I read a study recently on voting behavior and factors identified as reasons for choosing a candidate in an election. The most reliable indicator isn’t gender or race or education level or socioeconomic status or zip code or even party affiliation. The most reliable predictor of how a person will vote is the person’s primary source of news.
Not surprisingly, a recent poll indicates nearly 60% of Fox News viewers believe then-President Trump acted responsibly on Jan. 6 (compared to less than 20% of CNN and MSNBC viewers).
I used to believe that if Trump supporters could only see him for who he is — a vile, racist, misogynistic, narcissistic con artist lacking a shred of human decency or regard for democracy or conservatism (as presumably, most Republicans claim to be conservative) — they would turn their backs on him. I don’t believe that anymore. He’s long been sufficiently exposed for who he is. Remember when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Ave. and not lose any voters? That’s probably the most truthful statement he’s ever made. Shoot someone on 5th Ave., incite an insurrection, etc. Trump mirrors his supporters.
I don’t believe findings from the Jan. 6 committee will move the needle at all among Trump supporters, no matter how damning. Not because they don’t believe that Trump is culpable in instigating a deadly insurrection and attempting to overturn a fair election, but because they don’t care.
The MAGA crowd desperately wanted Trump to win and were willing to keep him in office by any means necessary, breaking whatever laws needed breaking, suspending reality to accept the “Big Lie,” propped up by the propagandists at Fox News. A +200-year peaceful transfer of power precedent and US democracy as we know it, be damned. Trump supporters mirror him.
When I watch footage of the mob storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, brandishing weapons, breaking in windows, chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” coming after Speaker Pelosi, bulldozing law enforcement in their pre-planned, well-orchestrated attempted coup — inspired by and following directives from their president, I don’t see a radicalized lunatic fringe. I just see Trump supporters.