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(CNN) President Donald Trump’s bout with coronavirus gave him the chance for a reset on the top 2020 election issue.
Characteristically, he has spurned it.
Instead of projecting newfound empathy and sobriety, Trump has flaunted his recklessness at packed, mostly maskless campaign rallies.
That gleeful abandon, as he bleeds support from voters fearing he hasn’t taken the pandemic seriously, makes no political sense.
But it makes perfect emotional sense for a President who craves the applause of a zealous minority.
His hunger for affirmation explains much about his conduct of the presidency — and why it may soon come to an end.
Trump won the White House by eking out an Electoral College majority on the strength of a narrow but intense support base among less-educated White conservatives.
He lost the popular vote, and became the first president in the era of modern polling never to reach 50% approval.
Nor has Trump seriously tried to broaden his appeal.
Even after a wrenching midterm election defeat in 2018, he refused to temper his vitriolic style or hard-right approach to issues from immigration to taxation to health care to the environment.