More Republicans think Trump is a serious criminal, but his cult still controls the party

Originally published at: More Republicans think Trump is a serious criminal, but his cult still controls the party | Boing Boing


How many of them think that he’s a criminal, but also think that that’s a good thing?


I’m sure a lot do, but I suspect most just don’t care, as the post says. He hates the right people, and that’s all most of his hardcore supporters care about. This is why Chris Christie and Will Hurd aren’t getting anywhere, even though they are directly calling Trump a criminal and unfit for office. Most Republican voters just don’t care.


Hell, most of his die-hard fans are proud that everyone is calling him a criminal. It makes him a hero in their eyes.


We all have seen how this happens. It’s the culmination of an endless campaign by the authoritarian right/fascist wing to de-legitimatize ALL national institutions, from government to media to health care to science. Here’s a few samples:

  1. “Government can’t fix the problem, government IS the problem”
  2. “Fake news”
  3. “I alone can fix it”
  4. “Greedy scientists just want that research money”
  5. “What do climate scientists know? Check out this snowball.”
  6. “Universities are turning your kids into socialists”
  7. Schools are grooming your kids to turn gay"
  8. Let’s cut taxes on the rich, and more money will trickle down to the poor"
  9. The IRS is a criminal enterprise"

The list is endless, and the know-nothings have coalesced under the TGOP.


IKR just look at this fan club:


A lot of them see him as an aspirational figure in that regard: if they had his money and influence they’d do crimes too. Their morals are the equivalent of his dictator-chic aesthetic taste (which they’d also emulate): trash. That’s true of both the Know-Nothing 27% base and many so-called “respectable” Republicans, which is why these survey numbers are so high.


A critical one in this situation is "all politicians are crooked and do crimes all the time, so he has to do crimes to keep up with the game! Hey, at least our criminal is doing crimes for our team. " And I fear that even though mostly Republicans are involved in these current crimes, just like mostly Republicans have been committing voter fraud, they both just contribute to these “universal” narratives if you’re coached to believe they do.


What I hear is “all politicians are criminals, so I’m going to choose the criminal I like.”


Anytime i read “trump eats live puppies for breakfast inna bun to which all the far right bible-thumpers shout ‘trump in 2024!!!’” i have to remind myself that it’s a toxic combination of “Anything which ruins a lib-rul’s day, even if it costs me my left leg, is worth it!” and “Fox’news’ says everything they say against trump is a false-flag lib-rul woke plot!!” -sigh-


A Libertarian BS cover story that’s more about projection than anything else. The only time I’ve ever found that line remotely useful is when I want to extricate myself from a political conversation with a conservative who’s insisting on having one.


Background reading.


It’s quite possible that more of them think he’s a criminal (and wouldn’t vote for him) but won’t discuss it or admit to it. Similar to how so many Republican voters in 2016 insisted that they weren’t going to vote for Trump but did anyway. They’re sensitive to social pressures like everyone else, so in 2016 they denied voting for Trump because they didn’t want to seen as a bigot; in 2024 they may claim they will vote for Trump because they don’t want to be seen as a “traitor” to the Republican party.

I can easily see both of my parents thinking Trump is a criminal. My mom wouldn’t care, or maybe wouldn’t like it but would handwave it away with, “All politicians are criminals, at least he’s honest about it.” She’d vote for him, it’s pure party loyalty. My dad would be aghast but just wouldn’t talk about it, either. (He couldn’t stand Rush Limbaugh as early as the 80’s; my mom was a huge fan). He probably wouldn’t vote for Trump, but he wouldn’t admit to it either, because there’s still intense pressure not to be seen as an outsider (i.e., “not a Republican”), or worse, an enemy (i.e., “a liberal”). Not to say he’d vote for a Democrat, he’d probably leave it blank.


I realize it’s anecdotal but one bright spot that gives me hope for 2024 is I was talking to a colleague the other day who A) lives in Florida and B) is a die-hard, lifelong Republican and not shy talking about it - and while he didn’t come right out and say it, did express dismay over the current state of the GOP and how crazy “his” party has gotten in support of Tr*mp.

This tells me there are still a few rational conservatives out there who have a good chance of sinking the Orange Messiah’s chances in a general election…most likely by sitting on their hands come vote time (no way in Hell they’d actually vote for a Democrat).


hear-hear! A nose-dive in polling accuracy is a large part of this constant drum-beat. Of several obvious contributing factors:

  • you can’t actually reach anyone to get their opinion who isn’t strangely motivated/ignorant anymore (mostly due to caller-id, and web-based push polls)
  • politics has never been more of a game of entitled demented revenge, so a survey result is more often motivated by fear of one’s own peers than actual conviction to a cause
  • polling agencies themselves have become weaponized to political causes. this was always true to some degree, but recently there has occurred a fusion between political PACs and agencies which merely produce the result the PAC is seeking (e.g. Rasmussen)

Today’s New York Times reported: “The first Times poll of the 2024 election cycle shows a dead heat between President Biden and Donald Trump. If those two men are the presidential nominees next year, 43 percent of registered voters say they will support Biden, and 43 percent say they will back Trump.”
Then it goes on to say “14 percent as the Neither of the Above”.

At least it’s tempered by this, “These patterns are a reminder that most voters have never supported Trump. He won in 2016 despite losing the popular vote, and he generally became less popular during his presidency. His unpopularity helped Democrats retake control of the House in 2018, oust him from the presidency in 2020 and fare much better than expected in the 2022 midterms.”

But Biden winning the popular vote by a narrow margin could still fail the country due to the Electoral College. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN!


Does this poll get into whether these Republicans also believe that Biden has committed serious crimes? My guess is that there’s a significant portion of Republicans, even those that aren’t necessarily the most rabid of the Trump supporters, who don’t love the fact that Trump has committed serious crimes but have been convinced that Biden has somehow committed even worse crimes.


This this this is the key. Everyone has always known he’s a sleaze. His “shoot someone on 5th ave” and “grab ‘em by the pu—y” comments were before he was elected. The adorable media (and many of us) thought that would doom his campaign. If anything, his fans love that he’s a sleaze. They want to be sleazes too, and Trump gets away with it so he’s their hero.


I suspect the sorts of people who think his crimes are acceptable/desirable wouldn’t admit they were “serious,” but admittedly that also is a separate issue from who they’d vote for. (I.e. it doesn’t mean they’d vote for Biden - or even wouldn’t vote for Trump himself, despite his serious crimes, because they could still see Biden as worse, somehow. I’m thinking about Republicans who were vocally horrified by Trump in 2016, but still voted for him because they were even more horrified by the thought of Hillary - a woman! - winning.) The people who think the crimes are good are also in (at least public) denial about whether they’re “really” crimes.

Given what a low percentage it is, I could also believe that 13% is the percentage of people who still think of themselves as Republicans who wouldn’t vote for him, though. That it’s such a small percentage is depressing enough, that it doesn’t necessary mean anything about how they’d vote is extra depressing.

I personally suspect they’re mostly non-overlapping groups, that the people brainwashed into thinking Biden has committed crimes are also the people brainwashed into thinking Trump hasn’t (or at least won’t admit - to themselves and others - that these are “real” crimes). If you forced them to admit/accept Trump has committed crimes, there would definitely be some fantasy whataboutism, though.

Yeah, I really believe that’s the primary, core element of his appeal. He’s moved the Overton window on the acceptability of being a total asshole: not just the obvious racism and misogyny, but also homophobia and transphobia (despite him initially taking opposite positions to what he has now).

So the people who like his criminal behavior also don’t want to admit his behavior is criminal. Trump is all about making the previously unacceptable, acceptable, and if his acts are criminal, then it is, by definition, not acceptable. So his crimes have to be rendered, through special exceptions, “not crimes” (even if they’re identical to - or worse than - what they were demanding other people be locked up for). It’s ideologically necessary even if, in their guts, his followers don’t actually fully believe it. They love the crimes, they hate admitting they are crimes.


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