Trump is a wartime president — in a war against his political opponents

President Trump addresses a rally at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on May 29. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

A remarkable graph made the rounds during the weekend, created by consultant Bruce Mehlman. Using Gallup’s presidential approval ratings, he compared each modern president’s approval rating among members of his own party at this point in his presidency.

The results looked like this, excluding the Democratic presidents.

Even including the Democrats, the top two were the same: Post-9/11 George W. Bush and Donald Trump. The difference between an 87 percent approval and an 83 percent approval rating is statistically insignificant, but, regardless, only Bush has a higher approval rating among Republicans about 500 days into his presidency.

Our Philip Rucker explored one significant way in which Trump is very much unlike those past Republicans.

“In President Trump’s telling, which can often be more imaginary than real, he is a victim — a long-suffering, tormented victim,” Rucker writes, pointing to various examples of Trump deeming things to be “unfair.” Then Rucker makes a key point.

“For Trump, this posture makes and preserves political power,” he writes. “He has created around himself an aura of unfair persecution — by the nation’s elites, Democrats, the media and law enforcement — that inspires sympathy from and solidarity with his aggrieved supporters.”

That latter aspect, solidarity, is the more important one. It’s the feeling of shared aggrievement that powers much of the support for Trump.

A poll released on Sunday from CBS and YouGov reinforces that point. Respondents in battleground House districts were asked about five things that define Trump’s presidency and if they mostly like or mostly dislike them. Nearly 8 in 10 Republicans said that they mostly like Trump’s efforts to upset the “elites” and the establishment.

We’ve seen similar numbers in the past. Last summer, Pew Research Center asked those who approve of Trump why they do so, asking respondents to choose between his policies and his approach. Four times as many people who approved of Trump said it was because of…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.