It’s stunning to watch. August was a particularly bad month for the power complex assembled by Trump from mid-2016 through this year, with key symbolic and practical leaders defecting, and overall polling slipping by several degrees. However, under the surface, it could be even much worse than it appears.
He has a “through thick and thin” core base — let’s just call them “Team MAGA”. They would stick by his side if he did two fat lines of coke live on stage at a rally while raping a puppy, with vivid close-ups shown on the mega-screen, and then ran next door and opened fire with an assault weapon in a preschool. “The liberal media and Federal Reserve are the real bad guys here. I’m just sorry for that puppy and those kids!” And that would be that.
But that base isn’t enough to keep him in the White House. In 2016, it was the kernel around which a larger base formed that included suburban non-coastal voters who weren’t sure what he brought to the table, didn’t like beltway-insider politics or Hillary, and thought he could be a fresh change with big potential.
There were also catholic voters who knew two seats were opening up on the Supreme Court that Trump promised to fill with people philosophically negatively disposed to abortion.
Finally, he got the support of manufacturing workers and farmers across the Mideast and Midwest with a protectionist platform.
Because of those puzzle pieces, he got into office. Once in, the wind was blowing with him, so he got right-wing media and the GOP establishment on board. But they were never really on board. They were on board because that was “which way the wind was blowing”.
Fast forward to the present day.
Farmers are getting destroyed by badly botched handling of the China Trade War. And manufacturing is now in a contraction for the first time in a decade, with workers making less and losing jobs. In fact, these are the only two areas in the US economy that are struggling.
The suburban moderates can’t stand him, according to recent polls. And he has already filled those two supreme court seats and is otherwise reviled by the catholic voting block.
Hence, now he is starting to rapidly lose the “which way the wind is blowing” gang, including folks like Anthony Scaramucci and now Fox News. The Fox News shift, as clearly demonstrated a couple of days ago by a message delivered through Neil Cavuto, obviously acting as a mouthpiece for the network executives, represents what must be an irreparable progression — it’s impossible to imagine that being healed.
That brings the notion of a “snowballing” process into play: As each influencer jumps ship, the likelihood of the next influencer following increases. And they aren’t called “influencers” for nothing.
The house of cards is tumbling. But we have seen this guy improbably find another campaign gear and turn it around even when everything seemed to be falling apart — the “grab her by the pussy” moment from October 2016, to name one example.
Will he be able to do it again?