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December 22, 2015

Quinnipiac Poll: 50% Would be "Embarrassed" By a President Trump

While my last post declared I didn't care about the Trump controversy, that's just a personal take.

Other people do care, and so then Trump should care too.

While I don't really care that Trump is embarrassing (but only because I don't believe any politician "reflects on me" -- I reflect on me, and my close associates and family, and that's about it), it should be noted that 50% of the country says they'd be "embarrassed" by a President Trump, and people will not voluntarily reduce their estimation of themselves nor their perceived social status.

Meanwhile, Cruz is knocking on Trump's door per that poll -- 28% to 24%, nationally.

I keep saying this: the Middle Class/upwardly mobile/Professional Class sense of propriety (something they take a great deal of pride in) may be silly but many things are silly -- and yet they're still very real.

Trump is pushing a lot of the same buttons that Palin did, and creating minority of people who are intensely passionate about him, while rendering him unacceptable to a majority.

I wrote Palin off when she kept going to the well of telling college graduates, basically, that they weren't all that smart and definitely weren't that superior.

Now, I happen to agree with that, but it's a dumb thing to tell people whose votes you would need (if you actually ran for office, which Palin hasn't since 2008 ) that you think they're idiots.

You don't win that way. You might think that the collegiate class code of conduct is a class-based more and largely an artificial one simply to point up class differences with those they consider beneath them (and it is that, largely), but that does mean that those class markers are not very potent, and indeed, much more important to most people than any "issue" or policy.

The fact that I might think such markers are silly, and some of you might think they are silly, does not change the fact that a lot of people put a lot of personal worth bound up in those chits, and you denigrate those cherished (though silly) personal badges of self-value at your own dire peril.

A lot of successful politics consists simply of flattering the vanities of people you actually consider to be perfect idiots.

By the way, Megyn Kelly is moderating the next (last?) debate. That should be fun.

I've mentioned this about Megyn Kelly -- she has a heavy investment in the idea of the prosperous, educated middle class having a certain code of proper conduct.

Everyone is vain about their class markers -- including the working class. Why if I have to hear a working class person extol the virtues of the working class, the ones who actually do the work, and their natural good sense untainted by pretense...

I mean, I'll kill myself. I hear that so much.

You know how you can tell a workin' man? Because he's the guy telling you how great the workin' man is.

Anyway, point is, everyone has these little huge class-based vanities.*

Megyn Kelly has them too.

That doesn't mean she's overall an idiot. She's a very smart person -- the smartest on Fox, most likely.

Brit Hume's the same way -- another very smart guy, but with a substantial personal investment (as most people have) in the codes and mores of his class.

Megyn Kelly and Brit Hume are both avatars of the right-leaning Upper Middle Class -- a very important cadre for the GOP.

When you're alienating an important, large, and very influential part of the party -- and this particular cadre makes up 90% of those who man the right's communications and theorizing positions -- you're doing so at what I don't even think can be called a "risk," because "risk" implies there's only a chance you'll suffer from it.

You will suffer for it. It's guaranteed.

My Palin comparison was made to illustrate the following point: If you have minority of 25% in your corner, and they absolutely love you, why would you just keep flattering that significant-but-far-from-majority cohort while also insulting/embarrassing/alienating the other 26% you absolutely need to win an election?

Sometimes I just think this is pure lazybones and vanity shit -- do what's worked before. This worked to get you this 25% minority; the 25% minority still loves it; you get adulation and applause every time you play to this 25% minority.

But Palin's base was already locked down. They would crawl over broken glass for her.

Wasn't it time, at some point, to begin chasing the support of this cohort and that cohort to extend the appeal beyond the 25% Stalwarts?

And I see Trump doing this. He's got 25% in the bank -- in the bank. Locked up. Locked down.

And so does he begin to take that base of support, and begin conquering new territory, recruiting new warriors for his army?

No. He still seems to be playing exclusively to that 25%.

Now if Trump wins the nomination, he can count on that 25% expanding. Many Republicans who viscerally oppose him, like a Gabe or a Jeff B., will in fact rally to his side. Not eagerly, but they'll do it.

But those are highly-motivated Republican partisans. That itself is an even smaller minority. That group is even smaller than his current base of support.

So yes, Trump will automatically win the Republican diehards who will vote for any candidate to stop another four years of Democrat misrule.

And that will put him at, say, 31-33%.

And then what?

And then what?

People may say "Oh he's got time to work on the next 18%," but the problem is not just that he's not working on those right now (which could be excused as a good prioritization, given that he's in a primary and hasn't won this thing yet, not even close), it's that on a weekly basis he actively insults and embarrasses them and pushes them closer and closer to the point where they just decide they will not vote for Donald Trump, ever.

First impressions, and image, Trump would be the first to tell you, count for an awful lot.

At some point I stopped believing that Palin ever could chase anyone but the 25% who liked her, or even had the diligence or courage to attempt venturing out into new territory.

Every week, Trump gives me the same crawly feeling: This guy just doesn't have the smarts, or the stones, to move beyond his comfort zone of the people he's already got in the bag.

Now I don't know when Trump should begin actively courting those outside his base of support.

But I can tell you when he should stop embarrassing them.

And the answer to that is the same answer to Morissey's question:

"How soon is now?"

* My personal class-based vanity is being able to see how silly everyone else's class-based vanities are. That's the vanity of someone who's signalling he's of the Philosophical and Thinking Class.

Vanities aren't like assholes, they're like teeth: We all have a bunch of them, and we show them off every time we open our mouths.



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posted by Ace at 06:24 PM

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