Donald Trumps support among Republicans has been rising. Gerald Seib reports this from a recent Wall Street Journal poll in his July 23, 2018 article "The Trump Divide Grows Wider":
... what’s striking is the solid support Mr. Trump is now winning inside his own camp. A remarkable 88% of self-identified Republicans say they approve of the job he is doing, the highest share within a president’s own party at this stage of a presidency since President George W. Bush’s standing after the 9/11 terror attacks. ...
At the same time, though, the strength of those pro-Trump feelings is more than matched by the intensity of anti-Trump sentiments. Some 52% of voters overall disapprove of the job he is doing, and a stunning 44% say they strongly disapprove. ...
Asked their feelings about Mr. Trump personally, a mere 9% of all voters said they are neutral.
I thought William Galston's op-ed the next day, "Why Republicans Can’t Get Enough Trump" was very insightful in explaining why Republicans who didn't vote for him in the primaries have gone beyond making their peace with Trump (as they did before the election) and have come to actively like him. William makes three points.
Improving Economy. Due to the Fed's belated and too timid, but ultimately successful efforts, the economy was likely to improve no matter who was president. But Donald Trump has done enough to claim credit for the economy. Tax cuts and deregulation in particular seem plausible factors behind the improving economy to Republicans.
Keeping His Campaign Promises. Personally, there are many campaign promises Trump made that I wish he had reneged on. But he has kept most of his promises. In William Galston's words:
He gave economic conservatives the tax cuts and deregulatory policies he advocated during the campaign. Social conservatives have gotten the judicial nominees they were promised, along with policy changes in areas from transgender bathrooms to abortion and religious liberty. And the populist conservatives who put Mr. Trump over the top in key Midwestern states have found an unswerving champion of the nationalist policies—on trade, immigration and putting America first—that energized them during the campaign.
Resentment of Cultural Elites. As an observer, I agree with the claim that many of America's elites have a very negative stereotype of white people who vote Republican and don't have a college degree. This reality and the perception of this reality understandably creates a great deal of resentment. Donald Trump has capitalized on this resentment. Here is how William Galston puts it:
In Donald Trump, dissatisfied Americans have found a man who resents cultural elites as much as they do, who is as dismissive of convention as they would like to be, and, above all, who fights constantly, retreats rarely, seldom apologizes, and takes every setback as an opportunity to renew the unending struggle.
The mutual bad opinions that the elites and whites without a college degree have of each other reminds me of attitudes nationalists have about foreigners. It is unfortunate.
Don't miss posts discussing the political situation we are in:
- Nationalists vs. Cosmopolitans: Social Scientists Need to Learn from Their Brexit Blunder
- Us and Them
- The Equilibrium Paradox: Somebody Has to Do It
- Dan Benjamin, Ori Heffetz and Miles Kimball—Repairing Democracy: We Can’t All Get What We Want, But Can We Avoid Getting What Most of Us *Really* Don’t Want?
- Gwynn Guilford: The Epic Battle Between Clinton and Trump is a Modern Day Morality Play
- Clay Christensen Explains the Donald Trump Phenomenon: The Job-to-Be-Done Was to Express Frustration
- Brian Flaxman: Yes! Economics Did Sway Obama Voters to Trump
- Economics Is Unemotional—And That's Why It Could Help Bridge America's Partisan Divide
- Noah Smith: Trump Happened Because Conservatism Failed
- Western Values, According to Stephen Miller and Donald Trump