Noted GOP pollster Frank Luntz — the man behind those post-debate focus groups — recently gathered together twenty-nine Donald Trump supporters to find out what makes them tick. The responses made Luntz’s “legs wobble,” and he said that what’s happening right now in the GOP presidential races should be a “wake up” call to the Republican leadership.
The focus group was observed by a group of reporters who were seated behind a one-way mirror. As Time Magazine reports, “This 29-person focus group … had gathered to explain the phenomenon of Trump.”
Luntz’s firm paid each of the participants $100 for the two-and-a-half hour session. (They wore tags with their first names that were mostly illegible to reporters behind the glass.) The group was not a representative sample of the Republican party, or early state voters, as all of them had been selected because they like (or love) Trump and live in Washington or its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. But they offered a glimpse into the Trump mystique, a lucrative brand whose success has caught the national media, the Republican establishment and experienced pollsters like the veteran Luntz off guard.
So what did Luntz learn? He learned what just about every grassroots conservative has known for a long time: that in many cases, the leadership of the Republican Party is no better than the Democrats. According to the Time article, “They believed Washington politicians and the Republican party had repeatedly misled them, and that the country is going down the tubes. They looked for relief in Trump.”
The focus group believes that Trump has their best interests at heart, while “other Republicans are looking out for themselves.” I guess this is what happens when we elect Republican majorities, and absolutely nothing changes. We get Republicans who continue to push amnesty for illegal aliens and bogus trade deals and increased government spending. Geez… they can’t even defund Planned Parenthood even when the truth on what the organization does has become clearly evident.
On the other hand, in the eyes of Trump supporters, he can deliver. He is different. He doesn’t follow the politically correct behavior that the media and other Democrats and Republicans follow. People believe he’ll do what he says he’s going to do.
“You guys understand how significant this is?” Luntz asked the press breathlessly when he came back into the room behind the glass. “This is real. I’m having trouble processing it. Like, my legs are shaking.”
“I want to put the Republican leadership behind this mirror and let them see. They need to wake up. They don’t realize how the grassroots have abandoned them,” Luntz continued. “Donald Trump is punishment to a Republican elite that wasn’t listening to their grassroots.”
One woman who sat on the panel summed up the feelings of many grassroots conservatives by saying: “They treat us like crap and they lie to us and promise us things and then they expect us to vote again. … That’s why we want Trump.”
Will they listen? Donald Trump has the Republican establishment (both politicians and pundits) in a tizzy. In a recent column in the Washington Examiner, Byron York points out the problems with the Democrats on the issue of illegal immigration, but he also mentions what other so-called conservatives are writing about:
“Trump’s immigration plan could spell doom for the GOP,” read a headline on a syndicated column by George Will. “Trump’s recklessness threatens GOP,” read a headline on a Charles Krauthammer column. “Donald Trump reveals the ugly side of the right,” read a headline on a piece by the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin.
Maybe they’re all right. Maybe they’re not.
So, that’s what grassroots conservatives are getting from conservative media. They don’t want you to want Trump. They are terrified of that notion. Here’s a novel idea: let the voters decide! The more the Republican establishment pushes an anti-Trump narrative, the more the grassroots conservatives will push back. And NONE of this would have happened if Republicans would just act like conservatives instead of Democrats or professional Washington elite.