From the Left



Trump charts a course to oblivion

Dana Milbank on

Trump is, as usual, playing to his (dwindling) base. In doing so, he is aligning himself, literally, with the past over the future. Younger voters are the most accepting of transgender people and older voters the least. Quinnipiac found that 54 percent of those aged 18 to 34 believe more transgender acceptance would be good for the country, compared with only 35 percent of those 65 and older.

So it goes for Trump generally. He has the strong support of just 26 percent of the country -- and that falls to 20 percent among the youngest voters while jumping to 33 percent among the oldest. Now he's talking about shutting down the government unless Congress funds his border wall, an idea that Americans oppose by nearly 2 to 1. Support for the wall draws greatest opposition from young voters and least opposition among older voters.

This means that Trump is, in an actuarial sense, charting a course to oblivion. History is moving in one direction and Trump in the other.

That's where Patrick, Abbott and the Texas bathroom-bill proponents were heading. Polling by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune found that Texans did not share their leaders' sense of alarm about transgender rights. Only 26 percent of voters considered it a "very important" matter (44 percent considered it important) for the Legislature, and older voters were 10 percentage points more likely than younger voters to think it important. Support within the House actually declined over time: There were 80 co-sponsors during the regular session but only 60 in the special session, the Tribune noted.

For good reason. The bill had little substance: no penalties for those who violated the law, no increased punishments for crimes in restrooms, no real enforcement mechanism. It was just rank discrimination.

Texas rejected that. Inevitably, the nation will, too.


Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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