I don't understand what voters Trump could've picked up between 2016 and 2020

My point here is not “I don’t understand how half my fellow Americans can fall for such a stupid, incompetent, malicious president!” because we already know that. The right wing echo chamber spent years putting people in a state of outrage and distrust of all other sources of information and essentially creating a cult where blind faith and loyalty to your side and blind hatred and animosity towards the other side are the core tenets.

What I don’t understand is the mentality of a voter who did not vote for Trump in 2016, but did in 2020. This is a high voter turnout election, and for Trump to even be in the running, it seems to follow that he gained votes since 2016.

I understand the reverse. I understand that there are lots of people who voted for Trump in 2016 and did not in 2020. Those people had various motivations:

A sense that voting for Trump was a big middle finger to the establishment.
A sense that Trump was actually the savvy, smart businessman that he portrayed himself as, who could cut through the bullshit and make things work better
A sense that Trump was uncorruptable because he was rich already and didn’t need to take money from anyone else, and would actually fight corruption
A built in hatred for Clinton from decades of conservatives trying to paint her as the worst person in the world
“did it for the lols” because it was something they weren’t supposed to do and they figured Trump would never win anyway so what the hell

But all of those people had their ideas shattered by the utter failure of the first Trump administration. We saw that he was none of the good things that people might’ve thought he was, and only increased the level of corruption and evil in politics, so those people would have no reason to vote for Trump again in 2020. Those reasons would not continue to apply.

And to have more total votes, Trump must’ve replaced all of these voters who would’ve voted for him once but not twice, and then added more voters on top of that.

So, of course, there’s the built in Republican base. People who will vote Republican literally no matter what, who do whatever Fox News tell them. This is the bulk of Trump’s base. But here’s the thing: they’re not new voters. They already voted for him in 2016. It’s extremely unlikely that there are many people who were not republican partisans in 2016 that were in 2020.

Then there are the deplorables, the racists, whatever - the people who exist only to “rile the libs” - they would be very happy with Trump’s performance so far because all they wanted to do is shit on the floor of their own apartment just so their roommate had to smell it too. But again, Trump already had this base in 2016, I don’t see why he would recruit anyone new in 2020.

2016 was attacking the establishment, pointing out the flaws of the other candidate, getting to snipe at any failures of our country our political system. That got a certain amount of votes from people who also feel resentful of any of those things. But in 2020, he is the establishment. What’s going wrong is under his watch. And he’s actually made things so much worse. He can’t run as an outsider capturing the minds of other outsiders.

So where did the extra votes come from?

A weak guess is that never-Trumpers saw which way the wind was blowing and talked themselves into liking Trump. Let’s look at Lindsey Graham for example. He correctly called Trump a racist, incompetent kook before the election that risks destroying the Republican party if they were so wildly irresponsible as to nominate him. But the Republicans did anyway, and while the never Trumpers thought - well, we’re fucked, people won’t stand for this - it turns out that even they underestimated just how shitty the average Republican was, and Trump basically took over the party. At that point, most Never-Trumpers saw which way the wind was blowing and jumped onboard and became Trump bootlickers, just like Graham.

Maybe something similar hapened with the voters. In 2016, some traditional Republicans may have accurately understand what a shitty person and a shitty president Trump would be and refused to vote for him, but once he won, and once the party rallied around him, and this became the future of the Republican party, they had a choice: leave the party that no longer lives up to the decency that this hypothetical republican wants to uphold, or just lower themselves into the mud with everyone else and get on board. That person would’ve refused to vote for Trump in 2016 but voted for him in 2020. I personally don’t think this is a big category, as I think Republicans even in 2016 were so partisan that they would’ve voted for Trump even against their own morality. But it’s a guess as to the type of voter who didn’t vote Trump in 2016 but did in 2020.

Of course, there are new voters who became 18 since then, and sure, some of them are 4chan radicalized kids who got on the Trump train for the lolz, maybe some incels who’ve been heavily recruited by the alt right, but the majority of young people are very much against Trump and his values, so I don’t think he picked up any voters there. On the contrary, the passage of time was likely to hurt him, as old Republican voters die off and are replaced by younger, more anti-Republican voters.

Mail in ballots being more common meant it was easier to cast a vote, so maybe there were people who would’ve voted for Trump in 2016, but were too lazy, but decided to vote for Trump in 2020 with the mail in ballot? Given that Trump is extremely polarizing, and if you support him you tend to wildly support him and would go to the polls for him, this seems unlikely to me too.

So what does that leave us? Clever Fox News/right wing echo chamber tactics to increase the size of their base in the last 4 years? Maybe. Facebook deliberately putting their finger on the scales to suppress non-extreme-right views and favor Republicans? Maybe. These are the only things that I can guess.

Quite frankly, I find the idea that Trump somehow gained voters implausible.

Apparently he got a lot more black and Hispanic voters than 2016.

… I may have forgotten to mention hundreds of thousands of dead Americans where the worst of the pandemic is happening RIGHT NOW, where in the last couple of weeks we’ve set the record for new infections. You can’t exactly be a “moderate” or an “independent” and possibly think that’s not the greatest fucking reason not to stay the course. Fucking Abraham Lincoln or FDR wouldn’t have survived that shit.

Sorry, that was way too long to read, but to get to the basic answer. He added a lot of new voters, just like Biden did. If you’ve been watching the chaos of the last 4 years and are worried or angry or scared, you’ve gone into your echo chamber, registered to vote and turned up. This is true for both camps. No one is thinking critically and evaluating the merits of the candidates platforms, you just chose a color and go for it.

That’s how Trump added voters. Doubling down on his base was clearly the right strategy. Trumpian parents dragged along their recently 18 year old kids, their grandparents, their lazy do nothing stoner friends and they voted for Trump.

The only cohort that could conceivably have moved from Hilary to Trump of the last 4 years are Latinos. God knows why…socialism propaganda makes sense for Cubans but I have no idea what the Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are thinking. Machismo is all I can come up with.

I really feel the riots in the streets this year really turned a lot of voters towards Trump.

Hispanic people in particular were very horrified in my area of potential violence occuring in our city, and there has to be a number of black voters who took a similar viewpoint, not to mention the white suburban voters this scared. You can put kids in cages all you want as long as it’s distant but the moment people looted my local Walgreens a block away shit got real serious real fast.

That’s a good explanation, but what a perverse fucking reaction. Wildly incompetent leadership encourages authoritarianism and police brutality, people protest that police brutality, oh no! that protest is scary! Let’s blame them for civil unrest and vote for the authoritarian that caused it!

For fucks sake, man. You think Trump and anti-Trump camps are just as bad, just as brainwashed, just as partisan? You couldn’t independently judge Trump to be wildly and obvious incompetent - the only reason to oppose him is because you’re part of some anti-Trump cult, equally thoughtless and as morally bankrupt as the pro-Trump cult? There’s no independent thought, no morality, no merit, only Both Sides Are The Same?

That doesn’t really answer the question. You make it sound like every time a new voter thinks about voting, a coin is flipped. Heads, you’re a pro-Trump cultist, tails, you’re an anti-Trump cultist, and well, that explains the growth in both sides.

Are you really claiming Trump is the reason why African-Americans are killed by police in large numbers?

No I do not. That’s not what I said. I’m saying that if you’re a pissed off low-information voter in a rural county, and you decided to vote for the first time, you did not go to the NYT or even CNN to figure out who to vote for. You didn’t suddenly become a savvy political analyst. You talked to your meathead friends, looked at your Facebook feed and looked at the ignorant signs posted around your neighborhood. You succumbed to peer pressure. So the “new” voters didn’t evaluate the situation and deduce that Trump is the problem, they just jumped into the torrent of shit that existed in their community and got swept up.

For metropolitan non-voters the process wasn’t much different. They didn’t start reading the NYT or WSJ, they just looked around at what their friends were doing. It just so happens that these friends, by virtue of their cities’ diversity and their higher level of education, tend to be a much better herd to follow, but those “new” voters aren’t much savvier than their rural counterparts.

What I’m saying is that if you were a non-voter in 2016 it wasn’t because you chose to sit out for any good reason. And if you were pushed to vote, it probably wasn’t in direct response to anything Trump did or didn’t do. It’s probably just due to a general fear and dissatisfaction.

I’m claiming the massive protests that followed Floyd’s murder would not have happened under Obama or a more responsible president. Police murder black people all the time, and most of them do not spark mass protests. The protests that followed Floyd’s death were not strictly about Floyd’s death, or even about police treatment of black people, though obviously that was a big issue. They also were the result of the pent up rage and helplessness at the feeling of our country slipping into authoritarianism, that we had no control while Trump looted and gutted the country, that things are moving in the wrong direction.

The protests were also egged on by further police brutality against the protesters, which is something that absolutely bears the mark of the sort of attitude that someone like Trump brings out in peopple. Trump didn’t create racism or authortarianism, but he emboldens it. People who once felt like they needed to hide their worst impulses now parade them around proudly. Police that before would not have felt confident about cracking down on peaceful protestors know they have the federal government on their side.

You don’t understand since the moment anyone said anything remotely different from your world view you loudly dismissed that as being trolls.

There was a lot of indication that Latinos were breaking more than expected for Trump. Also it seems that more black men than normal voted “R”. Again, there
e was some indication of that.

I mean a sitting President who has made noise about criminal justiuce reform against the guy who wrote the 1994 crime bill and a former prosecutor who was famed for sending people up the river for minor crimes. Who’d have thought it might be a problem?

What are you talking about? I didn’t call anyone that responded to me a troll. I considered what Asuka said, and accused Omni of both-sides argumentation, but that’s not related to trolling.

I did call some subset of Trump voters trolls, but that’s so obviously true. They’re the same 4chan kiddies that tried to make Gushin Granny and Hitler Did Nothing Wrong a mountain dew flavor. They were actually a big part of what got Trump momentum in the Republican primary, when some 4chan kids thought “wouldn’t it be awesome if we could Gushin Granny or Boaty McBoatface… but like… with a presidential candidate?”

I think Americans need to accept that Trumpism (American fascism) wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t “not Hillary”. It is a very real thing, that has a lot of popularity amongst many Americans. While perhaps not 50%, I had originally thought that perhaps the true Trumpist were maybe 7-12% of electorate. I’m thinking perhaps that number of closer to 30-40%, and closer to 40% than 30%. And the thing is, with the way social and information bubbles work now, I don’t know how you fix it. Outlaw social media maybe? It might work, but impractical to impossible.

The way he has bungled the coronavirus outbreak is reason alone for me to be astounded that Americans in any numbers whatsoever actually support him, and want to give him 4 more years. Astounding.

To quantify…

In 2016 there were 62,984,828 votes for Trump, per wiki.

For 2020 as of right now, 66,411,134 people have voted for Trump, per FOX. I couldn’t find it on CNN.

That’s 3.4 million more votes, and of course they’re still being counted.

Disclaimer I reluctantly switched my vote to Biden. Why? Because his name is not Donald J Trump. Biden/Harris was the best of two bad choices. I did support most of the incumbents running in my states elections.

It’s really embarrassing that we’re not seeing democrats sweep Congress and the White House. The Republican candidates were badly wounded and their ties to Trump were boat anchors. They were all lined up to knock down.

The Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. Where was the National leadership? Why wasn’t there strong condemnation of the BLM and Antifa violence? Defunding the police, packing the Supreme Court, and the other issues that scares the hell out of middle America?

Yeah, I know the Right is out on the streets too. That’s the entire point. The Democrats couldn’t take advantage of the violence from the right. The Democrat’s house is on fire too.

Like it or not violence and civil disorder is the image many people equate with Democrats.

The National Party controls funding and infrastructure for campaigns. The DLC would have done everything possible to present a united and coherent party platform. Give voters a reason to vote democrat. But the DLC is gone. I don’t see any leadership that was supposed to replace it.

You have so many voices shouting different things. That’s appropriate in the primaries. The election is the time for the party to come together and give America a vision for the future.

This was yet another blown opportunity. There should have been a sweeping out of any candidate associated with Trump.

Right now, a lot of the elections are too close to call. The Democrats may take the White House. We obviously aren’t seeing a concentrated shift in power.

It doesn’t seem surprising to me.

Republican identity politics:

(To majority voters.) Other people are bad and wrong and are causing the problems in America. Vote for us and we’ll fix your problems!

Democrat identity politics:

(To majority voters.) You are bad and wrong and are causing the problems in America. You don’t have problems, you just need to be re-educated. Vote for us so we can tax you in order to fix other people’s problems!

One of those messages is rather more attractive than the other…

We wouldn’t have to have the fucking lockdowns if people could exercise basic precautions like distancing and mask wearing. Other countries that can behave like adults have much less reliance on lockdowns.

It’s incredibly frustrating that many of the people who think the lockdowns are the worst thing that can possibly happen and we need to avoid them at all costs won’t take the trivially easy, rudimentary steps of keep themselves and others safe so we don’t have to consider lockdowns.

So the dipshit in chief manages to bungle the governmental response to the virus, inspire his cultists to spread the virus as far as possible, and somehow the democrats get the backlash for considering lockdowns to contain the disaster that Trump and his cultists created.

I am so, so fucking sick of Trump fucking something up and then somehow falling upward and being rewarded for it. That’s his entire fucking life path. Every fucking time.

I say this not as a joke, but the closest I’ve ever come to believing in the supernatural is Trump’s uncanny ability to convince half the world that he’s the exact opposite of what he is, and no matter how badly he fucks everything up, always fail upward. If “deal with the devil” was a real thing, that’s what it would look like. Inexplicable, illogical consistent success with no rhyme, reason, talent or merit to explain it.


America’s true identity as a third-world Banana Republic shithole has been revealed.

The countries that are doing the best right now both economically and with respect to the virus, got the virus under control and then restarted their economies without much of a problem. I suppose that message would be hard to sell to the American electorate. Certainly, I didn’t see it very much from the Biden campaign.