Most Presidents would strive to win a national election with a majority of votes. Not Donald Trump.
Trump cannot win the popular vote. He knows it and he doesn’t care. Trump is the ONLY President who has never had one day where his approval exceeded his disapproval. Not one day. But to this guy, it doesn’t matter. He will take that low 40’s approval and parlay that into his second electoral college win.
That is mind boggling. The United States is the only democratic country that has a system like this. Where the majority vote can be circumvented into a minority vote win. It used to be an anomaly – but with this new Trumpian Republican Party it is a strategic goal.
That is the reason that Trump is actually a half country President. He looks at everything he does in red and blue terms. Kentucky and Mississippi get his attention. California is criticized and threatened. And in Trump world, Puerto Rico is a non-voting annoyance to be ignored.
He operates a Presidency that caters to the people he calls “his base”. They are the only people that matter. He no longer tries to persuade – in fact he scoffs at his critics and pretends they do not matter. Why bother? He won’t get their vote, so they should have no say in how he runs the country.
He entered his Presidency with full control of the House and Senate. His indifference has cost him the House while the unique nature of the Senate where Wyoming and California have equal say in policy has kept the GOP in the iron fist of Mitch McConnell. At least for the present.
It is disturbing that Trump can work this half country control at the expense of any semblance of ethics or legality. This is what the founders feared and hoped to avoid with their system of checks and balances. A feature of the Constitution that Trump selectively ignores.
Trump could not maintain this grip without the help and aid of the Republican Party. They have abandoned all of their previous principles and now promote and defend what ever Trump wants to do. It is incredible to watch. A President holding a grip on a Party via threat of primary challenge. Even Blue State Republicans succumb to the threats because the general election is meaningless if they can’t survive an internal challenge via a Republican primary.
The electoral college makes each state relevant – but it also magnifies a minority vote total. Since it comes from the Constitution there isn’t much chance of changing this in the foreseeable future. Republicans have won only one presidential election that gave them a popular vote majority since George Bush Senior won in 1988 – that is a span of 30 years.
Since Trump has made the electoral college his only strategy for 2020, then Democrats will have fight on that turf. Unfortunately this makes for an election fought in a small minority of battleground states….with the rest of the country virtually ignored…but that is where we are.
A quirk of our Constitution has brought us here and it will take protecting that Constitution to get us out.