At his Washington Post op-ed historian Michael Kazin points out something which will disappoint Donald Trump’s supporters and with which I agree. Based on past experience with presidents who won by a minority of the popular vote, Trump is very unlikely ever to become popular or even become more popular:
The four previous presidents who finished second in votes cast all struggled to convince Americans that they were doing a good job. Each battled the perception that his victory was undemocratic and illegitimate; each soon lost the confidence of his own partisans in Congress and led an administration that historians regard as a failure. Each faced an uphill struggle to keep his base happy and mobilized while also reaching out to the majority, which preferred policies his voters detested. Most, like Trump so far, did not even try to square that circle.
The previous four presidents who faced that situation were George W. Bush, John Quincy Adams (also the son of a president), Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison. There are simple reasons that popular minority presidents never become popular: they come with an array of enemies and very few friends. So, for example, as my blogfriend Marc Schulman documented in his now-defunct blog American Future, by December 2001 the New York Times had begun a relentless campaign against George W. Bush that didn’t end until he left office.
Trump has further aggravated that situation by declaring war on practically everyone in Washington: the Washington establishment, the civil bureaucracy, the news media, the list goes on.
Unless there is some precipitating event that produces a “rally ’round” effect, as the attacks on September 11, 2001 did for George W. Bush, Donald Trump is, as a consequence of his initial lack of popularity, relentless anti-Trump media campaigns, constant revelations, and his own personality and conduct, unlikely ever to become popular even fleetingly. However, unless there is an opposite precipitating event as I’ve noted before, he’s unlikely to lose enough of his supporters to risk impeachment. So that’s something that won’t happen, either. Expect to have Donald Trump to kick around for four or, heavens forfend, eight years.