(Chuck Muth) – When it comes to Donald Trump and the 2024 GOP presidential primary, Republicans generally fall into one of three categories…
- Never Trumpers. Never supported him in the past, will never support him in the future. They suffer from TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome.
- Die-Hard Trumpers. There is absolutely NOTHING that will shake them from their guy. As Trump himself once said, he could shoot somebody in the middle of the street, and they wouldn’t leave his side.
- Trump Fatiguers. They supported Trump in the past but have tired of the drama and worry he’s unelectable in the 2024 general election. As such, they’re supporting another candidate in the primary.
And as you can imagine, while I was attending Campaign Leadership College classes last week Trump’s name came up. Often.
Following one class on polling, some of us students, talking among ourselves, wondered if polls showing Trump leading but as much as 50 points in the GOP primary could be skewed by people hesitant to admit their true feelings.
In the past, we heard about people who were afraid to admit they were supporting Trump for fear of backlash from rabid anti-Trump nutjobs.
I was a victim of such myself. I once had a guy throw a cup of coffee from his car at my windshield because I had a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker.
Could it be happening again, but in reverse?
Are former Trump supporters hesitant to say publicly that they’re now supporting another candidate, especially Ron DeSantis, in the GOP presidential primary? And could that be skewing the current polls?
That was the question I posed to Muth’s Truths readers last week. And I again want to thank you for your candid responses. A sampling…
One of the first responses I received demonstrates exactly what I’m talking about. For even asking about folks turning away from Trump, one reader responded…
- “Screw u, WISHY-WASH. TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. TRUMP!!!”
Ah, how to win friends and influence people. And that was one of the milder responses from the “Trump-or-Die” crowd.
Another summoned up his full measure of deep introspection and articulation with…
- “Chuck…HATES Trump!”
Probably a Harvard grad.
A few people who have soured on Trump are still willing to openly engage Trump supporters, hoping for a conversion. Like this one…
“I was all in, supporting candidate Trump in 2016. President Trump, however, quickly betrayed my trust. Well, he is dead to me. I have engaged with Trumpsters in friendly debates and feel that I have swayed a few to reconsider their religious devotion to the messiah.”
But far more often, I received responses such as these…
- “Yes, I am keeping my support for a different candidate PRIVATE and SECRET, for fear of animosity, backlash or ridicule from Trump supporters.”
- “I fully supported Trump when he was President and feel he has gotten a raw deal all the way around. Saying that, I do not want him to run in this election. But I am careful who I share my thoughts with because some of those who support Trump are not reasonable people.”
- “Yes. Some of the Trump supporters are viscously attacking anyone who disagrees with them or not voting for Trump.”
- “I am keeping the fact that I’m undecided to myself. I have several friends that are supporting Trump and want to argue with those that aren’t supporting him. What I’m noticing about Trump supporters is they behave like narrow minded democrats. You either completely support Trump or you’re a RINO.”
- “I’ve yet to find a candidate that I will support. In the same vein, I’m keeping secret the fact that I’m still searching for one and no longer a ‘gung-ho’ Trump supporter. I even hid that from pollsters that I’ve spoken to.”
- “Yes, I am keeping my true intentions close to the vest. It is difficult to be honest with family and friends who are diehard Trump supporters. I am to the point where I avoid political discussions, if possible.”
- “I did support Trump in the past, but I didn’t announce it then, and I won’t announce it (especially on social media) if I decide what candidate to support this time. There’s too much toxicity in this election. The insults that fly around on social media are pretty disgusting.”
- “I work with a few ‘Trump or Die’ people who I really like, so I stay low-key about hoping he’s not the nominee this year.”
All of which was nicely encapsulated in this one response…
“I made the online mistake of revealing that, although I’d still vote for him, there was plenty about Trump, and his effect on the GOP, which had me both concerned and conflicted. I lamented that many Trump supporters were gratuitously unpleasant to all non-sycophants, regardless of party, in what appeared to be an ongoing ritual of proving one’s Pro-Trump purity and bona-fides by verbally abusing anyone who was even remotely ‘suspect.’
“It was at that point when I figured out that trying to have a civil discussion with any of them was a fool’s errand. I’d probably still vote for him if I had to, but I think a lot of folks like me absolutely won’t. I got called a RINO, a commie, and a Karen simply for noticing that Trump is far from perfect. Driving reasonable, lifelong, solid conservatives like me underground can’t be healthy for a party which has undeniable problems with its messaging and branding.”
I also engaged in a few emails with a longtime conservative and die-hard Trumper who is in denial that people like those above exist.
They do. The question is: How many of them are there?
Are there enough, say, to swing Iowa – where Trump has attacked its conservative and popular governor – into DeSantis’ camp and completely reshape the primary going into Super Tuesday?
Maybe. We’ll see. Wouldn’t surprise me.
I wrote months ago – after Trump attacked his former Press Secretary, Kayleigh Mcenany – that if the election were held today, I’d vote for DeSantis in the primary, believing he’d continue pursuing the “America First” agenda and have a better shot to win in the general election.
And I’m still there today. However, I’m open to changing my mind if I can be persuaded that Trump has the better chance to win the general.
So I’m one of the “persuadables” who often determine who wins and loses in close elections when Election Day rolls around.
And calling me and other persuadables “a RINO, a commie, and a Karen” aren’t persuasive. It only hardens opposition. Maybe all the way through the general election.
Die-hard Trumpers should take note. You just might need us a year from now.
7 Worst Habits of Highly Unelectable People
- Picking the wrong race
- Picking the wrong district
- Picking the wrong issues
- Picking the wrong time
- Picking the wrong consultants
- Picking unnecessary fights with the media
- Picking door-knocking over fundraising
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Donald Trump Jr. said he was worried about the campaign’s Iowa team, was concerned ‘that they were running from behind’ and needed ‘an adult in the room.’ Trump allies urge a wake-up call for his lagging Iowa campaign operation.” – @MattWolking, 10/27/23
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.