"The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope." The quote comes from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, but it could also refer to Democrats and progressives after Trump's election. All of that hope from the miserable went into one person in the incoming Trump administration — but she hasn't exactly lived up to those particular expectations. Ivanka Trump has experienced a significant popularity drop in the last calendar year — and the hope that people had for her is one explanation for it.
A new Economist/YouGov poll looked into how favorably or unfavorably people view the various members of the Trump family, comparing it with the same ratings from a year ago. Only one member of the family, First Lady Melania Trump, is now viewed more favorably than she was at this time in 2017. The poll revealed big jumps in unfavorability for several family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner. Ivanka's unfavorability rating also went up by 10 percentage points. Last year, 32 percent of people had an unfavorable view of Ivanka, versus 42 percent today.
Interestingly enough, the study also showed that this time around 41 percent of Americans surveyed had a favorable opinion of Ivanka, whereas 43 percent had a favorable opinion of President Trump; last year, more people had a favorable opinion of Ivanka than the president.
Ivanka also holds the distinction of being the only member of the Trump family who started out with a favorability rating higher than her unfavorability rating — and then lost that a year into the Trump administration.
Ivanka set herself up as the face of women's rights in the Trump White House, the powerful and successful woman whose goal was to empower women across the country and across the globe. She spoke openly about supporting normally progressive policies like paid parental leave and equal pay for women, and many liberals saw her as their only hope in a White House otherwise guided by the divisive rhetoric that her father had espoused throughout his journey to the presidency.
Her White House office gave her the president's ear in a more institutionalized sense, but it didn't result in any visible gains for the liberals who pleaded with her on social media. The childcare and parental leave plans that she spearheaded, both early in 2017 and then again as part of the tax reform plan in the fall, helped mainly families in the same tax bracket as Ivanka and Jared, to the exclusion of the middle and working classes.
She floundered on the international stage, drawing a chorus of boos at the G20 Women's Summit in Germany when she claimed that her father was an advocate for women's empowerment and working families. She threw herself into protecting the U.S.' place in the Paris Climate Accords, and then tried to downplay the amount of influence she holds when she was unable to sway her father's drive to withdraw from them. Together with her husband, Jared Kushner, she's also drawn criticism for conspicuously positioning herself next to foreign heads of state from countries where she has business interests — and then making millions of dollars in revenue from around the world, even has a White House adviser.
Ivanka also tweeted her support for LGBTQ rights after her father announced a ban on transgender service members. She tweeted her support for equal pay just as her father nixed an Obama-era rule that promoted it. She tweeted in support of World Refugee Day, even after her father implemented a travel ban that was so damaging for refugees attempting to come to the U.S.
Ivanka Trump never seemed as divisive as her father, so she carried the hopes of some of those who didn't vote for him. Yet, throughout the year, her silence and perceived inaction allowed that hope to drain away, leaving just another member of the Trump administration.
If she wanted to see her popularity jump, perhaps she could have taken a leaf out of her stepmother's book. Unlike Ivanka, Melania made no promises — and thus could not break them.