entertaining. But that isn’t turning out to be exactly correct.
I’m starting to think botany offers a lesson here.
Most conservatives have spent their entire political lives in the neocon onion cellar. Eventually the accommodations grew too egregious to accept and shoots started seeking light beyond. General I hate the cellar sentiment was their propellant out of the dark. But these are delicate begonias.
And millions of them are shrinking from Trump’s direct sunlight. They want to be heard. They want their values respected. They want safe clean habitats, the English language, and American flags. They don’t want to train their Hindu replacements and they don’t want to be throttled by rampaging BLM ticks.
They simply want a reasonable good life, and they want to be good in getting it. They want to avoid the entire growing catalogue of isms and they want to believe in the selfless self-virtue they are signaling to others.
And as long as the desire for B exceeds that for A there’s going to be a lot of should-be voters who remain within their old orbits. They simply will not tolerate advocacy too explicit. To the extent this continues it probably means Trump (or future acolytes) are going to have to be extremely judicious in how openly they campaign for the interests of their own potential constituents. It increasingly seems that if a politician is absolutely determined to help these people, he had better remain damn tight-lipped about his intentions. For these petals only bloom in the shade.