Trump Polls Are in Free-Fall; Twitter is His Next Target
Author: Greg Valliere
May 28, 2020
NOTHING MOVES THIS TOWN like a shocking new poll, so there was a whiff of panic yesterday from Republicans after release of President Trump’s latest approval numbers. The conservative Rasmussen poll showed Trump’s job approval at 42%, with 57% disapproval.
THE 15-POINT GAP was the worst rating from Rasmussen — Trump’s once-favorite
polltaker — in his presidency. It confirms that if the election were held today Trump would lose, perhaps decisively.
TRUMP ISN’T REMOTELY CLOSE in states like Michigan, and his polling numbers among a crucial demographic — senior citizens — have plunged. Even Sean Hannity and Mitch McConnell are urging people to wear masks, but Trump refuses. Facing a potential election rout, Trump has responded as only he can.
WAR ON TWITTER: The company apparently has decided not to censor Trump’s tweets or kick him off its site, but Twitter has begun to fact-check him. This has infuriated the president, who reportedly will issue a directive today that could begin a process to re-write a key provision in the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which until now has protected social media firms from litigation.
IT’S UNCLEAR WHETHER TRUMP has the authority to change the provision, but sources believe he will put enormous pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to end any legal protection for Twitter and other social media companies.
THE INDUSTRY — ESPECIALLY FACEBOOK — HAS VOCAL CRITICS on both the left and right — so at the least there’s headline risk brewing, along with protracted litigation. For Trump, there’s an opportunity to target the fact-checkers personally, while giving him another grievance, as he makes a case that the election will be rigged against him.
TWITTER RECENTLY DELETED A TWEET from Brazilian President Jair Balsonaro, and it has attached two fact-checking notices to Trump tweets; the pandemic has emboldened Twitter to call out tweets that are inaccurate or incendiary. The firm has not deleted Trump’s baseless tweets against former Rep. Joe Scarborough, but that fight appears to be imminent.
IN PAST DISPUTES LIKE THIS, Trump could count on support from his GOP
troops on Capitol Hill. But a 42% job approval rating changes everything. Members of his own party have begun to worry more about their own election prospects than
his; the third-ranking Republican in the House, conservative Rep. Lynne Cheney, has urged Trump to cease his vile accusations against Scarborough, to no avail.
MEANWHILE, AS A FIERCE BATTLE between Trump and social media erupts, the country has recorded its 100,000th death from Covid-19 with few signs of empathy from a president whose poll ratings are suddenly in free-fall.
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