Donald Trump's a betting man. Even though the electorate supports the Paris climate agreement by a ratio of 5-to-1, the populist president decided to withdraw from that nonbinding environmental deal. All in here and elsewhere, he's wagering Republican control of Congress on his base.
Even though his supporters love to hate the international agreement, Trump might be underwater. There's little chance Trump's base would abandon him even if, for instance, he gunned down a globalist in the middle of 5th Avenue. But that might not matter much.
While a party base is indispensable, it's not electorally invincible. As Georgetown political science professor Josh Huder points out, high approval ratings among partisans don't win midterm elections. Just ask every single president in the last quarter-century.
Former President Bill Clinton enjoyed a 75 percent approval rating among Democrats ahead of the 1994 midterms, when Republicans took back control of the House for the first time since the Korean War. Same story again and with presidents of different parties, first in 2006 under former President George W. Bush (when Democrats won control of the House) and again in 2010 under former President Barack Obama (when Republicans won it back).
But either Trump has instructed his staff never to tell him the odds, or the president refuses to learn from recent history. By burning Paris, Trump's doubling down on a campaign promise to his supporters and reupping the class warfare between elites and everyman America that got him elected. Come 2018, Trump will have to either repeat history or refute it.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.