Jennifer Calfas of TIME writes today about a particularly damaging new poll for President Donald Trump:
Amid a tumultuous week across America, President Donald Trump saw low approval ratings in three key swing states that helped catapult him to victory last November.
According to a new NBC News/Marist poll released Monday, Trump has an approval rating of under 40% in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states that turned red in the 2016 election for the first time in a presidential election since the 1980s. He won each of those states by less than 100,000 votes.
In those states, more than six in 10 voters said they believe Trump has embarrassed them since the election. About one in four said Trump made them proud, according to the poll.
Trump won surprise victories in critical Rust Belt and Upper Midwest states–at least they were surprising to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which was foolishly campaigning in states that as it turns out she would never win in the campaign’s final days while letting these presumed safe states slip away. The economically nationalistic (and xenophobic) message Trump offered to voters in a few economically beleaguered states gave him an edge that in the allowed him to overcome a three-million popular vote advantage for Hillary.
But that was never going to be the end of the story, with those voters needing to see tangible progress in order to remain loyal to Trump. The near-total lack of not just progress, but basic functionality in Washington since Trump took office despite one-party control of the government, while the administration’s innumerable scandals compound almost daily, is lethal to the swing-vote support that put Trump over the top.
We imagine a lot of them feel rather swindled, much like the majority of Americans (and Coloradans) who didn’t vote for Trump themselves felt after fewer than 100,000 voters in four states trumped the votes of millions.
There is of course no provision for “taking a mulligan” in American politics like there is in other places like the United Kingdom. Right now, the inability to constitutionally change what could be broadly characterized as failing leadership in the United States looks pretty bad in the eyes of the rest of the world. Anything that can be done about it rests in the hands of Trump’s own party, which does not appear to have the collective will to intervene.
The result is that the 2018 elections may see historic pent-up voter frustration unleashed on Trump’s party, in the Rust Belt but not just there. Perversely, the growing likelihood of a major defeat in 2018 could prompt Republicans to hold on to Trump for longer than they would otherwise, in hopes of accomplishing agenda items.
That could be the story of the next year. How much can the GOP-controlled government jam through before the voters make them stop.