Is the effort to hold Trump accountable showing the limits of our ‘politics of revelation’?

By | April 4, 2023

Julia Azari writes:

The politics of revelation casts Trump as not a catalyst of change but a mirror to how we have changed. At the heart of this narrative is the idea that partisan ties overwhelm everything. And this perspective has some basis in political science. Trump’s approval ratings in office were incredibly stable, regardless of positive or negative events. It’s quite striking when you contrast this with the approval patterns for Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan — you can identify events and economic changes in the dips and climbs. For Trump — and Obama, too, for that matter — almost nothing seems to move the needle. The “doom loop” narrative of party politics advanced by New America’s Lee Drutman identifies this as one of the disadvantages of two-party politics. Writing about the 2020 election, John Sides, Chris Tausanovitch and Lynn Vavreck find a calcification of politics, where voters’ attitudes and choices reflect long-standing factors like racial views and partisanship, and don’t change very much in response to major events. Partisanship and Trump approval dampened the impact of the economy on vote choices, and, despite very different circumstances, voters were remarkably consistent in their 2016 and 2020 votes.

These findings lend credence to the idea that our politics has become a politics of revelation: That the latest Trump scandal will do little to change how people think, and will instead only further show the real nature of our politics and values. That is, it will show that “lol nothing matters” and that Americans prefer to defend their teams rather than preserve their democracy. [Continue reading…]