Despite his bluster about one of the greatest landslides in American electoral history, Donald Trump actually squeaked out a narrow Electoral College victory (a flip of 80,000 votes collectively in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan would have resulted in a Madame President Clinton). As far was the popular vote went, Trump lost the election by 2,864,974 votes.
Given those numbers, it would have been judicious for Trump to try to expand his base rather than consistently bending over backwards to accommodate its xenophobic inclinations, which aren’t shared by a majority of Americans. For example, he could have cut taxes for the middle, rather than the donor class, and worked on infrastructure, but he remained and remains fixated on immigration.
Let’s look at some numbers.
On the week of 16 December 2018, according to Gallup, Trump’s approval level stood at 38%
Here’s a recent Pew poll on Americans’ views on immigration:
|Present level||Increased||Decreased||No opinion|
|2018 Jun 1-13 #||39||28||29||4|
|2017 Jun 7-11||38||24||35||3|
|2016 Jun 7-Jul 1 ^||38||21||38||3|
Of course, we’re talking about legal immigration here. Nevertheless, the most recent number is that only 29% want to see immigration decreased, which is nine points lower than the number of voters who approve of Trump.
Trump’s making illegal immigration the cornerstone of his midterm election rally blitz in the campaign’s last days didn’t work out very well for him. Although Republicans kept control of Senate, in fact increasing the majority by two seats, they did so by winning in red states. The Democrats, on the other hand, took over the House by flipping forty Republican seats as suburbanite Republicans abandoned their party and Independents went heavily blue .
So what does Trump do? Doubles down by rejecting a budget deal passed by both the House and Senate and shutting down the government.
Why? Because Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter got their panties in a knot, assailing his manhood.*
Trump’s pathological need for attention and adulation is his worst enemy. These rallies, populated by fanatical and inchoately angry rural white people must satisfy some atavistic tribal need in him. The fact that they need to be under-educated and misinformed doesn’t seem to matter to him.
He’s his own very worst enemy.
Meanwhile, our government is rudderless. We have an acting chief of staff, and acting attorney general, and an acting secretary of defense.
I’ll resist the urge to quote from Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” which has become almost a cliché. Instead, I’ll leave you with a snippet of his “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen.”
Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.
Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.
Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
And sick of solitude
Might proclaim a holiday:
Wind shrieked — and where are they?
Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we Traffic in mockery.
* I concede forcing you to picture Rush Limbaugh in panties isn’t in keeping with the holiday spirit. Sorry about that.