Trump voters in 2016 are not so different from Obama voters in 2008… Here’s why

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If Donald Trump gets the GOP nod against Hillary or Bernie, I’m voting for Donald. Frankly, after watching the debate on Saturday night I’d probably want to take a shower after pulling the lever for him, but pull it I would…

That being said, Saturday’s debate demonstrated Donald Trump to not only be a rude bully, it showed him to basically be a disingenuous one and someone with, shall we say, an odd understanding of history. While rebutting Rubio’s statement that Bush kept the US safe after the Iraq invasion, he chimed in that 9/11 happened on Bush’s watch. That statement is of course true, but it didn’t have anything to do with the point Rubio was making as it came prior to the invasion and was one of the catalysts that put Bush into the mindset that action had to be taken in Iraq. This of course came about the same time that Trump called GW Bush a liar, suggesting that he knew there were no WMDs in the country and stated he lied about them in order to invade. That is a page directly out of the truther’s handbook and with the level of intensity he argued the point, it suggests that Trump actually believes it. He also spent time supporting eminent domain (really, the abuse of such) as well as the funding of the “good parts” of Planned Parenthood. Those are, to say the least, unusual positions for someone running for the GOP nomination.

The debate was more like a schoolyard brawl fight than a debate, where the teacher couldn’t get or keep control. One has to wonder however if the Trump supporters will notice that their guy was obnoxious and nonsensical. And if they do, will they care.

Watching the numbers Trump is putting up in the GOP race and the throngs of passionate supporters his events draw despite the fact that he’s basically a liberal, not even conservative clothing, is beginning to make me think that many of the GOP voters in 2016 are doing exactly what Democrat voters did in 2008: They are pouring into an empty vessel exactly what they want to see. Barack Obama was indeed an empty vessel for most voters. The truth is, his “Hope and Change” is not so different from Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. Most certainly it is different in that Barack Obama pretty much hates everything great about the United States outside of golf courses and basketball, while Donald Trump loves pretty much everything including golf courses and imminent domain.

At a minimum one would expect Trump to make better deals than the one Obama made with Iran and not seek to divide the country by race and gender and sexuality and religion as Obama has done. But beyond that, when it comes to the actual work of governing, and doing so within the confines defined by the Constitution, one wonders what his supporters see in him. They say he’s going to build a wall. That’s an absolutely necessity, but Ted Cruz has promised to do the same. They say things like he doesn’t take crap from anyone and he says what’s on his mind. Both are true, but what do they have to do with governing? Barack Obama is a horrible president, but it’s not because he got into shouting matches with crybabies Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, it’s because he’s anti-American and thinks he’s king. Would Trump’s obnoxious behavior somehow make 535 congressmen and women more likely to follow his lead? Would it act as a moderating influence on power hungry bureaucrats?  Would his rudeness somehow convince the leaders of Russia, China and Iran to suddenly play nice on the geopolitical chessboard? How does boorish behavior translate to actually doing a good job of governing the country? It doesn’t.  Sadly, sometimes listening to Trump supporters makes me think back to John Ziegler’s video from the 2008 election “How Obama Got Elected’.

The problem with Trump is that he has no fundamental convictions other than what is good for Donald Trump. He’s not a conservative. He professes to not be a liberal but his history tells a different story. He’s not a major supporter of individual rights and limited government. Very much like Barack Obama he sees the presidency as an opportunity to “get things done” and like Obama he will likely take a dim view of the constraints on his actions dictated by the Constitution.

But for his voters, none of that seems to matter. While I can appreciate the desire to have someone from outside Washington, from outside the establishment come in and shake up a heavily dysfunctional government, it matters what they want to do and how they want to do it. Everything you need to know about a Donald Trump administration can be seen in his comment about Carrier moving manufacturing to Mexico. He said “I’m going to tell them right now, I am going to get consensus from Congress and we’re going to tax you when those air conditioners come.” Aside from the unconstitutionality of such a move, what he’s not saying is “How do we make it more economically viable for companies to manufacture in the United States?” No,Trump’s natural inclination is to use unconstitutional coercion against those with whom he disagrees (sound familiar?) rather than asking why it makes economic sense for someone to decamp to Mexico in the first place, and figuring out how to make America more compelling for employers in the first place.

At the end of the day, during this primary season Trump supporters need to ask themselves is Donald Trump the best person in the GOP field to lead the nation to prosperity? The best person to protect individual liberty? The best person to roll back the unconstitutional expansion of government undertaken by presidents over the last 25 years? The best person to appoint the next Supreme Court justice? The best person to make the government work for the people rather than the people work for the government? The best person to defy Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce and rein in a regulatory environment bathed in job killing and prosperity killing crony capitalism?

If they find that the answer to these questions is no, then perhaps they should put down the Kool Aid and open their eyes and ears to some of the other candidates. Elections aren’t WrestleMania events and the bluster on the stump and in the debate may be fun to watch, but unlike WWE, entertainment isn’t the fundamental goal of debates and elections.  No, the whole reason we’re engaging in this quadrennial cage match is the pursuit of effective, constitutional government.  That’s something someone with a long history of crony capitalism and little appreciation for the Constitution is unlikely to deliver.

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

9 Responses to “Trump voters in 2016 are not so different from Obama voters in 2008… Here’s why”

  1. 2

    Nathan Blue

    @John: National Polls said Obama wasn’t electable, either.

    Guess they’re worthless.

    That’s good for the Democrats, because according to polls, the election is already over: Dems lose.

  2. 3

    Petercat

    Yes, yes, we’ve got it.
    Trump supporters are all a bunch of gullible, ignorant, kool-ade drinking, rock star loving morons. Yada yada.
    You know, rude, nasty name-calling like this was one of the many reasons that I decided not to be a Liberal. I wanted to avoid associating with people who believed that the most effective way to convince others was to stomp your feet and call them names.
    So I became a libertarian.
    Small “l”, not the party, the philosophy.

  3. 4

    Randy

    @Petercat: I think that many are confusing voters with supporters. Trump supporters love the idea that he throws rocks into the pond just to watch the ripples. There are many more issues being discussed this election year than ever before in the past 60 years. Trump completion is trying to address those issues. Just because people support Trumps run doesn’t mean they will vote for him when it gets down to the end.

  4. 5

    Petercat

    @Randy: #4
    Exactly right. There is so much whining, crying, and slinging amongst the Republicans (candidates as well as others), that I want to not vote for any of them. But I’ll vote for the Republican Presidential candidate anyway. The alternative is unthinkable, especially with a Supreme Court seat to fill. I think that will drive Republican voter turnout to historic levels.
    If only the rollover Senate holds fast.

  5. 6

    Mike

    Trump has walked back the “Bush lied” comment. Now he’s saying, “I don’t know if Bush lied”.
    Well, Donnie Bucko, if you didn’t know, why did you say it? Other than to flap your gums and attack the candidates who actually know what they’re talking about?

  6. 7

    Songbird

    @John: “It’s the Economy, Stupid! ” That is how a Republican can get in the White House. That is the cross over message for both Republicans & Democrats. That is why people are swarming to Trump. People hope he is a man who understands the business world at home and abroad and might resurrect our Economy. Rude and crude can be overlooked.

    It’s not Trump Koolaide. It’s the public looking for someone to fix the economy. People are tired of getting it in the gut from Washington. They are not stupid. They know what really matters to them, the Economy. People are suffering financially and looking for answers. My bank officer whispered to me she was thinking about voting for Trump.

    When it comes right down to it, most our our nation’s problems can be solved with a growing Economy.

    If another candidate can deliver a blunt ” It’s the Economy, Stupid!” And provide clear messages on what needs to be done, no political speak, only specific policy plans with optomism, someone other than Trump might be the Rep.candidate and actually be electable.

    Bill Clinton used it and got Rep. and Dems to vote him in. It’s time for the candidates to Wake Up! and stop the pandering. Talk about how you are going to fix the Economy. I want to scream it from the roof tops.

  7. 9

    Ditto

    The difference between Obama supporters and those voting for Trump is that Obama won with the hope of his followers that he would “transform America.” Those supporting Trump have given up on the GOPe and are hoping that he will “restore” America to it’s former greatness. The problem for Cruz voters is twofold in that (1) they have been burned far too often by campaign-conservatives who change their stripes after the election, and (2) that (unlike Cruz,) Trump appeals to a wide range of voters from all over the political spectrum who are fed up with the corrupt bought and paid for Washington D.C. elite and their business-as-usual establishment caliphate.

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