Republicans Back Trump Because of the Insurrection, Not Despite It – By David A. Graham (The Atlantic) / Feb 17 2021
The former president’s ruthlessness remains central to his appeal.
America as a whole has had enough of Donald Trump. Voters hold him responsible for the January 6 insurrection, they believe the Senate should have convicted him for his role, and they want him to leave national politics. But the Republican Party is another country, and they do things differently there. Its rank-and-file members didn’t support impeachment, don’t want Trump punished, and prefer him over any other potential candidate for president in 2024.
How can it be that Democrats and Republicans see the former president in such divergent ways? One common answer is that, thanks to information bubbles, they’re looking at different sets of facts; conservative outlets buried the impeachment hearings compared with other outlets’ coverage. Democrats and independents are still outraged, while Republicans have forgiven and forgotten.
But maybe that’s wrong, and Republicans are backing Trump not in spite of the insurrection but because of it. Many Republican voters supported Trump in 2016 and 2020 not out of particular policy affinities but because they saw him as someone who would actually fight for their vision of American culture, doing whatever it took to win. Trump’s frantic attempt to overturn the election didn’t work, but it was just the sort of furious effort his supporters wanted. Why would they object now?