The Focus Group podcast is BACK, with a twist: We're releasing The Bulwark's first-ever poll of Republican primary voters where we're trying to figure out just how big the "Always Trump," "Maybe Trump," and "Never Trump" buckets are among Republican primary voters. For that, we brought in Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who joins Sarah to stack our poll results up against the focus groups we've done since the election.
Sarah, I really appreciate you and your team talking to so many Trump supporters. I really enjoy listening to your podcast. I feel like they say the same things my Trump supporting relatives say.
Your podcast gives me insight without the uncomfortable political discussions at holiday gatherings.
The problem with not thinking DeSantis is not an existential threat to democracy is two-fold: (1) Trump was an existential threat from day one, but no one wanted to believe it and found ways to (a) make him a joke before he was elected and (b) hoping he would 'pivot' into a real president, who cared about the people and the Constitution that was enacted to protect; (c) then he did not one, but three things that actually warranted impeachment. The last of which is the promotion of the armed insurrection which resulted in death for five LAW ENFORCEMENT officers (i do not exclude Ashley Babbitt - but she was one of the insurrectionists not only trying to overthrow democracy and government, but by doing so violently, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers. Regardless, her death is unacceptable as well not because of law enforcement doing their job, but because of all the rhetoric and encouragement spouted by Trump. He is responsible for all of it. Him and his cronies who thought they had money and power enough to protect themselves from the breakdown of our democracy. The knew 99% of our population would lose. But they believed they would gain.
Now, because Ron DeSantis hasn't had the opportunity to encourage an insurrection and overthrow all the people's power in our government, they want to believe the same thing about him as they had about Trump: he's not THAT dangerous, even though we didn't pick up on it before when it was staring us right in our faces. But here's the thing: DeSantis has been eroding democracy in his own state all along. Just like Trump showed us his true colors of being an objectively horrible human being actively taking advantage of anyone and anything in order to advance himself, DeSantis is the 'lady in waiting' - In the meantime enacting laws and stirring hatefulness until he gets the ultimate power of the Presidency. Then the full-time wreckage of our democracy will begin. He has learned from the mistakes of Trump and is intelligent enough to maneuver around them.
I really got a lot out of this: what an apt intermingling of the quantitative and qualitative . As tragic as I find their views, I appreciated the voices you present here. I suppose it’s no surprise that rank and file American voters are so much easier to listen to than the fascist and semi fascist ravings of fox etc
Trump doesnt have to go 3rd party to undermine GOP in 24. All he has to do is say that he and the American people were cheated again.
I could care less about poolls!
Re the elected Republicans who are waiting for Trump to die: they know they can't fully state their wish, that 45 and all who sail him will eat it.
Its true DeSantis has not yet started an insurrection. However, there is nothing in the historical context of conservatism that he is currently practicing and enacting. Banning books, banning thought, mandating private business practices, lying about COVID (his MM's are not OK), the list goes on are not conservative policies. He won by such a landslide because the D's in Florida do not know how to put up a fight. In a TV world Aaron Sorkin would have had him humiliated and not by contrasting him to liberals but by making him a world war 2 dictator wannabe.
Listening to these always Trumpers... it's almost as though... ALMOST as though Hillary was right with the deplorable tag...
Hearing the comments from the focus group people in this podcast gave me an ulcer. Good Lord.
It scares me to think these people worshipping Donald Trump have no clue what a huckster he is. I guess he is as good at conning people as they say. Or else these people are the most clueless morons that have ever graced the Earth.
YAY!!!! SEASON THREE!!!!
Really informative Focus Group episode with Whit & hope you have him on again.
It's amazing, perhaps naively, that 85% of Republican voters are still okay with a mendacious, racist, pyschopath for president. After watching him as president for 4 years, then orchestrating a coup and they're like "okay, he does some bad things, but he's a Republican." I knew both "yellow dog" Democrats and Republicans existed, I just had no idea that 85% of Republican voters would vote for a yellow dog as long as it was on the Republican ticket (BTW, nothing against yellow dogs I have a wonderful, yellow lab).
I consider myself a really open person when it comes to listening and giving people the benefit of the doubt regarding their opinions being different than mine. But I gotta say, I about lost my mind listening to these Focus Group verbatims. I found myself starting to think like JVL about them, which means I’m really in trouble. 😂😂😂
Glad to see you back, Sarah! Really enjoy the Focus Group podcast.
In the survey they separated likely voters who value Trump over the GOP and likely voters who value the GOP over Trump. I’d be very curious to know how each of those groups define “GOP”. I’d be willing to bet the answers would vary wildly.