Many of the early struggles of Donald Trump’s presidency appear to be self-inflicted: a leader with little experience in government or politics, an administration with significant internal divides and a set of policy goals — such as rolling back the Affordable Care Act and blocking travelers to the United States from certain countries — that are complicated to execute.
But there is another huge factor affecting him: his opposition. Amid the intense swirl of things happening in Washington right now, there is near-constant criticism of the new president from all quarters. That makes it hard to tell exactly why some of Trump’s moves turn into full-blown controversies with protests, lawsuits and endless cable news coverage while other potential scandals peter out in a day.
Here’s one way you can tell what will become a problem for the White House: How many groups line up against the administration on a particular issue turns out to be a relatively good, semi-empirical way to gauge the level of difficulty Trump is in. Trump’s initiatives face resistance from a number of constituencies. But when several of these blocs band together, they cause stories to explode, forcing the White House to respond and often to shift direction.
Here are six of the most important blocs: Six Degrees Of Trump Opposition | FiveThirtyEight