At a rally in Pensacola last night, not too far from the Alabama border, Donald Trump gave a speech that hit pretty much all the major headlines of the day.
He hit CNN over a debunked email story. He mocked #TheResistance. He blasted a Moore accuser and Gloria Allred.
Most importantly, however, he endorsed Roy Moore.
But we knew what was coming there. We knew that the rally was strategically placed – it allowed plenty of Alabama supporters to come in and attend, sending wild cheers every time he spoke about the Senate race. The rally’s theme was not a surprise, but it also made clear one obvious fact about Trump: He needs a nemesis. A villain. An enemy.
The President, much like his predecessor, has a fixation with finding a boogeyman when he’s speaking to his supporters.
It’s like he envisions himself a superhero, and he has his own Rogue’s Gallery. There’s CNN, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, the New York Times, Democrats, Robert Mueller, Penguin, Joker, Two-Face… hang on, I think one or more of those was me getting confused. Whatever, you get the point.
Donald Trump needs someone to attack. His base is motivated not necessarily by policy and legislative agenda, but by how much he fights others. Fighting is an action, and waiting for Congress to do something is very, very passive (and admittedly very, very pointless with the current Congress).
His base, Republican voters who have been largely ignored for the past several years by the leaders of their own party, are tired of the waiting. They don’t want a president who sits around talking about what Congress is going to do. He attacks anyone who says anything negative about him. If it’s not Democrats, it’s Republicans who aren’t falling in line. If it’s not Republicans who aren’t falling in line, it’s the media.
And the thing is, these people totally play into it. They hit him in exactly the right ways, and he responds in a way that keeps his base energized.
This isn’t a condemnation of his compulsion to have a villain, either. It’s an observation. For better or worse, his followers are more devoted than even the most loyal of Obama’s acolytes.
What this means is that Trump is pretty much always going to be campaigning. He is going to keep holding rallies and listing off his Enemies Of The Moment in order to remind his base who is standing in his way, as well as set up a solid excuse for skeptics as to why he really can’t get a whole lot accomplished right now.
And the list of enemies will keep on making themselves easy targets, too.