With Donald Trump’s approval sinking to Jimmy Carter levels and coronavirus cases spiking across the country, Trump is reluctantly waking up to the grim reality that, if the current situation holds, his reelection is gone.
The share of Americans who say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. has plummeted by 19 percentage points since April to just 12%, and feelings of anger and fear are widespread. Donald Trump continues to engender strong loyalty and intense opposition. He trails Joe Biden on a variety of personal traits and in public confidence in his handling of most major issues.
Biden’s lead has grown steadily over the past few months, from 3 points in March, to 4 points in April, to 9 points in May and 12 points presently. Fifty percent of all voters say they’re certain they will not vote for Trump, compared to 39 percent who said they’re certain they will not vote for Biden. Forty percent of Biden’s supporters say they’re certain they’ll vote for him, compared to 34 percent of Trump’s supporters.
Steve Schmidt, a former GOP strategist thinks Republicans might scurry away from President Donald Trump like “rats fleeing a sinking ship” as the November election nears. Steve Schmidt said on MSNBC that conservatives in Congress might lose faith in sticking with Trump as his poll numbers drop. Trump is behind Biden in most polls.
“Well, the way that the campaigns are looking at this now is they’re looking at the average of all of the polls,” Schmidt said. “So you’re looking at an eight percent, nine percent lead for [Joe] Biden by the average, but you’re looking at decimation inside Trump’s internal numbers on all of the questions of leadership, on decency, on being up to and fit for the job of being president.”
Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports that Donald Trump is increasingly desperate and down about his nosediving poll numbers. So much so that he called one of his Fox News unofficial advisors, Tucker Carlson, and asked late last week and said, “what do I do? What do I do?”
Republicans who have spoken with Trump in recent days describe him as depressed and “down in the dumps.” “People around him think his heart’s not in it,” a Republican close to the White House said. Torn between the imperative to win suburban voters and his instincts to play to his base, Trump has complained to people that he’s in a political box with no obvious way out. To console himself, Trump still has moments of magical thinking. “He says the polls are all fake,”
But the bad news keeps coming. This week, Jacksonville, Florida—where Trump moved the Republican National Convention so he could hold a 15,000-person rally next month—mandated that people wear masks indoors to slow the explosion of COVID-19 cases. According to a Republican working on the convention, the campaign is now preparing to cancel the event so that Trump doesn’t suffer another Tulsa–like humiliation. “They probably won’t have it,” the source said. “It’s not going to be the soft landing Trump wanted.”
Trump is reportedly furious at his son-in-law Jared Kushner, whom he blames for the campaign’s dismal poll numbers. Axios reported this week that Trump complained privately that Kushner’s advice on criminal-justice reform damaged Trump politically. But because Kushner is family, sources say it’s unlikely that Trump will formally strip him of authority.
Kushner’s vast sway over West Wing decisions has become a flashpoint between him and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, sources say. The two have been engaged in a cold war over control of the campaign. Meadows pushed Trump to replace campaign manager Brad Parscale, a Kushner ally, the Republican close to the White House said.
“They probably won’t have” the Jacksonville convention. The Joni Ernst campaign is angry at Trump’s horrible numbers. Meadows and Kushner are at loggerheads over Parscale. And if things don’t turn around by Labor Day, GOP defections may begin, several analysts say.
Nervous Republicans worried about losing the Senate are now debating when to break from Trump. Trump campaign internal polls show Trump’s level of “strong support” dropping from 21 to 17 points since last week, a person briefed on the numbers said. A source close to Iowa Republican Joni Ernst’s campaign said Ernst advisers are upset that a solid seat is now in play. “Joni’s campaign is pissed. They should not be in a competitive race,” the source said.
A new poll finds more voters rule out ever voting for Trump than his likely Democratic rival Joe Biden. Intense voter suppression, some kind of a big event, or some info that comes out about Biden (most likely from a foreign source again) could be on the U.S. political horizon.
As many political writers have repeatedly noted, Trump won in 2016, and rather than expand his base he has spent his presidency focused totally on the base. Rather than a unifying President, even a highly partisan President, Trump has been President of the base, by the base and for the base. Biden has a double digit lead nationally over Trump. Even though polls at this point in a Presidential race are largely meaningless, this makes the hole Trump has to climb out of vastly bigger.
There are several Republican leaders and groups that have come in support of Biden. The latest prominent Republican anti-Trump organization made its debut in early July. It’s a Super Pac called 43 Alumni for Biden, and aims to rally alumni of George W Bush’s administration to support the Democrat.
The new Super Pac was co-founded by Kristopher Purcell, a former Bush administration official; John Farner, who worked in the commerce department during the Bush administration; and Karen Kirksey, another longtime Republican operative. Kirksey is the Super Pac’s director.
“We’re truly a grassroots organization. Our goal is to do whatever we can to elect Joe Biden as president,” said Farner.
The Super Pac is still in its early stages and isn’t setting expectations on raising something like $20m. Rather, 43 Alumni for Biden is just focused on organizing.
“After seeing three and a half years of chaos and incompetence and division, a lot of people have just been pushed to say, ‘We have got to do something else,” Purcell said. “We may not be fully on board with the Democratic agenda, but this is a one-issue election. ‘Are you for Donald Trump, or are you for America.’”
Steve Schmidt a former GOP strategist said of Trump: “He’s just lost the confidence of the American people during this season of ineptitude and incompetence in his performance and you see that throughout the poll.” Schmidt explained that Trump’s dismal polling and poor approval rating could hurt Senate Republicans who are seeking re-election in November.
Another Republican strategist close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reported to have said that Republicans have Labor Day penciled in as the deadline for Trump to have turned things around. After that, Trump is going to be on his own.