“Why can’t you shut up now?” is a question I get asked often from Trump supporters. For those of us who opposed him in the election and have since given him the benefit of the doubt, it is a no win situation. When I praise him, those on the left attack claiming I am trying to get in his good graces. When I criticize him, Trump supporters claim I have not gotten over the election. But there is no position I would rather be in.
Many Trump supporters have decided, at this point, that only Trump could have beaten Hillary Clinton. It is a bit of historic fiction made easier to believe because Trump was the Republican nominee. Now his supporters claim that to criticize the president is to embolden the left. Should we not stand shoulder to shoulder with the president, we risk the left’s resurgence.
It seems, however, that the president’s own actions are leading to a resurgence of the left. The great irony of President Trump’s election is that instead of tamping down an emboldened left, he may very well lead to their cultural dominance as independent voters turn left.
Like friends telling an alcoholic that one more drink is OK, Trump’s supporters tell him that one more tweet is OK. His bad vices are to be praised. He caused an international incident by tweeting about London’s mayor. He put the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a difficult position less than a week before a parliamentary election.
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He tweeted criticism of Qatar while we have boots on the ground there in a supposed alliance. While his criticisms in both cases were understandable, the president should not be tweeting them. We know now he tweeted out his nomination of Christopher Wray for FBI director without telling his senior staff, Congress, or the nominee himself. It is irresponsible behavior that emboldened the president’s opponents and disaffects supporters.
The president won the election with 70,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Right now his unpopularity is at a record high and the odds of a Democratic take over of the House of Representatives are rising. When that happens, he will be subjected to endless rounds of investigation. His staff will be constantly badgered. What little he has been able to do, and he has not done much, will be ground to a halt.
But still his supporters cheer on all his vices. When he pushes his way through a line of world leaders, he is being a leader. When he tweets inane thoughts that generate days of bad headlines, he is beating the media at their own game. When he does not seem to know the parameters of his job, he is not a politician and that’s what voters wanted.
In fact, that last point is true. The voters decided professional politicians had so screwed up the country that they were ready for a non-politician to enter the White House. As a result, we should expect President Trump to make mistakes a career politician would not make. He deserves latitude to make those mistakes. But we should also expect him to grow in office and learn on the job. Instead, he has doubled down on ignorance and his core supporters are cheering him on.
Will they still cheer him on when he sees the GOP wiped out in state and federal elections? Will they cheer him on still when the Democrats vote for impeachment? Will they cheer him on when he loses re-election? How much enabling will his supporters do before they realize the president is his own worst enemy?
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.