NY Times columnist Jamelle Bouie turns the tables on the whole "Why aren't Democrats moving to the center that Trump is leaving behind" nonsense in the Village press by being just about the first person to ask "Why isn't Donald Trump tacking to the center?"
What is President Trump going to do to win the voters who rejected him in 2016?
It’s a serious question. Roughly 137 million people voted in the last presidential election. Most of them — about 74 million people, or 54 percent of all ballots cast — did not vote for Trump. His self-proclaimed “massive landslide” rests on a thin margin of victory in just three states.
Once in office, Trump abandoned the heterodox Republicanism of his campaign for hard-right policies opposed by most Americans. He fought to repeal the Affordable Care Act. When that failed, he pushed for an unpopular upper-income tax cut. He reveled in cruelty toward immigrants and took the side of racist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va. He governs for his base alone, with no sense or understanding of the collective good.
“I have a base that’s a phenomenal — it’s just a phenomenal base,” Trump said in a recent interview with Time magazine. “It’s a very loyal base and I’m loyal to them also.” When asked if he should reach beyond his supporters, he answered simply, “ I think my base is so strong, I’m not sure that I have to do that.”
As a result, the narrow coalition that put him in office is even narrower. The 2018 backlash that gave Democrats a majority in the House of Representatives was built on major gains in Republican-leaning suburbs throughout the country, as a small but still substantial number of 2016 Trump voters either cast a ballot for Democrats or didn’t vote at all.
Trump’s approval rating is nearly 10 points under water, meaning that over all, people disapprove of his performance as president by a large margin (52.3 to 42.7 percent); in several recent polls he loses hypothetical matchups with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg; and as of April, 52 percent of registered voters said they “definitely” wouldn’t vote for him in 2020. He still has the economy on his side, but if the president doesn’t try to reach out to voters outside of his base — if he doesn’t try to appeal to Democrats and Republicans who rejected him in 2016 — there’s a good chance he’ll lose re-election.
It's a fabulous work, made all the more poignant by the fact that if we had a press actually capable of assigning agency and responsibility for Trump alienating the majority of Americans rather than assigning it solely to Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama.
Our press refuses to treat Trump like an adult, instead making it all the Dems' fault for not handling him. Glad to see anybody, anybody at all, handling it differently.