President Donald Trump’s addiction to Twitter spats is costing him with moderate and center-right voters, the very voters he would need the most in upcoming elections, said Politico on Saturday.
Trump has lashed out at the NFL, at former rival for the presidency Hillary Clinton, at U.S. intelligence agencies and politicians from both parties. While some in the president’s base enjoy the back-and-forth and take Trump’s contentiousness as a sign that their president is scrappy and speaks his mind, others aren’t as impressed.
“What Trump may not realize — and what new data shows — is that he may be tweeting his way into losses in 2018 and 2020,” wrote Jim Messina of political analysis firm The Messina Group.
The president’s aides and advisers have reportedly thrown up their hands and surrendered with regards to controlling or even moderating his manic, error-laden Twitter blasts.
Trump has made little effort to ingratiate himself with constituencies outside the 33 percent of the population that unquestioningly supports him. Moderate Republicans and undecided voters are essential for Trump to enlarge upon his coalition enough to be competitive at the voting booth.
A combination of Democratic apathy, Russian interference and media-abetted mistrust of Democratic nominee Clinton may have landed Trump an Electoral College victory, but if anything his base of support has shrunken since Inauguration Day.
“Among the swing voters most critical to his viability, Donald Trump isn’t just vulnerable, he’s harming himself,” wrote Messina, whose firm has closely tracked and analyzed voters who were essential in Trump’s push to victory.
“Even as Wall Street reaches new highs in profitability and Trump endlessly brags about his stock-market numbers, these voters aren’t seeing the improvement in their own lives. And, most worryingly for Trump and Republicans, the president’s outlandish statements cause the voters we spoke with to believe that he’s focused more on his own petty dramas than on improving their families’ lives,” Messina said.
Focus groups said again and again that Trump’s inability to stay out of online spats have led them to see him as “so pre-occupied with picking Twitter fights and the general chaos of his administration that he was not focusing on making the economy better.”
“The real-world application of these findings is clear: Voters might give President Trump a pass for individual outrageous statements, but if Democrats continually tie his pattern of remarks back to the economy, voters will not be forgiving,” Messina said, urging progressives to adopt this mode of attack heading into the 2018 midterms.
Trump — who has never reached 50 percent job approval at all in his first 10 months in office — continues to slip in the polls. For the third month in a row, Trump shed a full percentage point in overall approval.