South Dakota has given unrealistically high approval ratings to the current occupant of the White House, whose arrogance and expensive suits would get any other Manhattan billionaire snickered out of most board rooms and barnyards in this state. But even here, common sense is catching up with emotion, and Donald Trump is losing support.
Bob Mercer notes that Trump’s approval rating in the Morning Consult survey has dropped from 54.2% in January to 50.7% in September. Folks who remained agnostic in January have come down heavily against Trump: his South Dakota disapproval has jumped from 33.5% to 43.5%. His positive spread in South Dakota has thus been cut by two thirds, from just about 22 points to a slimming 7.
We should not be surprised. In nearly nine months in office, Donald Trump has shown no aptitude for the office America gave him, no sign of growing or maturing into the enormous responsibilities of the Oval Office. He has not enunciated or explained, never mind passed, any substantive policy proposal. As on the campaign trail, Trump speaks rarely in complete sentences and never in paragraphs. Any attempts at true statesmanly speech are scripted affairs that he recites in his bored wheeze, then dashes to oblivion with his next frenzied Tweets.
Jonah Golberg offered this accurate assessment of Trump’s performance yesterday on NPR:
INSKEEP: That was a trick question, a trick question. Let’s start with the Republican senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, retiring chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, widely respected, works in a bipartisan way, has also tried to work with the president, vital to the president on issue after issue. Why go after him?
GOLDBERG: For the same reason Trump goes after anybody. He’s a counterpuncher. He doesn’t like to be disrespected. He’s easy to provoke, which is sort of proving part of Bob Corker’s point, which is that Donald Trump’s behavior on Twitter and elsewhere is endangering to the country and is ill-advised. I do think trying to find a long-term strategic vision to the Twitter account is a bit like trying to find a long-term strategic vision to a runaway monkey from a cocaine study. It’s just not…
GOLDBERG: It’s not a fruitful enterprise because he makes these decisions on his Twitter account in a glandular, sort of instantaneous, gut way. And then the White House has to clean up the mess, which, again, is sort of what Corker’s point was [Jonah Goldberg, interviewed by Steve Inskeep, NPR: Morning Edition, 2017.10.09].
Glandular cocaine monkey—that those three words can objectively the normal behavior of a person with unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons should terrify the world… as should the fact that a majority of South Dakotans can still say they approve of such a person holding such power.
Donald Trump’s own staff admits that it is using toddler-diversion tactics to keep our Toddler-in-Chief from making bigger messes:
As White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus mused to associates that telling President Donald Trump no was usually not an effective strategy. Telling him “next week” was often the better idea.
Trump would impulsively want to fire someone like Attorney General Jeff Sessions; create a new, wide–ranging policy with far–flung implications, like increasing tariffs on Chinese steel imports; or end a decades–old deal like the North American Free Trade Agreement. Enraged with a TV segment or frustrated after a meandering meeting, the president would order it done immediately.
Delaying the decision would give Priebus and others a chance to change his mind or bring in advisers to speak with Trump — and in some cases, to ensure Trump would drop the idea altogether and move on [John Dawsey, “White House Aides Lean on Delays and Distractions to Manage Trump,” Politico, 2017.10.09].
The people closest to Trump recognize he is a child—unfortunately, an enormously powerful child—whom they must constantly scramble to distract from using his power in destructive ways.
South Dakotans, Donald Trump does not deserve your approval. He wouldn’t last an hour on a South Dakota dairy farm or construction site before mouthing off, wrecking some piece of equipment, or hurting someone.
Democrats and other sane citizens, have faith: the reality of Trump’s incompetence will overwhelm whatever emotional attachment some South Dakota voters haave formed for this reality-TV charlatan. Any Republicans who cling to Trump will lose more voters than they win in 2018. Democratic candidates, Trump and his incompetence are your path to victory and to re-establishing good government in South Dakota.