The upshot is that identifying as a Trump supporter means one is joining a tribe that Hillary Clinton described as deplorable. We have had these kinds of political designations in our political history, but not recently. The last real analog was probably the “Reagan Democrat.” Interestingly, these were to some extent the 1980s version of the Trump supporter: White, working-class, and traditionally Democratic-leaning ethnic whites. It was a demographic very similar to the one Trump flipped to win the presidency.
We are far removed from a world in which, once they win, all Americans hope for the success of the president. Frankly, this may never have existed. It may have been simply a form of polite discourse. It might also have been a form of polite discourse that makes a country run better. But for better or worse it appears to be abandoned in the scoreboard-driven politics of our time.
Do you support Trump? What a question. What a measure of one’s desire for ends and tolerance of means, what a statement of self. The gravity of this question, and the extent to which good hosts will try to avoid it, tells us something about our political moment. As more mainstream conservatives remove the fingers from their noses and support Trump without the prerequisite reservations, the definition of Trump supporter may be shifting.