Op-Ed: Independents may not like Biden, but they abhor Trump
For the last month or so, I’ve been trying to answer the question of whether Democrats have a path to recapturing the White House and holding onto their Senate majority. But I’m not at all convinced that that will be the result of this election cycle. In the past month, it’s become clear that Republican voters, at least those who are registered as independents, are a lot more pragmatic than Democrats were willing to believe. In a new Gallup poll, independents have more favorable views of Donald Trump than they had this time last year; his job approval has dropped to 49 percent, almost exactly in line with his overall approval rating, and his approval rating with Republicans has dropped to just 24 percent.
The Gallup poll has become a gold mine for Democratic strategists trying to convince Democrats that the path to a Senate majority is not going to be through the presidential primary season. While these polls are not perfect, what is consistent is that Republican voters, at least the ones who are registering as independents, are not going to be swayed from supporting Trump by his antics, insults or his history as a reality-TV host.
This is one of the reasons why Trump was able to go on this Twitter tirade against John McCain after John McCain had been treated so well in his presidential debate with Hillary Clinton this past weekend. There’s no question that Trump thinks his supporters are so stupid that they would not be able to notice how unfair that debate was. Not only that, Trump is not going to be able to stop supporting him.
While I don’t think that the path to the White House will be a single race or even a three-way race, I think Trump could be forced out of the White House and into a runoff if the public were to lose faith in their next president. We saw what happened last time around: when John McCain dropped out of the running, the public lost faith in his ability to run a national campaign. He had to go into early-term-