Base Line?

Base, noun (one definition among many): A group of people that provides support for a political candidate or elected official.

image - political base

Base, adjective (one definition among many): Lacking or indicating the lack of higher qualities of mind or spirit; ignoble.



Myriad are the comments, whether of new commentators and talking-heads, political pundits, or average American citizens and whether on camera, in print editorials, or in casual or intense conversation and social media posts, regarding President Trump’s base of support.

Here, I repeat only a few that I’ve read or heard (and all, more than once):

“Trump must motivate his base to win re-election.”
“Trump’s base is unshakable.”
“No matter what he says or does or how, his base stays with him.”
“His tweets about (pick a subject or person) energize his base.”

Irrespective of one’s view of Mr. Trump, favorable or unfavorable and for whatever reasons, I ask: Cannot the observations about his political base of supporters apply to any other political candidate or office-holder? To name only a few:

The (self-named) Squad: House Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?

The sitting Senators of South Carolina, my state of residence: Lindsay Graham? Tim Scott?

The leading (at least, as I see them) Democratic Party presidential nominee hopefuls: Joe Biden? Kamala Harris? Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren?

In each and every case and to a person, yes, I think so. Our political system, among many elements, requires that a candidate – to be electable, even more, to be elected, still more, to win re-election – must have an established base of support.

And, given the inherent frailty of the human condition, no one’s hands are entirely empty of wrong, no one’s heart is wholly pure of deceit, no one’s feet hath been formed without the crumbling clay of human weakness, and thus, no one’s historical slate is without the blemish of personal failings in judgment or lapses of integrity.

Therefore, all political bases (that is, the supporters) need compensate for the imperfections of their candidates or elected officials; at times, casting the proverbial blind eye on their flaws hidden in plain sight.

Therefore, it seems to me, that, inherently, instinctively, all bases are base. (Yes, that’s an overstatement, thus, false in its fullness. Still, I consider it a clever turn of phrase.) What I mean is that all bases bear an element of baseness; that is, something not quite honorable, noble, righteous, upright.

That’s worth remembering, I think, especially in these days of heightened, heated political invective when political opponents and their bases readily point fingers of denunciation at “the other.”

4 thoughts on “Base Line?

  1. Thanks, Paul. It is so easy to see the beam in the other’s eye, ignoring the moat in your own (or is it the other way around?). A touch of humility
    is the only trait I’ve identified that might lead to healing…..someday.
    Regarding our political situation, I thought the worst thing was the shock of the first weeks after the 2016 election. But it seems to be just as bad now… sniping, attacking, distrust. I hate that I am part of it, and am trying to withdraw.


  2. My Dear Anne,

    I KNEW I had another thought in my head about base support, BUT I couldn’t put the proverbial finger on it. You’ve helped me, metaphorically and literally, to lay my hands on it! Thank you!

    As for the beginning and lingering shock, yes, true it is. Yet, as I continue to keep myself open to listen to the voices of my “the other,” I am gaining a deeper sense, indeed, respect for counter-points of view. In this, I have begun more greatly to understand the appeal of Mr. Trump. Now, as for the “sniping, attacking, distrust,” and it’s all ’round, I, too, hate it. Yet is appears to be as much a part of our current political landscape, if not also in the political ether (thus, difficult, if not impossible not to breathe in) as anything else.



  3. Paul, unfortunately and regrettably the sniping,attacking, mistrust you are referring to cloud the intelligent discourse those of us on both sides of the aisle need to enter into. thanks for these thoughts- Billy 😀


  4. Billy, sadly and, yes, surely, I believe you to be correct. I am not naïve – at least, I don’t think I am. Nevertheless, there are moments when I am at a loss to understand why and how folk cannot and will not listen to another point of view. but, rather, would argue or, even worse, in my view, not engage at all. Nothing communal, as far as I can tell, ever has happened when blocked by the walls of individual opinion and will. Such individualism is multiplied in power and resistance when we retreat to our camps occupied only by like-minded souls. I sigh…


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