If you thought that Donald Trump’s bowing and scraping to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki would put a big dent in his approval ratings, think again.
.. That’s a testament to the unprecedented level of polarization in the American electorate. And it suggests that, as the midterms get closer, Trump will descend further into race-baiting and demagoguery as a way to keep his supporters engaged.
.. It isn’t that all G.O.P. supporters were blind to what took place in Finland. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll published on Sunday, almost a third of Republicans disapproved of Trump publicly expressing doubts about U.S. intelligence findings. By recent standards, that’s a significant defection from the pro-Trump line
.. . In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, eighty-eight per cent of Republican voters said that they approved of the job he’s doing.
.. Some analysts see it as a reaction to the negative media coverage that Trump receives, especially after controversial incidents like his press conference with Putin.
.. “The more Trump gets criticized by the media, the more his base seems to rally behind him,”
.. the proportion of self-identified Republicans has declined significantly since Trump was elected, suggesting that some anti-Trump G.O.P. supporters may have left the Party, leaving him to garner a bigger share of support among a smaller base.
.. new poll figures will surely only encourage Trump to believe that his incendiary tactics of attacking the media and fanning resentments about immigration, race, and unfair foreign competition are working. As we get closer to Election Day, he seems certain to escalate this strategy.
.. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former campaign manager and political strategist, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last month that the midterms would be a “base-plus” contest. Bannon argued that Trump should seek to “nationalize the election” around his signature theme of immigration.
.. his Twitter feed, continues to emphasize “strong borders,” his proposed wall, and the threat represented by the MS-13 gang.
.. In addition to whipping up fears about nonwhite immigrants, Trump appears eager to rekindle his dispute with black football players.
.. For all his support among self-identified Republicans, he is still one of the most unpopular Presidents in history—if not the most unpopular.
.. will only provide more fuel to the Democratic “resistance,” whose entire strategy is based on turning the election into a referendum on his Presidency.