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Over the weekend, I was in Tampa, Florida, enjoying the Student Action Summit put on by Turning Point USA. One thing was made pretty clear by attendees. They love former President Donald Trump, and what’s more, they didn’t even have to say it.
They wore shirts, hats, pins, and more with his name and/or image emblazoned upon it. Going into the merchandise booths, Trump was everywhere. There were even life-sized poster board cutouts of him you could take pictures with. You’d think he’s still president.
Very few politicians throughout history get to see this kind of loyalty from a voting base. Even die-hard Republicans will often find themselves drifting away from candidates after their time in office is over. Given enough time, you’ll even watch the memory of them begin to sour as their decisions come under new scrutiny.
But not Trump. If anything, Trump has only grown more popular over time. So popular, in fact, that the only man who could possibly challenge him is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and according to an SAS straw poll, DeSantis trails behind Trump in a theoretical presidential race held today by a massive percentage. It’s not even close.
Given, TPUSA’s audience is very pro-Trump but it needs to be noted that DeSantis is still in office and making moves. Trump isn’t, but he has enduring popularity. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen this kind of fervor for the man either. Other conservative gatherings maintain that same kind of energy.
After SAS it was pretty clear to me that Trump wasn’t just a popular politician, he was his own walking, talking culture.
Let’s put aside the idea that Trump is the only person in the spotlight and zoom out for a moment. Trump culture is one that comprises many different characters. Like a show with the main character, and then secondary, and tertiary characters.
For instance, a secondary character within Trump culture would, of course, be Donald Trump Jr., a man who is wildly popular in his own right. His book “Triggered” (a solid read) was a best seller and didn’t just give us a look into his life but the life and character of his father. His own fight against the left is an extension of his dad’s, and every time he posts something on the internet, it’s an invitation to the world to further take part in the fight from within or without Trump’s camp.
Melania and Ivanka are simultaneously a part of this as well, albeit from a more feminine and elegant part of this culture. Don’t be mistaken, the feminine aspect further informs this culture, allowing women to feel invited into the fold as well. It’s necessary as the masculine part of it is oftentimes rough, loud, and on offense. To be sure, the women can be just as anxious for the fray as the men, but Melania and Ivanka are the perfect representatives for the part of the culture that loves to have its hair, makeup, nails, and clothing on point.
Stepping outside of his family, Trump’s culture is also found in his political allies. Reps. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, with more likely to be added to the roster in the oncoming midterms. These lawmakers do so with an energy that is fully reminiscent of Trump’s. They’re unapologetic and not afraid to troll. What’s more, they don’t make it any mystery that they are in Trump’s camp.
Then there are the tertiary characters that help him build his brand. You can see them on Fox News, YouTube channels, live streams, radio shows, magazine articles, TikToks, and more. Influencers on influencers who add to the community in their own ways.
While this all adds to Trump culture, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the largest contributor to it; the left.
The biggest joke on the left and the Democrat Party is that if they had just stopped talking about Trump the moment he was out of office, Trump would likely not be as popular as he is today. However, like a stage-five clinger in the throes of her rage, the Democrat Party cannot stop obsessing over him. Leftists have made more money and achieved political office strictly off of being anti-Trump. Even now, the left’s strategy for midterms is to push this idea that Trumpism is tearing this nation apart and only they can heal it.
They might as well be spamming in the inboxes of every person in America with the message “he really hurt us and we’re afraid of him.” They are actively encouraging Republicans to love him even more. If Trump sat back and did nothing until 2024, his campaign would still have a high chance of victory because the left wouldn’t be able to stop campaigning for him.
All of this compiles and takes Trump from being a politician or public figure and well into being a sub-culture of his own. He’s the leader of, not just a party, but a tribe. Trump culture is the cradle that gave birth to a new kind of Republican Party that actually wins fights both political and social, and with each victory comes a new reason to jump on board.
There’s still a lot of football left to play until 2024 and there’s no telling what the political landscape will look like when that time comes around, but if Trump is still going just as strong as the culture created around him, he’ll be the favorite to win the Republican primary and the shoo-in for the general.