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?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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