Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un may give him some political benefits for midterms

United States President Donald Trump said on Saturday that his upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un was a “one-time shot” for the North Korean leader. (June 9) AP

WASHINGTON — When it comes to international affairs, President Trump’s meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un is fraught with the potential for misunderstanding and renewed tension between two nuclear powers.

But in terms of this year’s midterm elections, where control of the House of Representatives hangs in the balance, analysts mostly see upside for the president and his party.

Trump is preparing to meet Kim on Tuesday morning in Singapore, the culmination of an on-again-off-again effort to bring together two leaders who less than a year ago were trading threats of a military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula.

A new poll shows Trump is heading into the historic meeting with support from a wide swath of Americans, but also that expectations are low enough the president has room to claim victory in all but the most disastrous outcomes.

“It does give the president an opportunity to claim success with the American people,” said Shibley Telhami, a government and politics professor and director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll.

Just more than a third of Americans, a plurality, believe Trump will make progress on “some issues” but not on the thorny problem of denuclearization, according to the poll. Nearly three in 10 said they expect the summit to fail, with different expectations for the consequences of that outcome.

A third of Americans — including 17% of independents — said the run up to the summit gave them a more positive view of Trump, compared with 14% who said it created more negative feelings and nearly half who said Trump’s diplomatic efforts in Asia had no impact on their views of him.

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Many of those numbers were influenced by partisan divisions.

“I expect the reaction to be partisan because our partisan divide is so deep that it is overtaking any objective analysis of consequences,” Telhami said.

Analysts said Trump can claim victory if some progress with North Korea is achieved, but could just as easily energize his base by reverting to tough talk and the threat of increased sanctions on…

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