If you’re repulsed at the idea of Donald Trump being the “president-elect” of the United States, it turns out you’re not alone. The millions of people protesting in the streets against his illegitimate victory and abhorrent nature are in fact representing the majority of Americans. Trump’s approval rating after winning has already dropped to a mere 42% – stunningly low, considering that even disputed winner George W. Bush entered with 58%, and Barack Obama entered with 69%. But those protests aren’t just about making people feel good; the way to cripple a President is to keep his approval rating low.
For the most part, America likes the idea of giving a new President-elect a chance. Even many of the people who don’t vote for the winning candidate will respond positively in approval or favorability rating polls after the election is over. Donald Trump’s mere 42% rating right now is unheard of in modern polling. The clear majority of Americans don’t want this their guy as their President. And when it comes to how many of his policies he can ram through, that matters.
It was Barack Obama himself who said that a popular President can get away with anything, and an unpopular President can get away with nothing. And he speaks from experience. During the first and final years of his tenure, he was so popular that he could do just about anything he wanted. During the intervening years, when he became moderately unpopular at times, he had much less political muscle. And now Donald Trump is set to enter office as a historically unpopular figure.
Even though Trump will have a Republican majority in the House and Senate, that may not mean much for long. When Obama’s popularity suffered somewhat in 2013 and 2014, many of the Democrats in Congress began running away from him because they were trying to save their own skin. Trump’s massive unpopularity, if it continues into his first hundred days, will cause Republicans in Congress to think twice about how deep they want to get into the mix with him – because they won’t want to have to explain to the voters in their district why they helped the hated Trump do his damage.
So all we have to do to keep Donald Trump’s tenure from ever getting off the ground is to make sure that he remains unpopular. That requires continuing to protest in the streets for as long as the television cameras are still willing to put it on the air. But perhaps more importantly, it also requires continuing to inform your Facebook and Twitter friends every time Trump find a new way to screw up. Don’t let your less politically-interested friends forget that this guy sucks. Make sure he remains unpopular. As long as his rating remains in the current 42% range or worse, he’ll lack any political capital to carry out the worst of his agenda.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report