Whenever a poll shows him with low approval ratings, President Donald Trump’s response has been to fire up his hardcore base as aggressively as possible. And in the 2018 midterms, Trump’s rally-the-base strategy seemed to help Republicans achieve narrow victories in certain Senate and gubernatorial races in swing states or red states. But a new Washington Post piece by Matt Viser finds that during the partial shutdown of the federal government, even some of Trump’s once-enthusiastic supporters are starting to reject him.
In Michigan, one of the Rust Belt states that Trump carried in 2016, Viser spoke to some disenchanted Trump supporters and found that the shutdown was giving them a case of buyer’s remorse.
One of them was 49-year-old Jeff Daudert, who voted for Trump in 2016 but said he won’t be doing so in 2020. Denouncing the shutdown as “silly” and “destructive,” Daudert told Viser that while he was “certainly for the anti-status quo” in 2016, he will “be more status quo next time.”
Another man, a Navy reservist, in 2016 wanted to shake up the status quo. He didn’t mind sending a message to the establishment — and, frankly, he liked the idea of a disruptive president. Now? “What the [expletive] were we thinking?” https://t.co/s3ggjvesfm
— Matt Viser (@mviser) January 21, 2019
Another interviewee, 45-year-old Jeremiah Wilburn, voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but favored Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The shutdown, however, is causing Wilburn to become disenchanted with Trump.
Wilburn told Viser, “I was doing fine with him up until this government shutdown. It’s ridiculous. You’re not getting the wall built for $5 billion. And Mexico is not paying for it, we all know that, too. Meanwhile, it’s starting to turn people like me away.”
2016 Trump voter Erica McQueen also expressed dissatisfaction when she spoke to Viser. Although McQueen told Viser that she liked some of the things Trump had done as president, the shutdown was turning her against him—and “something miraculous has to happen for me to vote for him again.”
Diehard Trump voters are often described as true believers, and those are the people the president is obviously catering to with many of his tweets and speeches—not hardcore Democrats who live in Boston or Seattle. But when Viser visited Twitter on January 21, he reported that not all of Trump’s 2016 supporters are giving him unconditional support in 2019.
“So often,” Viser tweeted, “stories exploring Trump supporters have found that, no matter what, they back him. In a Michigan county he won by 12 points in 2016, I found something different: some are peeling away from him, and growing tired of his shutdown stance.”