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

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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?

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In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

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