The Grand Old Trump Party

Reporting by Casey Clarke, Fox News Channel

Partisans use President Trump’s approval ratings as evidence of his political clumsiness; some ideologues go further, exploiting his unpopularity to discredit legislative victories. In spite of partisan spin, the facts remain: Trump has yet to maintain a job approval rating beyond 50%. Whether attributed to controversy, scandal or his sometimes vulgar tone, Trump faces scrutiny from within his administration as an outsider; polls and surveys are a numeric expression of this.

Just this week, the so-called “failing” New York Times stated Trump has officially dethroned James Buchanan as the “worst president of all time” according to a group of political scientists.  Opposite Trump, Barrack Obama sits high atop the list with a rating of 8. Other notables include Bill Clinton who is number 13, and George W. Bush, number 30.                                                                                                                        

In the echo chamber that is mainstream media, there is little discussion concerning Trump’s approval ratings amid his base of emphatic supporters. The same day the New York Times dubbed Trump “the worst president of all time,” the New York Magazine toted a much different headline: “Trump Now Trails Only Reagan among Recent Presidents in GOP Esteem.” This surprisingly positive headline refers to a University of Virginia/Ipsos President’s Day poll that ranks presidents 1-10.  Parts of its findings are predictable, mainly that Trump ranks among the least popular of all modern presidents. Self-identified conservatives view him undeniably positive, yet his likeability seems to plateau beyond that. He is loved and he is admonished, as most politicians are.  According to this poll, Trump’s popularity amid Republicans is greater than the Bushes, Ford, and Eisenhower; he is second only to Ronald Reagan, and many have drawn similarities between the two.

Despite all the grief that Trump’s dislike is immeasurable, there is the material evidence that the Grand Old Party is officially the “Grand Old Trump Party.” Trump's popularity amid self-identified Republicans (usually between 85%-90%) has made him the face of mainstream despite his populist underbelly. Trump’s successful conquest of the GOP is also evident by his job approval that outshines Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. The “anti-swamp” outsider is officially the leader of the political machine. Whether due to tax reform victories or other economic feats, Donald J. Trump and the GOP are inextricably linked. This idea contradicts far-fetched theories that an alt-Right Bannon wing or moderate wing will unseat Trump come 2020.

A more ominous reading of this poll speaks to the longevity of the GOP with Trump at the helm. Despite his tides rallying the party, Trump is still largely unpopular amid Democrats and Independents. Any gains he has in terms of approval typically come from within the party, not outside.  To have a fighting chance for the GOP to remain in the majority in this hyper-partisan era, Trump must convey to those outside of his base that he is worthy. Amid all uncertainties in this tumultuous political culture, it is certain that Trump can proudly tout his rise from a punchline to the leader of a major national party. 

GOP wins come at a price

Tea Partiers and conservative DC-based super PACs have targeted seven GOP senators in Republican-leaning states they hoped to replace in this year's primaries. All of the Republicans in the cross hairs have won their primaries. 

Tennesee Senator Lamar Alexander was the last, and Thursday's Tennessee primary marks the first time since 2008 that every GOP Senate incumbent has been re-nominated.

But the win of the "establishment" comes at a financial expense - the Senators who have been challenged have spent millions of dollars in this year's primaries - money they'd prefer to have now to spend running against Democrats.

We have the very latest for you tonight on Special Report with "Campaign Carl" Cameron.

Mitt Romney in 2016?

Even though Mitt Romney has said he has no plans to venture into the 2016 presidential race, ardent supporters still feel he is the person who should occupy the White House.  But Romney appears to be a reluctant draftee, telling Fox News last month "no thanks... I'm not running."  Romney is not completely out of campaign-mode, however, appearing last week with New Hampshire senatorial candidate Scott Brown.  A recent Quinnipiac poll listed Barack Obama as the worst president since WWII and 45% of respondents think the country would be better off if Romney had been elected president in 2012.  Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron reports from Washington tonight for Special Report on the push for Mitt to run again.  

Do you think Mitt Romney should run again in 2016?

VP Biden hosts dinner with GOP Senators on Syria

Fox confirms Vice President Joe Biden will have dinner Sunday night with a group of GOP Senators who could be swayed on Syria. The topic of conversation is expected to be what the President needs to say in his Tuesday address. 

We do not have a list of Senators at this time, but the dinner will take place at the Naval Observatory.


Bret Answers Your Questions

First to FBN: CEOs to meet with House GOP leadership Wednesday morning to discuss Fiscal Cliff

Thank you to FBN's Rick Edson for this information:

The list, per a leadership source:

* Doug Oberhelman (CEO, Caterpillar Inc.) Peoria, IL

* Lloyd Blankfein (CEO & Chairman, Goldman Sachs Group) New York, NY

* Thomas Wilson (President & CEO, Allstate) Northbrook, IL

* Maya MacGuineas (President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget) Washington, DC

* Nicholas Calio (President & CEO), Airlines for America, Washington, D.C.

* David Cote (Chairman & CEO, Honeywell International Inc.) Morristown, NJ

* Mark Bertolini (Chairman, CEO & President, Aetna, Inc.) Hartford, CT *

* Erskine Bowles, Campaign Co-Founder

* Greg Sherrill (Chairman & CEO, Tenneco, Inc.) Lake Forest, IL



Coming Up

More reaction to President Trump's State Department shake-up.

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  • Stephen Hayes @stephenfhayes

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