(July 12)  A new poll by the New York Times continues a slow-growing but significant trend of surveys showing erosion in former President Donald Trump’s base of Republican support. That trend is most welcome.

Yes, Trump still easily outpaces everyone else in the potential Republican field for the 2024 presidential nomination. But he is now the first choice of less than 50% of those surveyed. This means that, if another candidate manages to engage Trump in a two-person race, the volatile Orange Man looks vulnerable for the first time.

Trump is a bad candidate. He twice lost the popular vote and now is more unpopular than ever. More importantly, Trump was a bad president whose failures were more extensive than conservatives think. Even many of his “successes” were either ephemeral or largely the work of others.

If Republicans want to fail in 2024, Trump is the one man who could do it. Not only did he lose in 2020 to a doddering windbag who barely left his basement, but now he trails that same man in a head-to-head poll, even though it shows that Biden’s approval rating is at an astonishingly low 33%. Almost every other potential Republican nominee would defeat Biden handily — but not Trump.

Trump’s unpopularity is merited. He was a bad president — unethical, unstable, often ineffective, and, in the end, so virtually demented as to be dangerous to democracy.

Trump’s broadly improper behaviors in office were too numerous to list here, but suffice it to say that no matter whether one thinks he deserved either of his two impeachments (I do think he deserved both), his actions in both the withholding of weapons for Ukraine and catalyzing the Capitol incursion were deeply unethical. In both instances, he extravagantly subordinated the nation’s interests to his own.

On policy, Trump wasn’t even good in the area for which he claimed the most credit — the economy…. [The full column is here.]


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