The daily horror that is the Trump presidency seems to make no sense. He’s at war with the press, football players, Sen. Bob Corker, women, Puerto Rico, Obamacare and the Iran nuclear deal (partial list). For his disastrous efforts, the latest Gallup tracking poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 37 percent. A massive online survey of registered voters conducted by Morning Consult shows that support of the president has dropped in all 50 states.
And none of that matters.
In President Trump, we have a man who craves applause, especially from those who love him. His base has been with him from the start and poll after poll shows they aren’t going anywhere. Not surprising since he’s been throwing them juicy red meat since he descended that escalator on June 16, 2015. What has been surprising is how solid his base support is. The results of the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released late last month hammered this point home by showing numbers for “party supporters” and “Trump supporters.
To understand the vortex of hell we appear to be stuck in all you need to do is look at the first data point: “Approval of Trump’s job performance.” Among “party supporters,” Trump is at 84 percent approval. But among his supporters, he sits at an airtight 99 percent. This sky-high support has been consistent since he entered the Oval Office. So, this explains Trump’s gleeful goading of the NFL, Jemele Hill and “‘Liddle’’ Bob Corker,” and his galling contempt for the Constitution and Puerto Rico, to name just a few.
This also helps explain why a right-wing House and Senate is living in fear of primary challenges from folks even farther to the right, (paging, Roy Moore). This is why Corker (R-Tenn.), who hasn’t been shy about knocking the president, saved his most eye-popping critique of Trump until after he announced he wouldn’t seek another term in the Senate.
This isn’t to say Congress has totally rolled over for the president. They did defy him on the repeal of Obamacare and Russian sanctions. But the key test will come when the Senate returns from yet another recess next week. When the microphone is thrust in their faces, will Corker’s colleagues cop to being among “the vast majority of our caucus…[who] understand the volatility that we’re dealing with”? Their avoidance, ducking or outright silence will demonstrate the power of those numbers anew.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj
Subscribe to Cape Up, Jonathan Capehart’s weekly podcast