Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Team Trump has never fully appreciated how unpopular he is

I think I've written several variations of this already, but the biggest flaw in the Trumpistas' plan to overthrow democracy and install Trump as president is that Trump the politician has always been and continues to be really really unpopular.

Trump's approval rating never got over 45% and spent most of his term wobbling between the high-30s and the low-40s. Even on the best day of his entire presidency 10% more Americans disapproved of him than approved of him. No President in modern history had a significantly higher disapproval rating than approval on every single day of his term. Even Jimmy Carter, the paradigm case for an unpopular president, had periods of popularity that dwarfed Trump's pathetic numbers.

(Green line is Trump, black line is Carter)

Trump's fans (not to mention Trump himself) don't seem to understand that most of the country hates his fucking guts. Sure, a dictator isn't directly responsive to the public. But even dictators need a well of popular support to seize and hold power. That's why dictators spend so many resources trying to suppress bad news about themselves and manage public opinion about them. The constituency who wants to overthrow the government and install Biden is a much smaller minority than I think they get.

We all live in our bubbles, and in a hyper polarized country those bubbles are even more self-contained than ever. So I don't think Trump's fan see this problem at all. But it doesn't change the basic problem that Trump's deep and fairly broad unpopularity would pose a real barrier to a coup. That doesn't make it impossible. But all coups are hard to pull off. Unpopularity would be a big strike against this one's success.