Trump is not a leader in the traditional sense of inspiring his supporters to believe as he does, but rather someone who gains his strength and power from his ability to reflect the beliefs of those whom he leads. If you want to know why I am a Trump Republican, it is because only Trump has consistently and effectively put into words the values and beliefs I was armed with long before he appeared on the scene. He hasn’t always been able to effectuate those values in policy changes, but I’m willing to forgive him his failures because he — like me — has been the victim of cultural and political elites who despise him. They have proven they would stop at nothing to bring him to his knees, so it was no surprise to me that they rigged the election against him by changing voting rules and then blamed him for the chaos that resulted.
The canard of the second Trump impeachment was that the 45th U.S. president had incited an insurrection against the government of the United States by promoting the supposedly “baseless” conspiracy theory that Democrats had stolen the election. That presumes that his rather lackluster speech at the Ellipse on the morning of Jan. 6 had the capacity to inspire a rebellion, which it didn’t, but more importantly it deprives those who recklessly entered the U.S. Capitol of their agency and responsibility in breaking the law. It also assumes that people like me who studied the evidence and concluded that there was indeed fraud in the 2020 vote are dupes of the Great and Powerful Oz, er, Trump.
That mistake has been repeated throughout Trump’s candidacy and presidency — over-estimating Trump’s persuasiveness and under-estimating the savvy of his audience.