One of the most puzzling developments over the past two years – and there have been many – is the attitude of Donald Trump’s supporters.
They make up a minority of the country, of course, but they certainly know how to make their presence felt.
You see them at rallies, listen to them on Fox News, interact with them on social media. They’re straight up livid at everyone and everything – from journalists to Hillary Clinton to their local Mexican restaurant.
Trump supporters: Why are you so angry?
During the 2018 campaign, even President Obama posed the question during a rally for then-gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum: “Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?”
Donald Trump, with the help of Russia, former FBI director James Comey and the electoral college, is president of the United States. He has been for more than two years.
Instead of calming down a little bit, those donning the red MAGA hats continue to get angrier and angrier.
So what gives? Here are a couple of theories.
Their president isn’t doing much winning
One theory is that Donald Trump – the spray-tanned, billionaire gameshow host they thought would be their champion – hasn’t been doing all the winning he promised.
His signature campaign pledge to build a Mexican-funded wall along the southern border? Not only hasn’t that materialized, but the so-called master dealmaker couldn’t even get it done when his party had control of Congress.
The child that Trump is, he decided to shut down the government over it earlier this year after Democrats re-took the House of Representatives. The petty move cost hundreds of thousands of workers a paycheck.
We’ve seen the same failure when it comes to healthcare, which he has spent the entirety of his presidency trying to take away from millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions.
In recent weeks, he has decided to take another whack at destroying the Affordable Care Act via the courts. The care of millions of Americans, including some who presumably voted for this president, hangs in the balance as the 2020 campaign nears.
His pledge to drain the swamp also died the moment Trump got to Washington. It seems that each passing month we hear about another member of his cabinet – or Trump himself – using the federal government as their personal piggy bank.
Just today, the Washington Post reported that a lobbying firm that previously employed acting interior secretary David Bernhardt “quadrupled its business” related to the department that he oversees in the Trump administration.
That’s just the latest example of a member of this administration using their position to enrich themselves. For more, see Tom Price, Ryan Zinke, Scott Pruitt and Ben Carson, to name a few.
The one legislative accomplishment Trump does have to his name, tax “reform,” is one he and his party don’t even talk about anymore. That’s because the American people quickly saw it for what it was: a massive handout to the wealthiest corporations and individuals.
On Thursday, in fact, JPMorgan praised the Trump tax scam for boosting the bank’s earnings by $3.7 billion.
Meanwhile, that same tax plan has incentivized companies like GM to shut down plants and lay off workers – something Trump promised would never happen under his watch.
On the world stage, Trump has been an embarrassment. While Barack Obama was respected and admired, the current president is at best dismissed and at worst simply laughed at.
Trump needs his supporters to be angry
It’s also important to recognize that without anger and fear, Donald Trump wouldn’t be in the White House in the first place. It’s the hot air that fuels his Hindenburg presidency.
Trump didn’t make immigrants or his ego wall a central campaign issue because he seriously thought the United States was overrun by violent immigrants. The facts have repeatedly debunked that myth.
No, he did it because he knew it would tap into the existing resentment that a lot of white people already felt toward immigrants and minority groups, especially in parts of the midwest where the economic situation has been bleak.
As we get closer to the 2020 campaign, Trump is likely to amp up this rhetoric and continue to pump his loyal soldiers with a steady diet of bogeymen and misinformation. You can be sure he’ll use the same strawmen that riled up his base in 2016 and 2018 – Muslims, immigrants, caravans, journalists, protesters and more. If the past week is any indication, Trump will also use the struggling people of Puerto Rico – aka U.S. citizens – as a punching bag.
The shortest explanation for why Donald Trump’s supporters are the angriest bunch of folks in the world: It’s exactly how he needs them to be.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.