There are two reasons so many Americans are misinformed about the substance of the bill. The first is obvious: The media’s biased coverage, including the ludicrous assertion that the bill somehow redistributes wealth from the bottom to the top, has perverted the truth. The second is less obvious, but no less true: Trump’s personal unpopularity and the general lack of trust Americans have in him mean that they won’t take his word for it, even when he’s telling the truth. Perhaps none of this means anything in the long run — perhaps Americans will see the additional money in their tax refunds and thank Trump no matter what they think of the plan now. Or perhaps they’ll continue to buy the media line that any economic distress to come is a direct result of the bill.
Precisely because Trump’s agenda has been so shockingly conservative, conservatives should have an intense interest in boosting his approval ratings. Herbert Hoover’s economic policy wasn’t conservative, but it was perceived as such by the American people, and Hoover’s devastating unpopularity crippled the conservative agenda for a full generation. Trump’s policies are largely conservative, and his unpopularity could do the same.