Yesterday, July 30, 2015, Bloomberg Politics and Purple Strategies teamed up and released the results of their focus group on Donald Trump’s campaign. The group was from New Hampshire and included twelve random supporters of Trump for President. “He’s honest,” “He’s a little Reagan-esque,” “He’s not a politician,” “I won’t be bought off,” are just some of the comments made by individuals in the focus group as to why they are supporting him. The group taps into much of what general Americans are thinking.
The running theme throughout the focus group session was that Trump was a man of his own and not in the pocket of lobbyists or special interests. One participant said, “He doesn’t care what people think. He tells the truth, what we need to do.” This may be representative of the general public about politicians and could help explain how Bernie Sanders continues to gain on Hillary Clinton. This political season could be the fight between the “teleprompter candidates” and the “speak from the heart” candidates.
The focus group could also help understand what is holding back candidates like Marco Rubio. One member of the group said many candidates, when elected, get “Washingtonitis, which is so many politicians, when the go to Washington, and they become, they don’t work for their constituents anymore.” This is a major issue with Rubio and his loss of support by many Libertarians and Tea Party members. Although no one would have called Rubio a Libertarian when he served in the Florida legislature, he did lean very Libertarian and many supported his election to the U.S. Senate over Libertarian Party of Florida candidate Alexander Snitker. But once he set up his digs in the Russell Senate Office Building, he became unrecognizable with his votes that seemed at complete odds with his past and his campaign.
Another member of the focus group stated that candidates, except Trump, speak in “pastel colors; they talk for two hours and you go away saying ‘What did they say of substance?’ Probably nothing, but they haven’t offended anybody and try to make everybody your friend.”
Five of the group raised their hands recognizing that they are either a member or consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz would be choices for many of the group should Trump drop out of the race for some reason.
Some of the group had been Romney supporters; however, when asked to compare Trump to Romney the only similarity the group found was their financial success in the business world. They did not equate the two in the political realm.
The group described some of Trump’s weakness on the campaign trail, one is that his language may offend too many people. As much as the group celebrated Trumps financial success, they also acknowledged that it could be his downfall in the eyes of many Americans “because of the way people perceive wealth.”
When asked what America would look like under a Trump presidency the group answered with a “better America.” Another participant answered, “It would be cleaned up. You wouldn’t have all these departments within the government wasting away.” The group felt that Trump would bring a lot of companies back to America rather than having the fiduciary need to keep money offshore due to America’s high corporate tax structure.
“Obviously Trump is a threat because he doesn’t fit in the same box the other Republicans are in,” is the group’s response when other Republicans are critical of Trump. They also mentioned the need for someone like Trump due to the Republican Party’s lackluster performance over the last few years.
When asked about the possibility of Trump leaving the Republican Party in favor of either running independent or running in a third party, most seemed as though they would follow him. Although some would not if it meant handing the presidency over to the Democrat or Libertarian. Although some would vote for him as an independent or third party in order to teach the Republican Party “a lesson.”