Trump’s silent majority is the ultimate fake news story

The idea that the US president-elect has huge popular support is a media-fuelled myth

‘Trump is in deep trouble already. If his ‘honeymoon’ figures are 37%, he is in danger of being the American Hollande.’ Photograph: Don Emmerty/AFP/Getty Images

‘Trump is in deep trouble already. If his ‘honeymoon’ figures are 37%, he is in danger of being the American Hollande.’ Photograph: Don Emmerty/AFP/Getty Images

 

Judging by panicked reactions, the media and millions of Americans believe that Donald Trump has done the impossible and fooled all the people all the time.

An all-points bulletin has gone out in the media to cover this new silent majority that east and west coast denizens never saw coming.

Yet the majority does not exist.

Yes, Trump puts up an amazing Potemkin front. His control of the media, his cleverly crafted tweets which set the news agenda every day, and the wringing of hands by top Democrats seemingly unable to blunt his appeal all point to some form of political colossus impossible to stop.

Except it is the ultimate fake news.

The evidence is plain. He won with 46 per cent of the vote, the smallest electoral total in history for a winning American presidential candidate.

Millions more people voted for Hillary Clinton. He was aided by Wikileaks, the Russians and execrable FBI chief James Comey who placed his finger plainly on the scales.

Like most everything else, Trump is faking his popularity. The most telling aspect of all is his approval ratings as he comes to Washington this week and is sworn in as president on Friday.

Goodwill bounce

A new Quinnipiac University poll rated his approval at just 37 per cent, down nine points already from his winning total and likely headed lower if the trend continues.

By contrast, George W Bush at 81 per cent and Barack Obama at 80 per cent enjoyed a massive goodwill bounce when they entered office.

As to how he handled the transition, Trump is underwater again. Only 48 per cent approve of how he handled his transition team.

Barack Obama’s numbers were 83 per cent for how handled that task, while Bush was 60 per cent.

Translation: Trump is in deep trouble already. If his “honeymoon” figures are 37 per cent, he is in danger of being the American Francois Hollande some day, a leader who clocks in at a miserable 4 per cent.

Most interesting is that already 13 per cent of Republican voters are having severe doubts about Trump.

It seems the swamp fever that overhung Washington all election season has broken and a more clear-eyed perception has emerged.

Of course, no one can predict the future. Without 9/11, given his disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina and a plunging economy, Bush might have occupied the Hollande corner of ignominy.

Unless Trump encounters some similar such massive tragedy, it is likely he will soon be in the cellar as the most unpopular president, perhaps ever.

Rebound

As it currently stands, look to Trump’s bid to destroy Obamacare to rebound heavily against him.

You simply cannot undo a $1.2 trillion American health programme overnight, something Trump seems keenly unaware of.

Already one of his congressman, Mike Coffman of Colorado, literally ran away from a public meeting on Obamacare at the weekend when hundreds showed up rather than the dozen or so he expected.

The crowd demanded knowledge of what would happen to their insurance if Obamacare was immediately repealed. Coffman had not the slightest clue. It is always easier to tear down than build up.

“I’ve had a pre-existing condition. I’ve had breast cancer. What’s going to happen to me?” attendee Berthie Ruoff told KUSA.

“My spouse who had health insurance passed away. What do I do? You know, what am I supposed to do?”

She is one of just 20 million, mostly poorer, Trump supporters who look sure to lose out when Trump finally has a plan.

Between that and promising coal miners their jobs back, an utterly cynical ploy as the country moves to natural gas, Trump also promised steel workers their industry back and to build a border fence to nowhere that will cost billions.

It is inevitable Trump will soon find himself foundering.

Trump is also setting himself up for epic staff showdowns about access to him. There are no fewer than five centers of power in his administration, exactly the opposite scenario for clear lines of communication that experts advise.

There’s his family led by son-in-law Jared Kushner, VP Mike. Pence, alt-right majordomo Steve Bannon, Chief of Staff Reince Preibus and former campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway all vying for his ear. Little wonder the New Republic called this bonfire of vanities “dangerously incoherent.”

I fully expect he will go the way of Hollande; he is incapable of critical thinking, thinks everything is a real estate deal the way a hammer thinks everything is a nail, and looks at the world from the viewpoint of a macho braggart.

My guess is he will vie with James Buchanan, who handed the seeds of civil war to Lincoln, and his legacy as the worst American president ever.

Niall O’Dowd is founder of IrishCentral. com in New York and a finance committee member of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.