Why Is Trump’s Approval Rating Going Up?
Trump has been subject to severe criticism from the usual Progressive Left and Mainstream Media pundits, but so far it has backfired. His popularity is rising.
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Some of the attacks are false and were never really believed outside of a small circle of partisan faithful. An instructive example is the campaign to lampoon Trump for supposedly calling the virus a “hoax”. However he never said that. It was artfully edited propaganda that falsely made it appear that he did.
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Some of the same voices had previously argued against Trump’s ban on travel from China. They had also parroted the Chinese government line that Trump was overreacting.
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Now they had to do a sharp 180 and incongruously argue he thought it was a hoax while he was imposing a travel ban.
Another example of a fizzled attack was the campaign to denounce Trump as aracist for calling the pandemic that originated in Wuhan China the “Chinese Virus”.
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They launched a myth that the virus was originally called “Covid-19” and that Trump had tried to change the name to “Chinese Virus” . This was not quite accurate. Everyone had called it the “Wuhan coronavirus” or “novel Chinese virus” in January and early February, even the Chinese. The name, “Covid-19” was not even invented till February.
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Meanwhile Trump has stopped calling it the Chinese virus, while frequently reminding people the virus originated in China. He recalls the Chinese government hid information and lied about the outbreak, but then speaks positively of his conversations with President Xi. No one really believes Trump is the slightest bit prejudiced against the Chinese. On the other hand he is not about to let China off the hook for starting the pandemic. The propaganda meme of Trump’s supposed anti-Chinese racism just hasn’t caught on.
Beyond those two examples, there have been attempts to blame him for everything. He is to blame for the delay in testing they say, while neglecting to ask why the CDC originally chose a cumbersome and flawed testing process. He is also to blame for the shortage of ventilators, a shortage seen in many countries.
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The President’s detractors have felt pretty good about their efforts. They had painted him as the uncaring incompetent they know he is and pinned the blame on him.
What a shock then for them to learn he is rising to his all time high in the national opinion polls.
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This is a mistake they are thinking. The polls are wrong. No way this could happen. Even more galling is that most of the increased support for Trump is supposedly coming from Democrats and Independents.
Why is his support going up? My sense is that what the caustic critics see as a bumbling incoherent performance is seen quite differently by the majority of people. They see a leader fully engaged, a leader with energy. Even if he is wrong on some details and contradicts himself the next day, they see him directing task forces of experts and top officials, moving things in the right direction overall. They have confidence he will not collapse under pressure. They know he will keep issuing orders and modifying them as circumstances change.
What is unsaid but most critical is that his approach does much to calm the fear of panic. Everyone worries things could get much worse. They’ve gone to the store and seen shelves bare of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and ground beef . The kids are all home from school and the office is closed. Many people are closing up shop and others are getting layoff notices.
It’s getting scary. There may be National Guard troops at state borders imposing quarantines on people from other states where the outbreak is more severe. Some cities and states are letting convicts out of jail and refusing to prosecute “minor” crimes. Gun sales are way up. Some people wonder if order can be maintained. Other speculate the military will be ordered to move in and preemptively impose martial law in some areas. Yet Trump gets on TV nearly every day and orchestrates Task Force presentations and spars with the press for hours. Against all the potential scenarios of chaos unleashed, the public knows Trump is there and will not falter.
They accept that he will make mistakes and then fix them, say things that are not right and then correct himself. Sure we are not going back to normal by Easter, but the people liked that their leader had an aspirational goal of getting back as soon as possible. He later rescinded that, as most people knew he would.
What is behind Trump’s rise in popularity is that most people have an implicit confidence in Trump that is a bulwark against Americans from falling into panic right now. What many or his critics don’t get is that those who attack him in the wrong way seem to be cheerleading for disaster and suffering. It does not play well and it angers large segments of the citizenry. Now is more of a time for national unity. Trump understands this and that explains why he goes out of his way to praise Democrat leaders such as Governor Newsome or Mayor DeBlasio. He also gets the need to stress our concern for others around the world, for example when invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of ventilators in the US, he also said he would later send some to Italy and the UK. Yes, he acts like a braggart and buffoon. But he has a feel for how to convey the proper mix of strength and compassion in a way that eludes his critics. Trump’s rating are going up because his critics have been wrong and none of their criticisms have stuck. They are going up because he is very visibly and energetically leading efforts to stem the pandemic and help people survive. Most of all his rating are going up because he is inspiring confidence in a time when people are fearful and worried.