This July 4, let’s come together over Trump’s tweets

Not so long ago, you could start a real family Fourth of July squabble by debating what should go into coleslaw or what makes a proper barbecue. But now our divisions are far more serious. Majorities of both parties feel tone and civility are getting worse. More Americans are hostile toward their opposing party than ever in history. And few even want to see their children marry someone of the opposite party.

Our party divides are no picnic. In such a climate, there is potentially one issue that can galvanize voters and bring about the unity and healing we need.

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A recent Quinnipiac poll showed voters across party lines (including half of Republicans) agree Trump should “stop tweeting from his personal account.”

Morning Consult found most Americans (even half of Trump voters!) feel Trump uses Twitter too much. Monmouth showed voters across party lines mostly agreeing Trump is his own least-helpful spokesperson, particularly when compared to the vice president or any White House communicator.

For sure, none of this—neither Trump’s behavior, nor America’s collective “yuck”—should be a surprise.

These polls were all conducted before his most recent shrill, sexist slap or his latest CNN pummeling. But even throughout the campaign, voters indeed, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “knew what they were getting.”  

Several 2016 polls showed “good role model for children” and “right temperament to be president” the dimensions where Trump was farthest behind Clinton. Even on Election Day, almost two-thirds told exit polls Trump didn’t have the right temperament to be president (although a fifth of those voted for him anyway). The clear results on “temperament” remind us: it’s not just the medium, but the message. It’s not just the tweet, but the thought.

And there are real consequences to such routine embarrassments. There was once a time when on July Fourth our country celebrated values like independence, freedom, and hamburgers. Rather than be a beacon of light around the world, we’re now openly mocked by foreign leaders. Pew recently showed respect for America around the world has plummeted in the wake of Trump’s election. Almost every one of 37 countries surveyed was far more confident in President Obama in 2016 than they are now in Trump. The only country to have substantially warmed to the U.S. president is Russia (perhaps a testament to the effectiveness of Trump’s strong outreach). Back in the U.S., Morning Consult showed half of Americans say Trump’s use of Twitter hurts our national security; even more of Trump’s own voters say it hurts rather than helps.

That these tweets distract us from a Republican agenda that is almost equally unpopular and should also worry us too. Just 12 percent support the Senate’s version of the health care bill (unsurprisingly, it has gained no fans during its secret, rushed deliberation.) Even Republicans oppose cuts to Medicaid. Few support leaving the Paris Accord. Most don’t trust Trump on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, despite hand-wringing to the contrary, Democrats are united. Almost all disapprove of Trump. Almost all strongly support a slew of stronger gun laws. Many signs point to Democratic advantages in the midterms. Few want to remove Nancy Pelosi as leader.

But unity — like a big July watermelon — is by design best shared. This is how we can use Trump’s tweets for good, not bad. As we pass the potato salad and hotdogs to each other over the week, we can feel pretty confident that fretting about Trump’s erratic behavior will evoke at least a head nod.

So let’s use the tweets as an opportunity to collectively decide we’ve all had enough. Because the current situation — where one camp is outraged and another defends, enables, or stays silent — simply won’t lead us to where we all desperately want to go: an America where we love, trust, and speak kindly to our neighbors. An America that is, to borrow a phrase, great again.

Margie Omero is an executive vice president at PSB Research, a strategic research company with offices around the world. She has over 20 years of experience managing all facets of qualitative and quantitative research.

The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.