Last night I pointed out that Donald Trump’s average approval rating had reached an all time low (link). Today a new Quinnipiac poll pegged him an all time individual-poll low of 33% (link), dragging his average down even further. It’s clear that at least some of Trump’s base is finally giving up on him. And now he’s launching one last desperate, overtly racist bid to try to slow the bleeding.
Today, Donald Trump rolled out the RAISE Act, which would sharply reduce legal immigration levels to the United States (link). It’s arguably the most gratuitously racist and xenophobic piece of legislation that any modern United States President has ever put forward. It’s unlikely to ever become law, because it would require sixty votes in the Senate, and it’s not even clear whether it’ll be able to get fifty. But it’s likely to further deepen the divide between mainstream Americans and Trump’s base.
So this is, on some level, yet another stunt by Donald Trump in the name of appeasing his racist base. But while he pulled these kinds of things in the past simply to keep his already-happy base excited, this comes at a different time and has a different feel. Trump has always an inner core base of around 15% of the country. The rest of his approval rating number comes from an tentative outer base, which was at around 28% at the time Trump took office, but has now shrunk to as small as 18% according to Quinnipiac.
Trump is so now desperate to stop the number from shrinking any further, he’s willing to marry himself to something like the RAISE Act, knowing it won’t become law, knowing he’ll have to explain to his base later why he failed yet again. He’s simply trying to buy a little time. It’s what you do when your presidency and support are bleeding out by the day. Trump knows that if and when he falls into the twenties, even his own Republican Party will have to consider impeaching him to avoid getting wiped out in the midterms.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report