Why Doesn’t Donald Trump’s Cozy Relationship With Vladimir Putin Worry His Supporters? Jefferson Davis’s Treason Case Holds a Clue.


uestions about whether Donald Trump is an agent of a foreign power have intensified since the Washington Post reported that the president of the United States has refused to share with even his most senior aides the details of his personal meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But Trump’s supporters don’t seem to care. The president’s approval rating has hardly budged over the past year despite a seemingly endless series of disclosures about the Russia investigation. The website 538, which publishes a daily approval rating for Trump based on its formula for weighting and adjusting public polls, calculates that Trump’s approval rating on January 15, 2019 was 40.8 percent, compared with 39.3 percent exactly a year ago. Trump’s base dismisses each new revelation about Trump and Russia in the same way. They see the investigation as a McCarthyite witch hunt, a conspiracy by the so-called deep state.

There is a precedent in American history for this weird situation, in which there is evidence that a leader has acted against the interests of the United States, yet a large percentage of the American public doesn’t believe it or simply isn’t interested. Many of the same political dynamics that shaped the treason prosecution of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, seem to be at work today.

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