Business as usual

The Shutdown ends

Last Friday (25th), President Trump finally reopened the US government, ending the longest shutdown of US history by 14 days. This was the second shutdown under President Trump, and it seems that this time his core group of supporters may have been somewhat damaged.

The initial reason for the shutdown on December 22nd was due to no progress being made on the issue of Trump’s controversial Wall policy. Trump had been unable to convince the Democrats to fund his Wall, and it didn’t seem like they would be doing so anytime soon. Perceiving anger and disgruntlement from his niche base of core supporters, Trump closed the government in an act of determined defiance. However, many US citizens have reacted against this decision, saying that this disagreement does not justify the shutting down if the entire government. Already depressingly low, Trump’s support levels in the US public have suffered further as a result, reaching an all-time low in the past week.Trump has never won much public favour, even from the very start of his presidency. Yet the 40% he did have has remained fairly steady, owing to the key little group of strong-minded supporters - the very ones who’s fidelity Trump sought to guarantee when first closed government. A public opinion poll done by NORC revealed that 60% of Americans hold Trump and the Republicans responsible for the shutdown, and a CBS poll found that 59% of Americans were disapproving of Trump, his policies and his behaviour. Trump’s approval rate has dropped from its reliable 42% (NORC) to a disastrous 34% in the last month. Despite the steady stream of bad news that has flowed from the White House in the past months, - Russia, the US economy, etc - it is this last childish tantrum which has shaken Trump’s core base of supporters.

The issue of the Wall and the government shutdown has been so important because of what it means for Trump in the future; after a campaign basically centred around the Wall, to then not achieve it would be humiliating and disastrous to the small core supporters Trump has. Hence the government shutdown, designed to reassure his core base of his faithfulness to his policies in the hope that the 40% support will remain. It’s difficult to win an election on 40%, but it’s not impossible - Bush managed a similar feat in 2000 against Al Gore.

Unfortunately, things do not look good. A News Hour poll found that Trump’s approval rate has dropped among white evangelicals, suburban men, and men without a University degree - key demographics of his constituency. Although still high at 83%, the support has slipped by a solid 10% due to the Wall fiasco. This said, Trump’s supporters are still adamant for the need of a wall, it just seems that they are losing faith in Trump’s ability to build one.

So for now the government is open again, but who knows when the ugly issue of the wall will surface. It can only be a matter of time, as Trump is well aware of is importance in securing him a second term of the Presidency