In an attempt to understand the coalition that gave Trump his narrow victory, for the past year and a half the press has spun a whole new subgenre of stilted, tautological feature reporting on how Trump supporters support Trump (FAIR.org, 2/15/17).
And in their opinion sections, corporate media have fared no better. They have routinely given platforms to those who claim, with little to no firm evidence, that Trump’s election and his steady (though historically low) popularity (as well as his predicted eventual reelection) are all partly if not wholly the fault of liberal smugness and left-wing political correctness run amok.
Just last week, the Washington Post (5/15/17) picked up the theme in a post with this matter-of-fact title: “Trump Voters Stay Loyal Because They Feel Disrespected.” Citing a small survey of voters in one county in Michigan by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, the Post simply repeats this conventional wisdom without skepticism. Of course, pollsters like Greenberg are in the business of getting more clients based on their purported insights into the electorate, no matter how tenuous or anecdotal their proclamations prove to be later. (Remember the pollster-cited “NASCAR Dads” and “Security Moms” in the 2004 election that nobody could actually find?)
But the proof presented in these arguments is routinely shot through with logical holes that go unaddressed. Neither Greenberg nor the Post seem to notice the massive lack of self-reflection, my-side bias, and obvious hypocrisy found in these anecdotal grievances. Consider this passage:
Trump voters complain that there is no respect for President Trump or for people like them who voted for him. One older white working class woman from Macomb recalled when she first started voting, “there was so much respect for the president. And I don’t care what he did, or what he said, there was always respect. It was always ‘Mr. President.’ And now, it disgusts me.”
Did Greenberg ask this woman her opinion of Trump’s years of Birther lies about President Obama? Who knows? Was there any specific inquiry as to what, if any, type of criticism of Trump from the left she or others like her would deem appropriate or respectful? Apparently not. Might “liberal condescension” just be a convenient fig leaf for hardened, motivated reasoning from an older, white demographic that is already heavily predisposed to like Trump, regardless of what liberals say? You won’t find any answers to