CAMDEN To those outraged daily by President Donald Trump, please redirect your energy. No amount of constant scrutiny of his boorish behavior will sway supporters.
In fact, news media displays of frustrations and dissections of every tweet and misstep only empowers and emboldens loyal fans as they march toward 2020. The 24-7 coverage of Trump tweets and behaviors is keeping his poll numbers favorable and high among Republicans.
He knows this and is playing it for all it’s worth. News tip: stop picking the low-hanging fruit. Supporters are aware of Trump’s character flaws — and don’t care. This notion should be familiar to some of you who have applied lipstick to your own political pigs.
Here are a few truths:
Supporters don’t care that Trump showed up at a Baptist church recently and autographed Bibles for tornado victims like a rock star. Past presidents have signed Bibles, but they typically signed them as gifts to send with a spiritual message. Supporters watched Trump autograph the chest of a female supporter with a magic marker while on the campaign trail. Signing Bibles is an improvement.
Supporters don’t care that his sleazy lawyer paid off a porn star on his behalf. They don’t care how many wives and different baby mommas he has had. And they don’t care that his current wife is a former nude model. And the boasting on tape about grabbing women by the genitals without their permission? Not a problem, don’t care. He’s not Hillary Clinton.
Supporters don’t care if Trump’s tax cuts and economic policies favor the wealthy and create turmoil on the world stage. Ditto for all of his policies, in general, whether they be educational or environmental. His routine and well-documented lies and flip-flops on positions are not a problem. He is not a socialist and he is against abortion.
Supporters appreciate his ideology. The rest doesn’t matter. The outrage the same folks felt and demonstrated over former President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct and misdeeds is a non-issue. In fact, they tore a page out the Democrats’ play-book and are standing by their man. Period. It doesn’t matter how awful he is, they love him — or at the very least, accept him. If you were a Bill Clinton fan back in the day, this story line should be familiar. And, if you enjoyed the ride during President Barack Obama’s eight years of sharp left turns, hang on because the wheel is making a few turns hard right.
Trump’s approval rating among Republicans was near 90 percent in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey. Gallup poll results for the end of February showed Trump with a 43 percent job approval rating, in general.
A recent Pew Research Center poll found that nearly 60 percent of Americans think the media does “not understand people like them.” A Gallup poll from last year found that, overall, U.S. adults estimate that 62 percent of the news they read in newspapers, see on television or hear on the radio is biased. They think the news media mostly provide accurate information, but still estimate that 44 percent of what they see is inaccurate. And they believe that more than a third of the news they see in these channels is misinformation — false or inaccurate information that is presented as if it were true.
Those numbers would suggest that Trump’s “fake news” message has had more influence on the public than the news media’s daily reports hammering on Trump.
Meanwhile, I read a recent headline on one cable news website that said: “If you want Trump out, here’s how to do it.” See poll results above on news media.
(Shea Wilson is the former managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. Email her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter.com @sheawilson7.)