One of the more remarkable things about Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president is how comfortable his supporters are with what he has done. An ABC News/Washington Post poll published Sunday found that 96% of people who voted for Trump in November still believe it was “the right thing to do.” Only 2% regret it.
This remains the case after what seems — by most standards — to have been a disastrous and embarrassing first three months. Trump’s failures have been legion. His vows to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act went up in flames after Republicans couldn’t agree on the terms of the replacement, even though they’d had seven years to put it together. His promises to “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders and special interests have deflated beneath his cabinet of far-right politicians and corporate billionaires.
Trump’s staff has been roiled by evidence that members colluded with the Russian government to sway the election. His attempts to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. have been blocked by federal judges. More people marched to protest his election than attended his inauguration. His military actions have shown little evidence of a coherent foreign policy vision, amounting to superficial shows of “strength” that claimed the lives of at least 20 civilians and one Navy SEAL.
But we’d be mistaken to judge Trump by these metrics if we want to understand his success. To get why Trump’s supporters care so little about his fumbles, it’s important to understand what they value. The evidence tells a clear story. The New York Times general election exit polls published in November identified the two areas Trump voters said were especially important to them: immigration and terrorism.
In these areas, the president has delivered exactly what he promised: an aggressive and often performative crackdown on ethnic minorities aimed at punishing their existence and reminding them that they are not welcome in the United States. Read more (4/27/17)