Even his harshest critics recognize President Trump’s habit of turning obstacles into advantages. In the primary campaign, the fact that 17 well-qualified Republicans ran against him was supposed to make his victory impossible. But it served to divide more cautious, mainstream voters while giving Trump an unbeatable edge among all those who hoped a non-politician might deliver dramatic change.
Similarly, the fact that pre-inaugural polls showed only a minority with high expectations for Trump’s White House could easily work to the new president’s advantage as he confounds dire predictions by opponents and the press.
Barack Obama had an approval rating of 81 percent when he took over the presidency so there was nowhere to go but down—and he lost Congress in a landslide two years later. For Trump, media skepticism about his abilities leaves him nowhere to go but up—and even modest success in achieving some of his initial goals should allow him to exceed expectations and build critical momentum.