A President’s CredibilityBut what the Journal ed board refers to as "the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything" apparently consists of the entire Republican electorate, with very few exceptions, according to a new poll reported by The Washington Post:
Trump’s falsehoods are eroding public trust, at home and abroad.
If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.
The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.
Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle....
... Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything.
... Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.
How many Trump supporters continue to support him enthusiastically? How many continue to support him but are disturbed by many of his actions? How many genuinely regret their vote?According to this survey, Trump retains the passionate support of nearly his entire voting bloc. Remember that his most primal instinct is self-preservation -- does he really care whether Republicans suffer in the midterms or there's less security and prosperity in America and the world? Yes, the Gallup poll is bad for him -- but it may just be that angry anti-Trump voters are more willing to talk to pollsters these days than Trump backers, who tend to believe all mainstream media and polling outfits are deceitful.
Our Mood of the Nation Poll from Penn State’s McCourtney Institute of Democracy provides answers.
... we asked everyone, “Suppose you could go back in time and vote again in the November election. What would you do?”
... Of the 339 poll participants who originally voted for Trump, only 12 (3½ percent) said they would do something different.
... Of the 327 Trump voters who would vote for him again, only 42 (or 13 percent) asked him to start behaving more presidential. Typical was a 51-year-old woman from Virginia who said she would tell the president, “Continue with your agenda but stop tweeting.”
... these messages were dwarfed by the enormous show of support for the president among those who voted for him....
The largest number of Trump voters sampled — representing millions of voters — asked the president to “stay strong,” “keep it up,”“hang in there” or “stay the course.” Many simply expressed their feelings as fans, as with the respondent who wrote, “Go Donald Go!” Others expressed excitement and pleasure over his performance, as with the voters who wrote:
“Keep up the good work...continue draining the swamp to bring America back to her greatness.”
“You are doing a wonderful job. Keep on doing what you are doing. The American people are behind you. Only those who do not respect what you are dissenting.”
I believe that Trump is historically unpopular for a president in the first months of his term. But if he can sustain this level of support until 2020, he might just slip by a Democrat again, taking advantage of GOP voter suppression and a wealthy corporate donor community that will never bail on the GOP, not to mention campaign finance rules that are only going to get worse once Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court.
No doubt Gorsuch will support demolition of existing campaign finance regime, going beyond Citizens United and McCutcheon— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) March 21, 2017
Remember that Richard Nixon and George W. Bush won reelection before disapproval of them reached critical mass. It takes a long time for Republicans to lose faith in one of their own, even when the rest of the country has already done so.
Credibility? Trump's base thinks he has all the credibilty he needs, even now. And that base is essentially the entire GOP electorate.