Make no mistake: Clips like this embolden Trump’s supporters. They don’t see this sort of mockery and start to question their beliefs — rather, it just strengthens their view that it is them (and Trump) against the world. It makes them more loyal to the president, not less.
If you don’t understand what I mean, just think about what happened after Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment. Did that turn people away from Trump? Far from it. In fact, it prompted countless Trump supporters to use the word in their names or handles on Twitter. It prompted the Trump campaign to sell “deplorable” T-shirts. It prompted Trump to use the comments for his own campaign’s fundraising, and to bring his supporters closer to him, as well as to present himself as the foil who would never demean them in that way. (“While my opponent slanders you as deplorable and irredeemable, I call you hardworking American patriots who love your country and want a better future for all of our people,” Trump said during a rally in Iowa shortly afterwards.)
In other words? Rather than question their choice of alliance because of Clinton’s insult, Trump’s supporters embraced it — clearly seeing it as evidence that the people who disagree with them, in fact, don’t just disagree with them; they hate them, too. They think that they’re stupid. Nobody wants to listen to anyone who just got done calling them dumb, and all Lemon did here was further solidify the narrative that “liberal media elites” like him think Trump supporters are fools, which, in turn, only makes them hate Trump’s opposition more.