Mr. Trump–Down, but not out – The Hindu BusinessLine

Support for Trump’s braggadocio is wearing thin, but there’s still no credible challenger

There’s common consensus in Washington that President Donald Trump’s presidency is failing as poll after poll shows the commander-in-chief’s support sliding even in key rust-belt states. Yet Trump, himself, seems unable to grasp the new political realities in which Democrats now control the House of Representatives under the formidable leadership of House speaker Nancy Pelosi. In Wednesday ’s State of the Union address, as Trump swung between slamming multiple investigations hanging over his presidency and appealing for national unity, the evening’s star was undoubtedly Pelosi who, from her perch behind him, raised her eyebrows at his more outlandish claims and at the end offered him a derisive slow handclap.

It could be argued Trump’s newest travails began with his ill-tempered late-December meeting with Pelosi and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at which he barked he’d shut down the Government if he didn’t get his wall funding and would “own the shutdown” even if it was unpopular. His braggadocio lasted a record 35 days till it became clear Americans were tired of stories about government employees frequenting soup kitchens and fretting about flight safety with air-traffic controllers taking leave en masse. The shutdown made it clear again, despite boasts to the contrary, Trump’s an inept deal-maker. He just about managed to strike a revised Nafta deal with minor changes and the tariff war with China is nowhere near resolution. On top of all this, half a dozen ex-Trump associates now are facing trial. The Democrats have also clearly signalled they’re going after release of his tax returns, a demand he’s stonewalled since taking office.

If all this isn’t enough, constant leaks show Trump’s the most disengaged president of all-time, devoting almost half his days to what’s euphemistically called “executive time.” By January, he’d spent 166 days at or near a golf course during his presidency. So what does Trump still have going for him and why are Democrats unsure of unseating him in 2020? Firstly, the party’s base still belongs to Trump though independent swing voters are drifting away. Also, the economy remains rock solid, admittedly a carry-over from the Obama presidency. The tide, though, does seem to be swelling against Trump. Nearly six-in-10 registered voters say they won’t vote for Trump in 2020, according to polls, and there’s a slide in support in a key demographic: white men without college degrees. But if Democrats veer too far left, many voters may conclude Trump’s all that’s standing between them and that dreaded American word ‘socialism.’ In fact, Trump’s best hopes of winning rests on whom the Democrats choose as presidential nominee. If he gets a “flawed” Democratic opponent, he could find himself back in White House.

via Down, but not out – The Hindu BusinessLine

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