Why the Republican base has a tie to Trump that won't break

The tie that binds Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE and the Republican base is stronger than any of us political experts could have ever imagined. I understand it. The base feels as though they have been bamboozled by the GOP. They have grown weary of empty promises. They want a non-politician and even though Trump doesn't have a public-service record, people take solace in the fact that he will do what he says he will do for one major reason: He has lost millions of dollars in business deals by abandoning political correctness. His extemporaneous comments on controversial issues caused him to lose big, with estimates of upwards of $100 million. Most people would have backtracked on comments they had made once they see themselves losing money, but not The Donald. In fact, he is doubling down. Does it matter to the base that Trump doesn't have any substantive plans on the economy, healthcare or immigration? No. Does it matter that eventually he is going to say something that will offend most of them? No. Why? Because his commitment has been proven to be so strong that he is willing to lose millions of dollars while supporting what he believes in, a risk most elected officials and private-sector leaders are not willing to take. The politically correct nature of politics as usual often quells free speech and ideas. Trump is not allowing our politically correct culture to reshape him and American voters support that.


As an African-American Republican political strategist, I have a good view of what happens in politics and how that translates into government. This scenario with Trump reminds me of another leader, President Obama. I often go to African-American friends' houses and the president's name will come up. More often than not, African-Americans are disappointed with the president's handling of their issues. They weren't happy with him in the first term but still decided to vote for him for the second — which makes no sense in general. In fact, while sitting in the green room waiting to go on a national news program, a white conservative commentator struck up a conversation with me, saying: "I don't know how you do it." I responded, "Do what?" He said, "I don't see how you go on national television to criticize the president." He continued: "If I were black and [with] him being the first black president, I don't care what he did or if I was worse off due to him being in office; there would be an emotional attachment that I felt to him because he is the first." Some of you may think that doesn't make sense, but look at the African-American community before the president took office and before his first term ended. Not a lot of positive change and in most cases, African-Americans are worse off, but that voting bloc supported him by over 90 percent for his second term. I think that's what we are seeing with Trump: People want to believe they will have a fighter for their issues and they are not willing to give up on him, regardless of the realities.

Every time political experts have said Trump was done, he has came back stronger. After his comments on Mexicans, he lost deals, but his poll numbers went up. When he said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wasn't a war hero, or only a war hero because he was a prisoner of war — which is a no-no and very disrespectful in both GOP and non-GOP circles — Trump’s poll numbers continued to climb. During the first GOP debate, he didn't rule out a third-party run, which would normally result in his being shunned by Republicans, yet his poll numbers held steady. The old rules of politics seemingly don't apply to Trump. Republican voters believe that he has a real chance at winning the Republican primary. The base wants to abrogate business as usual for the party and stick with The Donald until the end — even though it is unlikely Trump can win a general election.

Caldwell is a federal lobbyist and Republican strategist with Caldwell Strategic Consulting. Follow him on Twitter @GiannoCaldwell.