The American public, aside from Republican members of Congress, isn’t going to take nonsense on this one. In a new USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, Americans are calling Donald Trump’s racist weekend tweets “offensive.” And in a result Trump and his allies might be more pointedly concerned about, 59% of Americans are calling Trump’s racist tweets “un-American.”
That is not to say that a majority of self-identified Republicans aren’t standing by Trump. After all, 57% say they agree with Trump’s tweet for his targeted non-white, American-citizen congresswomen to “go back” to their “original” countries. But those Trump allies are overwhelmed by widespread public revulsion by Democrats and independents. Women, in particular, found the tweets offensive by a three-fourths majority.
The poll underscores, yet again, just how far the Republican base has drifted from the rest of America’s beliefs and morality. In nearly every recent poll, on any subject, self-identifying independents and Democrats tend to line up together on one side of the question, with a Republican rump providing heavy counterweight on the other side. Whether it be the treatment of refugees; the definition of what is or is not “racist;” or queries of Trump being accused by two dozen women of harassment, assault or rape, the Republican base defends it all while everyone else expresses revulsion.
And yes, the vast majority of such divisions revolve around racism. Republicans have trimmed their base into a vehicle for white nationalism and cultish devotion to each leader of the moment; there is a Fox News America, and everyone else, and the two cannot agree even on the same reality, much less morality.
There’s one interesting tidbit in the poll that USA Today singled out, and it seems instructive. About four in ten Republicans and Democrats alike said they themselves had an immigrant parent or grandparent: no difference there. Republicans, however, maintain a resilient contempt for immigrants and the rights of immigrants despite their own immigrant roots. It is the empathy-devoid blindness of Trump himself, a demand that nobody else be allowed the same assistance that they themselves were granted. It is a supreme, self-centered irritation at anyone beside themselves benefiting from American compassion, of the sort that the Tucker Carlsons and the Sean Hannitys stoke nightly, that appears to animate the base above all else.
But they are outnumbered, and by a lot. The question for the next elections, then, is whether that matters.