Donald Trump
Credit: The White House/Flickr

As Donald Trump is losing support from his Republican base, it is assumed that the drift is being caused by concerns over a faltering economy. While that might be the driving factor, the president seems intent on alienating almost every constituency that has traditionally been part of the GOP.

As Martin Longman wrote, the administration’s new rule on methane isn’t merely a threat to the environment, it is opposed by the major players in the oil and gas industry. They have already made the adjustments that were required by Obama’s rule and are worried that “as renewable energy becomes more affordable, it could undercut the industry message that natural gas is a cleaner energy source.”

As Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport report, this isn’t the first time that the Trump administration has eliminated regulations over the objections of the industry that is affected the most.

The rollback is particularly notable because major energy companies have, in fact, spoken out against it — joining the ranks of automakers, electric utilities and other industrial giants that have opposed other administration initiatives to dismantle climate-change and environmental rules. Several of the world’s largest auto companies are pushing back against President Trump’s plans to let vehicles pollute more, and utilities have opposed the relaxation of restrictions on toxic mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants.

By being so extremist, Trump is alienating corporate interests, who usually tend to favor Republican deregulation of their industries.

There has been a lot of talk about how Trump’s trade war with China is harming farmers. But the president seems to be adding insult to injury.

Gripped with anger, some Iowa ethanol leaders say President Donald Trump should no longer count on their support in next year’s election, given his administration’s action to cut demand for the U.S. renewable fuel…

Since taking office, the Trump administration has granted 85 refineries a pass from buying 4 billion gallonsof renewable fuel, killing demand for 1.4 billion bushels of corn used to make it, Bowdish said.

The exemptions are driving 15 ethanol plants to close nationwide, including one in Iowa. Others are throttling back production, industry groups say.

While the use of ethanol is controversial, this administration’s efforts are clearly alienating many of the rural voters on whom the Republican Party relies.

When Trump attacked Jewish Americans by calling their loyalty into question, a right wing conspiracy theorist came to his defense. The president tweeted this quote from Wayne Allyn Root.

“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world . . . and the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel.”

“They love him like he is the second coming of God,” Trump quoted Root as saying.

Since 70-80% of American Jews already vote Democratic, Trump didn’t lose much ground with that group. But between that tweet and his claim to be the “chosen one,” I have, for the first time, noticed that some of my white evangelical friends have taken offense. For them, the “second coming of God” refers to Jesus and it is blasphemous to conflate a human being with the son of God.

Overall, language like this is probably not enough to shake loose the stranglehold Trump has with the court evangelicals and their followers. But as Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” So I suspect that, for some white evangelicals, there is a glimmer of doubt beginning to take shape when it comes to their allegiance to Trump.

Finally, the pièce de résistance is Trump’s escalating attacks on Fox News. He recently went on a twitter rant about them, which he ended by saying, “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!” He just exposed the truth about his favorite propaganda network: They work for him, or according to Trump, they used to work for him.

That statement leaves Fox News producers in a double-bind. To appease Trump, they need to demonstrate more loyalty. On the other hand, to dispute the suggestion that they work for Trump, they need to challenge him. Which will they chose?

As I watch Trump alienate all of these core GOP constituencies, I have two thoughts. The first is that his behavior is reminiscent of some of the troubled teenagers I used to work with. While on the surface their behavior appeared to be simply rebellious, it was often designed (unconsciously) to be self-defeating. There are times when I wonder if there isn’t some tiny spark of sanity deep down in the president’s psyche that wants him to be defeated—even as he is willing to fight to the death to avoid it.

The other thought I have could overlap with the first. Amidst all of this, there is one constituency remaining that Trump hasn’t done anything to alienate: white supremacists. On the contrary, he continues to say and do things to garner their support. This explanation for Trump’s behavior indicates that he is doing everything he can to ensure that the 2020 presidential election comes down to a referendum on one thing: racism. Perhaps an element of his delusion is that he thinks he can be successful with only the xenophobes on his side.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.