President Trump just can’t catch a break. Whether it be the Obamacare repeal debacle, his tweets, purported Russia ties, the travel ban, and the consistent disrespect from the “Not My President” crowd, Trump has continued to receive much of the same treatment as president as he did while running for office.
Thankfully, the sharks circling him now are just as clueless as the ones before the election.
During the campaign, many of the president’s opponents mistakenly believed they could dampen his appeal by superficially attacking his style and mannerisms rather than the substance of what he was proposing or the deeper emotional themes his campaign was hitting. They believed that by hammering how he wasn’t a pure conservative, that he was of poor character, and that he - not to mention his supporters - was racist, that they would be able to convince his supporters to vote for Clinton or stay home.
This strategy failed epically, despite the enormous sums of money spent and media time aired against Trump. The naysayers predicted Clinton would amass over 400 votes in the Electoral College. (She received 227). They claimed Trump would lose majorly with minorities and young people. But he won over those groups to an extent that Republicans had not seen in over a decade.
Even now, many of the president’s opponents are continuing the same tactics - with a similar result. The “Not My President” crowd continues to characterize Republicans as “irredeemable” and “deplorable.” The remaining “Never Trump” holdouts continue to scratch at whatever scandals they can find, trying to embarrass and delegitimize the president.
And again, their efforts are failing spectacularly. Recent polling has shown Republicans are united behind Trump on most issues. A plurality of Americans now no longer trust the mainstream media after a year of clear bias. While it appears the president’s approval ratings have dipped, a significant portion of Americans will nonetheless support Trump’s policy agenda despite holding an unfavorable personal opinion of him.
Indeed, there are many issues regarding Trump worth exploring and debating, as is demanded by us by our constitutional system of checks and balances. No person is perfect, and indeed one signature point that Trump ran on was that he wasn’t your typical politician obsessed with evading and triangulating.
What many of the Beltway talking heads don’t understand is that ordinary voters don’t care about the president’s tweets, his golfing, or small-scale scandals. Americans act politically as they, and humans in general, always have: by looking at what politicians will do for them and how they will make a real impact on their own lives.
The president won on a platform of economic growth, national security, constitutional government, American pride, and bringing D.C. back in touch with the people it is meant to represent, not rule over. His imperfections are many, as with all of us. However, in the end, Americans are voting while thinking about their pocketbooks and families, not for whom to deify as a saint.
Trump’s opponents continue to run a circus around him just like they did before. They clearly have not learned the lessons that all Americans should embrace, no matter our ideology, from Trump’s ascension. Over recent years many Americans have grown increasingly disconnected from civic and governmental institutions. Trump was the inevitable reaction to that.
As Americans, we ought to be deeply troubled by this mold that has grown on our constitutional republic. While we are not a democracy where the whims of a slim majority of the people instantly become law, the consent of the governed still remains a vital and necessary feature of a healthy and functioning republic.
No matter how Trump’s presidency moves forward, both the president’s supporters and his opponents need to learn from his rise. The American people don’t care about the gossip, mini-scandals, and the “gotcha” game of word gaffes and evolving policy views that fascinate the chattering class. The American people want to protect their “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
And it is time those in D.C. respond to and respect that.