Trump’s Military Support Wanes

With days left until election day, polls find military support for Trump decreasing.


Joslyn Varkey , Staff Writer

For years, Republican candidates have secured the military vote and had a comfortable lead over their Democratic opponents when it came to active duty support. Trump seemed to follow in this trend, until now. A poll completed by the Military Times shows Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, with a favorable lead over President Trump. Biden maintains a four point lead over Trump. This is unexpected, given the military’s tendency to vote Republican. Trump has successfully managed to increase his unfavorable numbers and decrease his favorable ones. He has declined almost 10 points in favorability and has increased unfavorable views by 13 points. These numbers were concluded before the reports of Trump calling military dead “suckers and losers” was released. His favorability numbers have considerably declined since.

Trump’s current approval ratings with the military is a complete opposite from those of 2016. When polled, almost every single rank of the force had higher unfavorable ratings for the President than favorable ones. At this point in the election process, the damage to Trump’s campaign is irreversible. One potential reason for this decline is perhaps that Trump doesn’t understand how to read the military. Generally speaking, military members don’t sign up for the money (they are not paid well), but rather because they have love for their country and care for their fellow citizens. Trump seems incapable of wrapping his head around this idea and has repeatedly tried to “buy love” from the military with increased defense budgets. Reports that he has  allied those who die in combat or are captured “suckers and losers” is certainly not helping his campaign.

Trump had also bragged repeatedly about bringing senior military into his administration, only to turn around and fire them all. He fired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn, his first national security advisor and then also fired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, his second national security advisor. According to various reports General Jim Martin either quit or was fired as SECDEF and then General John Kelly was fired as Chief of Staff and was then publicly lambasted by the President. All in all, Trump has repeatedly shown well-respected military professionals poor treatment and fired them, often accompanying this with various insults and reprimands. He has also accused senior military of favoring defense companies saying, “the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t [in love with me ] because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everyone else stay happy.” Needless to say, this is extremely insulting to those who serve.

The current pandemic and Trump’s mishandling of it is another reason many military members have cut their support for him. The military is big on accountability and Trump’s failure to admit and correct his mistakes does not bode well for him. Instead of showing leadership in trying times by encouraging mask wearing, shutting down the economy, and following CDC guidelines, he instead said “it’s up to the governors.” This can best be seen as a failure to take accountability and respond kitty and assume command. Trump rep really insisted that the pandemic was not his fault and refused to take any sort of responsibility, directly going against everything the military stands for.

Over the course of four years, Trump has miraculously managed to lose military support despite military tradition of leaning conservative. He has repeatedly offended and disrespected well-respected military members, referred to members who were captured or died in combat as “suckers and losers”, and unsuccessfully attempted to pander to them by raising defense budgets. Trump losing military support only broadens the gap between Biden and Trump. With only a few days until Election Day, Biden is coasting on a comfortable lead. He has an 89 in 100 chance of winning while Trump has been demoted to a mere ten. In terms of popular vote, Biden has an eight point lead over Trump with 53% while Trump has 45%. In key states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Biden is leading over Trump with a five and nine point lead respectively. Trump is barely holding onto Texas and Ohio by one point and Iowa by two. Votes may take weeks or perhaps months to be fully counted. It will not be immediately certain who the winner of the presidential election is.