In an earlier post, we alluded to a major tactic that may have been critical in explaining why and how Donald Trump won the presidency—taking extreme positions on numerous issues and showing resolve. Now he should fear the symmetry that will haunt his presidency and the Republican Party.
An important, but largely unrecognized, reason why Donald Trump may have won the presidency is that he took extreme positions on many issues and doubled down through thick and thin, which showed resolve and commitment to the positions he espoused. How did this help him win? The electorate did not focus on all the issues that he threw out there, but only on the handful of concerns that mattered to each person. If on these he gave the voter what she wanted to hear (extreme positions on which he did not waver), she went with him regardless of his stand on the other twenty or more issues that mattered much less. A direct implication of this is that President Trump may not have even 20 percent popular support for most, if any, of his initiatives, because his supporters did not vote for him based on the sum of all of his proposals, but only because of a few and the few were different for different groups of voters. So he may have won because of unwavering, clear-cut, sharp, catchy and extreme positions on many issues.
But it doesn’t end here. President Trump must now face the music! If this is how Donald Trump got elected, what happens now? What do those who voted for him expect?
There is symmetry here. President Trump can’t just deliver on a few items, no matter how important they may be, and expect the many groups of voters that voted for him for their very different reasons to support him and his party during his presidency and in the elections of 2018 and 2020. So while his tactic of unwavering extreme positions on many issues may have won Donald Trump the election, President Trump must now deliver on many of these if he is to enjoy significant support from the American people. President Trump, fear the symmetry!