Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Creating their own reality

I agree with JMM, Trump's current 37% approval rating is a huge deal. For many presidents, the peak of their popularity is on inauguration day. It usually goes down from there. Other than potential spikes like wars and 9/11-scale incidents that cause people to rally to the person in charge, this week will probably be the highest approval Trump will ever get. A 37% at this point is ridiculously low.

By comparison, Obama's approval rating at the time of his inauguration (3-day average, 1/22/09-1/24/09) was 69%, which was the highest approval rating recorded during his 8-years as president. That a 32 points higher than Trump's current rating, almost double.

And yet the President-elect and his allies in Congress are charging ahead with their agenda. While any other politician in his situation (with a narrow electoral win, a loss of the popular vote, and a record-low approval at the start of his term) would be reaching out to the opposition and seeking the more popular (and politically tenable) middle ground, or at least the perceived middle ground, Trump and his allies in Congress are charging ahead with his agenda and shoving through the confirmation of his fringe cabinet choices. They are acting as if Trump has the mandate of an overwhelming win.

Maybe they think that this may be their only chance to shove their agenda through. As I said, Trump's rating will only get worse from here. As soon as the last election fades from view and the next campaign begins those low ratings are going to be an issue for members of Congress even if Trump continues to fantasize about being incredibly popular.