Trump's lack of popularity is no surprise. Of course, he has brought much of this on himself. With the help of a hostile media, it is understandable why he can't seem to break the 45 percent ceiling. The result has been predictions of an imminent loss of the White House by Republicans, and that explains the burgeoning crowd of Democratic presidential primary challengers we see blocking the horizon.
Under normal circumstances, the prognostications of Republican disaster would ring true. How can a president with popularity as low as Trump's have any hope at all?
Writing in the Jan. 10 Wall Street Journal, columnist Daniel Henninger explains why it is the Trump shouldn't be counted out--at least not yet.
Henninger, who is no Trump fan, points to Mitt Romney's recent column in the Washington Post as a case in point for the first part of his thesis--that Trump is unlikely to lose the Republican primary.
Henninger rightly sees Republican politicians like Romney as part of the problem, not part of the solution.
A President should unite us and inspire us to follows 'our better angels'. ... I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault," Romney solemnly confesses, "But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.
"You could not make up a more explicit pander to the prevailing political zeitgeist," Henninger responds. "... racist, sexist, destructive to democratic institutions. This is a kitchen sink of anti-Trump buzzwords."
It is not clear yet whether Romney intends to challenge Trump in the Republican primary, but would some competent adviser please inform him that regurgitating the liberal platitudes you hear spouted daily on CNN is not a great strategy for attracting today's Republican voters?
And it can't be encouraging to conservatives that Romney launched the attack from the Washington Post, one of the bastions of elitist liberalism.
But it isn't just Romney. Henninger points out that Trump's success is largely attributable to his willingness to challenge the prevailing Politically Correct dogma on race and gender.
"Mitt Romney and virtually all Republican politicians entertaining for the presidency simply will not stand up to this dominant status quo," he says. "They just won't do it ..."
Conservatives are clearly willing to undergo all the embarrassment involved in having to hear the sometimes nonsensical and frequently contradictory presidential rhetoric and reading the tacky tweets that leak from the President's smartphone if that's what it takes to strike back at the Liberal Empire, particularly when they can't find any other Republicans who seem willing to do it.
Henninger not only thinks that the lack of conservatives willing to speak against the liberal Thought Police will assure him the Republican nomination in 2020, but that it could gain him another presidential term:
It is possible Mr. Trump will personally grind down enough people to make him a one-term president. Still, we hope no one feigns shock in 2020 if, despite everything at least half the electorate quietly opts for the incumbent over what the Democrats have come to stand for.
[Image credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0]
Martin Cothran is the editor of Classical Teacher magazine, published by Memoria Press, and the director of the Classical Latin School Association.