Thursday, June 25, 2020

The End is Nigh for Trump and the GOP

With a bit more than four months until election day President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers appear to be on the wrong side of many of the major issues of the day. According to a recent New York Times and Siena College poll Democratic challenger Joe Biden leads the incumbent by 14 points. Only a bit more than a third of Americans say they will vote for Trump. Biden's commanding lead is not just in coastal cities, it extends to 6 key battleground states. The most concerning poll for GOP is the generic ballot which as of the end of June shows Democrats as being 9 points ahead of Republicans (49 percent favor a Democrat controlled Congress versus 40 percent who favor a Congress under Republican control).

The overwhelming majority of people with a college education support Democrats while the Republican base is composed largely of working class white people.  However, as reviewed in an Atlantic article, even white voters are abandoning Trump.

The president's failure to manage coronavirus pandemic has convinced educated people that scientists provide more accurate information than Trump. The NYT poll shows that about 90 percent of voters with a college or graduate degrees said they trusted medical scientists to provide accurate information on the virus, while between 12 and 18 percent said they trusted Trump.  African American and Latino voters overwhelmingly support Biden and female suburban voters have all but abandoned Trump.

Trump has at times been described as a populist, the truth is he has never been popular. In fact he may be the most unpopular president in American history. In 2016 he may have won the electoral college but he lost the popular vote by 3 million. His approval ratings have never surpassed 50 percent and they are trending downward. As of June 25th just over 40 percent of Americans approve of his performance. Voters overwhelmingly disapprove of his handling of some of the major issues confronting the nation including the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations.

Racist commander-and-chief

Trump calls Americans who are coming together to demonstrate against racism and police brutality "thugs". Trump has drawn criticism for refusing to ban law enforcement's use of choke-holds like the one that killed George Floyd and he defends police immunity. The president appears to be at odds with Americans who overwhelmingly support the protestors. A Monmoth Poll revealed that 76 percent of Americans think the anger about black deaths at the hands of police officers is justified. A Washington Post-Schar School poll indicates that 74 percent of Americans support the George Floyd protests while 64 percent disapprove of Trump’s handling of the issue.

Even before the George Floyd protests polls indicated that the majority of Americans think their president is racist. A 2019 Quinnipiac University poll indicated that 51 percent of Americans think Trump is racist. This is at least in part due to the incident in Charlottesville where he called white supremacists "good people". Suffice to say that the mood in America supports those who are concerned about systemic racism and environmental injustice is thriving in Trump's America. Trump has exacerbated the racism, but Republicans were fanning the fires of hate for political gain long before this president.

Failure to manage COVID-19

Trump's presidency has been compounded by his mismanagement of a pandemic that continues to worsen in many parts of the United States. Trump initially called COVID-19 a "Democratic hoax" and tried to ignore the virus the same way he ignores the science of climate change. According to a Columbia University study Trump's failure to address the pandemic has caused tens of thousands of additional deaths. In addition to failing to respond to the crisis Trump has made the COVID-19 pandemic worse by decimating environmental protection.

Only 37 percent of Americans currently approve of Trump's handling of the coronavirus. The U.S. leads the world with almost 2.5 million Americans known to be infected with the virus so far and almost 125,000 deaths. Worse still the country is headed in the wrong direction with the number of new cases hitting 45,000 on June 25th, the highest single day total ever. Only the northeast is showing a consistently declining trend line. We are seeing clear evidence of a worrisome trend in states that reopened without appropriate precautions. States that followed Trump's call to reopen are seeing unprecedented spikes in new cases and hospitalizations.

Broken economics

Trump is also compounding the problems associated with the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression. Under Trump's watch unemployment reached an all time high of 14.70 percent in April 2020. In May the unemployment rate was 13.3 percent as companies began to reopen. However, as reviewed above, the failure to adhere to science based reopening strategies is leading to more cases of COVID-19 and the surge in infections are expected to exacerbate the economic toll.

On June 25th one and half million Americans filed for unemployment representing the 14th consecutive week with more than a million jobless claim. Trump and Republican lawmakers have also compounded the problems associated with one of the greatest economic threats the world has ever known. They have failed to do the math, ignoring the costs of climate change and economic assessments that overwhelmingly support climate action.

Climate action (renewable energy)

Trump will go down in history as the president that withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate agreement and eradicating environmental protections. He ignores the growing number of Americans that support climate action and increasing support for a green new deal. However, the environmental disinformation efforts that have stymied climate action appear to be faltering. In 2018 it was apparent that even Republican voters do not share Trump's climate denial however, his supporters remain uninformed about the veracity of the climate crisis.

The Trump administration may also be on the wrong side of the energy equation.The polls indicate that renewable energy is popular with Americans across the political spectrum. Even though many pundits predict that renewables will grow while fossil fuels will decline Trump and Republican lawmakers continue to support oil, gas and coal over clean energy.

The end of the GOP as we know it

Republicans have been resisting climate action for many years. That is because Trump and Republican lawmakers are beholden to the fossil fuel industry. This has led many to brand the GOP as a corrupt party that blindly supports a corrupt presidentRenewed interest in facts and science are a problem for this president's bid for a second term.

Trump and Republicans are on the wrong side of most major issues. They began losing ground immediately after their election upset in 2016. This was evident in a string of electoral loses in 2017 and the 2018 midterms.

The fate of Republican lawmakers is tied to this president and as explored in a Washington Post opinion piece by Greg Sargent, "Trump is losing our biggest and deepest arguments". This sets the stage for a definitive day of reckoning for both the incumbent president and the GOP.

The Courts Will Expose Trump and the GOP
COVID-19 Will be a Catalyst for Change
The Road to Recovery

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