*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It seems that every day there is a new report or story about how the Republican establishment is apoplectic over their presumptive presidential nominee and his penchant to offend any and every one based on flagrant bigotry. And yet, he still garners major support from the rank and file who are seemingly willing to overlook what decent human beings regard as glaring bigoted remarks whether he uttered them the day he announced his candidacy last year or this past week. Even Republican leaders who claim Trump’s remarks about a district court judge are racist still accept his candidacy and support him as the party’s standard bearer because, they say, he will rubber stamp their neo-conservative agenda. However true that may be, and it is certainly evident, there is more to the story than they are willing to admit and for good reason.
This week it was interesting to hear MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, a one-time Trump advocate, lash out at his erstwhile hero over his continued racist remarks, and justification for those remarks, about a sitting and highly-respected federal district court judge. Scarborough said:
“Donald, guess what, I’m not going to support you until you get your act together. You’re acting like bush-league loser, you’re acting like a racist, you’re acting like a bigot … Until you … prove to me you’re not a bigot… you don’t have my endorsement.”
Despite Scarborough’s, and several other Republicans’ faux outrage at Trump’s racist comments, like Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, they still “want” to support him. It is evidenced by Scarborough using a ‘qualifier’ in his remarks that Donald Trump is not going to get his endorsement “until” he gets his act together and not “until” he proves he’s not a bigot.
Remember, everything Trump is, and has been, saying throughout the primary races have been uttered by various Republicans over the past six years. They were just not repeated daily on national media and definitely not as part of stump speeches for any public office; particularly the presidency. Doubtless if and when Trump reins in the obviously bigoted remarks the entire Party will rally behind his candidacy and welcome him with open arms because the base loves the way Donald Trump “speaks common sense.”
Something Republicans know well, and overconfident Democrats had better learn immediately, is that although Trump may offend many Americans, he speaks the language the rank and file voters want to hear. It may in fact be true that Republicans will lose a small percentage of their party’s base because Trump is so racially offensive, but when November rolls around it will not be a significant number.
In fact, it may be none at all. Just look at the millions and millions of Republicans who came out to vote for Trump this past Tuesday even though he had long-ago clinched the nomination and despite that he was in the midst of being assailed for what decent people know are racial attacks on a California judge.
What the Republican elite understand and why they don’t unleash a hellacious attempt to keep Donald Trump off the ballot and kick him out of the Party is that their voters legitimately want Trump at the top of the ticket as the standard bearer. More importantly, the current outrage over his racially-driven attack on a jurist is not an issue with a majority of the base and they certainly do not believe Trump’s comments “are out of bounds in the first place.”
According to a recent YouGov survey, 81 percent of Democratic voters and 44 percent of independents believe Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel’s Hispanic heritage makes him biased toward Trump are racially motivated; something that is just common sense, right? However, only 22 percent of the Republican rank and file agree with Democrats and Independents and believe those comments are racist but not enough to withhold their votes.
What that means is that in addition to 56 percent of independent voters, a clear and overwhelming majority of Republican voters, 78 percent, believe that not only are Trump’s remarks not racist, they are just founded on common sense. It also means that nearly 8 out of ten Republican voters are of the same belief as the Donald and “are tired of the political correctness when things are said that are totally fine.”
The survey is certainly accurate because over the past week no fewer than 8 out of 10 local Trump supporters this author surveyed said that Trump questioning the integrity of a judge of Hispanic descent is just good old common sense and “totally fine” by them. All but one of the 8 Trump supporters said that Trump’s doubts about an Hispanic Judge’s ability to adjudicate his case fairly is no different than an African American questioning whether they can get a fair hearing or trial with a white conservative judge from the former Confederacy (Deep South), or with an all-white jury. “It’s just common sense” as the Donald is wont to say and nothing remotely related to being a bigot or being racially insensitive.
The same people gave the same response to Trump positing his doubts that a Muslim judge would be fair and unbiased in the lawsuit against his defunct university after his vociferous calls to ban Muslims from entering America. In fact, all the outrage from the Democrats and some Republicans over Trump’s racist comments have only served to bolster support for Trump among his advocates and affirmed their belief in the fallacy that “political correctness” and “cowardice” to address “common sense” is driving the opposition to Trump as the Republican presumptive nominee.
Trump’s support among the rank and file is why the Republican establishment is terrified of seriously addressing Trump’s nasty remarks on most issues and why they are unwilling to publicly hail him as their uncontested conquering hero “until” he gets his act together. It is true Trump is alienating several groups in the electorate and it is troubling for the party establishment, but the last thing the “establishment” is willing to do is alienate the base that is crucial to Republicans maintaining their control in state and local elections as well as in Congress.
To any civilized human being Donald Trump is a bigot of the first order. But to the base he is just telling it like it really is and anyone who can’t see it from his perspective is “a loser.” Republicans should not expect to see Donald Trump “get his act together” or “prove he’s not a bigot” to anyone; and why should he? It is not what the majority of Republican voters want him to do.
However racist his remarks may be, and they damn sure are racist, as long as the GOP base wants to hear him spout “common sense” and will continue voting for him he is not going to stop. If the party establishment didn’t know that were the case they would take any step to purge Trump from the party; but they are not because he speaks for the base and hopefully Democrats take that knowledge to heart.