The art of making the right enemies: Trump’s opponents might end up boosting his popularity

Who are his enemies? 1) The media, who purvey “fake news”: A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 53 percent of Americans think the media are “exaggerating the problems with the Trump administration because they are uncomfortable and threatened with the kind of change that Trump represents.” 2) China, which Trump says is stealing our jobs: 52 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of China. 3) Globalists, a conspiratorial group he accuses of rigging the economy against workers: Polls show that most Americans agree with Trump’s economic plans. 4) The “establishment,” some shadowy cabal of insiders opposed to his administration: Polls show that 86 percent of Americans think “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.” 5) Radical Islamic terrorists, who aren’t particularly popular in the United States. 6) Illegal immigrants, who share a similarly low approval rating. 7) And, of course, Democrats, who currently enjoy a -16 percent approval rating overall, as opposed to Trump’s -4 percent.

That’s the nice thing about being Trump and spotting enemies around every corner: The more enemies you spot, the more people who will agree with you that at least one of your enemies is their enemy, too.

So, who’s likely to win this fight?

Democrats will win if Trump continues to hit his enemies without anything to show for it. Trump needs to pull into the high 40s to have a shot at reelection, but the polls show that the public is open to that possibility based on his policies. The only elected presidents who have lost reelection since 1940 had approval ratings that fell below 40 percent by the time of the election (H. W. Bush and Carter). The best hope for Democrats is that Trump experiences an economic recession or botches a war.

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