A few days ago I predicted that "within a year, perhaps deferred to 18 or even 24 months, Trump should be settling into George W. Bush's final approval rating of 22 percent." It seems I overshot probable reality by 12, 18 or 24 months.
Trump accomplished within his first week what would have taken run-of-the-mill presidential incompetence nearly half a term to achieve: almost universal abhorrence and condemnation of dizzyingly stupid acts and awful executive orders, from his narcissistic meltdown at CIA headquarters to the unfathomable imbecility of his refugee diktat.
With the American public, he has gone straight from a dubious honeymoon (historically low approval ratings) to the final stage of a nasty divorce. It's not as though the red flags weren't vivid during the courtship: Solicitous friends of America's body politic repeatedly warned of Trump's mental instability, emotional decrepitude, intellectual vacancy and unswerving addiction to conceiving, saying, and doing incredibly witless and mean-spirited things. Did he ever, throughout the courtship, demonstrate an inclination to change? Nope. And now here they are, the two of them: a dangerously unstable "head of the household" and a body politic screaming to be free of the insufferable monster.
Or so the numbers will show, toot sweet — almost unquestionably. In another week or so, Trump will be lucky to have a 22 percent approval rating. Four days ago Quinnipiac put it at 36. Nineteen percent were undecided, but Trump is resolving such indecision with stunning velocity.
Those once-detested "elites" are pointing the way to broader disapproval. As the NY Times reported over the weekend, the president's cruel immigration order "appeared to garner little or no support among experts and former officials of every political stripe with experience in the field" [my emphasis]. This morning the Washington Post reports the same. "Several current and former U.S. officials" — some on the right, many neutral — say that "Through inflammatory rhetoric and hastily drawn executive orders, the administration has alienated allies, including Iraq [which is leading the ground battle against ISIS], provided propaganda fodder to terrorist networks that frequently portray U.S. involvement in the Middle East as a religious crusade, and endangered critical cooperation from often-hidden U.S. partners."
This expert censure of Trump's refugee order is everywhere in the press and on cable news (the actual news networks, that is); and it is inescapable because its conclusions are inescapable. No president (again, see: George W. Bush) can take such a uniform, clear-headed public pounding and expect to survive the wrath of the public itself.
That Trump will retain the confidence of his hardest-core element is of course a given; some partisans are beyond any hope of enlightenment, or, more critically, the adult ability to admit error. No matter how callous and unfit for office Trump proves himself to be, he'll always have the stubbornly ignorant and equally callous behind him. And our most recent estimate of its percentage of population is 22.
Them we write off in their hopelessness. Let them bray in support of Trump's ghastly presidential unfitness. Who cares? They are the vice, not the voice, of America. "Real America" has always been, or is swiftly becoming, in droves, intensely anti-Trump. As it should be.
Having suffered the shame and humiliation of watching the electorate elevate the despicable Trump to the White House, I am once again proud of my country. It took merely one week for it to turn on him, en masse. We need only wait a few days for the statistical evidence of that.