ANALYSIS: ‘Teflon’ Donald Trump’s approval rating gathers steam as he shakes up Washington

Click to play video: 'Trump says U.S. has ‘worst immigration laws in the history of the world’'
Trump says U.S. has ‘worst immigration laws in the history of the world’
U.S. President Donald Trump discussed immigration during a cabinet meeting on Thursday – Jun 21, 2018

President Donald Trump has managed to beat the system.

By any typical measure, the number of controversies consuming his young administration should have relegated him to the political hinterland of public opinion.

Only 28 per cent of Americans say they support his policy of separating child migrants from their parents, 20 people have either been indicted or plead guilty in the Russia probe, and his handpicked cabinet members, like  Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, remain mired in scandal with Trump’s full support.

Click to play video: 'Donald Trump gives big hug to American flag'
Donald Trump gives big hug to American flag

WATCH: Donald Trump gives big hug to American flag

The president currently has no White House Communications Director, and has suffered from a mass exodus of senior staff, while his administration’s credibility is running thin.

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And yet according to the gold standard of presidential approval polls, Americans now take a pretty average view of a man who had a historically unpopular first year in power.

After 513 days in office, Gallup reports Trump now has a 45 per cent approval rating. That’s right about where presidents Obama, Clinton, Reagan and Carter were at this exact same time in their first terms.

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So how did Trump turn it around? By staying on brand.

He campaigned on taking a hardline approach to immigration and trade and he has essentially done exactly what he said he was going to.

There are, of course, consequences to Trump’s actions, such as a trade war with close allies, and the separation of thousands of child migrants, but low-level consumers of news and low-information voters will only see headlines that show him standing up for American interests, and keeping his promises.

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The president is also riding high after the North Korea summit. He may not have walked away with much that’s firm, but optics alone may have been enough to give him a boost.

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While the U.S. economy is humming along nicely, unemployment continues to tick down. A majority of Americans now approve of his handling of the economy for the first time.

But that’s only half of the story. Trump’s brand also includes being a disruptor, and the more wild things he says and does and tweets, the better he seems to do.

It’s implausible, but it’s working. It probably wouldn’t work for any other politician.

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Trump manages to overwhelm us with the volume of news he creates. Each new controversy pushes people to further entrench themselves among their political tribes, while no one thing ever really manages to stick to Teflon Don.

The media coverage of an erratic and chaotic president does not match the reality many Trump supporters either experience or believe exists — just tune in to Twitter or Facebook and see for yourself.

As Axios reports, “The more [Trump] trashes Mueller, and the more he trashes the media and the media trashes him, the more Republicans want to have his back.”

Today, 90 per cent of Republicans approve of the job the president doing, and his approval among independent voters is up to 42 per cent.

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That may not be a formula for re-election right now, but Trump seems to be betting that the outrage machine will keep his base all fired up and get his voters out to the polls. Democrats are left to figure out how to campaign against someone who doesn’t play by the traditional rules.

Is there a line Trump supporters won’t cross? He hasn’t found it yet, but the closer the president gets, the more he keeps the conversation focused on himself, and forces his supporters to stand up for him.

Jackson Proskow is Washington Bureau Chief for Global National.

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