Published July 2, 2018 in The Hill
The left, much of the media and countless other opponents of President Trump have led a relentless, vicious, multi-pronged and often dishonest assault on him and his agenda since he first emerged as a presidential candidate in 2015. This assault, ramped up significantly during his presidency, has taken many forms: an apparently endless special counsel investigation, constant protests, bureaucratic stonewalling, “Deep State” leaking, continuous lawsuits, manufactured crises and outrage, daily media pounding and often false reporting, smears, personal attacks and abusive, even violent acts targeting his staff and supporters — all designed to cripple his ability to govern effectively.
While Trump’s adversaries have been busy trying to execute their rolling putsch, however, the American people have been busy doing something else: supporting him and his policies. Instead of denting Trump, the perpetual outrage machine is creating the exact opposite dynamic.
The proof is in a stunning new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll just released and conducted after the family-separation issue exploded along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump now enjoys 47 percent job approval, up 2 points from May. This is remarkable given the constant drumbeat of negative coverage, and it demonstrates yet again his uncanny ability to defy the laws of political gravity. When President Reagan and his policies remained popular in the face of never-ending criticism, he became known as the “Teflon president.” Trump is Teflon on steroids.
Much of his strength is tied to the public’s views on the economy. According to the poll, 69 percent say the economy is “strong,” 58 percent approve of his efforts on job creation, and 57 percent approve of his overall handling of the economy. Perhaps most significantly heading into the 2018 midterm elections, a whopping 68 percent say that their personal economic situation is improving or holding steady. Clearly, voters are experiencing tangible economic benefits as a result of the Trump tax cuts and aggressive deregulation, putting the lie to the Democrats’ sky-will-fall warnings. Given that kitchen-table issues largely drive midterm balloting and Democrats lack a compelling economic message to counter the Trump/GOP successes, Republican candidates are likely to enjoy a significant lift.
Even more striking numbers are evident on immigration. Despite the sound and fury stemming from the recent border controversy, fully 61 percent think current border security is “inadequate,” and when asked if the U.S. should have “open borders” or “secure borders,” 76 percent want the secure kind.
As for Trump’s cardinal promise to “build the wall,” 60 percent support “a combination of physical and electronic barriers” on the southern border and 69 percent want Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to continue its work and not be abolished — despite the left vilifying it as the Gestapo. In fact, 70 percent want even stricter enforcement of immigration law. That includes deportations: 64 percent say those who come into the country illegally should be “sent home” rather than “allowed to stay.” That also applies to parents who cross the border illegally with children in tow: 61 percent say they should be sent home.
And while 88 percent believe families entering the country illegally should be kept together, 53 percent want them held in custody until their case is adjudicated. That figure rises to 55 percent supporting detention for illegals without children. So much for “catch and release.” And on sanctuary cities, an astounding 84 percent oppose their policy of not notifying federal immigration authorities when an illegal alien has been taken into custody. These results put into bold relief just how extremist the Democrats are on these issues.
On Trump’s tariffs, 68 percent believe the U.S. should take steps to address the colossal trade deficit with China, even at risk of a trade war with Beijing.
Perhaps even more alarming for progressives deeply invested in trying to delegitimize Trump via the Russia investigations: 59 percent of those polled say the investigations are “hurting” as opposed to “helping” the country, 59 percent believe “bias” against Trump “played a role in launching investigations against him,” and 64 percent favor the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate the investigators.
It’s evident that despite the nonstop anti-Trump war waged by countless forces, the president and his policies remain considerably popular. The public is largely aligned with his agenda, has become accustomed to his unconventional style and appreciates that he’s smashing the corrupt status quo, improving their lives and doing what it takes to enhance the nation’s security.
Throughout Trump’s brief but stellar political career, one thing has held true: The more he’s attacked, the more he thrives, the more the public rallies to him, the more success he enjoys. Instead of damaging him as intended, the relentless attacks merely bolster him, particularly when joined with the public’s endorsement of his policies. This, of course, only generates even more fury from his adversaries, who know they’re stuck in the infinite purgatory of their futile resistance.
Meanwhile, the great silent majority is pretty well satisfied with the direction of the country — and with the singularly unique president leading it.