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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Daily 202: Trump acts like the president of the Red States of America - The Washington Post

"THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump often behaves, first and foremost, as if he is the president of the states and people who voted for him.

That’s at odds with the American tradition, and it’s problematic as a governing philosophy — especially in a moment of crisis. Trump’s initially tone-deaf response to Charlottesville underscores why.

Animated by grievance and congenitally disinclined to extend olive branches, Trump lashes out at his “enemies” — his 2020 reelection campaign even used that word in a commercial released on Sunday — while remaining reticent to explicitly call out his fans — no matter how odious, extreme or violent.

Channeling his inner-Richard Nixon, who kept an enemies list of his own, candidate Trump often claimed to speak for “a silent majority.” After failing to win the popular vote, President Trump has instead governed on behalf of an increasingly vocal but diminishing minority.

The president has held campaign-style rallies in places like West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Indeed, almost all his political travel has been to places he carried last November. He keeps stacks of 2016 electoral maps to hand out to people visiting the Oval Office so he can point out the sea of red. He speaks often about his “base,” preferring to preach to the choir rather than evangelize for his policies. “The Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before,” Trump wrote on Twitter last week.

-- Apparently the president sees “the Trump base” as distinct from the GOP base: “Trump's job approval rating in Gallup Daily tracking is at 34% for the three-day period from Friday through Sunday — by one point the lowest of his administration so far,” Frank Newport wrote yesterday. “Republicans' latest weekly approval rating of 79% was the lowest from his own partisans so far, dropping from the previous week's 82%. Democrats gave Trump a 7% job approval rating last week, while the reading for independents was at 29%. This is the first time independents' weekly approval rating for Trump has dropped below 30%.” In the latest Gallup polling, 46 percent of whites approve of Trump’s job performance. That’s the same share Barack Obama had at this point in 2009. But while only 15 percent of nonwhites support Trump, 73 percent backed Obama."

The Daily 202: Trump acts like the president of the Red States of America - The Washington Post

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