Heather Cox Richardson
People are asking how it is that Trump’s approval ratings are higher than ever: an average of all the polls has him at 47%, a three-point increase. Two things: it is completely normal for a president to get an approval bump during a national crisis, and Trump’s is actually smaller than the bumps other presidents have gotten in crises. Leaving aside the extraordinary 39-point bump President George W. Bush got from 9-11 because it skews everything, President George H. W. Bush’s approval rating jumped 16 points at the start of the Gulf War, and that range is pretty typical. Trump’s bump still leaves him within the realm of his usual support levels, and, in any case it is unlikely to last.
The second point is more interesting. Why are some ordinary people supporting Trump more and more fervently, when most observers think his presidency has been, at best, troubled?
Over the course of today, a story began to emerge that illustrates the answer to that question. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who took Russian money from indicted political operative Lev Parnas,* began to argue that the reason the novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Florida is not because he refused to close the beaches, which are still crowded, (but not as crowded as they were during spring break, when masses of young revelers flocked to the state), or because he has refused to issue a statewide lockdown, as other governors have done. [ . . . ]Continue reading