As you might have noticed over the last month I shot a video or two or ninety while I was at CPAC 2017 interviewing a lot of people attendees. If you watched my interviews you will notice they were very similar in that I asked a very specific set of questions to those who came. This is why.
There have already been plenty of words written about why the Trump voter went with him. In many ways the CPAC crowd is a very different crowd than the avg working class Trump voter.
1. They can either afford to come to CPAC (travel hotel and meals and time from work cost money) or will save up to come to CPAC each year.
2. They tend to be activists, former activists or future activists.
3. They follow the political world the way I follow Doctor Who
Thus to understand part of the current GOP/conservative coalition (and lets face it that’s what it is) the activist community must be understood. That was my goal at CPAC. I need to discover the whys and wherefores of what these conservative activists think about the Trump administration. To do this I settled on these four questions:
Who did you support in the primaries?
Did you vote for Trump in the general and if you did when did you decide to do so?
What do you think of the job he is doing now?
What is the one thing you want to see President Trump achieve in his term of office (regardless of length)?
The purpose of those questions were to establish the following about this activist class
Where they were in the primaries
Where they were in the general election
Where they are now
Where the might be in 2018 & 2020
Each of these interviews were data points to answer these questions, here is what I found:
In terms of question 1. (Who did you support?) The most common person people supported was Ted Cruz, I ran into the occasional Rand Paul person, several Marco Rubio fans and a few scattered fans of others from Jeb Bush to Bernie Sanders, but most of the crowd there was a Ted Cruz crowd, which must be why I felt so at home at CPAC.
In terms of question 2, (Did you vote Trump and if so when did you decide to do so) there were three primary groups.
A: The smallest were those who in the end couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump. That group consisted of some of the oldest and youngest of those I spoke to. The oldest tended to either have a write in choice or wouldn’t say who they voted for, while the youngest who didn’t vote from Trump tended to go to Gary Johnson but we did have one McMullin guy.
B. The next largest group was those who were party republicans. These people had decided to go with Trump as soon as he had the nomination, because they were republicans and weren’t going to let Clinton win.
C. The largest group were those who in the end went Trump after some thought. There was a lot of variance here. Some decided at the convention, some after much soul-searching at least one person say he finally decided to go Trump while actually in the voting booth. Some had been strong partisans for other candidates, some had gone from one candidate to another but in the end they had gone from Trump, a few with gusto (at least one became a key member in the state Trump team) and many reluctantly but they got there in the end. It’s fair to say that fear of Hillary and what the Democrats would do had a lot to do with that decision.
Question 3 had the most uniform answer of any other. With VERY few exceptions (less than 10%) people were very happy with Donald Trump. They liked the tone, they liked the executive orders but what seemed to be the biggest thing to people, was the feeling of DOING vs TALKING. Of the few who where not very happy, they game him a mixed report card, they liked specific things, but were worried about others or withheld judgement. It’s worth noting that the older folks who didn’t vote for Trump from previous interviews were all in this group while ALL of the younger folks who voted for someone else were in group C, while the young folks in this group tended to be more wonkish.
Question 4: (What do you want to see Trump get done) had the widest variation of answers, which in one respect was to be expected. I got some abstract answers, vague things about unity, both nationally and within the party. Some who were all about defeating ISIS, others big on the 2nd amendment and a few who talked religious liberty and abortion (far fewer than I expected but that could be because it was my big issue) but there were two answers that were the most common.
One was Obamacare. People wanted it gone, dead, Kaput. A few of them wanted a replacement but more important that what replaced it was the idea that it needed to be dead.
The 2nd was the wall and illegal immigration. While less important to folks than killing Obamacare this was a big issue to a lot of people. They didn’t just want the laws being enforced (as we’ve been seeing lately) they wanted the actual physical wall built that they could see.
Both of these issues add up to both the greatest opportunity and the greatest danger to the Trump administration. Failure to get them done will be the easiest way for the president to lose these people, but if he manages to pull them off the upside is incredible.
So that’s the data based on my interviews, this is what people said and it is what it is regardless of what anyone thinks of it.
As to what this data means? Here’s my conclusion
Everything you’re seeing highlighted on TV and in the papers right now by the Press is meaningless Bullshit!
No amount of talk about Russia, Wiretapping or the media wringing their hands about the President’s tweets, his language or anything else by the media, Democrat or the chattering classes makes any difference. These activists don’t care about them and aren’t going to be moved by them.
Even the media’s attempt to promote any conservative groups whining about the current repeal bill, an issue that does matter, are just as meaningless as the rest of the chatter
The only thing that matters in the long run is this: Is Donald Trump going to deliver on these big issues (Obamacare and the Wall) that he highlighted during the campaign?
If this administration can’t answer yes, he is in danger of losing these folks and risks a primary, but if Donald Trump, in the end keeps his eyes on this prize, then these grass room activists are going to be with him when he needs them no matter what anyone in the media says.
As long as President Trump understand this fact, he’s going to do fine, and I have the distinct feeling that he does.
3/13 Voices of CPAC 2017 Traci Belmonte in the van, Michael & Mya at the airport
Voices of CPAC 2017 DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court NIRSA Liberals strike back, Plus Elliott and Adam
Voices of CPAC 2017 Marc Hayden Conservatives vs the Death Penalty & Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation
Voices at CPAC 2017 Two Rons and a Patricia
Voices of the Cannoli deprived at CPAC 2017 Scottie Neil Hughes
Voices at CPAC 2017 Evan Sayet A Deplorable Mind before and after
DaTechguy Meets Students TBS & Fake news at Donald Trump’s CPAC 2017 Speech
Voices of CPAC 2017 Author Matt Margolis On DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court
Voices of CPAC 2017 Tom Wenzel of EWTN & Alberto Calamaro of Radio Maria
The Media Narrative Hunt at CPAC
Voices of CPAC 2017 Donald Trump Single lines from CPAC speech as he makes them
Voices of CPAC 2017 the Indefatigable Kira Innis
Voices of Cpac 2017 Steve & Shen, Ed Morrissey of Hotair and a Kellyanne Conway Cannoli Story
Voices of CPAC 2017 Radio Row Sharon Angle & Rick Trader Daria Novak & Frank Vernuccio
CPAC 2017 Photos & Brief videos from the Sean Hannity Taping
Voices at CPAC 2017 Advocates: Melissa of Able Americans, Matt of American Majority
Voices at CPAC 2017 Yvonne (from almost #NeverTrump to Evangelical Coordinator) & Michael
Voices of CPAC 2017 Joe on Life behind the Berlin Wall
Update 2: Instalanche, thanks Glenn.
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