Reams of articles have been written over the long months of the Trump presidency to try and explain the cult-like devotion of his base. That devotion seems to hold fast no matter what Trump does or says. How to explain it?
Richard Cohen, writing for the Washington Post, may have the simplest explanation:
“It’s impossible to say at this point whether the pro-Trump/anti-Trump dichotomy is just about the man himself or represents a wider and more permanent political realignment. (Who’s the next Trump?) But it’s clear that something beyond economics — and certainly not foreign policy — motivates Trump’s people. My guess is that it’s a low-boil rage against a vague and threatening liberalism — urbane, educated, affluent, secular, diverse and sexually tolerant. It is, in other words, some of the same sentiment that once fueled European fascism.
Those of us who write newspaper columns know that sheer brilliance, should it happen, gets a silent nod of the head, but affirmation — saying what readers already think — gets loud hurrahs. This is Trump’s appeal as well. He validates the thinking — some of it ugly — of many Americans. To them, Helsinki doesn’t matter and even Putin doesn’t matter. Only Trump does. To them, he hates the right people..”
Interestingly, the single most common question from the villagers in Panama — who were so proud to have a person of color in the White House under President Obama — is “Why does your President Trump hate us?”
They, and Richard Cohen, seem to have hit the nail on the head.