Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Trump Couldn’t Just Accept the Deal, He Had to Break Another Norm

Donald Trump at a press conference at the White House,
Feb. 15, 2019 | Euronews
The fact that Donald Trump couldn’t accept a congressional compromise on a topic most voters are tired of shows his continued failure to learn that successful presidential politics is beyond just the base.

Although the wall, immigration and even shutdowns are popular with much of his base, that group now constitutes, at most, a third of the electorate, whether looking at aggregated registration data or polling self-description. In other words, having 90 percent of 30 percent is 27 percent of the total. A very modest start for an incumbent’s re-election, especially since many positions of the base are significantly out of alignment with the rest of the population.

After his State of the Union effort at repositioning as the more temperate, less caustic leader had at least stopped the hemorrhaging of support from the shutdown, he reverted Friday to conflict and another mega bizarre press conference. He is reinforcing his disruptive and authoritarian image, which produced much of the midterm reaction. And, he’s doing it for an issue that, after months of effort, he has failed to convince the public is an emergency (border security) or that it necessarily needs a wall.

I pointed out in a previous blog post, Trump has made some slight improvements in his approval ratings post SOTU, but seizing emergency power for the wall is opposed by voters 65 percent to 32 percent. A losing position, especially among independents. It also causes major tension with many Republican-elected officials who will find themselves needing to separate from the President for their own values and political self-interest.

The Buzz: Polls post SOTU and the Democratic field
The Buzz: The authoritarian presidency
FiveThirtyEight: Trump keeps doubling down on the same failed strategy

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