Catching up with Trump’s secret admirers

Catching up with Trump's secret admirers

by digby

It's been a while since the media went out on an expedition to take the temperature of Trump's most ardent fans so I know you must have been wondering how they are doing. (No?)

Normally they go to some dying steel town or rural village and sit around the diner talking to older white guys and their wives. The New York Times took a slightly different tack this time and instead of checking in with the "white working class" Real Americans they talked to some of the college educated white men who are still backing Donald Trump:

— Robert Peters and George Fidelibus walked off the 18th green at the Golf Club of Dublin, then carried pints of beer to the patio overlooking the course, which was framed by $500,000 homes.

Their conversation quickly turned to the president.

“I’m feeling better and better about him all the time,” said Mr. Peters, 63, a retired engineer, who had once been cool to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Fidelibus, 75, a retired banker in a Calloway hat, had also once been skeptical of the president’s bullying and lack of self-control.

“I’m a supporter of Trump now,” he said “He may not always say things the way most presidents before him said them, but what does it matter? They didn’t get the job done.”

As an edgy, divided nation heads into a crucial election, much of the attention is focused on the anti-Trump animus of suburban women, which seems to have gained a few degrees in intensity over the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Much less examined are their male counterparts. While recent polls show that white women with a college degree favor Democratic House candidates by a large margin, 20 points or more, white college-educated men — who focus more singularly on economic issues, according to surveys — are a potential bulwark for the president and his party. It is especially true in suburban battleground districts that are likely to help decide the next House majority.

White men without a college degree were Mr. Trump’s most reliable supporters, but they made up only 33 percent of his total vote. College-educated white men were also essential to putting him over the top.

One reason for their continued support now: White college-educated men have benefited unequally in the Trump economy. While the president’s favorite barometer of success, the stock market, is up 26 percent since he took office, individual stock ownership is concentrated among people in the upper income brackets, who are far more likely to be white. The Republican tax cut also delivered higher benefits to whites than to blacks or Latinos, according to a recent study.

Dublin is in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, where Troy Balderson, a Republican, squeaked out a one-point victory in a special election in August. He faces the same Democratic challenger on Nov. 6.CreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times
These men, largely Trump voters whose support for him has solidified since his election, are business owners and sales executives, veterinarians and lawyers — men who largely wouldn’t be caught dead at a Trump rally chanting “Lock her up!”

They may cringe at a president who humiliates cabinet secretaries and foreign allies, and who utters a stream of easily disproved falsehoods.

But many have quietly struck a bargain with Mr. Trump: They will overlook his trampling of presidential norms because he is delivering just what they want on the economy, deregulation, immigration and foreign affairs.

“He’s tough, he’s a bully, but boy things are getting done,” said JD Kaplan, who runs a graphics business from his home on a neatly landscaped block in Dublin, an affluent suburb of Columbus. Mr. Kaplan, 63, who is a Republican activist, moved years ago from northeast Ohio’s struggling Rust Belt, where a younger brother still runs Kaplan Furniture, a store their grandfather founded.

“Whether it was Obama who started it or not, the economy’s better,” he said. “I see my brother’s businesses are doing better, my graphics business is doing better, my wife’s got a better job.’’
Interviews in August and on a recent return visit showed that while Mr. Trump is losing droves of white women with college degrees, many of their male counterparts now strongly support him.

White working class men and white middle and upper class men alike rationalize their support for Trump as being about "economics" all they want. But it's simpler than that:

Yes, there is the odd racial minority who agrees with all those white guys. (See, this for example.) But it's rare because most racial minorities can see that Trump's misogyny notwithstanding, he's also a stone cold racist. Kanye seems to feel insulated by his wealth which, to his credit, he at least earned himself.

By the way, there's this new polling from CNN. It's pretty meaningless overall --- we're two years out and a lot can happen between now and then. But its the kind of thing that will haunt my dreams:

The public is split over whether they think the President will win a second term -- 46% say he will and 47% say he won't. But that's a steep improvement for him since March, when 54% of adults said they thought he'd lose his bid for a second term. The share seeing a second Trump win in the offing has risen across party lines. The increase is a bit sharper among men (up 8 points), independents (from 39% in March to 47% now) and those who are enthusiastic about voting in this year's midterms (from 37% in March to 46% now).

Normalization? Yeah, probably.