When the Republican Congress passed these tax cuts in 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN, “If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work.”
.. On the day Republicans passed the bill, the RealClearPolitics average showed 51.1% of voters disapproved of it while only 21.6% approved. The Republican bet, not unreasonable, was that a growing economy would take care of that gap.
One Democratic supporter told me last weekend that, although he personally hoped Kavanaugh’s candidacy would be struck down, the ideal outcome for the Party would be for the Republicans to railroad it through on the basis of a sham F.B.I. investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct. That is what is now happening.
.. sixty-six per cent of female college graduates believed Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and that just twenty-six per cent of them believed Kavanaugh.
.. among women who identify as independents—that is, about a third of them—fifty-six per cent believed Ford and twenty-four per cent believed Kavanaugh.
From the moment he rode down the escalator at his eponymous Fifth Avenue skyscraper to announce his candidacy three years ago, President Donald Trump has divided Americans.
But the Trump Divide is growing wider and deeper.
As Mr. Trump moves from controversy to controversy, views of the president, pro and con, are hardening, with supporters embracing him more enthusiastically and detractors growing more feverish in their opposition. The middle ground, never very populous, now looks as sparse as a flower bed in February.
.. Certainly Mr. Trump seems disinclined to give ground to his detractors in hopes of winning them over. Rather, he often seems to do the reverse—show that he is prepared to antagonize them further.
After an eruption of criticism over his unwillingness to publicly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin at their Helsinki summit meeting this month, for example, Mr. Trump backtracked slightly—but then promptly slammed into forward gear again by inviting Mr. Putin to another summit in the U.S. this fall. If that left his critics sputtering, well, that seems to be the way Mr. Trump likes them
.. “The more Mr. Trump gets criticized by the media, the more his base seems to rally behind him,” says Democratic pollster Fred Yang.
.. 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.
.. the share of Americans who say they strongly approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance rose to 29%, the highest mark so far.
.. 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.
.. it’s impossible to discount the extent to which a strong economy buys Mr. Trump support and forbearance. Politically, steady job growth can paper over many other doubts—though that also means economic deterioration would be especially dangerous for the president.
.. The core Trump support group always has combined
- those drawn to him for economic reasons (a belief the global economy and its rules are stacked against them), as well as
- those who are drawn to him for cultural reasons (a feeling that Mr. Trump shares their view that society’s elites, immigrants and liberals are combining to hijack their traditional lifestyle).
In marked contrast to the rest of the country, Republicans also say that Trump shares their values (82 percent) and that — get this — he “provides the United States with moral leadership” (80 percent).
.. Yet so strong is the pull of tribalism that we’ve reached a point where partisanship outweighs morality. Republicans aren’t approving of Trump despite his behavior; in calling him a role model, they’re approving his behavior.
.. The difference: Democrats disapproved of Clinton’s morality by 2 to 1 (65 to 33 percent), even as they overwhelmingly approved of his job performance. Only 16 percent of Republicans today say Trump does not provide moral leadership.
.. Such normalizing of Trump’s behavior makes the seediest elements feel safe to crawl out from under their rocks. The FBI reported in November that hate crimes were up again in 2016 after rising in 2015. And the Anti-Defamation League reported that anti-Semitic incidents were “significantly higher” through the first nine months of 2017