Donald Trump likes to brag about how his supporters are “tough guys,” usually when he’s been having another miserable day on Twitter – days that are happening more and more often now. Ignoring the fact that his staunch supporters tend to fly off the handle over trivial things like football players kneeling during the national anthem or a teenage girl being named TIME magazine’s person of the year while ridiculing everyone else over being easily offended, Trump usually uses this phrase when he’s openly calling for violence against Democrats and often the conservatives who occasionally disagree with him. It’s the typical rhetoric that a dictator would turn to, with Trump even going so far as to say that he only appreciates the military when they applaud him and obey his orders.
Unfortunately, not all active duty personnel see it that way. His current approval rating among service members has dropped to just 42%, according to a new poll. That means his approval rating is roughly the same with them as it is throughout the country. It gets worse. A solid 50% of respondents currently disapprove of him, and 45% said they had a very unfavorable opinion. This is a considerable increase from the 37% who disapproved of Trump when he first became president.
This is a bloc that consistently votes Republican and that Trump needs to win re-election, but the signs don’t bode too well for Trump or the GOP overall. The number of servicemembers last year who identify as Democrats increased by three percent, while the number of those identifying as either Republicans or Libertarians (who are typically just Republicans who don’t want the stigma of the label), decreased by seven percent.
They also came with reasons for why his approval ratings in the military are in freefall, with 58% disapproving of his reckless withdrawal from Syria, and even more unhappy with his boneheaded plot to take money from military families to fund his racist border wall monument. Both of these are positions that Republican senators have gotten behind Trump on and will likely regret in 2020 unless they turn against him.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making