For the nominee of a major political party, Donald Trump didn’t have a lot of committed supporters. In fact, major factions of the GOP elite opposed his campaign. But there was a hardy band that stuck with him through the scandals and tweetstorms. Since Trump prizes loyalty above all else, this group stands to reap the rewards of his presidency.
Here’s a list of six winners for whom Election Night meant a big boost to their political fortunes long after they should have expired.
Putin ran the most successful effort by a foreign power to interfere with the American electoral process ever. The steady drip of leaks from Clinton’s emails was courtesy of Russian hackers, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. But not according to Trump, who claimed otherwise even while encouraging Russia’s hacking. It’s clear that Trump loves Putin, and Putin returns the favor. The Russian leader was quick to congratulate Trump, via telegram, calling for improved ties between the U.S. and Russia. Oddly, for a political party that was once the greatest foe of Putin and authoritarian Russian governments, Republicans will do nothing to punish this outlandish attack on American democracy.
Ok, so he’s not straight. But he still deserves a place on this list. The Facebook billionaire is no lover of democracy either, so he placed his bets on the candidate most likely to disrupt it. Even while most respectable figures were fleeing from Trump last month, Thiel doubled down with a $1.25 million donation and an incomprehensible defense of Trump at the National Press Club. In a statement, Thiel said Trump will need “all hands on deck” because “he has an awesomely difficult task, since it is long past time for us to face up to our country’s problems.”
The Religious Right
The family values leadership had no problem standing by Trump when he boasted about sexually assaulting women. Their focus has always been on the Supreme Court, and they will be rewarded for their loyalty. But they will hardly be satisfied with only that. “Our nation has an opportunity over the next 4 years to make freedom mean something again.” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in a tweet, suggesting the scope of the right’s ambitions.
Breitbart and other crackpot media sites
One thing this election proved was how much clout the mainstream media has lost. Lunacy works, and the Trump campaign proves it. Breitbart.com, with its endless promotion of Trump and crazy headlines, is a big winner. Its leader, Steve Bannon, take a leave from the site to act as the Trump campaign’s CEO. It’s not just Breitbart that wins. A slew of lesser known but influential sites, like Alex Jones’ Infowars, have all been Trump boosters and are now gloating about their candidate’s success. TrumpTV anyone? He could be the first American president to have his own propaganda arm–much like Putin does in Russia.
White nationalism was once a declining fringe belief. Not any more. “We’re the establishment now,” Richard Spencer, who has called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” tweeted. Trump regularly retweeted from alt-right accounts and adapted many of its themes, including anti-Semitism. It didn’t hurt that Breitbart (see above) served as the communications channel for alt-right ideas. Needless to say, the rise of white nationalism is not a good thing for us.
Yiannopoulos, the gay Breitbart troll who claims to be sexually attracted to Trump, turned up at the Trump victory party to lord it over the losers. “American progressives should be thanking their lucky stars that Donald Trump is the worst thing that happened, because you have been lying to and about people for decades,” he said. A Trump presidency gives Yiannopoulos a bigger platform from which to troll (and undoubtedly monetize).