As I've been warning people and especially Democrats, Trump fatigue has settled in and nobody gives a damn anymore about the banana republic we live in. Trump at 40% approval no matter what happens is the new normal.
For ordinary Americans, observed Republican pollster Whit Ayres, "We've learned nothing new in the last 24 hours." Surveys taken before Rudy Giuliani disclosed that Trump paid the hush money – which he and attorney Michael Cohen previously denied – back up that assessment.
In a Quinnipiac University poll last month, six in 10 Americans said they believed Trump had an affair with Daniels and knew about the hush money. But seven in 10 said it wasn't important.
Quinnipiac has measured views of Trump's honesty since his term began. The proportion of Americans who consider him dishonest has never fallen below 54 percent.
Of two big targets he frequently accuses of lying, ex-FBI Director James Comey and the news media, Quinnipiac found that majorities trust them more than the president. Fully 55 percent overall – 16 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents, and 92 percent of Democrats – said Trump lacks "a sense of decency."
Those assessments have damaged the president and fellow Republicans. Fewer Americans approve his job performance than that of any recent predecessor at the same point, even with the economy humming and international affairs comparatively calm.
But views of Trump's character have largely lost their ability to change his current standing. As unflattering information keeps accumulating, the share of Americans approving of him has ticked up from slightly below, to slightly above, 40 percent.
After 16 months, Americans have grown accustomed to Trump in the White House. The longer he serves without economic downturn or war, the more inured they become to his behavior.
"People have concluded that he's a liar," explained Mark Mellman, a leading Democratic pollster. "He lies every day. People know it."
Dubya both got us into a decade-plus war and wrecked the economy in his first term and he still got a second. Then he got us into another war and cratered the economy completely and we still almost handed the country over to John McCain and Moose Lady, and then tens of millions of white folks decided "OK, they had their black president, time to revert to status quo".
As long as there's gas in the tank to get Taylor to soccer practice and 2 for $20 dinner specials at Applebee's, America is largely content to let Trump be Trump. "The Face-Eating Leopard Party isn't going to sic the leopards on me or anything, so whatever. America sucks, what are ya gonna do, vote for the other corporate party? That's a sucker's bet. Just keep your head down and go into work on Monday like you always do."
Ten years ago when I started ZVTS, we cared.
That seems like a lifetime ago.