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Trump is Still the Most Unpopular President Since Polls Have Been Kept; But It May Not Matter in 2018 or 2020

 Americans would turn out to support a truly progressive Party that represents the people, not the interests of corporations, the elite and the ultr-rich

Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump (image/DonkeyHotey)

Trump recently bragged that his approval ratings were higher than “Cheatin Obama” at this point in his Presidency.  As it turns out, only Rasmussen – a right wing polling organization that has consistently put Trump’s approval ratings above those of other polling organizations – had Trump approaching a 50 percent approval.  The rest put him somewhere well below that, with two placing his rating below 40 percent. 

But to anyone who navigates through the world using facts, reason, and critical thinking skills, the real questions have to be, 1) just who the hell are the 40 percent or so who do approve of this idiot? 2) how does a guy with just 40 percent approval win the Presidency?  

Let’s look at the first question first. 

Who the hell are the 40 percent who approve of Trump’s presidency? 

The daily news has become a freak show, where the orange-haired asshat puts on full display the complete idiocy of his Presidency.  Look at some of the epic insults to rational thought and behavior coming from Trump:

  • Putting John Bolton in as national security adviser – this guy has stalked across the international landscape like a belligerent drunk looking for a bar fight. When nuclear war poses a greater threat than at any time since the cold war, this is scary, dangerous, and irresponsible.

  • Talking down the stock market with his assaults on Amazon and others, after bragging about how well the stock market was doing under his presidency. This is tantamount to bragging about how great your car is, then taking a sledge hammer to it. 

  • Turning the White House into a revolving door, by getting rid of anyone who has credentials, while appointing his caddy, his personal physician, and his son-in-law to positions of national importance.  What’s next, his gardener for Secretary of Agriculture and his chauffer as Secretary of Transportation?

  • Putting foxes in charge of the chicken coop – from Scott Pruitt to Betsy DeVos, Trump’s appointees are dismantling Agencies whose missions are supported by the majority of Americans.

  • Igniting a trade war that will hurt American consumers – especially those who voted for him -- without helping the economy.

  • Ignoring a direct attack on the USA’s democracy from the Soviet Union – an attack that is in many ways as dangerous as enemy troops landing on our shores. Meanwhile, in an effort at mass distraction, he’s sending troops to the Mexican border at a time when illegal immigration is lower than it has been in a decade.

  • Pulling out of the Paris Agreement and denying climate change as the effects of climate change accelerate.

  • Pushing fossil fuels, including coal, at a time when clean renewable energy is the cheapest source of power.

Many of these acts of insanity directly harm the very folks who voted for Trump.  Throw in the Congressional Republicans’ intent to use the tax cut as a pretext for cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs benefitting the poor and middle class, and what you find is that the folks who support Trump and the Republicans are the very folks their policies are screwing the most. It almost boggles the mind.

So why do the victims of his policies support him?  Well, the answer to that is embedded in the second question, so let’s examine it.

How does a guy with a record of malice and incompetence win the Presidency and hold onto a 40 percent approval record?


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The simple answer is, you can’t beat something with nothing.  Republicans have The Myth of the Magic Markets, and the Myth of the Bumbling Bureaucrat – two ideas they’ve spent the last four decades creating, nurturing and selling. The Democrats have … well, not much.  Just 37 percent of Americans believe that Democrats stand for anything at all.  

The Republican’s myths are: 1) that markets will provide all we want and need by pure serendipity if we just get government out of the way; and 2) government is the problem, not the solution.  Because these ideas are patently false, they’ve used fear, scapegoating, hatred and bigotry to distract, divide and deceive. The reality is, most people have gotten wise to the fact that their policies are basically designed to make the uber-rich, richer and corporations stronger at the expense of everyone else.  

So why aren’t Democrats taking on these myths given the fact that they’re impoverishing the vast majority of Americans while enriching the 1 percent?

Well, as I noted shortly after Connor Lamb’s victory, the people are right -- the Party’s leadership stands for nothing beyond getting campaign money and fashioning short term tactics.  As a Party, they are completely devoid of a set of coherent policies based on values. 

Lamb ran on supporting and expanding Social Security and Medicare, reigning in drug companies, and reversing the Republican’s sabotage of Obama care.  Even in an extremely conservative district, this was a winning message.  The Democrats’ victories in Virginia also came about as a result of running candidates who embraced core progressive values from the New Deal – candidates well to the left of the Party’s leadership.

But the Democratic Party’s leaders are loath to do that on a national basis, and the pundits and prognosticators from the elite media still reinforce the notion that appealing to the center is the right strategy.  Here’s a news flash – there’s almost no one left in the center.  What we have are some 40 percent who are either ignorant, or so consumed with hate and blame – a by-product of the Republicans’ distraction tactics -- that Trump looks like a solution, and 60 percent who have no one speaking for them.  So many of voters stayed home, allowing the rabid 40 percenters to dominate elections.  Remember, Trump won with just 27 percent of the eligible voters backing him, and Clinton lost with just 28 percent backing her.  Forty five percent stayed home. 

The Democrats are approaching the 2018 midterms with some optimism. But they’ve ignored the real lessons from their victories in the off-year elections: first, turnout is a key for Democrats to win, and second, Americans will turn out to support a truly progressive Party that represents the people, not the interests of corporations, the elite and the ultr-rich. 

Sadly, such a Party doesn’t exist today.

John Atcheson

John Atcheson

John Atcheson, 1948-2020, was a long-time Common Dreams contributor, climate activist and author of, "A Being Darkly Wise, and a book on our fractured political landscape entitled, "WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track". Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson. John was tragically killed in a CA car accident in January 2020.

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