ShareThis Page
Trump is trapped and tanking in polls | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

Trump is trapped and tanking in polls

Jennifer Rubin
| Wednesday, January 23, 2019 8:56 p.m
670941_web1_AP19023724114144
President Trump reacts as he is told by a reporter that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., said the Democratically controlled House won’t pass the required measure for him to make the State of the Union address at the Capitol until after the government is fully opened, during a healthcare roundtable in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in Washington.

Even this White House, infamous for self-delusion, must realize it’s in deep trouble. Two more polls released Wednesday show the depth of President Trump’s problem.

The Morning Consult-Politico poll finds that “57 percent of registered voters disapprove of Trump’s job performance — more than any other survey in Trump’s two years in office — while 40 percent approve. The 17-percentage-point deficit matches two previous lows of the Trump presidency.” Sixty percent of independents now disapprove of his performance. As time goes on, more Americans blame Trump for the shutdown (“49 percent of voters [say] he is responsible in the latest survey — up 6 points since the shutdown began”).

The CBS News poll has even worse numbers for Trump. In that survey, “Seven in 10 Americans don’t think the issue of a border wall is worth a government shutdown, which they say is now having a negative impact on the country. … Mr. Trump’s overall approval rating has dipped three points from November to 36 percent today. Fifty-nine percent of Americans now disapprove of the job he is doing — a high for his presidency, although just one point above his previous high.” To add insult to injury, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gets higher marks (47 percent) than Trump (35 percent) in handling the shutdown. Only 39 percent think Trump cares a lot or some about people like them; 53 percent say the same of Democrats. On the wall, 61 percent think the border can be secured without it, while 71 percent say it is not worth a shutdown.

The irony here — or is it karma? — is that Trump’s biggest cheerleaders in the right-wing media (e.g. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity) and his hardcore anti-immigrant adviser Stephen Miller who egged him on are now responsible for the worst political debacle of his presidency, one that has erased any residue of presidential power. He’s now trapped, waiting for a permission slip from the right-wing media chorus to capitulate — or watch his support and any hope for legislative accomplishments evaporate.

As to the remainder of his term, Trump was never going to advance any proposal on a wide range of issues without Democratic-buy in. Now, having empowered them and weakened his own hand, he’ll either have to give more ground in future negotiations or meekly accept two years without a significant accomplishment.

For now, his agenda is on hold. (“The standoff has already forced Mr. Trump to cancel a trip to Europe to meet with global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, at a time when the world economy faces a possible slowdown,” The New York Times reports. “The president has made no evident progress in filling a series of senior vacancies nor has he produced the tax-cutting plan he promised last year. He has done nothing in weeks to publicly promote priorities like fighting opioid abuse or bolstering the economy.”)

Trump cannot bear to face the possibility of defeat on the issue that was most central to his campaign and most closely tied to his theme of white grievance. As with trade, however, his fixation with avoiding defeat leads to further erosion of his power. He faces a lose-lose choice: Give in now, as humiliating as that might be, or alternatively, continue a fruitless fight that will sap his chances of political survival and still not avoid eventual defeat.


Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion for The Washington Post.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.