I have a short contribution in an LA Times symposium today (just ahead of contributions from Bernie Sanders and Marvelous Maxine Waters!) looking back at Trump a year after the election. One point I make is that it is a mistake to put too much in Trump’s low approval ratings:
In assessing Trump’s prospects, let’s keep in mind that Trump’s personal approval rating on election day was nearly as negative. Last year, Americans voted for someone they didn’t much like, reflecting the even greater dislike of Hillary Clinton and the desire for a change of direction in Washington. Change is what we got.
Lo and behold, this morning the Washington Post has a long story about their latest poll likewise reflecting that Trump’s numbers are terrible. But buried deep in the Post story is this significant bottom line:
Of those Americans who say they voted in 2016, 46 percent say they supported Clinton, and 43 percent say they backed Trump. If an election were held today, with the same candidates, 40 percent of those 2016 voters say they would back Trump, and 40 percent say they would support Clinton.
Let’s put this more clearly: if the election were re-run today, Trump would still likely beat Clinton, perhaps by even more.
Lastly, a special announcement for Bay Area Power Line readers: This Tuesday afternoon I shall be moderating a panel discussion on campus at Berkeley on the subject of Trump one year later, with a terrific panel of R.J. Pestritto of Hillsdale College, Michael Uhlmann of Claremont Graduate University, and Thomas Mann and Terri Bimes of UC Berkeley. Should be great fun. You can find the full details here. It is free and open to the public. Here’s part of the flyer: