Politics & Policy – The Atlantic

David A. Graham

Pollsters have finally found an issue that transcends partisan divides, with the overwhelming majority of Americans siding against President Trump.

The complaint that Washington is out of step with Main Street has been circulating for roughly as long as each metonym has been in use. But it’s seldom, if ever, been more true than at this moment in the coronavirus pandemic.

The most active debate in politics at the moment—in the White House, in state capitols, and in the press—is about whether and how much to reopen the economy. President Trump has been fitfully pushing for the country to get back to work, has boosted fringe state-level protests demanding that restrictions end, and yesterday took his first trip in weeks, visiting a mask-manufacturing plant in Arizona.

But even as the national political discourse has adopted reopening as the central debate, polls repeatedly show that Americans overwhelmingly back restrictions and do not support reopening most businesses. The consensus is especially notable in an era when nearly every poll question seems to serve as a referendum on Donald Trump, with his supporters lining up against his opponents. Here, despite Trump’s pleas for reopening, Americans are remaining united—and not heeding him. What if government reopened the country, and no one came?

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