Most significant for today’s political terrain, when a president is in negative territory, there are usually overarching reasons: a faltering economy, or a war gone bad. President Donald Trump, however, has managed to produce historically low approval ratings in the face of a booming economy and (more or less) international peace. There are signs that Trump’s ratings may be improving—Morning Consult reports a measurable bump—but if the president remains underwater through this year, we may see a midterm election unlike any in memory, when the White House party has to contend with a president who is unpopular essentially because of his own conduct and character, rather than the broader state of the union. (The post-Watergate election of 1974 may provide a similar example, but that year there was also the hangover from a recession that created headwinds for the Republican campaign.)