August 21, 2017

SOMEONE’S ACTUALLY FIGURED IT OUT: Josh Kraushaar: Trump Exploits Gap Between Elite and Public Opinion: The president’s job approval has inched upwards since Charlottesville, and a surprisingly high number of voters agree with his provocative rhetoric.

The reaction after President Trump’s tepid response to the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville was swift and severe. One broadcast network devoted its entire nightly newscast to Trump’s chaotic press conference on Tuesday. The next day, The Economist portrayed the president screaming into a bullhorn shaped as a Ku Klux Klan hood on its cover—with other news magazines following suit. Many Republican officials have denounced the president in the sharpest terms since his election. Business leaders resigned from the president’s corporate councils in protest.

But in a repeat of myriad Trump campaign controversies, voters didn’t share the same level of outrage as the elites. The latest wave of polling shows that the president’s overall job-approval rating has inched upwards since the controversy, that a sizable majority of Americans support maintaining Confederate memorials instead of tearing them down, and that a notable minority agree with the president’s use of “both sides” language during Tuesday’s press conference.

The polling is simply the latest illustration of the gaping divide between elite opinion and the views of average Americans. It’s clear many voters don’t share the same sense of alarm about Trump as political leaders and journalists. Judging by the news coverage, you’d reasonably expect the president to have alienated the entire country with his insensitive, racially charged rhetoric. In reality, public opinion is splitting along predictable partisan lines—with Trump’s view that Confederate monuments should be preserved getting a surprising degree of bipartisan support.

Former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel put it best, writing in Newsday this week about a recent conversation he overheard at a Long Island diner. “Now they’re making a big deal about statues? Who cares about statues!” Israel recounted hearing. It’s why top Democratic strategists have urged their candidates not to talk to voters about impeachment or dwell on the hot-button issues driving media coverage.

The most surprising finding from the latest polling is how many Americans agree with Trump on the issue of Confederate statues.

Trump benefits from the elite Mass Hysteria Bubble. That’s why he keeps pumping air into it.