It’s been a month since the election and most Americans are still perplexed as to how Donald Trump eked out his Electoral College victory. Analysts are pouring over data and struggling to come up with explanations. Common sense challenges the notion that a reality TV game show host could become president following a campaign rife with ignorance and hatred.
On Thursday night, however, Rachel Maddow reported on the results of a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) Poll that sheds some light on this mystery. And, not surprisingly, it had nothing to do with common sense. The poll compared the responses of Trump voters to those of the electorate at large. The differences are startling and disturbing.
Maddow starts off with a general question on the popularity of Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. The poll shows a majority of Americans (51%) have an unfavorable opinion Trump and a favorable (50%) opinion of Obama. However, Trump voters are wildly out of the mainstream with a whopping ninety percent unfavorable view of Obama. But that’s a purely subjective question and we all know that the nation has a marked partisan split. Where this descends into absurdity is when the questions address factual matters. Observe and cringe:
The Stock Market
The PPP poll asked respondents whether the stock market was higher or lower during the Obama administration. A shocking thirty-nine percent said that they believe the market is lower after eight years of Obama. The truth, of course, is that the market rose over 140 percent, from about 8,000 to over 19,600. That is not subjective. It is an easily provable fact. And it demonstrates just how averse the Trump voters are to facts.
The Unemployment Rate
PPP then asked about an issue that was consistently at the top of the list of voter concerns: Jobs. On this matter sixty-seven percent of Trump voters said that they believed the unemployment rate had risen under Obama. In fact, it has fallen from a high of 10.1 percent to the present 4.6 percent. For comparison, seventy-four percent of Democrats got the answer right.
The Popular Vote
Another data point that relies purely on facts is the result of the election. This year the “loser” of the presidency received more than two and a half million votes more than the “winner.” But if you ask Trump voters you’ll find that forty percent of them think The Donald won the popular vote.
Trump’s Tax Returns
Somehow, Trump managed to get through the election without releasing his tax returns, breaking a fifty year streak. The American people aren’t pleased. Fifty-nine percent still say that he should release them. But Trump voters are so tunnel-blinded by hero worship that fifty-nine percent of them say he shouldn’t bother. So despite all of the obvious potential for conflicts of interest, Trump voters would rather be left in the dark.
A couple more questions in the poll were similarly unsettling. Seventy-three percent of Trump voters believe that George Soros paid people to protest against Trump. He didn’t. Twenty-nine percent of Trump voters think California’s votes should not be counted in the popular vote total. WTF? Perhaps they are supporters of CalExit: California Independence. Sixty percent of Trump voters believe that millions voted illegally for Clinton. There is zero evidence of even a handful of such votes. And all of this lead to Maddow delivering this conclusion:
“I think it shows that even after the election, what Trump voters believe about the world is distinctively different from what the rest of the country believe. And from what is true. And this alternate reality that they’re in is weird enough and specific enough that you can’t say it just springs from broader misunderstandings or from a broader ignorance on issues that afflict the country. This is a specific alternate reality that was created by the Trump movement for a political purpose. And it worked for that political purpose.” […] “The incoming president basically created this fantasy life for his supporters.”
That pretty much says it all. However, there are a few other points to consider. Trump’s voters were inordinately influenced by his perpetual lying (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). Combine that with supporting fake news purveyors like Breitbart News, Infowars, and Fox News, and you have a virtual wall of propaganda (much of it paid for by Russia, not Mexico). It was a purposeful strategy to present the nation as a crumbling garbage heap. Otherwise there would have been no argument for Trump’s candidacy. He couldn’t run against a prosperous economy, full employment, and the highest rate of citizens with health insurance. Nor would his vulgarity, ignorance, and bigotry have been tolerated absent the horror story version of America he fabricated.
So now Trump will assume the helm of a nation that Obama rescued from near collapse. Don’t be surprised when he takes credit for everything Obama did. And don’t be surprised when he undoes it with his agenda which is identical to the one that caused all the problems in the first place.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Watch the segment from the Rachel Maddow Show: