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Trump's two Americas

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Let's pause to soak in how profoundly President Trump has split America, one year after winning office. Much is said/written about the America that dislikes/disapproves of Trump. Not enough is said/written about how Trump molded his party and nearly 40% of the country in his image.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll out this morning provides the bleakest of report cards:65% of Americans say Trump has accomplished "not much" or "little or nothing." This is up from 56% last spring. 43% give him the lowest possible rating, saying he has accomplished "little or nothing."Trump receives even lower ratings on race: Fewer than 3 in 10 say he has done a good job dealing with race relations, which is 12 points below the 40% who said in January they thought he would handle race issues effectively.Half of all Americans say they believe Trump is biased against black people and slightly more (55%) say he is biased against women.One-third say he is honest and trustworthy.So one year after getting elected: half of Americans think he's a racist and nearly two-thirds think he has accomplished little to nothing. This helps explain how, based on this poll, he wins — in a landslide — the race for least popular president one year in since polling began with Truman.WashPost: "He is the only president dating back to Harry S. Truman whose approval rating at this point in his presidency is net negative — by 22 points. The next worst recorded in that time was Bill Clinton, who had a net positive of 11 points by this time in his presidency."

And yet ... Trump has transformed the core beliefs of the GOP, making it his Republican Party in a way that the establishment didn't expect, even post-inauguration:

  • Republicans out of politics, or leaving politics, are the only ones publicly criticizing him: the Bushes, lots of Bush 43 staff, Corker, Flake, etc. But Republicans staying in politics are succumbing, even if reluctantly.
  • Ed Gillespie is showing how quickly the metamorphosis unfolds. The former Bush 43 counselor, a textbook establishment Republican, is sounding like Steve Bannon ahead of Tuesday'selection for Virginia governor, warning of "dangerous" immigrants and mocking those who kneel at NFL games.
  • One flier: "You'd never take a knee ... So take a stand on election day"
  • If Gillespie wins, and probably even if he doesn't, he showed how the Trump America First impulse — laced with plays on racial fears — is not a bug but a feature of the new Trump GOP.
  • With little effort, Trump has turned Republicans and the Wall Street Journal editorial page into Trumpers on special counsel Bob Mueller in ways unimaginable in the Clinton days.
  • He has magically silenced a law-and-order party as he hectors Justice and the FBI.

Sound smart: The trend lines aren't promising, folks. Trump won't change and elected Rs — and those who want to be elected Rs — are morphing into him. On the other side, Democrats see full resistance as the only plausible response. Hard to believe, but we think polarization only intensifies.

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