If you’re like me, you encounter Trump supporters less in real life than on social media, but their behavior is by now quite familiar.
Gina Anders knows the feeling well by now. President Trump says or does something that triggers a spasm of outrage. She doesn’t necessarily agree with how he handled the situation. She gets why people are upset.
But Ms. Anders, 46, a Republican from suburban Loudoun County, Va., with a law degree, a business career, and not a stitch of “Make America Great Again” gear in her wardrobe, is moved to defend him anyway.
“All nuance and all complexity — and these are complex issues — are completely lost,” she said, describing “overblown” reactions from the president’s critics, some of whom equated the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children and parents to history’s greatest atrocities.
“It makes me angry at them, which causes me to want to defend him to them more,” Ms. Anders said.
In interviews across the country over the last few days, dozens of Trump voters, as well as pollsters and strategists, described something like a bonding experience with the president that happens each time Republicans have to answer a now-familiar question: “How can you possibly still support this man?” Their resilience suggests a level of unity among Republicans that could help mitigate Mr. Trump’s low overall approval ratings and aid his party’s chances of keeping control of the House of Representatives in November.
It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon, but I honestly think these people cause too much consternation. Their absolute numbers are probably no greater than the Alan Keyes Constant of twenty-eight percent, which is the percentage of the population that will support a Republican politician no matter how clearly “batshit crazy, head-trauma crazy,” they may be.
It’s possible that the Donald Trump Constant is slightly higher than this, and it’s distributed a little differently than George W. Bush’s dead-ender support circa 2005-6. But, these folks are not a threat to push Trump into the majority. That threat comes from the possibility that the Democrats will once again nominate someone who has historically high negative public popularity that can match or nearly match Trump’s own.