Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Bummed? This Focus Group on Trump Will Restore Your Faith in Americans

Bummed? This Focus Group on Trump Will Restore Your Faith in Americans

Like Trump or Loathe Him, These Voters Had Some Great Takes on the Donald

Nicolle Wallace nailed it: “voters are so smart! And whenever we scratch our heads here in New York City or anywhere along the Acela corridor, you really just have to get out for a day or an hour and talk to people. They see everything.” Wallace was reacting to clips from a focus group of working-class Pennsylvania voters aired on today’s Morning Joe.

Trump boosters and critics alike offered fresh, authentic, insightful takes on the candidate. As something of a political junkie, I found myself feeling envious of the clear and uncluttered way they cut to the heart of things. Have a look: if your faith in your fellow Americans has at times been flagging, these folks will restore it.

This Focus Group on Trump Will Give You Faith In Americans from Mark Finkelstein on Vimeo.

My favorite positive comment was the woman who said “they say there’s a lot of countries that don’t care for him. But it’s not their country, it’s ours.” The best criticism in my book came from another woman: “I think he’s honest in the way maybe a child is honest because they don’t know any better and they haven’t learned. Childish is the term I would use.”

WILLIE GEIST: These poll numbers are pretty amazing, the Rust Belt, showing him running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton, 40-to-40 in the state of Ohio, tied there. Clinton has the slightest advantage in the reliably blue state of Pennsylvania which hasn’t gone for a Republican since 1988. These are Quinnipiac polls. The 42-41% split there can possibly be explained by a new focus group from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. They mixed and got together a group of Trump and Clinton voters and found what the working-class voter thinks about these candidates.

VOTER #1: I think he puts himself out there. We might not agree with the things that he says but I feel like he does have a sense of honesty to him. I know that sounds funny because it’s Trump. When you call him out for something, granted he doesn’t handle it professionally, necessarily, but he admits a lot of his wrongdoing most of the time.

VOTER #2: When an interviewer asks him a question, a lot of politicians would dodge and say, oh, I can’t answer that question, I’ll get in big trouble, I can’t answer that question. But Trump just answers it, and then everybody hammers him for it because they can’t believe he said that, but at least he answered the question.

VOTER #3: That’s the thing: he’s not a politician.

VOTER #4: Politician would say: shh, don’t say, that Donald. Donald like: I don’t care.

VOTER #5: You know, he’s unapologetic, which I think is kind of nice because it’s a change from these dirty politicians. And he’s not that.

VOTER #6: It just makes me feel very comfortable and safe and I like to listen to him. I think he has common sense. He speaks my language, just the way he is. He seems like a normal person to me.

VOTER #5 I think he’s a little bit of a hothead honestly, so I don’t want to necessarily get him in office and blow North Korea off the map. I would worry about his temper maybe.

VOTER #7: If you say the wrong things and you’re too fast on what you say to another nation, it can cause a war.

VOTER #8: I think he’s honest in the way maybe a child is honest because they don’t know any better and they haven’t learned. Childish is the term I would use to describe the way he conducts himself in general.

VOTER #9: I mean the uncertainty is the allies of the other countries that don’t care for him, if that would affect us, I’m not sure. But they say there’s a lot of countries that don’t care for him. But it’s not their country, it’s ours. And I think he wants to protect us.

VOTER #10: I don’t understand how you’re Commander-in-Chief with no experience under you. It just doesn’t make sense. Like, I wouldn’t go tomorrow and lead a law firm. It’s just not sensible.

VOTER #11: He’s been doing beauty pageants and running businesses. He doesn’t know how to run a country, to rid the country of terrorists. Like what class did he take?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: So Nicole, there are obviously, there are some pros and cons there. But certainly on the pro side, it’s something that I’ve heard for a long time. People actually taking what those of us in Manhattan or Washington, DC, would be critical of Trump on and actually turning that into a positive. Now again, there were some negatives there as well. But I’ve been struck by how many people say, sure, he’s inexperienced. Sure, he says politically incorrect things. But maybe we need a guy like that in the White House right now.

NICOLE: Voters are so smart! And whenever we scratch our heads here in New York City or anywhere along the Acela corridor, you really just have to get out for a day or an hour and talk to people. They see everything. They see all the political incorrect things he does. They know exactly what he’s been doing, running beauty pageants. And they like the outsider status. I wrote down, you know, it’s not their country, it’s ours. All these things that make people make people in the foreign policy establishment, which I long thought was a real vulnerability for him, uncomfortable with the idea of him as Commander-in-Chief, voters have baked that into the cake. They understand the pros and cons of him in a much more sophisticated way than we give them credit for doing.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

“It is these unpredictable outbursts of truth and common sense, not his bombast, bad manners and bigotry, that has the Acela Corridor in high dudgeon.”

From David Stockman – Budget Director for Ronald Reagan.

Condescension from the Morning Joe crew.
“See folk’s out there in flyover, we at M. J. take you seriously!”

    Mark Finkelstein in reply to secondwind. | June 22, 2016 at 9:14 am

    You’re right that there probably was an aspect of that. But I sensed sincere admiration for the people in the focus group. I certainly felt it, and hey: I live in flyover country!

Currently we have an inexperienced liar as president, who has surrounded himself with incompetent people pushing an anti-American agenda. They all hate the country and the citizens. We have a congress which baits and switches on legislation and a Supreme Court which is legislating from the bench. I’d say that the voters have been pretty darn stupid thanks to to media by covering up the truth and promoting the same America hating talking points. I have no faith in focus groups. I do have faith in the American patriot. Right now there just aren’t enough of them.

“VOTER #10: I don’t understand how you’re Commander-in-Chief with no experience under you. It just doesn’t make sense. Like, I wouldn’t go tomorrow and lead a law firm. It’s just not sensible.”

Don’t worry Voter #10. Hand waving is the magic that gets rid of inexperience.

But I don’t see this disappearing:

“really, really, rich” Trump: Moody’s Gives “catastrophic” Trumponomics a Junk Bond Rating:

http://theresurgent.com/moodys-gives-trumponomics-a-junk-bond-rating/

It’s certainly interesting that those who knock “flyover country” live in New York City but usually come from “flyover country”; and, the person, who people still in flyover country appreciate his honesty and openness, comes from New York City.

    casualobserver in reply to Oldfogey. | June 22, 2016 at 9:39 am

    It is even more interesting….well, maybe ironic, that the only cable news station whose audience is predominantly in the NYC-DC corridor would take a serious look at the flyover folks at all. Maybe they are trying to educate their audience?

casualobserver | June 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

After a lifetime of politicians using measured words, phrases that have been tested, and uttering empty promises they KNOW they will not likely keep, who is surprised? A knee-jerk voice that some may even see has childish impulses is refreshing.

And I wouldn’t doubt it is a Trump strategy. He’s just as wise when it comes to public persona. You only have to watch a few of his reality TV episodes to see it. So I can easily be convinced his current “persona” is not entirely organic.

    halodoc in reply to casualobserver. | June 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Because reality tv is so, umm, real, right? There are none of those fake breaks in filming, no final edits for the can for broadcast like they do for made for tv or the screen shows. Wait. What. Never mind. It’s all real. Really.

      casualobserver in reply to halodoc. | June 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      You make my exact point — Because of the reality TV show experience Trump understands what image is all about and how to manipulate it. And we will find out if my hunch is right that he even understands well how to “focus” it. If is negatives start to erode in polls as a response to his “shift” in campaign style, that will be reasonable evidence.

To all the Acela people flying over Texas: Look down.

If there is little cloud cover and you can see the ground, that’s me with my arms raised to the sky and the middle finger of both hands extended to you.

May your days be numbered by the extended fingers of both my hands.

He doesn’t need to know foreign policy in depth, that’s what the RNC and his cabinet appointees are for. To think that you are going to start a war so easily by making a flippant statement is ludicrous. It takes a lot to launch a nuclear strike on another country. I think this is a point the DNC is trying to scare people with, that he’s such a hot head he’ll just mash that big red button and blow stuff up. The secret to a great leader is to have a great cabinet and allow them to do their jobs once you give them a rough outline of what you want. Yes you still need to sit down and discuss the final draft but it’s not the Presidents job to sit there and hash out commas and the correct sound to a statement. I think that since he has a history of brokering deals both large and small he comes in with more experience dealing with CEO’s (presidents, chairmen, etc.) of other nations than what is occupying the White House now.

Humphrey's Executor | June 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

In winning the GOP nomination I can’t decide if Trump was good or lucky. Either way, he’s going to have to be good now, really good, and fast.

Restore my faith in Americans?

I wouldn’t say so. Intellectually, this is pitifully weak tea.

But, while Morning Joe types may be amazed that anybody outside of New York and Washigton can vote and chew gum at the same time, I’m not.

I have faith in Americans because they’re the only game in town.

Not everyone agrees. That fine American, Tecumseh Sherman, did not have faith in Americans. He’s the guy who didn’t actually say “If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.” He believed that the idea that the ordinary ninteenth-century American could competently choose electors who would in turn choose candidates who would etc. was just ridiculous. And he had a point. But so what? Nobody is competent to do it. And that implies that the silly-ass opinion of somebody in Pennsylvania is not inferior, for our purposes, to the silly-ass opinion of somebody in New York. The system can still function, even if it’s mostly noise.

    casualobserver in reply to tom swift. | June 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

    “Intellectually”? You sound like a part of the DC elite.

    And it’s the arrogance of those who agree that the “ordinary” folks aren’t smart or wise or savvy enough to chose the “right” candidate that has catapulted Trump to stardom.

      The founding fathers didn’t have an unwavering faith in the voter.

        Ragspierre in reply to edgeofthesandbox. | June 22, 2016 at 11:15 am

        What they DID have was a bedrock belief that ordinary people had the capacity for self-government…in the right circumstances.

        I still hold to that belief. Part of that whole equation is the capacity to screw up royally and learn from it. It seems clear to me we’re in the “screw up royally” phase of that, and it remains to be seen whether we will learn from it…or have the time needed.

        casualobserver in reply to edgeofthesandbox. | June 22, 2016 at 11:18 am

        There is a massive gap between full, unwavering faith and seeing the electorate as incapable. With words like “pitiful” “weak” “ridiculous”, etc., used to describe the electorate is just dripping with condescension. The founding fathers empowered the individual like no others in history. That requires both respect (and religious faith for some) AND a high degree of faith in their fellow man. Unwavering? Perhaps not. But then many see/saw man through the Christian prism = flawed.

          I wouldn’t describe them this way, but they are not particularly insightful, which is a problem with focus groups in general.
          More, this group is not representative of the electorate (overwhelming majority of Americans despise both Hillary and Donald) and weighed toward Trump.
          I would be much more impressed if ordinary people were talking about how much they value Liberty.

          casualobserver in reply to casualobserver. | June 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

          Is Liberty on the ballot? (Just being a joker.)

          I’m wondering if you really mean “insightful.” You don’t have be brilliant to give insight into your thoughts and preferences.

          Interesting, thought-provoking, telling me something I didn’t know.
          The focus groups look like they are organized to reflect ordinary people. Nothing’s wrong with being an ordinary person. One doesn’t need to be intelligent to be virtuous. However, since when do we specifically reject intelligence and expertise? Since when did we make it a conservative value?.

          casualobserver in reply to casualobserver. | June 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm

          I guess my view of something being “insightful” is more broad. Even if someone tells me an opinion or an observation that isn’t new to me personally, I still get insight into their viewpoint. And in this case I understand more what impacts their decision making and voting.

“It’s a change from these dirty politicians and he’s not that.” Huh. No, he’s not “these dirty politicians” he’s the dirty ‘businessman’ who uses his dirty oil to grease their dirty palms for his own personal gain. He is the ying to their yang. If not for people like Trump the dirty shake down or give it away for free politicians would be out of business. If not for the dirty politicians the Trumps would be out of business since the Trumps can’t compete on a level playing field because they have an inferior product so they collude and conspiracy to drive out their competition with the greasy bribe…

Pay to play schemes don’t work in a vacuum. It takes two to tango. But that’s ‘just business’. Uh huh, keep telling yourself he’s ‘a change from these dirty politicians.” He’s so different it’s hard to tell whether he is the **ore or the john. He’s not unique. He’s typical and predictable, and lame. He’s Obama without the mom jeans and Hillary Clinton in a suit and tie all rolled into one.

Who watches the Watchmen? Who tells them enough is enough and no? “Always, the people are responsible for wicked lawmakers, oppressors, exploiters, criminals in government, tyrants in power, thieves, liars, malefactors and murderers in the capitals of the world. You, the man in the street, the man in the factory and in the shop, the man on the farm, the man in the office, you, the man everywhere, are guilty of the creatures whose crimes against you have been so monstrous, and will be again, by your own consent – if you give it…” ~Taylor Caldwell, “The Devil’s Advocate” (1952) – pgs. 332-338.

Our ruling class leadership, primarily educated (indoctrinated) in our best colleges, has done such a bang up job over the last 28 years it’s difficult to make the case they’ve done anything that was for the overall good of the country or its citizenry. You can go back further than that but I’ve drawn the marker with Reagan as the last old school American president who at least had some commonalities with an Eisenhower or a Coolidge or McKinley.
Bush the elder was said to be a decent man but he was indisputably an internationalist. A lot of our present thinking occurred with him & his generation that were likeminded in his thinking. The rest that followed from him were steeped & educated in a manner & thinking similar to him. We don’t need more of that.
I could expand on those points but I’m not going to. It’s enough to say such type thinking, arrogance, narcissism, & pure self interest has been a disaster for our country. To prescribe more of it as a way out from the disaster such thinking has wrought is insane.

“Our ruling class leadership, primarily educated (indoctrinated) in our best colleges, has done such a bang up job over the last 28 years it’s difficult to make the case they’ve done anything that was for the overall good of the country or its citizenry.”

You describe Trump, a Wharton grad and land grabber to a T.

    It also describes your choice Cruz, Ryan, & Mark Levin ; all of whom self identify as “principled Conservatives.” All of whom attended elite colleges of “indoctrination.”
    All of whom have extended tours swilling from the public trough.
    Wharton on the other hand is noted as a premier business college. It’s graduates are noted for filling the troughs your champions swill from.

Where’s Rags??? I can’t believe he isn’t all over this thread calling T-Rump supporters idiots and morons. I hope he’s OK…

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend