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Trump has never been popular

Trump has never been popular

Trump has never been popular with a majority of Americans – or more specifically, voters.  To understand that – in view of his rise to the presidency – you need to understand how he got to where he is.

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Republicans were on a roll.  They controlled two-thirds of the governorships and two-thirds of the state legislatures.  They controlled both the House and the Senate.  Early polling suggested a wave election for the GOP in 2016 – a virtual certainty to win the White House.

At the time, political pundits were questioning the very future of the Democratic Party.  With no power in Washington, they would become a bi-coastal regional party.  Yes … things were that bad for Democrats.

Trump entered the presidential race as the least liked of the 16 other GOP contenders.  He was presumed to have no chance for the Republican nomination – and certainly no chance to become President.

But he did win the nomination – but only because all those other Republican candidates divided up the anti-Trump vote.  Even though he won the nomination on a number of plurality victories, most of those voting in the GOP primaries preferred someone else.

Trump benefited from Democrats selection of former First Lady, former senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – also one of the more unpopular figures in the political firmament.  Trump won the election in the Electoral College but fell short in the popular vote.  His unpopularity had tamped down the red wave that was predicted.

In the interest of fairness, it should be noted that upon his election, Trump was subjected to an unprecedented resistance movement.  Democrats were working feverishly to undo the election – first by trying to influence Trump’s Electoral College electors to switch their votes and then to launch a pre-inauguration impeachment movement.  They even attempt to have Congress block the inauguration.  They tried to force Trump out of office with a bogus Russian meddling investigation – launched with false documents prepared by the Clinton Campaign.  (Golly gee … and no one was screaming insurrection.  Go Figure.)

At the same time, Trump did nothing to enhance his image or build his political base. He continued with his pugnacious streetfighter style.  He became the only President in American history who never … never once … won a favorability rating above 50 percent.

In the 2018 midterm elections, a main issue was Trump.  Democrats were fine tuning their strategy of keeping Trump unpopular – and spreading that across the entire Republican Party.  As a result, Republicans lost the House.  In 2019, Republicans lost the Senate by losing both Georgia Senate seats in a December Special Election.

The controversy over the 2020 election continues.  Folks on both sides have differing opinions as to the level and impact of voter fraud.  But for all practicality, it is over – and Trump is not sitting in the White House.  Apart from the raging debate among loyalists on both sides, the election was officially and constitutionally settled by the Electoral College – the same institution that gave Trump his victory in 2016.

Even though Democrats constantly demonize Trump – and spread that political perception across all Republican candidates – Trump’s unpopularity is unique to him.  When he was on the ballot in 2016 and 2020, GOP candidates further down the ballot generally did better than Trump in garnering votes.  Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s seat in Virginia by NOT playing up to Trump.

As a President and former President, Trump naturally becomes titular head of the Republican Party.  He remains influential WITHIN the GOP – and has played a role in selecting candidates for the 2022 midterm elections.  Unfortunately, they are all currently struggling – despite the fact that Biden has had the lowest favorability rating of any President in the history of polling.

Given Biden’s rating, the chaos at the border, crime taking over America’s cities, high inflation, a disastrous and tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, food and baby formula shortages, a failed effort to stop Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the public’s opinion that things are going the wrong way in America, one might expect the Republicans to be re-mounting that grassroots wave  — picking up 30 to 50 seats in the House and a couple in the Senate – enough to gain control.    

There should be notable gains for the GOP at all levels of government – from statewide offices to school boards.  But will that happen?  And if not, why not?

At this juncture, it is hard to imagine the GOP winning in the Senate.  If the current 50/50 tie in the Senate is to be changed, it is more likely that Democrats will gain.  The House may fall to the Republicans – and that is now a possibility rather than a probability – but by a much closer margin.

Once again, the Trump-thing has tamped down voter enthusiasm for the GOP.  The Party would be better off if Trump were to keep a low profile in the coming months.  But he and the Democrats prefer that Trump remain center stage as much as possible.

As President, Trump has done a lot of good things for America – at least from a conservative perspective.  He is not the fascist ogre that he is made out to be by Democrats and their agents in the news media.  But Trump is not the type of guy I would like to see my kids become.  He has not recognized or addressed his personality deficiencies and his divisiveness.

Going into 2024, Trump will not have the power of incumbency.  He has a small base of very impassioned loyalists, but not even a majority of Republican votes want him to be the candidate in 2024 – and they have the voting power to decide.  

I have opined in the past that I do not believe Trump can get the GOP nomination for 2024 unless there is again a huge field of opponents – or he has scared out all competition.  And I feel quite confident that if he did secure the nomination, he would lose the General Election.  He simply lacks sufficient popularity among the people to win a presidential election in 2024.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Now there’s a “no duh” title if there ever was one. Revisionist, biased, partisan, fake history news. It’s even revisionist to Larry’s past tepid tomes from the blue wave only to the current wave: bye, bye. But there’s some weird concepts, stories, and logic in this one.

    First, “trying to influence Trump’s Electoral College electors to switch their votes” is a spin stretch discussing seven House Democrats objecting to electoral votes from multiple states without senatorial support to which VP Biden procedurally said: “”there is no debate.” A nothing burger tossed against the wall, not “feverish,” no block.

    While there was talk of impeachment, there was nothing formal until after inauguration. A second nothing burger against the wall.

    As far as the Russian investigation, even without Steele, which was not prepared by Democrats, but both Republicans and Democrats funded it, there was plenty to investigate in Trump’s Russiagate. In Muller’s report, he established “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign” while proving that “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” He could not prove a criminal conspiracy but did not exonerate Trump either. Barr may have exonerated Trump, but Muller disagreed, his reports did not, and he has spoken that on the record.

    The investigation started in 2016; the FBI got the Steele Report in 2017. Yes, it was a source, of info but not the source of the investigation. The investigation started because WikiLeaks disrupted the DNC convention releasing stolen emails where an Australian diplomat then testified a Trump adviser bragged to about Russia’s offer to help Trump by damaging Clinton for Trump. Sound like a familiar Trumpian theme.

    And now for something completely different: “In the 2018 midterm elections, a main issue was Trump. Democrats were fine tuning their strategy of keeping Trump unpopular – and spreading that across the entire Republican Party. As a result, Republicans lost the House.” Ah, jello-logic as Democrats spread Trump unpopular with Republicans and ultimately convince them to not vote or vote for someone else???…. Whatever gets you through the night.

    Whatever revisioning you do, Trump is the leader of your party. That’s why you lose. He is still the leader of your party and now he has put some real whack-jobs up to run and many of them will lose. He appointed the most conservative SCOTUS in history, they did his bidding on abortions, and that’s why you will lose. And now he has the money, you have none, he won’t give you any, and that’s why you will lose. The Senate is ours, the House still may be. You still have one good foot to shoot yourself in.

    Although it’s still early, it’s crazy out there, and really, who knows what will happen in the next two months.

  2. Paul

    Republicans lost because they failed miserably to do what they promised.Now they go along to get along . It is time they honored their platform.

    • KRP


  3. Carolinadog

    If the author is correct it is then, the end of America. No other candidate, including the new Republican candidate DeSantis will be able to carry the votes needed to overcome the corruption . Simply stated, the coup of 2020 was an election that was scientifically, mathematically and common sense wise, a fraud. No test can be done that will prove otherwise. The ability of the mainstream media, the tech industry, the corrupt agencies of the U.S. government, the rigged voting machines that have been proven beyond any doubt to be “riggable”, Chinese interference and the democrat party’s army of criminal organizations all contributed to the overthrow of government.

    • frank stetson

      There is no way to change this line of thinking: “No test can be done that will prove otherwise.” No info, no failed court cases, no failed recounts done by your own people, nothing can change the closed mind of someone who does not believe anything, any source, other than the source of The Big Lie.

      If you truly believe that your government has been overthrown and is run by a criminal organization, my heart goes out to you for having to live with this ultimate betrayal.

    • Courageous Lion

      Absolutely! And to see the dismal turnout at Biden rallies and to see the 90 mile long “Trump train” in Arizona has me convinced that Biden won by an 81 million vote landslide. Showing Trumps obvious unpopularity. (SARCASM PEOPLE!)
      Trump’s popularity is because he comes across as “one of the boys” from down at the bar that can tell dirty jokes, say uncouth things, and for all intents act like he something he really isn’t. I see him as just another psychopathic personality that wants to rule his fellow man just like Biden. For that matter just like 95% of the typical politicians that make up the ruling class of the USA. The rare breed, like Ron De Santis, Ron Paul, Trey Gowdy, Ted Cruz, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Green as well Matt Gaetz to name a few, seem to be normal people wanting to take the reigns of power from the nut cases that are typically in places of power.

      Just listen to Maxine Waters, Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas, Kathy Hochul, Nancy Pukelousey, and you can feel the insanity they exude from their very existence. We need more normal people to step up, but Ron Paul once said that someone who would be a good leader is already doing things that go against the status quo and they could never get the job.

      Larry Horist is being billed as “conservative”?

      • frank stetson

        So how did Ron and Rand get their jobs? Settling? Sell outs?

      • larry Horist

        Courageous Lion. Not “billed” I have been part of the conservative movement since the 1960s. My group of friends started CPAC, the Heritage Foundation, the National Tax limitation Committee. My clients have included Milton Friedman and Steve Forbes. Conservativism is not a political party but a movement based on core principles of limited government. You obviously are not a longtime reader of my commentaries. Trump is a mixed bag. He has done more for conservative governance than I thought he would. But his God awful personality has been detrimental to the conservative cause.

  4. Mike

    Trump has maintained 80%+ popularity amongst GOP voters despite media’s constant lies. Every poll since 2020 has continually confirmed this FACT. Facts are just not Larry’s forte. Larry is happy for the irregularities of the 2020 election & more than willing to denies reality as a result of TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    • larry Horist

      Mike … it depends on what polls you follow. Recent polls show that more than 50 percent of Republicans do not want Trump to be their candidate in 2024. Also … you seemed to have missed the point. My commentary is obviously about ALL voters. I must be doing something right. I get accused of being a Trump MAGA cultist and having Trump Derangement Syndrome. I guess that is what objectivity gets a person — accusatons from folks who only have one view of Trump, either all in or all out..

    • Courageous Lion

      Polls can be manipulated simply by asking the people that you’re polling leading questions. Sort of like an IQ test. I can make one up that everyone who takes one will be a genius in the group it is aimed at and anyone else who takes the same test will be a low IQ moron. I trust the end results more than any “poll”.

      • larry Horist

        Courageous Lion … I agree. that is why I use polls AND actual vote counts.

    • mellie

      Mike, you are correct. I have not seen so much hatred against a REAL President till now, and I’m sick of all the leftist drivel, crap, BS or whatever anyone calls it.

  5. frank stetson

    Somehow I think the ship has passed re: a nuanced view of Trump. If one says “I dislike the personality, but I like the policies,” that’s just justifying a bad decision. At least if you believe character matters. The man is now QAnon supporter, listing conspiracies and links alike.

    He calls Biden “an enemy of the state,” and blasts the DOJ/FBI: “The FBI and the Justice Department have become vicious monsters controlled by radical left scoundrels, lawyers, and the media who tell them what to do,” which says you may not like the man, like the policies, but where does his character end and the policies begin?

    Trump is the leader of the Republican party. Until that changes, he is the party’s leader for policy, he is the party’s leader for character. Live with it or change it; that’s where we all are at.

    11,000 documents
    all sorts of top secret ones
    lots of empty top secret envelopes, more empty ones than documents found

    Is this policy? Is this character? Is this both? Isn’t it just too much, whatever it is?

    And now he’s monetarizing the 1/6 Select Committee’s findings by opening his new restaurant chain: Wall Burgers, a MAGA product (Make American Gourmets Again). The specialty will be the Toss and Smash Burger, clean it up yourself! Mark is upset at the branding. 🙂

  6. tinker68

    Hard for the average American to know what is true or false as there is so much hate going on that truth and hate become dubitable. You just can’t tell anymore who is being honest and who isn’t.

  7. Mike

    Larry, As with most of your blogs, this is filled with misinformation and falsehoods. Special election in 2019 gave Democrats control of the Senate? As a middle of the road person, I could only wish (as could the majority of the country as we would not have the disaster that is unfolding in the Supreme Court….) Yes, Biden is unpopular, but not excessively, there have been only 4 times in the last 40 years at this point prior to the mid-terms where the President has been more popular than Biden. The reason being, Presidents usually have not had sufficient time to fulfill their campaign promises-however many of Biden’s promises have been met, the people like that, and his popularity is on the upswing. A key problem-inflation. A major cause of this is the price of oil, which rose back in 2020 due to the treaty Trump negotiated with the Saudi’s to curtail production. The Saudi’s did not wish to renege on this agreement, so the oil production remained artificially low, even after consumption increased. Production has increased, oil prices are declining, as is inflation. A reason for current Republican unpopularity is the abortion decision-voters correctly see that as a topic that would not be worrying about if Republicans had not been in control of the Senate and the Presidency in the recent past. At the time of the ruling, you famously wrote that “abortion was not an issue that drives the way people vote”. You obviously were clueless about how the majority of us feel on that topic, and it is also looking like a topic that will drive people to vote for Democrats. Another issue you didn’t really touch on is the main issue that is likely to keep the Senate under Democratic Control-the reason being the quality of the candidates that the Republicans are putting forward. Admittedly-there are already plenty of Republican idiots in Congress (dare I say “low IQ”-MTG, Boebert, Gaetz, Cawthorn, Gym Jordan all come right to mind), but perhaps you should have touched on why Senatorial Candidates such as Walker, OZ, Masters are all slated to lose? These candidates would never have won their primaries without Trump’s endorsement and his sheep voting for them… The GOP has a major Trump problem as long as he is allowed to dictate policy….

    • larry Horist

      Mike … just a couple weeks ago, Biden’s unfavorable rating was the lowest of any President in American history … at about 35 percent. It has risen to around 43 percent today. That is still very low. I still believe the GOP will have good result in November… taking the House and doing well around the country. I think a goodly number of those deemed to be Trump candidates will do wel — even some of those funded with hundreds of millions of dollars from Democrats. The Senate is not lost, but more of a toss up. I still think the GOP may take it by one seat.

      • Mike

        Larry, The point is that you and most of the other Republicans are part of the problem-you continue to encourage his lies, so he will continue to do so. We keep hearing that many of the elected officials do not like him to continue focusing on the big lie that he won the 2020 election, but they, like you, refuse to call him out for his misinformation. There are exactly two Republicans in the house currently that have strong enough character to call him out for what he has done, and you (and the rest of the elected Republican officials) have castigated them for participating in a Democrat-led investigation. You listen to the lies that he and his people tell, and jump on the bandwagon, stating that Hutchinson lied during her testimony-her accusers have been invited to testify under oath, but after more than two months have refused. That should tell you something. You decry the FBI search of MAL, insisting that he was working with DOJ-the facts that have come out show that this was just another Trumpian lie. You are all weak sisters who know that what he is doing and has done in the past is wrong, but you are not strong enough to call him out for his actions. He is not popular with the populace at large, and likely cannot be elected President, but your weakness in allowing him to continue to lead your party will not turn out like you want…

        • larry Horist

          Mike … You totally misrepresent my opinions and you ignore too many facts. I seems that unless a person is screaming to lynch Trump and the GOP leaders they are all in with Trump. Certainly you have read of my criticism of Trump. I have recently written that his personality and the lies are a problem. I have come out against his having the records as probably illegal and likely to get him indicted. I have even proposed a constitutional amendment to fix the records problem. Abortion will have an effect for some, but according to the polls, it is still down the list on voters decision making. Will abortion change you vote in 2022? I suspect not. From all you have written, I doubt you were going to cast your vote for Republicans. I doubt there is a lot of movement from GOP to Dems because of abortion. It does not show in the polling. The issue that is hurting the GOP the most is the all the insurrection stuff … and Trump. The closing of the generic ballot shows a closing between the GOP and the Dems, but that is traditional. There was no way the GOP would ever have a 10 point lead on Election Day. If history is telling … there will likely be a slight swing back to the GOP in October. I did not say Hutchinson lied, but that there were others involved saying what she was told did not happen. You opinion that she was accurate is not truth .. just opinion. Trump is a personality that is propped up by the Dems and himself. He is not the leader of the GOP. He hold no position. He has influence as any major figure would — and I think his influence is not as great as he and the Dems like to suggest. that is why I have opined that he will not be back in the White House ever. I have even called on DeSantis to announce ahead of Trump … or someone else. Mike … you do disservice to dialogue by misrepresenting my views I call that the Fake Larry Horist Syndrome. Some folks on here have a very serious case. Yours is mild. Hope it does not get worse.

          • frank stetson

            Ah, the old Fake Larry Horist Syndrome for Mike this time as he fires his warning across your brow. Nothing if not consistent, consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds. Congratulations on rejecting the dark side and seeing the light Mike, may the force be with you :>)

          • Mike

            Larry, Your criticism of Trump has been very tepid (undoubtedly to avoid alienating the readers so you continue to be paid to write your “opinions”), but your criticism of those speaking out against Trump, or the government retrieving our classified documents has been immediate and harsh. You are adding to the Trumpian story “beware of the deep state that is out to get me” when no such state exists. The house committee looking into Jan 6 is totally justified (and yes, people were watching the televised hearings, contrary to your “opinion”), none of the testimonies has been proven to be untruthful (and while my statement that the Hutchinson testimony was spot on is not “guaranteed”, it is very logical to assume that since the people disputing it have refused to testify under oath for two months, it probably is accurate). And the “raid” on MAL was totally justified due to the stonewalling that went on for a year and a half. Yes, I have read your weak criticism of Trump, but I stick with my comments, you are part of the problem, you are eroding the trust in our government in an attempt to back up Trump…. So there tis…

      • frank stetson

        Wow, you were closer to the truth than usual.

        Think that’s “quasi-funded” semi-fascist candidates in the primaries by running ads for them. Not exactly giving money to them so they could do what they wish with it. Pretty limited functionality on that one. About $44M in total, $35m of which went to Pritzker so not as widespread as you alluded to. Only six states. No where near hundreds of millions. And not the DNC, but groups that affiliate with Democrats.

        ‘Besides that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

  8. madmemere

    To say President Trump has “never been popular” is questionable, in my mind; if he were not, then how did he garner OVER eighty-million votes in 2020. We have seen the evidence so many liberals ignore, so WE KNOW “he DID WIN” and not the current demented fraud, posing in the oval office.

    • larry Horist

      I do not get into the 202 election because it is a useless debate. According to the Constitution, it is the Electoral College that elects our Presidents. Once that was done and certified, the election is officially over. The action of the Electoral College makes Biden the President .. whether we like it or not — and you and I are among those who do not. Trump got that many votes because he was a binary choice …. either him or Biden. That is easy. I voted for Trump. But I would not vote for him in a primary against a DeSantis, etc. We will be better service concentrating on winning in 2022 than living the past over and over.

    • Frank stetson

      Well, either he didn’t get 80m votes or you filly believe The Big Lie.

      I am not sure that the guy who won the election but can’t sit in the office is the guy that you want for your president anyway. The guy who won the election but can’t prove it. The guy who lost over 60 court cases trying to prove it. The guy who had multiple recounts in multiple states by his own people and he still can’t prove it. Don’t you want someone who can actually get it done? And not some burger tossin, steering wheel grabbin, classified document stealin, rally rouser who’s all hat and no cow? Just not sure why you still want this loser. The last people to follow them, over 900 of them now, got arrested, many are going to jail, one guy got 10 years for listening to Trump. Do you think he’s covering their legal fees….

  9. Frank stetson

    It’s official, Trump has set the record.

    Most advisors, aides, and administration indicted than any other American President in his first term.