Despite all of the issues and drama around the presidency of Donald Trump, he has managed to retain approval ratings of 35-40%. That is not stellar, but considering the turmoil surrounding his administration and his lack of success achieving his legislative agenda, it is amazing it remains so steady.
Trump knows that criticism from the media or the Republican establishment (never mind the Democrats) only strengthens support among his core. He also knows that there are a few things that are sure to turn his core against him. The big kahuna is becoming a loser.
That is why Trump fights so hard on every issue. He needs to ‘win’ every Twitter exchange, every exchange with Congress, every argument. Any time he backs down or compromises he risks becoming a loser. And his base won’t support a loser.
This is not new. The Democrats were desperate for Barak Obama to show up the obstructionist Republicans in Congress when he came into office. Their hearts wanted him to fight hard, but their heads saw the tactics as unseemly (never mind that Obama was not a street fighter). Trump’s supporters have no such reservations, in fact they prefer unseemly and so does he.
Losing on healthcare reform (3 times) didn’t look good for Trump. So did losing on the Alabama senate primary. Trump’s Secretary of State calling his boss a ‘fucking moron’ and getting away with it was another notch in Trump’s loser belt.
We’ll see what happens to tax reform, but that is really not a burning sands issue for his base. Immigrants and the Mexican wall are. And Trump compromised the border wall away in his negotiations with ‘Chuck and Nancy’. The base sees that at a loser move.
Trump finds it easy to rack up wins in the culture wars, so he keeps going after them hoping they will distract the base from his losses. So far it is working. But if Breitbart ever uses a “Losing” headline on an article about Trump, watch out.