Drawing upon reader reactions and emails, a conservative columnist for the equally conservative Wall Street Journal said it was unlikely any Republican challenger will unseat President Donald Trump as the party’s nominee in 2020 due to his rabid base.
According to the Journal’s Daniel Henninger, Trump’s base is less interested in policy achievements or a functioning government as they are in sticking it to liberals who loathe the president — even if his actions are detrimental to their own well-being.
“The reasons offered for why Donald Trump won’t win re-election in 2020 continue to pile up,” Henninger began. “His approval rating is stuck, seemingly forever, below 45%. The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll puts the percentage of voters who say they’re likely to vote for him at 38%, while some 52% currently prefer a Democratic candidate.”
Nonetheless — and with newly elected Utah Senator Mitt Romney (R) leading the charge — the columnist said conservative critics of Trump will be ineffective because they miss what Trump’s base loves about him.
“One of the abiding mysteries of recent political history remains how the blunt and brutal character standing on the GOP primary stage in his fire-engine-red tie beat the skilled politicians alongside him,” the columnist explained.
“For two years, this column has received emails virtually every week from readers who have been along for the entire Trump ride. Some love him, others abhor him,” he admitted. “But among the most intriguing on this political odyssey are those in recent months who have been at pains to say they don’t need more descriptions of what a crude, often insufferable boor Donald Trump is.”
With that, Henninger shared a comment he received from a frequent reader, explaining Trump’s appeal
“When I see long-hoped-for ‘Resistance’ to those nutburgers from Trump—which I did not see from Nixon, Ford, Bush 41 or Bush 43—I am unalterably supportive, flawed vessel or not,” the reader confessed. “It’s not the man, it’s the resistance that binds us to him.”
“These aren’t only dislocated people living inside the Trump ‘base’ in places like hollowed-out Wilkes-Barre, Pa. This sentiment has been building for decades,” Henniger elaborated. “Its scale is suggested by the degree of Trump outrages these voters have been willing to discount on behalf of a larger cultural and political cause.”
Henninger then attempted to put his finger in what makes these voters tick.
“What exactly is their problem?” he asked. “In our time, it takes the form of the left’s cultural triumphalism on matters of identity, race, gender and indeed assimilation, or ‘the American idea.’ If Donald Trump or any other political figure challenges these ideas, some media figure will call it a dog whistle.”
With that in mind, and with no potential candidate likely to move to the right of Trump — or more outrageously — Henninger said the GOP is stuck with him for better or worse.
“It is possible Mr. Trump will personally grind down enough people to make him a one-term president,” Henninger concluded. “Still, we hope no one feigns shock in 2020 if, despite everything, at least half the electorate quietly opts for the incumbent over what the Democrats have come to stand for. The resistance on the right is real, with the presidency the only outlet remaining for their vote.”
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