Late last night Donald Trump announced that, because Speaker Nancy Pelosi was refusing to invite him to deliver the State of the Union address during his government shutdown, he didn’t really want to do it anyway. Trump caved, unequivocally, to Pelosi by agreeing to delay his speech indefinitely. It’s the latest reminder of why Pelosi will win her every battle with Trump: she has a secret weapon.
Yesterday the Associated Press published a poll which showed that Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped by a whopping eight points over the past month. The most legitimate way to interpret polling data is to look at the averages of the major polls, and while the averages don’t have Trump down eight points, they do have him noticeably down. The thing is, as “President” of the United States, Trump has to worry about his approval rating – and Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have to worry about hers.
In actuality, Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating has climbed significantly in the three weeks since she became Speaker of the House. But even if the negative impacts of the government shutdown end up prompting fatigued Americans to blame Trump and Pelosi both, it’ll only hurt Trump. Pelosi doesn’t need a high personal approval rating in order to keep the House Democrats aligned behind her; she only needs to succeed in weakening Donald Trump so it’ll be easier to oust him.
So yeah, Nancy Pelosi can automatically win every one of her battles with Donald Trump, just by making sure that Trump loses something in each of those battles. Not only is Pelosi twice as smart and ten times as savvy as Trump, she has nothing to lose, and he has everything to lose.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report