Donald Trump’s Base Doesn’t Care Much About His Opinion

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Confirmed lunatic Roy Moore won the Republican Senate primary in Alabama last night, which was no big surprise. But it’s a funny thing. Donald Trump endorsed his opponent, and this is yet another sign that Trump has very little sway over his supporters. They like him, but only when he’s telling them what they already want to hear. If he goes off the reservation, they shrug and continue doing whatever they were doing in the first place.

To some extent this is true of all presidents, of course. The power to persuade is a precious and limited commodity. But Trump seems more than normally unable to move the needle of national opinion. He can spur outrage over things his base is already outraged about. He can gull the media into letting him set the agenda. He can unite everyone in embarrassment. But his support or opposition doesn’t seem to change minds about the wisdom of going to war; whether to approve of Republican health plans; or who to vote for.

Am I off base here? Or does Trump really have less than normal influence over his followers?

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate