A few Trump supporting friends have begun to acknowledge that his rhetoric may be out of line (a bit), but they still like his policies, which are working well for the good of the nation.
What policies would those be? The usual suspects are economic. For a while the stock market was the shining beacon of how well they were working, but I haven’t heard much about that lately. Still the economy, as a whole, looks strong, and his supporters believe Trump gets the credit. While not exactly fact checking, I’ve been poking around in FRED resources looking at durable goods orders, consumer purchasing and debt, retail sales, and such, and they do show a health economy more or less on the path established for them early in the previous administration. There’s no indication of a Trump bump of any lasting duration. What they do indicate is that the tax package stimulated surge in corporate investment and wage growth have not materialized as promised.
That leaves his policies on tariffs as weapons to get better bilateral trade deals, while turning away from multilateral agreements. It appears they’re popular among some Trump supporters not because they work, but because they exhibit a strong America facing down overseas bad guys. They like that. It goes well with their distaste of namby-pamby liberals who let other nations steal jobs and rob us blind, stealing our technology and jacking up trade deficits. It doesn’t seem to matter that tariffs may not be working to our advantage as well as we were told they would, or that new trade deals turn out to be tweaks of old trade deals more easily had without all the blustery Sturm und Drang. It’s the posturing and strutting that counts.
So what else do they like about Trump’s policies. A big one is the two for one regulation directive that requires two existing regulations be flushed down the drain for each new one promulgated. It makes no practical sense, but somehow it fits with decades long complaints about over regulation, although few individual Trump supporters can point to a regulation that’s given them problems. Public relations campaigns by corporate interests upset over being prevented from doing business any old way they wanted, regardless of affects on the environment and public safety, have been very effective. To be fair, many businesses large and small have been swamped by meaningless paper work and bureaucratic regulatory staffs who have no concept of customer service. Trump supporters don’t care whether his policy is good for the nation, the two for one policy looks like someone is finally doing something.
In the end, the Trump supporters I know will waffle, if pushed, on their support of his economic policies, mostly because they don’t want to get too far out on the thin ice of their knowledge about the dark arts. It’s safer to say something nasty about liberals and go on to other things.
What other things? Now we’re at the heart of the matter. What they like about Trump’s policies are his public pronouncements about nationalism, immigration, and his not so subtle endorsement of white supremacy. They like his Archie Bunker appeals to their exclusive interests, they like his put downs of intellectuals and elites. They believe he favors ordinary good people like them as no other president has. He says so in all his rallies. None whom I know consider themselves to be racist in any fashion, but there’s something reassuring in the way Trump keeps white male hegemony at the center of what it means to be American. Black, brown, yellow, and red, they’re all good people, in their proper places. Women too. White men, and their women, have a place as well, and Trump is defending it.
It’s never stated that way, but it comes out when they talk about open borders, invasions by illegals, out of control #MeToo fanatics, rampant voter fraud, and the criminality that goes with all of it. The values that have made America great are under attack.
Curiously, they seem to be immune to any recognition that Trump’s moral character is deeply flawed, that he has a life long record of betraying friends and business partners alike, that he holds an unbeatable record for flat out presidential lying, and that he’s clearly uninformed about the fundamentals of governing. It’s hard to understand because these are the same people who have high moral standards for themselves, their friends, and those with whom they work.
Be that as it may, they’re quick to point out that Trump promised to put a stop to immigration across the southern border, get tough with China, open talks with North Korea, renegotiate NAFTA, cut taxes, and do away with burdensome environmental regulations. He’s kept his promises. They approve. The creeping fascism that goes along with it? It’s just a liberal scare tactic. Ignore it.