This is ironic, but Trump’s enemies are even less popular than he is, and that may be enough to win.
Trump’s enemies include Congress, the national liberal media, the political pundit class, and the GOP establishment… and their popularity is much lower than that of the White House.
And with weak enemies like that, victory and a second term look like a very real possibility.
From The National Interest:
“Donald Trump has a secret weapon. Even as controversies swirl around him like galaxies colliding, one scandal or outrage smashing into the next before the last one has fully sunk into citizens’ brains, Trump remains on his feet, defiant.
He knows something his foes don’t know—or can’t admit. He knows that as low as he might go in the polls, his enemies are truly, comprehensively, utterly bankrupt in the public’s eyes.
The American people may not like Trump, but they loathe the forces of respectability arrayed against him. The media? Congressional Democrats? The Republican establishment? With enemies like those, Trump hardly needs friends.
Which is a good thing, because the president does not seem too concerned about keeping the few political friends he has. His anger at Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been simmering for months, and Trump held nothing back in telling the New York Times exactly how he felt this week.
Sessions may have caused the president a headache by recusing himself from the Russia investigation. But Sessions is more than just a Trump loyalist, and one who happens to be the chief law enforcement official in the country.
The bottom line is really clear: Sessions decision to recuse himself created some problems for President Trump, but because of the weakness of Trump’s enemies, it doesn’t matter.
Trump has performed political miracles, so perhaps he could demolish and remake his own movement.
But it’s hard to say just how much that movement really is his own: Trump swept through the Republican Party like a hurricane last year because he united a long dissatisfied nationalist Right with the public’s (and especially the grassroots GOP’s) mounting hatred of weak and scripted establishment politicians.
No one else is yet in a position to duplicate what Trump did, but the forces he harnessed are there to be yoked by others when the time is right.
In any event, while the hard Right has no obvious alternative to Trump, Trump has no obvious alternative to Sessions: no more prospect of a loyal attorney general, and letting the Justice Department’s bureaucracy operate with only an acting attorney general in charge would be a prescription for even more trouble for the president.
So, the current Sessions problem is not a deal killer for Trump, but he can’t dump him either or he risks losing key parts of the GOP base.
If the Republican Party is shrinking, as polls suggest, and anti-Trump Republicans are the ones most likely to leave the party (as seems obvious), then Trump’s apparently solid GOP support may actually be masking an erosion in the president’s standing.
Even Trump cannot afford to take his base for granted. There comes a point where doubts about Trump and revulsion toward the political establishment balance out—and a point beyond that where the balance tips against Trump.
The president remains lucky in one thing, though: dissatisfied middle Americans have no other options; the Democrats have resisted anything resembling a populist turn, while the Republican alternative to Trump, such as it is, looks like little more than Bush nostalgia—typically marketed in Reaganite drag. What would it take for “compassionate conservatism” and the “freedom agenda” to make a comeback?
It would take a time machine, one that could stop George W. Bush from invading Iraq, the dream come true for neoconservatives that gave them the nightmares they’ve had to live with ever since.
When that’s the alternative, who is shocked that Republicans stick with Trump?
The great fantasy of Trump’s critics is that once he’s gone, the old dynasties will return to their natural place in power. This has all been a horrible aberration, they believe, a last-gasp racist spasm by dying Red State yokels seduced by Vladimir Putin.”
One can hope that at some point the political class will finally be put its place once and for all by President Trump. The reason why Trump’s popularity is so low is very unpopular groups are ganging up on him.
But the reality is that only one of them will run against him on election day, and that one person will be much less popular he is, no matter what they say.