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Here's Why Sen. McCain’s Angry Disdain for Trump Probably Won’t Sway the His Followers at All

July 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The president's hardcore supporters are true believers.

Arizona Sen. John McCain had no kind words for President Donald Trump yesterday when he lambasted him for his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

Accusing Trump of favoring Putin at the expense of the U.S.’ NATO allies, the 81-year-old senator denounced the meeting as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” 

McCain asserted, “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling, to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”

Some Democrats are hoping that being denounced by a right-wing Republican war hawk and a Vietnam veteran such as McCain will harm Trump’s popularity with his hardcore supporters, but that probably won’t happen. To Trumpistas and the alt-right, McCain is a “cuckservative” rather than a real conservative (“cuckservative” is the alt-right’s favorite insult for conservatives they believe aren’t right-wing enough). And Trump followers are unlikely to be swayed a bit by any criticism coming from McCain or neocon and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol—who has also criticized Trump for being more favorable to Putin than NATO.

Trump’s hardcore supporters are true believers. They connect with the president on purely a gut level and love how he says things as much as what he’s actually saying. To the alt-right, Trump is their guy—and Democrats would do well to understand that going into the 2018 midterms because that’s the level of passion they’re up against.

Trump hasn’t had very high approval ratings with the overall U.S. population, but among his hardcore followers, the president’s approval numbers are high—and that includes white evangelicals. A poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in March found Trump’s support among white evangelicals to be 75%. People who have that favorable an opinion of him are likely to be bringing a great deal of passion with them when …read more


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