Donald Trump, the rats, the sinking ship, and the 6% solution

Now that Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped to just thirty-five percent – a number so low that no one else has ever come close to it in the early months of a U.S. presidency – even his own political allies have begun putting calculated distance between themselves and his sinking ship. Who could have ever predicted such a thing could happen so quickly? Well, I did.

Back when it became clear that Trump would enter office with an approval rating well below fifty percent, making him vulnerable in a way that no new incoming president ever has been, I laid out a scenario for getting rid of him. If his approval rating could be driven low enough, very few office holders of any party would remain willing to be seen standing next to him. As much as the Republicans in Congress would like to have used Trump’s presidency to push through their own legislative agenda, they also know that they have to get reelected in a couple years. And they can’t do that if Trump is toxically unpopular and they’re taking the blame for him.

I predicted that if Trump’s approval rating dropped firmly into the thirties, he would begin losing allies. Sure enough, Republicans in the House and Senate rejected his health care plan so thoroughly that it never even made it to a vote – something that would have been unthinkable if his approval rating had been in the fifties. Even his key individual allies are hedging their bets.

Mitch McConnell is refusing to back Trump up on his phony wiretap claim, meaning we’ve reached the surreal point where the hyper-partisan McConnell is reluctantly defending his nemesis President Obama against the claims of a sitting Republican President. And Jason Chaffetz is telling Trump he shouldn’t be weighing in on Mike Flynn’s immunity request (link). But this is only half the solution.

The other part of my original prediction was that if Donald Trump’s approval rating drops below thirty percent, his political capital will become zero and he’ll be so crippled in the job, with no hope of ever recovering, that it’ll be over. He’ll realize he’s lost, and he may walk away, like he’s done by declaring bankruptcy on his businesses whenever he’s concluded they were a lost cause. And if he doesn’t walk away quickly enough, he’ll become so toxically dangerous to the chances of House Republicans in the midterms that they’ll have to seriously consider beginning the impeachment process beforehand.

To be clear, I’ve never made a prediction one way or the other on whether or not Donald Trump would sink to these approval rating levels. That was always going to depend on the fierceness of the Resistance, the level to which Trump bungled things, and the speed at which the Russia scandal unfolded. I merely predicted what would happen if he did certain marks. At the current 35%, his presidency is on life support and the rats have begun abandoning him. If it drops to 29%, his presidency will become terminally ill. That means finishing off Trump is now a 6% solution. Go change a few more minds, and he’s toast. Contribute to Palmer Report

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report