Monday, February 27, 2017

Americans Can't Get A Do-Over But They Crave A Referendum On Trump


It must have been extraordinarily depressing for sincere conservatives, but on Sunday, Tim Alberta, writing for Politico , noted that the conservative movement is Donald Trump. Trumpists at CPAC wouldn't have been waving Russian flags when Trump took the stage except for the fact that the flags were printed with "TRUMP" on them and "conservatives would ordinarily oppose protectionist, cronyist, big-spending, debt-accumulating policies-- if they weren’t signature stances of the new Republican president." Today, Miss McConnell lisped on leaving a meeting at the White House that the Trump agenda and the Senate Republicans' agenda is identical. I bet that caused some concern for Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV)... maybe ever Ted Cruz (R-TX), all of whom will face serious reelection contests in 2018.
To spend three days at this year’s CPAC, the annual right-wing carnival of politics and culture, was to witness an ideology conforming to an individual rather than the other way around. The president’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, set the tone Thursday morning when asked to assess Trump’s impact on the conservative movement. “Well, I think by tomorrow this will be TPAC,” she said. The moderator laughed and so did the audience members, but it wasn’t a joke: Anyone searching for a brand of conservatism independent of the new president would have walked away sorely disappointed.

After a three-day celebration of Trumpism, the announcement of the straw poll results on Saturday afternoon told the whole story. A full 86 percent of attendees approved of Trump’s job performance so far, compared with just 12 percent who disapproved. More consequentially, on the question of whether Trump is “realigning the conservative movement,” 80 percent agreed and only 15 percent disagreed. Both statistics were met with cheers inside the main ballroom.

“In many ways, Donald Trump is the conservative movement right now,” Jim McLaughlin, the Republican pollster who conducted the survey, told CPAC attendees. “And the conservative movement is Donald Trump.”

To some extent, everyone expected to see Trump remake the Republican Party in his image; he became its leader upon clinching the presidential nomination last July and solidified that status for at least four years on November 8. But Trump was not supposed to bend conservatism to his will-- at least, not this quickly. Certainly, he has thrilled the GOP grassroots with certain decisions, such as signing executive orders aimed at deregulation, beginning a crackdown on illegal immigration and nominating an originalist in Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he has also done other things--facilitating a deal with Carrier in Indiana that smacked of crony capitalism; bullying private corporations and individual citizens; declaring reporters the enemy of the American public; asserting a moral equivalence between the U.S. government and Vladimir Putin’s-- that would typically put any politician in the crosshairs of the right.

Trump, however, has encountered scant dissent from his party’s ideological base. So he came to CPAC not to pay homage to the traditions of conservatism, but to bask in the supremacy of his own movement, one that he and his allies believe will supplant the outdated orthodoxies peddled for decades by the very people who greeted him like a conquering hero on Friday morning.

...Only a year ago, CPAC attendees-- the majority of whom supported either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio-- threatened a mass boycott of Trump’s scheduled speech. He ultimately cancelled his appearance, and conservatives in attendance roared with approval whenever one of the speakers lambasted the man who, to their great dismay, had emerged as the Republican presidential front-runner.

“Last year we were talking about a walkout if Trump showed up, and this year it’s all Trump all the time. It has completely changed,” said Dominic Moore, a University of North Carolina student who attended CPAC for the first time in 2016 and backed Rubio in the GOP primary. “Last year the Make America Great Again hats were few and far between. Now they’re everywhere. Last year the speakers were attacking him and now everyone’s done a full 180. They’re all on the bandwagon. Everything has changed.”

And that's just fine with Democrats. Saturday a suburban swing district in Delaware-- where the same GOP candidate narrowly lost 51-49% last time he ran-- annihilated the Trumpist candidate, 7,314 votes (58.13%) to 5,127 (40.75%). His campaign slogan was "Make Delaware First Again." That's a big swing in a swing district and it can be attributed to 2 related factors: a doubling of special election turnout and Donald J. Trump. The election was very much a referendum on his first 30 days.

Yesterday NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released a poll showing Trump's job approval numbers continuing to slide. No one has ever seen a president become so unpopular with the American people sop fast-- which is even more notable when you understand that Republicans just love him. It's normal Americans who detest him so thoroughly. A large majority ofAmericans find him temperamentally unfit to be president, dishonest and ignorant and untrustworthy. NBC: "Trump's job approval rating stands at just 44 percent-- a record low for a newly inaugurated commander-in-chief-- and half of Americans say that his early challenges suggest unique and systemic problems with his administration... In the poll, conducted February 18-22, 48 percent of Americans said they disapprove of Trump's performance as president and 32 percent said that his first month in office demonstrates that he is not up to the job. Asked about early challenges in the first month of his presidency, 52 percent called the issues 'real problems' that are specific to his administration, while 43 percent of Americans attributed them to typical 'growing pains' for any new president.
Trump begins his tenure in a dramatically less popular position than any of his predecessors. He is the only president in the history of modern polling to begin his first term with a net negative approval rating-- and it's not close. Compared to Trump's net negative rating of -4 percent, Barack Obama began his presidency with a net positive 34 percent; George W. Bush and Bill Clinton enjoyed a similar advantage, and George H.W. Bush's score of popular goodwill pushed even higher to a net positive of 45 percent.

Trump also continues to register particularly dismal ratings when it comes to his temperament, with just 18 percent giving his demeanor a thumbs up compared to 55 percent who rank it as poor.
And the analysis of the poll's results end with a warning to Democrats that most will adamantly refuse to hear:
One sentiment that unites the fractured nation is fury at the establishment in Washington. Fully 86 percent of those surveyed said they believe that a small group in D.C. has "reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost."

That includes 88 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats.

But Trump's election has also buoyed the share of Americans who say that the economic and political systems of the United States are NOT stacked against them.

Before the 2016 election, 48 percent of the public said that they faced significant disadvantages because of the country's economic and political systems. That's down to 43 percent in the latest survey, largely because of a big swing in Republican views. Before the November election, 54 percent of Republicans expressed the view that the system was stacked against people like them. After the election of a president who pledged to lift up "the forgotten man," that share plummeted by 14 points.

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At 7:12 PM, Blogger Bill Michtom said...

the analysis of the poll's results end with a warning to Democrats that most will adamantly refuse to hear:
One sentiment that unites the fractured nation is fury at the establishment in Washington. Fully 86 percent of those surveyed said they believe that a small group in D.C. has "reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost."

And those corporate whores just elected Tom Perez to head the DNC.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds a lot like Democrats after Clinton won. Not many complained about his moves to right, they were just happy to win and now here we are a generation later with a party that has no morals and stands for nothing except winning, which only goes to support the greed of the leadership and the venal lackeys clawing at their coattails. I hope the same core destruction of the Republicans follows in a quicker fashion that it has for the Democrats. Both parties fracturing at more or less the same time might be the only hope to salvage our Republic.

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both comments above are salient. Nothing promotes principle malleability like winning.

I would have characterized CPAC more a Bacchanal of evil (greed, hate, fear, revenge) than a carnival of right-wing politics/culture. Closer to the truth. But it's been so since cheney was president.

The "referendum on trump" was in November. Voters, as they always do, failed to rise to the occasion. Sadly, in a binary only world, the "only" other choice was worse, so there was that... Impossible to vote against awful when the result of that will be horrible.

Look, americans are generally just too fucking stupid for their own good. You can read all you want about how dreadful those who just got elected truly are. But unless a connection can be overtly made between the dreadful electeds and voting in the tiny pinhead minds of American voters, nothing will ever change.

We're skiing down a steep slope since 1968. After 8 miserable years of Nixon/ford, we "changed" to Carter who was economically disastrous but environmentally prescient. After that we got 8 disastrous years of Reagan (enabled and ultimately copied by the democraps). Then we "changed" to Clinton, which ended up MOS with $hilbillary actually trying to foment the heritage foundation's health insurance bacchanal and laid the foundation for the 2008 crash. Then we "changed" back to cheney/w and got mushrooming debt to make billionaires out of millionaires, 2 wars, torture and turbos added to the developing 2008 bubble. Then we "changed" to obamanation who picked up the pails of cheney's water and carried on. and on. and on.

So we just "changed" back... and it'll be MOS only faster and faster. Our ski slope just gave way and it's now an avalanche. Hope we enjoy the ride we TOOK OURSELVES ON.

Honestly, I'm flummoxed that the whole house of cards hasn't cratered and burned yet. Can't be that far away.


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