Lately there’s been a lot of talk among pundits on what it would take for Trump’s base to abandon him. For me, the answer is: nothing. I feel I must support Trump, regardless of what he does, because I fear what would happen if he got impeached. That’s not to say I don’t criticize Trump from time to time. But said criticism has no bearing on my generic support for him.
Ever since World War II, American elites have tried to build this narrative that democracy is about impersonal public policy, not power/status competition between groups. If you believe that policy is all that matters, than of course there won’t be any consequences to impeaching Trump, certainly not for his base. He’ll just be replaced by Pence, and things will go on mostly as they have before.
This is completely absurd. Trump’s base is socially vulnerable, much more so than I think any of us want to admit. Impeaching Trump would be a complete disaster. At the very least we would see a rash of suicides. The discrimination working-class white people face could intensify, especially in employment. The nihilism that’s been growing in the middle and upper middle classes for 50 years could start to spiral out of control. And that’s before we get to the rioting which, let’s be honest, would be intense.
If you don’t believe me, just look at what happened to Christians after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Liberals went on a judicial jihad to persecute them. The status of Christians fell so low that the courts actually ruled that Trump’s travel ban’s prioritization of religious minorities was unconstitutional. Yes, Christians are dying en masse in Middle Eastern countries, but apparently we can’t do anything about it because, well, the First Amendment prohibits it. Go figure.
Elite coups have consequences. Politics is not a dispassionate fight over public policy, but a struggle between groups. The consequences of impeaching Trump would be just too dire for me to abandon my generic support for the man, and I don’t think there’s anything Trump could that would change that.