One Day the Left Will Be Nostalgic for Donald Trump
Earlier this week, S.E. Cupp wrote in the New York Daily News about how much she misses George W. Bush. Bush, she says, “looks better with each passing day,” and the reason, according to her, is Donald Trump.
Cupp noted that George W. Bush “left office with a 33% favorability rate, according to Gallup. By the time the [Miss Me Yet?] billboards were up in 2010, it had only recovered to the mid-40s. But in the years since, Bush has nearly doubled his popularity. A CNN poll from January 2018 has his approval at 61%. In just the two years since Trump became the Republican nominee for president, that number has climbed six points.” The public’s improved perception of Bush after leaving office was predictable, but Cupp suggests throughout her piece that Trump is responsible for Bush’s favorability improving so dramatically.
I know I'll be called an establishment cuck for this, but after almost a year and a half of Trump's antics — his tweets, his bullying, his lies, his lack of intellectual curiosity, his brittle inability to withstand scrutiny, his angry, uninformed blurting, his hostility toward valued Democratic institutions — it's hard not to miss Bush.
But in 2018, with Trump as a backdrop, it's no wonder we are increasingly open to reimagining Bush's historic "awfulness," and remembering how he wasn't so bad, after all.
What Cupp failed to acknowledge is that Bush’s favorability was on an upward trend during the Obama years, and had reached positive territory in 2014… before Trump even announced his presidential campaign. Yet, the only mention of Obama in the entire article was in the opening sentence. While George W. Bush is a beneficiary of Trump Derangement Syndrome, that doesn’t change the fact that his favorability was improving before Trump, and would have continued to improve without him.
Bush’s improved public image has less to do with Trump than it has to do with the fact that the current Republican president (or presidential nominee) will always be the devil incarnate to the left, and it’s politically expedient to vilify the titular head the of the GOP as the worst ever while also feigning nostalgia for “the good old days” when a more palatable Republican was president or was nominated by the party as their presidential nominee.
So why should we care that Democrats call Trump “Hitler” and “Not My President” and long for the days when Bush (whom they called “Hitler” and “Not My President”) was in office? Does anyone believe this to be a genuine appreciation or just politically expedient reckoning? They don’t miss Bush now because Trump is Trump, they miss Bush now because he’s no longer in power and they got eight years of Obama.