During his disastrous press conference yesterday, Donald Trump complained about how low his poll numbers are, and lamented that “Nobody likes me.” It was a uniquely pathetic moment on the national stage. It also provided insight into why Trump is failing so badly, and he’s on track for one of the most humiliating downfalls in our nation’s history.
Donald Trump is openly obsessed with his popularity, at the expense of everyone and everything else. It’s what you’d expect from a malignant narcissist. But there’s more to it than that. In politics, popularity is required in order to survive. So you’d think that Trump’s clinical need for popularity might suit him well in politics, if certainly not suiting the country well. Instead it’s turned out to be the opposite for Trump.
Every move that Trump has made during the pandemic has been based on trying to keep his approval rating high and win reelection. He initially kept things open far too long because he was afraid that a shutdown would make him less popular. He refused to properly implement the Defense Production Act for medical supplies because he thought that doing so would make him less popular. He spent months refusing to wear a mask because he was afraid that doing so would make him less popular.
And yet when you look back, you see that the decisions Donald Trump has made with his popularity in mind are precisely the decisions that have caused his popularity to decline. His deranged obsession with his approval rating, without regard for human lives or the well being of the country, is the main reason he has a terrible approval rating. If Trump had simply done the right thing, without regard for how it would impact his popularity, he’d probably only be half as many points behind Joe Biden as he is. Trump is almost uniquely skilled these days at self-sabotage. Then again he always has been.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report