The Trump honeymoon is coming to an end. I know what you’re thinking: “Trump honeymoon? On good days it’s been a fever dream, on most days it’s been a lucid nightmare.” You’re right. But for some of his supporters, one part of his presidency has been enough to keep times sweet — the economy.
Thanks to the policies of the Obama administration, Donald Trump lolloped into the helm of a country with a booming economy. Naturally, it was and continues to be his instinct to backpedal from anything Obama did, regardless of the consequences. The economic consequences of Trump’s radical deregulatory policies, erratic governing, and trade war have predictably stymied growth. The markets have stagnated and our trade deficit is eye watering, but because the economy remains relatively good, many people continue supporting Trump. This support is the Trump honeymoon.
It’s for people who think “I don’t agree with everything he does, but I like some stuff.” That “stuff” always includes the economy, and it’s often their biggest defense of him. The fact that people give Trump contingent support based on the US’s economic performance isn’t something new. Presidents tend to lose favorability when the economy is bad and tend to gain favorability when the economy is good. The bad news for Trump, and all of us, is that this mediocre economic performance might be the best it’ll get for him. There is a silver lining, I promise.
The United Kingdom is our closest overseas ally and they’re presently dithering towards an uncertain Brexit future with a high potential for global economic repercussions should they fail to properly leave the European Union. This should keep Trump up at night.
Britain requested an extension from the EU today because, with less than two weeks from a hard Brexit, Parliament has yet to approve any leave strategy. If approved, it’ll buy them some time, perhaps enough to hold a second referendum, however unlikely that is. The most likely situation is that Britain’s exit is rough, even with a Brexit deal. The Bank of England actually issued a warning saying that a worst-case-scenario Brexit would be worse than a global financial crisis for Britain, and the chain reactions of this for the US would mean an economic punch in the gut.
There’s a very strong likelihood that once the economy is down, so goes Donald Trump’s already meager approval. He can’t afford to lose support. If Trump knew what’s best for him, which in this case is not another cheeseburger, he’d be lobbying Britain hard for a second referendum. He’d threaten cutting economic and political ties should they leave. But no. The man with no sense of foresight and a penchant for hoisting himself by his own political petard is staying true to form. While this would be a bad economy for all of us, Trump would be having it much, much worse. Republicans would feel far less beholden to him because he would have nothing going for him. And that’s the silver lining.