Colorado Ruling Makes Trump a Frontrunner
After January 6th, Donald Trump deservedly lost a ton of political capital. Opponents just gave it all back
Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 in part because the public hated his opponents more than him. Under the pall of the Russia probe he fell in polls for years. Then the probe fell apart, and Trump rose again. Heading into the week of the 2020 election, Trump’s approval rating was near his personal all-time high, approaching 45%.
But the frenetic months-long period that followed, between Election Night and the disaster of January 6th, dropped him down to 33%. The wounds were self-inflicted. Even faithful supporters abandoned Trump, saying he sounded delusional, like a parody of his hyperbolic campaign persona — “like the act broke,” is how one congressional Republican put it to me. From the bizarre “most important speech I’ve ever made” address of December 2nd, 2020, in which Trump obsessed over his case like a late-state Lenny Bruce (repeatedly pointing at a chart showing an early-morning surge in votes) to the infamous “tremendous number of dead people that voted” call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, to the exchange that gave Mike Pence his short-lived campaign slogan, “You’re too honest,” Trump looked like a man who’d not only lost an election, but his mind. It seemed inconceivable he’d ever be a viable politician again.
Now, after the Colorado Supreme Court jolted the country with a 4-3 decision effectively removing him from the state’s presidential ballot, Donald Trump has — improbably, shockingly — regained nearly all the political capital he lost in January 2021. It’s the most amazing comeback story since the Buffalo Bills won the Frank Reich game, and I’m not talking about Trump. The rally-cappers here are Biden Democrats, who’ve come from laps behind to overtake Trump in the race to find the illiberal bottom of American politics. This would be amazing to watch, if not for the fact that in this particular contest, the audience loses no matter who wins the game.