August 15, 2015

WHO ARE TRUMP’S SUPPORTERS? Not Who You Think. I think to some degree it depends on what you mean by “supporters.” Lots of people support Trump’s kicking sand in the faces of the media and GOP establishment who don’t actually support him for President.

UPDATE: It’s paywalled for some people, apparently, but I can get through fine. But here’s an excerpt for the gist, for those who can’t read the whole thing.

Today’s prototypical conservative base voters are infamously principled. Their views are hardened, their heels dug in. They are armed with all kinds of litmus tests and purity tests to make sure the “fake” conservatives are weeded out from the good ones, often to the chagrin of the party.

It shifts with time, but at the moment the ideological guillotine falls on issues like immigration (are you for a pathway?), abortion (are you for exceptions?), guns (are you for universal background checks?), education (do you support Common Core?) and climate change (do you think it’s real?). Departing from doctrine on just one of these can cast a foreboding shadow of skepticism upon an otherwise devout and disciplined conservative.

For Republican base voters, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are unforgivably moderate. While to the rest of the country people like John McCain and Mitt Romney are sufficiently conservative if not “severely” conservative, to use Romney’s phrasing, to the hardened base voters the 2008 and 2012 presidential losses were proof that voting for the so-called electable candidate, instead of the principled one, leaves them with nothing to show for it. They got neither the satisfaction of voting their conscience — be it for Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum — nor the consolation of a less than conservative Republican in the White House.

The idea that in 2016 these voters would simply turn off their hard-wired orthodoxy and support a guy who has voted for Democrats, said “the economy does better under the Democrats,” refused to pledge to support the Republican nominee if it’s not him, openly defended Planned Parenthood, approved of exceptions to abortion bans, supported a single-payer health care system, backed an assault weapons ban and advocated a one-time 14.25 percent mega-tax on the wealthy to erase the national debt is, to put it in Trumpian language, really, really stupid.

Base voters will stick with candidates like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who demonstrated their conservative bona fides by shutting down the government, filibustering the Patriot Act and pledging to repeal Obamacare. The more evangelically inclined will support Huckabee and Santorum, or maybe even Marco Rubio, who recently said he personally opposes any exceptions — rape, incest, health of the mother — for abortion.

So who is the Trump supporter, if not the conservative base? I’d argue it’s mostly disaffected moderates who no longer strictly identify with either party. They think the political system is rigged. They think politicians are corrupt. They want a total collapse of the ruling political class.

While Trump probably gets more support from the right, running as a Republican, he attracts from the left as well.

So there.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.