If Twitter likes are any guide, President Trump's supporters seem to be pretty unhappy with him.
The evidence arrived Thursday morning, when Trump tweeted about a possible deal with Democrats on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program.
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
...They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
Those tweets are notable not so much for what they say, but for how they say it, and how Trump's followers responded to them.
As I write, both tweets have received very few likes compared to most of Trump's other tweets. Indeed, the second tweet, that which most justifies a deal that would allow DACA recipients to remain in the U.S., has garnered just more than 32,000 likes. Apart from another Trump tweet on DACA from Thursday morning, I couldn't find any presidential tweets that had fewer likes than these ones. And, for time's sake, I stopped looking at tweets sent in June.
Still, even if we assume there are other tweets that have garnered fewer likes since Trump entered office, it is striking that the president's DACA message has met this poor reception. After all, although tweet-likes aren't a great way to measure public opinion, it suggests that Trump might have just met his supporters' red-line: a deal that grants amnesty. Relying on social media to galvanize and mobilize his support base, Trump cannot ignore this situation.
To some degree, he seems to recognize this vulnerability: Trump's proclamation of "BIG border security" in return for any deal indicates as much.
Regardless, if Trump's supporters believe he has betrayed them, the president will face an increasingly inhospitable political environment. The key point is that Trump's base isn't just important in giving the president confidence, it's crucial to his ability to persuade Republicans in Congress to support him.
As I've noted, while relations between the White House and other GOP leaders are poor, that bad blood is now seeping into the broader Republican caucus. If members from swing districts no longer believe Trump's support is crucial to their own political interests, their inclination to support his agenda will decline.
Perhaps Trump's DACA tweets will find new likes over the next couple of days. But if that doesn't happen, and I suspect it won't, Trump might have a problem.