If you perked up at news this week that President Trump’s approval rating had dipped to 37 percent, according to figures tracked by Gallup, you should un-perk.
The truth is, whether Trump is in the 30s or 40s — or even 20s or 50s — simply doesn’t matter much. For those of us between the ages of 25 and 100 years old, this is going to take some getting used to.
We are accustomed to believing that a president needs to be popular to see his agenda become law. Presidents from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush used their political capital, the democratic legitimacy that is uniquely their own in presidential systems like ours, to marshal public support for, say, the League of Nations or the Iraq War. “We must remember that it is the president who sets the agenda for our government,” former Speaker John Boehner said on Election Night 2010, when Republicans won control of the House in a historic shellacking of President Obama.
President Trump no doubt sees himself in this vein, too…. But that is clearly not how our government is behaving right now. It is behaving more like a parliamentary democracy.