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Trump voters disappointed by his presidency threaten the GOP

Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Anthony Miles figured that Donald Trump, rich as he was, could not be bought off. Now he regrets voting for him.

"He said he was going to drain the swamp," said Miles, 62, a computer programmer who lives in Middletown, Conn. "All he's done is restocked it."

Miles was especially appalled by President Trump's appointment, since withdrawn, of a drug czar who took pharmaceutical donations as a congressman and wrote a law that thwarted federal power to punish companies that fuel opioid abuse.

A year after Trump stunned the world by defeating Hillary Clinton in one of the most consequential elections of modern times, the president is breaking records for unpopularity. Since World War II, no other president has scored Gallup approval ratings as low as Trump's during his first year in office. He bottomed out last week at 33 percent.

That's largely because of Americans who voted for Trump but disapprove of the way he has conducted himself in office.

Many of them, like Miles, are independents. Some were never Trump fans, but cast ballots for him out of loathing for Clinton. They were essential to his Electoral College victory, securing his narrow wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

They will also be crucial to Republicans' fight to keep control of Congress next year -- and to Trump's prospects for re-election in 2020.

Since Trump took office in January, they've recoiled at his behavior -- the cascade of Twitter insults; the messy relations with foreign leaders, both friend and foe; the racial provocations; and the lack of success in Congress, among other things.

"He has no clue how to run a country," said independent voter Pradeepta Chowdhury, 65, a doctor in Hilo, Hawaii.

Chowdhury was counting on Trump to repeal Obamacare because of the paperwork burden it imposed on his solo medical practice.

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