My Facebook feed right now is filled with negative stories about Trump. Not necessarily directly negative, but always with a connotation that makes him look bad. I try to listen to a lot of sources, and only the Wall Street Journal seems to be printing anything positive, and even then it’s primarily about how bad Obama was. Looking at that, it’s easy to imagine that the majority of the country thinks Trump is doing a bad job. That may not be the whole story.
The polls are pretty clear in saying Trump isn’t doing great. His approval rating is 40% at the highest, and usually much lower. There are protests every week. But the polls before the election were largely in agreement that Trump would lose. For awhile, it seemed the biggest question wasn’t whether or not Clinton would win, it was whether or not the Democrats would make gains in the House and Senate. That didn’t quite work out. Even if you say that Trump’s victory was a fluke, the dems lost seats in both. It gets worse.
Trump has already started campaigning for the 2020 election. He kind of had to; he’s received so much money that he was legally required to declare his intention to run. He’s received over 7 million dollars, mostly in small donations. Clearly, he has a very dedicated base that doesn’t seem to have much of a voice in mainstream sources, or even alternative sources, for that matter. You can make the argument that it must be a small but vocal part of the population, but our recent history suggests that’s an incomplete understanding.
Taken with that, it’s also worth noting how low the expectations seem to be. I try to pay attention to what his grassroots supporters are saying. Despite the fact that he has broken his biggest campaign promises, and that his only accomplishments so far have been to screw over the average citizen, most of his fans remain so. They mostly seem to think he is going to get better. The press I’ve seen him get would agree. There have been probably hundreds of articles about the Bannon/Kushner feud, and most would say the extremist Bannon side is losing, and that Trump is listening to the moderate Kushner side.
As best I can tell, Trump is going to see a major increase in his popularity. The die hard fans remain in place. The moderates think they have his ear. Mainstream media couldn’t stop applauding him for bombing Syria and threatening North Korea with war. We love a comeback story. This is starting to look like the setup for one. For those of us who are convinced that Trump will make a bad president, this is terrible news. But there is a silver lining.
If there’s one thing we love more than an underdog, victory-against-all-odds, story, it’s the opposite. We love tearing down the already powerful. It’s built into the American makeup. It’s one of the reasons that Clinton lost. After Trump’s approval rating starts its meteoric rise, I don’t think it’s far off to assume an equally fast drop. We are going to get whiplash from watching his numbers jump and fall. I’m starting to understand the old threat, may you live in interesting times.