The Trump Phenomenon: A Side View
Trump has been at the helm of the United States for two years now, and the disagreement remains: Are his policies stupid, or ingenious?
We had to leave quickly with hopes that, once in the White House, Donald Trump would give up his radical statements and in practice would act more carefully. After being in power for two years, he has already ensured that the US withdrew from the landmark international agreement on nuclear weapons with Iran, from the global climate agreement signed in Paris, and from the historical trade agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The president initiated an aggressive trade war with China, hit his European allies, raising customs duties, ordered the rapid withdrawal of American troops from Syria, and endorsed Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Trump signed a controversial law on one of the largest tax reforms in recent decades, strictly tightened policies on illegal immigrants, and provoked the longest government “lockdown” in US history. He is currently in the process of reorganizing the American courts by appointing more federal judges than any of his recent predecessors. The phenomenon of the most extravagant American President in history has long been the focus of attention of sociologists, political scientists, journalists, and not only them. Trump's figure significantly affects the pricing of certain sectors of the global financial markets, including individual currencies, stocks, and country indices.
In foreign policy, Trump often behaves like a bull in a china shop, without thinking about the long-term consequences of his decisions. His chaotic actions have actually destroyed the subtle mechanisms of soft power that his predecessors have successfully used for decades.
In the US, Trump's figure is more than ambiguous. In the minds of most Americans, Trump has long been synonymous with concepts such as scandal, extravagance, and shock value. Having started the struggle for the White House, the eccentric businessman completely surpassed himself. His straightforward statements during speeches cause panic among conservatives no less than that of liberals. The press is dying for Trump's biting catchwords.
Instead, despite the fact that he actually split the American philistine into two polar groups: those who support him under any conditions, and those who resent and criticize him under any conditions, it is worth noting that both of these audiences show incredible stability, which US sociologists have dubbed Trump's “mystery.”
With regard to the electorate that supports Trump, American sociologists are stuck.
Recently, the WSJ conducted a detailed analysis of the dynamics of the ratings of the last 13 presidents (since the day of their elections and two years later).
Two years after the presidential election, Trump's approval rating is 43%. These figures are almost equal to his rating just a month after the election (44%).
At the same time, Trump's rating volatility for 2 years is the smallest among the last 13 presidents (the range of fluctuation of Trump's rating is from 38% at the minimum to 47% at the maximum). At the same time, neither the condemnation of his supporters nor the release of the Mueller report had any real impact on Trump's ratings. Such low volatility in presidential approval ratings has not been seen since the end of the Second World War.
Thus, whatever Trump’s ardent opponents may say, his position is very stable in American society (at least compared to other presidents), and in terms of approval, he is among those presidents who have enjoyed good support from within the US. Approval ratings for the last 13 presidents at their two-year mark were higher only for the unconditional favorites--Kennedy, Eisenhower, Clinton, and Obama.