Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Trump’s Unpopularity Threatens His Presidency

If there is any good news to be found as the prospect of "President Trump" gets closer to becoming a reality it is the fact that his widespread unpopularity may hamper his ability to enact his agenda - whatever it might actually be.  Yes, the Republican controlled Congress will move forward on many heinous and dangerous plans, but in the end the fact that Trump received votes from less than a 27% of registered voters and lost the popular vote could come back to haunt him.  Despite his rhetoric and that of his sycophants, he has no mandate.  Not factored into the piece is the reality that much of the Congressional GOP's agenda will prove catastrophic for many Trump supporters who, hopefully, will figure out that they have been betrayed and seek revenge on the GOP in future elections.  A piece in Politico looks at reality even if Trump will not.  Here are excerpts:
President-elect Donald Trump will descend on Washington next month, buoyed by his upset victory and Republican control of Congress to implement his agenda.
But he’s facing a major obstacle: Trump will enter the White House as the least-popular incoming president in the modern era of public-opinion polling.
The down-in-the-dumps figures raise hard questions about whether he’ll have the political capital needed to push through his more controversial nominees and his aggressive legislative goals of repealing Obamacare, passing a major infrastructure spending plan and reforming immigration and tax policies.
On Election Day, just 38 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, compared to 60 percent who viewed him unfavorably — unheard of for a presidential-election victor.
Trump’s persistent and deep unpopularity – combined with the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots – means he lacks the potent argument that the will of the people are behind his agenda.
“He’s clearly not doing as well as other presidents-elect,” said GOP pollster David Winston, a long-time adviser to Republican leaders in both the House and Senate. “We’ve never had a president-elect that had more unfavorables than favorables. He’s started in a pretty big hole in terms of favorables.”
And even though Democrats are in the minority in both chambers of Congress — Republicans will control 241 of 435 House seats and 52 out of 100 Senate seats — the party sees an opening in Trump’s poor poll standing.
“The lack of support for the president-elect means that Democrats can oppose him when they believe they should,” said Jesse Ferguson, the former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee independent-expenditure head who worked as a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign this year. “They can be confident that there’s no pressure for them to support him out of fear of his political prowess and political power, because his coattails look a little more like a T-SHIRT.”
The outlook for Trump’s nominees is generally positive, but some have already caused agitation not only among Democrats but also among his fellow Republicans. The loudest intra-party dissent has come in reaction to Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has extensive ties with Russia. That has raised the ire of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), two notable Russia hawks.
While both chambers of Congress appear daunting for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections – given the cycle’s Senate map and House districts that favor the GOP every two years – Ferguson said voters who backed Trump in this year’s election can flip if they don’t approve of his job performance two years from now.
That raises the stakes for Trump and the congressional GOP’s first months next year, Winston said. Voters sent a clear message on Election Day: They are eager for action, and they aren’t afraid to rock the boat again in the next election.
“[Voters] want to see things get done,” he added. “Members understand that. They understand that the ball’s now in their court, and they’re going to have to put points on the board. The electorate is looking for things to happen pretty quickly here.”

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