The coming shellacking

The behavior of the president shouldn’t be all that salient to, say, the candidacies of Democrats who ran and won in the Virginia House of Delegates. But voters can’t be counted on to be rational. There’s essentially only one issue on their minds this year: It’s the personality, stupid. The Chernobyl cloud of noxious presidential behavior is poisoning the party from coast to coast. That Trump’s approval rating is hovering in the high 30s and (very) low 40s is gobsmacking enough considering the sunny economic news, but what’s really disturbing is that his supporters are so unenthused. PA-18 Trump voters simply didn’t show up on Tuesday, yet he’s supplying the Democrats with a turnout motivator like no other.

You think he sounds erratic, angry, and frustrated now? How will he be when Congress becomes intransigent to his calls? It will almost certainly be the case that the incessant wobble that was 2017 goes down in the books as Trump’s best year. As Ross Douthat argued in the New York Times, Trump to this point has been largely contained by Washington as an institution. But the paper’s finest Trumpologist Maggie Haberman, who comprehends the president on a cellular level, notes in a tweet, “The narrative of Trump unglued is not totally wrong but misses the reason why — he was terrified of the job the first six months, and now feels like he has a command of it. So now he is basically saying, ‘I’ve got this, I can make the changes I want.’”