President Trump’s spasm of tweets on Monday is not hard to explain. Health-care reform has failed, his vice president is out sprucing up his own image and Trump’s base is slowly slipping away. CNN reports:
Overall, 38% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with 56% saying they disapprove. Just one other newly-elected president has held an approval rating below 50% at this point in his presidency since modern polling began: Bill Clinton, whose approval rating stood at 44% at this point in 1993. Enthusiasm breaks against Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. Nearly half in the new poll say they strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job (47%), while just a quarter say they feel strongly positive about Trump’s performance (24%). . . .
Among Republicans, strong approval has dropped from 73% in February to 59% now. Among whites who do not have college degrees, a core component of Trump’s base, just 35% strongly approve, down 12 points since February. At the same time, strong disapproval among Democrats has held steady around 80%.
Americans have figured out that Trump is an inveterate liar, and they aren’t proud to have him as their president:
Only a quarter of Americans (24%) say they trust all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House, while more (30%) say they trust “nothing at all” that they hear from the President’s office. (Even among Republicans, only about half say they can trust most of what they hear from the White House.) . . . . Personal praise for the President is scarce, just 30% say they admire the President, and 34% say they are proud to have him as president. A majority (55%) say he has lowered the stature of the office of the president.
Most petrifying for Trump may be that his base of support — non-college-educated whites — is shrinking. “Among whites who do not have college degrees, a core component of Trump’s base, just 35% strongly approve, down 12 points since February.”
There are multiple explanations as to why Trump’s numbers are crashing. Certainly failure on health care played a role; but his petulant demeanor, lack of self-discipline, rants against other Republicans and endemic narcissism may also have taken their toll. For a guy who promised competence and winning, he has achieved very little — and voters have noticed. (“Looking back over the first 200 days of Trump’s time in office, just 36% say they consider it a success, and 59% consider it a failure. Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush were viewed as successful at this stage of their presidency by most Americans. . . . Further, 62% overall say that Trump’s statements and actions since taking office have made them less confident in his ability to be president. Half of whites without college degrees share that view.”)
For someone who craves adulation, this would be soul-crushing — so Trump pretends that the polls are wrong, goes to rallies to find cultist followers and lashes out at the media. Unfortunately for him, this does not make things better. That’s the real takeaway from the first 200 days — his tweeting, ragging on elites, war with the media and displays of uber-aggression do not substitute for real accomplishments or take the place of a presidential demeanor. Unlike on a reality-TV show, Trump has to actually perform, not simply project an air of dominance. And it turns out that Trump does not have a clue how to do his job and lacks the will and ability to perform it. It’s not as though we didn’t predict exactly this dismal state of affairs.