The polling paradox has been a subject puzzling pundits throughout the weekend. How can the polls show that so many voters don’t trust him, don’t like him and don’t approve of how he is handling the job of president, yet his standing with the people who voted for him remains steady and strong? Isn’t this inevitably a disastrous political path? With numbers like these, isn’t it impossible for him to win re-election in 2020?
They voted for the antihero who would take on the world and defy all political and social convention. When President Trump does the things that so many voters hate, his base cheers him on. That’s his appeal.
And there is a method behind the madness. Democrats should remember, before they get too cynical, that this strategy worked in the 2016 presidential election. The Trump method depends on extraordinarily enthusiastic support from his base, which includes some disaffected Democrats, combined with the impact of intense partisan polarization in the electorate.
The first part of the mix ensures that President Trump will continue to have a strong ground game. During election time, he will be able to mobilize his supporters to put up lawn signs, organize rallies, register voters and spread word about the “greatness” of their candidate in a way that really matters during presidential campaigns. For all the attention on television spots and Internet advertising, getting out the vote is still crucial.
The second part of the mix relies on the power of partisanship in the modern political era to guarantee that Republican voters will still vote for the Republican candidate regardless of who is at the top of the ticket. The effect of intense partisanship is to make sure that red voters dislike the blue candidate more than anyone else.
In other words, no matter how much unease there is with Trump’s methods and his policies, the White House is betting that come election time Republicans won’t be able to stomach the thought of a Democratic president either…..
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