Barack Obama's birthday isn't till August, but Sunday saw a Twitter party
honoring the former president
and muddying up the feeds of those sending good wishes
to current one.
At one point Sunday morning, #ObamaDayJune14th was the top trending political hashtag .Close behind was "Happy Birthday Mr. President" -- with photos of Obama,
not Trump. There was even a trending hashtag that read "All Birthdays Matter,
" taunting Trump for his comment during the 2016 campaign when he was asked
on Fox News about the Black Lives Matter movement and he pushed back insisting, "All Lives Matter."
To be fair, there was one trending topic that read "#HappyBirthdayTrump." The President tried to amplify it by retweeting
various people wishing him a happy birthday. But even that hashtag was being co-opted by countless people mocking Trump and praising Obama in essence as America's last real President.
While there's no scientific methodology involved in measuring these tweets, it does give a snapshot of what is likely fueling findings in a recent CNN poll that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's lead over Trump
was growing. The response to Trump's birthday on Twitter wasn't a championing of Biden -- rather it was a display of dislike and outright hate for Trump. For many, the reaction was not about Trump's policies, it was a personal response to Trump's three plus years of pitting Americans against each other by fostering bigotry, sexism and racism.
I've explained it this way to Trump supporters who have called my SiriusXM radio show by first asking, "Do you remember how much you hated Hillary Clinton?" They always respond, "Yes!" Then I tell them, "Well, double that and that's how much we hate Trump." (I can't actually quantify the level of dislike for Trump, but it does drive the point home for them.)
And now finally pollsters are asking the right questions to measure what political scientists call "negative partisanship."
It's the idea that you are not so much voting for a candidate, but voting to defeat someone you dislike. For years, it was Republicans who wielded this political sword effectively by ginning up fears of what their opponents would allegedly do if they won the election, from Trump's claim that Hillary Clinton wanted open borders
to his false statement
that Biden wants to "defund" the police.
But now Democrats, who in 2008 were inspired by Obama's message of "hope," are inspired by the need to defeat Trump. The CNN poll -- which Trump unsuccessfully demanded
CNN should retract and apologize for -- found that 70% of Trump supporters said that their vote would be for Trump rather than against Biden. In contrast, 60% said the main reason for their Biden vote was to express opposition to Trump.
Need more evidence? A recent poll by NPR/PBS/Marist
that found Trump's approval rating was at 41%, with 55% disapproving. For context, Trump's highest disapproval rating in this poll was 56% in December 2017 during the government shutdown. But worse for Trump is the gap between those who "strongly approve" of him at 28% compared to those who "strongly disapprove" at 47%.
Obviously, polls can change. At this point in the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton seemed well ahead
There's probably not much Trump can do to change the minds of those who strongly disapprove of him over the next five months before Election Day. His only play -- especially given our economy is in a recession with the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression -- is to try to make people hate Biden more than they hate him. We can expect Trump to try every way possible to do just that.
However, based on current polling, we can hope that come next June 14, Trump will be celebrating his birthday as an ex-president -- and America will be led by a Biden administration.