Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What fuels Trump's high approval ratings?

His approval rating is 35 percent or so. 
It ought to be closer to zero.

The blow-up over the weekend regarding Donald Trump Jr. and his apparent encouragement of Russian operatives to meddle in the U.S. election—I love it!, he exclaimedis amazing on a couple of levels.

Little Don must be stupider than a sack of manure. How can you get caught negotiating with avowed Russian operatives offering to tamper with the U.S. elections, and then confirm it over a string of emails? One move is patently illegal, the other incredibly dumb.

Opponents are talking, again, about a smoking gun that will lead to impeachment, resignation or some other finale to the Trump nightmare, but I'm not holding my breath.

No matter what Trump says or does, Republicans in Congress are loath to raise their voices because they need him to get their long-delayed legislative agenda implemented, apparently no matter the collateral damage inflicted on the long-term prospects of the party or the country.

More baffling still is Trump's steadfast support among a minority but rock-solid segment of the voters.

Bible-thumping, God-fearing, family-values evangelicals? Why do they back someone as morally compromised as Trump, who lies as casually as he breathes without regard to other people's reputation or the effect his mendacity might have on the country? Tolerating or ignoring Trump's behavior for the sake of getting abortion banned, or other religious agenda implemented?  

People frustrated by the liberal Eastern elites' alleged control of the media and the government? The White House now brims with billionaires, starting with Trump, whose economic and cultural interests have nothing in common with unemployed coal miners or the retired guy working as a greeter at Walmart in Peoria to make ends meet.

The so-called Republican health care reform in particular would be a massive wealth transfer to the wealthy through tax cuts while undermining or abolishing programs to help lower income Americans have access to basic health care. Why would those folks support Trump, unless they are suicidal?

If America's foreign policy and standing in the world worried you, you should be terrified now at Trump's astounding, embarrassing, ignorance of foreign affairs, and his unrestrained admiration for Russia's Putin, a world-class thug.

And did I mention that Trump often acts as if he's mentally ill, particularly in his thermonuclear reactions to the slightest criticism? Some psychiatrists supposedly are working on a book about that.

Yet that thirty-five  to thirty-nine percent bloc of Trumpistas remain unshaken and blame the whirlwind of chaos surrounding his presidency on lies by the media, liberal conspiracies and other externals.

I certainly would not dismiss them all as bumpkins or raving racists. I know several Trump supporters who follow the news and can defend their opinions. Bless their hearts, as they say in Texas.

Yet I must think the center base of Trump's support has to reside in the gut, rather than the brain, of his supporters, people that resent having been ignored for too long and see him as their chance to finally bang their fist on the table and be taken seriously.

Even then, I don't understand how Trump's erratic behavior could address their grievances unless this is all an exercise in ranting for ranting's sake.

Add to that others that have been deservedly marginalized, such as the white supremacists and extreme right-wing nuts now coming out from under the rocks, and it's a scary stew.

I've heard both liberals and conservatives lament that "this is not going to end well." I'm starting to believe it.  

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20 comments:

  1. You really need to get a grip, amigo. And as far as Trump's ratings are concerned, just a few weeks ago one of the major polling firms -- I forget which at the moment -- released the news that Trump's favorables have climbed to 50 percent. And they will continue to climb as his good work becomes clearer, something you rarely see on the mostly hysterical media.

    As for that endless, hopeless hubbub and nothing burger, Russia, here's a liberal legal scholar scoffing at it all. One of your people, fer Pete's sake.

    https://is.gd/wdsYRc

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    1. Here is an aggregate poll showing a mean approval rating of 39.3.today, with a downward trend. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/?ex_cid=rrpromo

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    2. Dueling polls, Felipe. I haven't seen any that show an upward trend for Trump, but maybe I'm reading the wrong papers. If his numbers were about to go over fifty percent, that would have been big news. As far as his playing footsie with Russia and being fascinated by his bro' Vladimir, I find that really disturbing. Vlad & the gang simply don't have the best interests of the U.S. at heart, quite the opposite.

      al

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  2. Don't ask me how this will all end. At this point sixteen months ago, I thought I would be writing essays on how President Rubio was faring.

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    1. At the time, I didn't like my compatriot Marco because he was way more conservative than me, and also seemed like a bit of a robotic lightweight. But things and my opinions certainly have changed.

      al

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  3. Someone must only read the fake news put out by the Trump team of fellow con artists or Putin!! I agree with you completely as do most people I know, even many who voted for him are now very sorry to have been so mislead! Hope our country survives and who ever succeeds him and the mess they will be left with.

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    1. I remain hopeful that our institutions will survive four years of Trump, just like we survived the near financial catastrophe left behind by the George W., the Watergate crisis and the Vietnam years. Keep your fingers crossed.

      al

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  4. We all have the right to our opinions. By my point of view, Mr. Trump was the person the people of our nation chose to lead this country. Sniping and complaining will not help the situation.
    The only problem is that he arrived on the scene eight years too late. We had no business meddling in the politics of Syria and Libya. Wars are easy to start, but really hard to end.
    Too bad Kadafi and Assad never kicked into the Clinton Global Initiative. For that, they got wars.
    The Democrats created a health care system that was doomed to failure. Those who bought the overpriced insurance with such high deductibles that it was virtually worthless now have to support the health care of people that never would have bought insurance any way.
    Once someone is given something, it is really hard to take it away. It looks like the single payer option will be the end game. And, if one has the wrong political view, they will get a tylenol and be told to go else where to die.
    It does not look good.
    It is not that Mr. Trump is so good, it is that the Democrats are so bad. They cannot shut up about Russia, even though there is nothing there. They need to take a long hard look at the Clinton crime family. Is that really who they want running this country?

    Robert Gill

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    1. OK Robert, let's take by parts. I don't disagree that Trump was legitimately elected, despite meddling by the Russians. We'll just to wait to see how that comes out and deal with it then.

      I agree with you (I think) that our intervention in Iraq et. al. is one of the biggest foreign policy blunders we've ever stepped into. I don't understand the business of Kaddafi and Assad and the Clinton Initiative.
      The Democrats may have created an imperfect solution to the health care problem in the U.S., which is basically that a lot of people can't afford access to health care and that is a damn shame for a country as big and rich as the U.S. I don't know what healthcare rabbit the Republicans are going to pull out of the hat, but I don't expect a brilliant alternative to Obamacare, but a cobbled-together package just so they can say they repealed Obamacare.

      I don't agree that the Clintons are a crime family or that there's nothing to the Russian. If Don Jr. had had any sense he would have declined Russian meddling in the election with a firm, "I don't like Hillary but I am an American first and I'm not going to get involved in tampering with our electoral system," or words to that effect.

      al

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  5. I have a hard time with the "bless their heart" supporters, my uncle Jim included. He had (and still has) a comfortable life with basically a high school education, working for a (regulated) public utility. But his FB feed is full of extreme posts & memes against Islam, abortion, welfare, and human (gay/trans-gender/people of colour) rights, and in support of universal gun ownership. Interestingly, he always "likes" my posts about universal health care & regulation of Big Pharma. I've blocked the sources of his most vitriolic posts, and enjoy our common interest in animal rescue. Who doesn't like a post of kittens or baby goats in pj's?

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  6. Kittens and puppies are a good distraction from the current vitriol. It seems everyone has an Uncle Jim with whom they can't have a civilized conversation. It's very frustrating, almost as if people were speaking a different language, English versus Klingon. Of course your uncle likes your posts about health care. Mess with Social Security and Medicare and you will see even the loudest Trump supporters head for the exits screaming.

    Thanks for your comments.

    al

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  7. What you fail to mention is that Trump is one of the most popular guys in Washington.

    Here's some poll results about various high-profile DC politicians from a recent Zogby poll, as presented in the Washington Examiner:

    The full approval rating list:

    President Trump - 41%
    Defense Secretary James Mattis - 43%
    Congress - 25%
    Nancy Pelosi - 29%
    Paul Ryan - 36%
    Chuck Schumer - 33%
    Mitch McConnell - 30%
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions - 35%


    Full story here: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/poll-trumps-approval-higher-than-congress-schumer-pelosi-ryan-mcconnell/article/2626318

    In brief, virtually the entire gov't is extremely unpopular. Trump is only the least-hated of the lot.

    Also, I think the Left seriously needs to ask itself it it really would prefer that Mike Pence be president. Given a choice between the two, I'd take Trump any day of the week. Trump is a social liberal, while Pence represents the darkest aspects of the social conservative movement. Also those who seem most to want to impeach Trump should ask themselves whether they really want a Pence who'd almost surely more effectively implement the mainstream Republican agenda (if there really is one, a separate question) or a Trump they view as flailing and ineffective. (Not an opinion I share, but widely believed on the Left.)

    In short, Trump, like so many in DC, was the least awful option.

    That said, let's all wish him success in Making America Great Again, something we all have a stake in.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Deep in Trump territory, despite the West-Coast address.

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    1. Wham, bingo with a bit of sophistry mixed in. Agree that Trump may be the least despised loser among a truly awful bunch of losers. That doesn't make me feel good about him or motivate me to support him. You can't dislike his ideology or his vision because he doesn't have either. Yes, Grand Inquisitor Pence could be much worse; he has an awful, dreadful ideology. Trump is not a social liberal, how can you say that about a misogynist, anti-choice guy? Because his hasn't done anything against gays?

      So what do we do? How about continuing to oppose Trump as loudly as we can to at least disabuse him of any notions of reelection. That's the only choice, instead of acquiescing to his craziness with our silence.

      Dunno. You're too smart for your own good.

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    2. Here's more interesting data on politician popularity to consider:

      According to the latest Bloomberg National Poll, President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton is viewed favorably by just 39% of the electorate, a reading that’s two percentage points lower than the president’s. It’s the second-lowest score for Clinton since the poll started tracking her in September 2009.

      As the Hill pointed out, a different poll put Trump's favorability at a record low, a development it blamed on the controversy surrounding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer who had promised him damaging information about Clinton. Meaning that, even with favorability at record lows, Trump is still more popular than Clinton.

      Clinton has always been a polarizing figure, but support for the former secretary of state has fallen even among those who supported her in November…perhaps because they blame her for treating the presidency as a right, not a privilege, rigging the primary against her opponent, the more-popular Bernie Sanders and – most importantly – losing to Trump.


      Full story here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-18/bloomberg-poll-shows-trump-more-popular-hillary-clinton

      As for Trump with no vision? Seriously? His vision is crystal-clear: make America great again. This happens via improving the job prospects of American citizens by encouraging companies to make more in the USA and to import less. It happens by cracking down on illegal immigration. And it happens via cutting back the regulatory overgrowth that stifles entrepreneurship. Trump's vision also includes getting people to work together, reducing all the perceived differences between races, classes, etc. And he wants to get rid of political correctness, which he feels is stifling important discussions we need to have.

      You may not like Trump's vision, or you may not like the way he is trying to get there, but vision he has.

      In contrast, look at Clinton's "vision:" something for everyone, with a literal alphabet of programs and policies, none of which were really prioritized. Ask any Clinton supporter what were her three most important objectives, and I'll bet you that you either don't get a clear answer, or that if you ask several supporters, the answers are all different. In fact, I think the clear lack of vision was a big element in why she lost the election.

      As for Trump's social view, yeah, he's anti-abortion. But after having thought long and hard on the issue I've concluded that there is no good answer. Both sides of the debate have a legitimate viewpoint, and both viewpoints are equally supportable. Personally, I support a woman's right to choose, but I can't argue that that is a superior position to defending human life from the get-go. So I don't count Trump's position against him. Furthermore, I think everyone has entirely blown out of proportion the importance of abortion. I personally just don't think it's an earth-shatteringly important issue. It certainly is WAY behind many other more important issues that we should be focused on.

      But while Trump may be a distasteful horn-dog, I don't see him promoting any policies that are harmful to women. In his own organization, he has hired a LOT of women into senior positions, and you can find YouTube videos of them talking about how great it is to work there.

      So...Trump may well be unpopular. But Clinton, had she won, could have proven even more unpopular. The real problem is not Trump or Clinton. The real problem is that Congress is completely unresponsive to the needs of the people. And they are increasingly realizing this.

      Personally, I had hoped that Trump would indeed start to drain the swamp. And there's a smidgen of evidence of this. But it's been somewhat disappointing so far. But drained it needs to be, and even if Trump achieves little else, getting people focused on this one idea is important.

      Saludos,

      Kim G

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  8. I wrote a long comment here, which you didn't publish. Perhaps it's in the spam folder? If not, please send me an email why you didn't approve it, if you'd be so kind. Then delete this comment. thanks, Kim

    P.S. I left another lengthy comment replying to you on the political correctness post that never got approved. Maybe you could check into that too, though it was a while back.

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    1. I didn't spam any of your comments, at least not intentionally, though I've been getting a lot of spam for reasons I don't understand.

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  9. With all due respect Kim, your comparisons of Trump's and Clinton's popularity are besides the point right now. As Perry used to tell D.A. Hamilton Burger, this is all "irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent." Who cares? It's not as if we're having a rerun of the election coming up.

    Fact is that Trump appears to be roundly rejected by a majority of the folks in the country.

    Vision? Do you for a minute think Trump has a vision of how to reform the U.S. healthcare system? Or that he has even read the competing pieces of legislation? Or that he understands what is involved in the Iran Nuclear Agreement? Or even the issues surrounding the Keystone Pipeline Agreement? All he sees is "Obama" and having to upend whatever Obama did just as SOP.

    If he wants to impart some momentum to the Made in America movement—talk about a stale issue—he should try to get Ivanka to bring the manufacturing of her $100 million-a-year clothing franchise back to the U.S.
    Trump as a uniter? Which paper are your reading? He called Mexican rapists and criminals, Muslims terrorists and seemed to endorse sexual assault of women, as in "grab them by the pussy."

    The ultimate problem with Trump is that he is a totally, thoroughly dishonest man who lies casually, repeatedly, and without any regard for the consequences. Might want to read the NYT's list of his 500+ lies so far. It's pretty impressive.

    How can we discuss the man's views on anything when they might change them out of opportunism, or because he forgot what he tweeted yesterday or the day before.

    I could respect a conservative like Romney, Huntsman or Kasich. I could disagree with them but at least respect them as honest people. Trump?

    al

    PS Kim: Are you putting me on?

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  10. I'm going to have to break this comment into two parts because it is too long.

    Part 1
    Actually, comparing Trump and Clinton is quite relevant. The argument advanced by the left is basically, "Trump is so unpopular that he can't govern. Should have voted Clinton." But if Clinton were equally unpopular, then that argument goes away. Frankly, if government did what it should, namely raise taxes and cut spending to establish some kind of fiscal sustainability, they'd all be EXTREMELY unpopular. Would that be wrong?

    Having a vision is not the same as being a policy wonk. I don't dispute that the Republican effort to reform/repeal/replace/whatever Obamacare has been a complete disaster. But Obamacare, and American healthcare broadly was a complete disaster pre-Trump. That's part of why he was elected. And pretending Obamacare is working isn't going to change that reality or the perception of it. We pay 60-70% more than the OECD average for worse healthcare. And that's after 8 years of a Democratic administration that basically got whatever it wanted. While a broad discussion of what exactly ails US healthcare is outside the scope of this comment section, I'll advance one big idea. The problem is cost of healthcare, not insurance schemes. Both Obamacare and Ryancare/Mitchellcare were attempts to tweak insurance schemes. But until we solve the underlying problem of excessive cost, those schemes will achieve nothing. To fix the cost problem, we will need to upset the swamp: trial lawyers; AMA/Doctors; pharmaceutical companies; insurance companies; hospitals; and the like. The system needs a strong gale of economic forces because it is literally out of control and eating the rest of the economy.

    As for the other details, seriously, no one, even the sponsoring legislators read legislation. Don't you recall Nancy Pelosi famously saying that we needed to pass Obamacare in order to find out what was in it? You think Obama himself read all 10,000 pages of it? Personally, I think we ought to require legislators to have at least read the entire text of what they pass, but I'm not in charge. None of your points means Trump has no vision. They simply mean he's not a detail guy, which is not a president's job. That said, I'd love to see him assemble a healthcare task force to figure out why the Brits can have such a cheap, effective system, and we can't. That'd be a great starting place, far better than leaving the problem to the Republican clowns in Congress.

    As for made in America, Ivanka's clothing is a canard. Apparel manufacture is inherently low value-add, and now even the Chinese are getting undercut by the Vietnamese, Bangladeshis, and others. It's certainly not the place to start with any kind of revival of US manufacturing. And US manufacturing is only part of MAGA. Infrastructure is another big piece which needs to be addressed.

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  11. Part 2
    Trump as uniter? I never made quite that claim. I simply claimed that he wasn't doing the kind of race-baiting that was common under Obama. And as for the "Mexican rapist theme," get your facts right. He didn't say all Mexicans were rapists, just some. And that Mexico wasn't sending its best people North, something that's hard to argue with, particularly if you've spent any time in Mexico City. There I've met tons of Mexicans with advanced degrees and many accomplishments. I've never met such Mexicans who immigrated illegally in the USA, and only a few such people that did immigrate legally. This isn't racism; it's just a fact. Pretending it’s some kind of racist assault is just leftist ranting; it’s not advancing the debate. As for assaulting women, you too forget that he said something to the effect that they let him do it (pussy grabbing) because he was a billionaire. If someone lets you grab them, then it's not an assault. Even if you, as a third party, find it distasteful. Further, that was from what should be a private conversation. I'm sure we've all said things we wouldn't like broadcast on the TV if we were running for office. Again, I ask you to cite any anti-women policies (aside from opposition to abortion, where we just acknowledge our disagreement) that Trump has advocated.

    So the NY Times writes a story about Trump's 500 lies. OK. How many stories have they run about the lie-count of other politicians? What? None? So no other politicians lie? Ever? I think you just cited a case of media bias as some kind of support for the thesis that Trump lies more than anyone else. Sorry, but that's bogus. My guess is that more experienced politicians have lie-counts that far exceed Trump's. How upset are you by the lie that “If you like your [health insurance] plan, you can keep your plan?” That was a whopper, but I don’t recall anyone on the left complaining about it.

    As for consistency, how about first-term, anti-gay marriage Obama? Should we value politicians that rigidly hew to a position once taken? Or is evolution of ideas wrong?

    You may well have some good arguments against Trump. But so far you haven't marshalled them.

    Saludos,

    Kim G

    P.S. No, I’m not putting you on. But if all your info about Trump comes from the mainstream media, then I’m not surprised that you think so. If what he thinks is important to you, I suggest you do what I did a year ago. Listen to a bunch of his speeches, unedited, on YouTube and then make your judgment. About a year ago, I simply could not believe the monster the MSM had created called Trump. When I listened to him myself, I realized they had created a fantasy, one which lives to this day.

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