The percentage of the electorate that approves of the president’s performance has barely budged since he took office. How can that be? That’s one of the thorny and infuriating questions of his presidency. It doesn’t matter what he does. It doesn’t matter what he does not do. Donald Trump’s job approval has remained steady, around 40 percent, give or take a few points, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregator. It might not be as thorny and infuriating, however, once you give it some thought. The reason nothing changes is because nothing else about Trump has changed either.
The most cynical explanation has the most common currency unfortunately. The president dominates every news cycle with lies, scandal and disinformation. The electorate has become both immune to controversy and inured to outrage. This is the most frequent view among members of the press corps, whose job it is to pay attention to all things Trump, which is the reason why many of them are so cynical. This is why Politico’s Jake Sherman wondered if anyone outside Washington cared about the Republican National Convention’s nationally televised violation of the Hatch Act.
Citizens do care. Sherman got shellacked for being such a nihilist. But Sherman had a point if the president’s job approval is any indication. Every government bureaucrat involved in staging a political convention on the White House lawn broke federal law many times over. Yet Trump’s job approval is steady. According to FiveThirtyEight (as of this writing), it’s 43.5 percent. A crime-staged-in-real-time didn’t change a thing.
Same goes for the pandemic. More than 193,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 as of this writing, per Worldometer. That’s about 64 times the death toll of Sept. 11, 2001. That’s about 48,250 times the death toll of Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. In fact, more Americans have died from the new coronavirus than from fighting in all foreign wars since the Korean War. We will probably reach 200,000 by Election Day, 250,000 by Inauguration Day, half a million by 2021’s midpoint. If the Trump administration had done a mediocre job, not a great job, of handling the pandemic, about 145,000 fewer Americans would be dead, according to analysis today by the Times’ David Leonhardt. Yet here we are. Negligent homicide isn’t enough to sink Trump below 40 percent.
Some have noted Trump is impervious to economics, too. They point to George W. Bush’s second term when his approval slid as the economy slid into a financial panic sparking the near decade-long Great Recession. Last week was the first time in 23 weeks in which weekly unemployment claims dropped below 1 million. About 22 million jobs were lost between February and April. Half haven’t come back, according to the Post. The pandemic is now spreading rapidly into 22 rural states in the south and midwest, places where Trump’s support is strongest. (Cases rose by 126 percent in South Dakota over two weeks, according to Reuters.) Meanwhile, parents are jammed between the need to send kids to school and the need to earn a living. Trump seems to be the exception to economic forces that didn’t spare the last Republican president.
Given the simplest explanations are usually the best, I offer two. One, Trump isn’t feeling what Bush felt, because he’s running for reelection. Many GOP partisans are willing to eat pretty much any outrage to prevent a Democrat from winning the White House. These voters, I contend, constitute the president’s floor. His approval rating won’t go any lower than it has been until he’s reelected. By then, perhaps we’ll know what Trump supporters really think of death-by-Covid. Until then, they’ll fake it.
The second explanation is simpler. It may be that most of the electorate made up its mind some time ago, perhaps as far back as Trump’s Inaugural Address, during which he made clear that he’d be a Republican, not an American, president. I’m guessing these voters decided who they’d vote for in 2020 by February 1, 2017, or soon afterward. These voters, I contend, constitute the president’s ceiling. It doesn’t matter what he does. It doesn’t matter what he does not do. He will never attain majority approval.
It could be we’re all desensitized and nothing matters, or it could be that most of us have made up our minds, and little or nothing is going to change it. Indeed, as things get worse, our mindsets are only deepened. The more the president talks about “law and order,” the more we’re reminded of his lawlessness. The more he talks about violence, the more we’re reminded he’s inciting it. The more he brags about the economy, the more we’re reminded that he’s ruined pretty much everything. Time will tell if I’m wrong, but this is better than the most complex, most nihilist perspectives.
Chris Wallace battles GOP chairwoman over laptop smear: ‘Do you have any proof Joe Biden took one penny?’
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Sunday refused to say if she had any proof of allegations of corruption against Democratic nominee Joe Biden's son Hunter.
Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled McDaniel about the Trump campaign's smear against the Biden family on Fox News Sunday.
"Do you have any proof -- because he's denied it -- do you have any proof that Joe Biden every took one penny from either a foreign country or a foreign company?" Wallace asked.
"I think that's incumbent upon the press to start investigating," McDaniel replied. "I think what's frightening is we should have a free and fair press that should be looking at a laptop that has not been disputed by the Biden campaign to be authentic. These emails are deeply troubling as it looks like Hunter Biden is negotiating with a Chinese energy company to profit, not just for himself, but for his father."
‘Terrified little boy’ Trump is going to ‘burn it all down’ because he can’t face losing the election: Mary Trump
In an interview with the Guardian, Donald Trump's niece, Mary Trump said there is no telling what will happen in the final days of the 2020 presidential and then its aftermath, but she is worried that the president will "burn it all down" as he is faced with losing the election and then facing criminal charges in the aftermath.
Relying on her background as a psychologist, the president's niece issued a dire warning that if the president goes down, he will try to take everything around him down with him.
‘Dark moment for the Senate’: Republicans block consideration of COVID relief to speed up Barrett confirmation
Republicans on Saturday blocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's attempt during a rare weekend session to force consideration of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill as the GOP rushed ahead with its effort to confirm right-wing judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court just before the November election.
After a speech decrying the Barrett confirmation process as "a very dark moment for the Senate," Schumer requested unanimous consent for the chamber to take up a revised version of the HEROES Act that the Democrat-controlled House passed earlier this month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to allow a Senate vote on the bill despite growing suffering across the nation and warnings that failure to approve additional spending could cause lasting damage to the economy.