It’s easy to hate Donald Trump. The average American has little love for what he represents and even less respect for how he lives his life and performs his presidential duties. Polling on this is clear. Recently E-Poll Marketing Research completed a study into the Marketability of Trump. This organization conducts such studies for marketing executives, television network stations and advertisers to determine which personalities draw the most positive business. The reports are generally not available to the public, but the New York Times were able to get a copy of Trump’s scores.
Trump was scored on over 40 personality and physical attributes in December. To summarize his scores:
48% found him aggressive
38% found him mean
He scored high on the attributes of Insincere, Confident and Creepy.
Only 0 to 4% scored him as Sexy, Impartial, Handsome and physically fit.
29% found him Overexposed.
Only 14% gave Trump Positive Appeal while 39% gave him negative appeal. Finally, the majority of his support comes from men over the age of 55.
As an average American my response was of course, “Duh!”
Of interest is the nagging problem that despite all the coverage of him, all the evidence produced against him, all the terrible things he says, tweets and does to those he consider not in him camp, he maintains around 42% support among the composite of all national polling. That number doesn’t budge. When he and his team (falsely mind you) claimed that the Mueller report exonerated him, his approvals didn’t budge at all. When the actual report came out showing that there are clear signs of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other misdeeds of his administration his numbers still don’t budge.
People often point to the 30 to 40% of what is called Cult45, those who stand by Donald Trump despite everything. Anything exposed about him in a negative light despite the evidence backing it up is immediately labeled as “Fake News” by Trump himself and his people parrot that response. Then they go on to give him credit for things he had nothing to do with as the evidence shows. Is this Cult behavior? Perhaps, after all, our nation still considers Scientology (created by a science fiction writer and con man) as a legitimate religion enjoying tax exempt status and we still have flat Earthers who are absolutely convinced the Earth is in fact flat, we’re at the center of the universe and there’s a huge conspiracy to say otherwise. Historically there will always be a significant segment of any population, at any point in history, in any locale that will hold on to the most bizarre and self-destructive beliefs despite reality and evidence presented. Hitler was still supported by a solid 40% of Germany while it laid in ruin and information came out about what his regime did in the Concentration camps and even today he is supported by 30% in Germany and by the same White Supremacists in this Country that fully support Donald Trump. It’s interesting and scary.
In the so-called Blue Wave victories during the 2018 midterms, most Democratic candidates made a choice to focus mainly of policies of healthcare and the social safety net program rather than engage in a campaign against Donald Trump per se. In fact the only person who consistently said the midterms was a referendum on Trump was Donald Trump himself. He ran on that and false claims about illegal immigration. When it was done, the Dems took back the House in record numbers and while the Republicans took two seats in the Senate in a year where most of the Senate races were in solid Red States. In short, the Democrats avoided making this a race against Trump himself and fight the solid “cult base” and focused on policies most Americans agree upon. It’s interesting to note that these are policies Trump said he would work on as President during his campaign but has instead either done nothing to improve the situation or made the situation worse for things like Healthcare, the Trade deficit, Wealth disparity, Taxes, National debt, etc.
Now with the release of the Mueller Report and the coming 2020 elections cycle where not only is the House up for grabs again, so is the Senate and the White House, Democratic Leadership is hesitant in pushing for the impeachment of Donald Trump despite the clear case laid out for them and the nation in the report. Pundits point out that even though there is clearly enough evidence to show abuse of power and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors that would result in Articles of Impeachment being approved in the House, there is little chance of getting the required super majority vote in the GOP controlled Senate to convict and remove Trump from office. Some speculate that Democrats, looking to what happened during the Clinton Impeachment process where Bill came out more popular with the American people than he was prior to the House voting on articles impeachment, that Trump could end up becoming more popular with the American people and finally gain more than 42% approval.
I’m not so sure about this apples and oranges comparison. The American people clearly saw what happened to Clinton as a political hatchet job. Ken Starr was originally brought on to find criminality in the White Water case. When he found nothing he expanded his probe into other areas and came up with a cheating husband who during a GOP shutdown of the government got a blow job from a White House intern in the Oval Office and when questioned under oath, lied about it. The vast majority of the nation clearly saw this as a waste of time and money and sided with Clinton, warts and all. The Trump situation is different. Mueller was brought in to investigate on a clear mandate, was there Russian influence in the 2016 election, did members of the Trump campaign knowingly conspired with the Russian efforts and did Trump obstruct justice in the FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Russian meddling. During the course of the Mueller investigation other crimes were discovered and were forwarded to other DOJ offices for prosecution. Per the Mueller report, the Russians began a concerted effort to create discord and present disinformation to confuse and frustrate American voters beginning in 2014. However, when Trump announced, they saw him as an asset and Russian Intel did engage in a clear social media disinformation campaign to sway votes away from Clinton and assist Trump in winning. He also found incidents that could clearly show various forms of obstruction of justice. Unfortunately the powers of the Presidency itself as well as differentiating criminal intent with just plain stupidity made (in Mueller’s opinion) the likelihood of a conviction in a Court of Law doubtful. However as with Nixon and Clinton, a road map was clearly made to establish high crimes and misdemeanors against Trump for impeachment. Trump was not complete exonerated in any sense of the word.
In my opinion, despite the fact that due to the politics and make up in the Senate, a conviction in the Senate is doubtful, impeachment must proceed to educate the American people. Granted, that 40% who support Trump will continue to do so no matter what, the other 40% who despise the man will have more reason to want him and his party gone, the target audience are those remaining Americans who remain complacent and not engaged. They need to be educated and enraged over what Trump did with Russian help and impeachment in the House will provide the answers.
Now to address the concerns about making 2020 all about Trump, like in 2018 the Democrats must focus on the issues of Healthcare, Social Security, Wages, Voting Rights, Civil Rights all the issues the majority of Americans support and not be dragged into debating Trump in each and every House and Senate Campaign. More Republican Senate Seats are up in 2020 than Democratic Senate Seats. The Democrats can maintain control of the House if they run the same campaign as they did in 2018. They can also point out their bills to make the average American’s life better that were never voted on in the Senate or blocked by McConnell and Trump. Leave the race against Trump himself to the Democratic Candidate, whoever he or she is. However that candidate must not get into a twitter style insult war with Trump, the candidate must set the narrative on real issues and real solutions and hold Trump accountable to explaining what he’s done over those issues and how specifically he’ll address them. They can’t let him get away with “oh, we have a plan for great health insurance but you have to vote us in first before we’ll tell you what it is.”
Democratic candidate must demonstrate they can walk and chew gum at the same time, run on issues and how Trump and the GOP have made matter worse over those issues that Americans care about. They can also mention how corrupt and beholden Trump and the GOP is to Russia at the same time. Finally, they can’t let mainstream media set the tone of the race, when questioned, keep to the issues and not take the bait to go personal and Trumpian. Media helped Trump as much as the Russians did in 2016, don’t let them do it again.