Frank Luntz got some Trump supporters together for a focus group. I believe this is what’s called a “cult of personality.”
Many sounded like relations of an ill patient, furious that all the previous doctors have botched a test or fumbled the scalpel. To them, Trump actually is the real-deal fixer-upper, and he is going to make America great again.
â€œWe know his goal is to make America great again,â€ a woman said. â€œItâ€™s on his hat. And we see it every time itâ€™s on TV. Everything that heâ€™s doing, thereâ€™s no doubt why heâ€™s doing it: itâ€™s to make America great again.â€
The focus group watched taped instances on a television of Trumpâ€™s apparent misogyny, political flip flops and awe-inspiring braggadocio. They watched the Donald say Rosie Oâ€™Donnell has a â€œfat, ugly face.â€ They saw that Trump once supported a single-payer health system, and they heard him say, â€œI will be the greatest jobs president God ever created.â€ But the groupâ€”which included 23 white people, 3 African-Americans and three Hispanics and consisted of a plurality of college-educated, financially comfortably Donald devoteesâ€”was undeterred.
At the end of the session, the vast majority said they liked Trump more than when they walked in.
â€œYou guys understand how significant this is?â€ Luntz asked the press breathlessly when he came back into the room behind the glass. â€œThis is real. Iâ€™m having trouble processing it. Like, my legs are shaking.â€
It’s easy to psychoanalyze this crew and call them authoritarians, but it’s also the case that they’re really disgusted with other Republicans.
Much of Trumpâ€™s support in the room seemed to stem from a weakness in the Republican party. The 2014 midterms did not usher in the conservative renaissance Republicans expected. Obamacare has still not been repealed, Congress is looking less likely to override a veto on the Iran deal, and there are still 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
The group of 29 went around the room, each supplying a single adjective for the legislative body that let them down after the 2014 elections. Congress â€œdoes nothing.â€ Itâ€™s â€œtoo old.â€ â€œUseless.â€ â€œLame.â€ â€œInept.â€ â€œWrong party.â€ â€œCocktail party.â€ â€œGridlock.â€ â€œCostly.â€ â€œSold out.â€ â€œSucks.â€ â€œDouchebags.â€
Then, the group did the same for Trump. This time: â€œTough.â€ â€œBusinessman.â€ â€œGreat.â€ â€œSuccessful.â€ â€œNot afraid.â€ â€œLeader.â€ â€œHas guts.â€ â€œCharismatic.â€ â€œA true American.â€ â€œKicks ass and takes names.â€
And again, we can assume this crew is not exactly cracking the IQ ceiling. But lo … Josh Marshall tells us it is possible that Trump really could end up with the Republican nomination. With such a divided field, just 25 to 30 percent of the primary vote could get Trump into the general election.