Notes on Trump 9

1. This report regarding Cobb, Trump’s personal counsel for Mueller inquiry and White House official counsel McGahn is consistent with my view that Trump wants the Russia stuff prolonged as it only helps consolidate his base:

Mr. Cobb was heard … saying Mr. McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to….Mr. Cobb argues that the best strategy is to be as forthcoming as possible, even erring on the side of inclusion when it comes to producing documents, because he maintains the evidence will show Mr. Trump did nothing wrong. Mr. McGahn has told colleagues that he is concerned that Mr. Cobb’s liberal approach could limit any later assertion of executive privilege. He has also blamed Mr. Cobb for the slow collection of documents.

(Not suggesting it is strong evidence, but consistent. If I am right, it could not be admitted even to Trump’s personal lawyers, that Trump has an interest in delaying release of anything that could prematurely end the drama so other explanations would have to be provided to them and would annoy them as rejections of their advice on how to best achieve their assumed goal of clearing it all up as quickly as possible. Steve Bannon agreed in a public interviewew that sacking FBI Director had been a huge political blunder, most likely because he cannot reveal the opposite but conceivably because he also does not know.)

2. Trump’s declining gallup approval has stabilized and may be starting to move back up. Now 81% among Republicans and 86% among conservative Republicans. That is for September 11-17. These are the important figures for 2018 primaries and consequently for mid-term elections and subsequent political developments leading up to 2020 presidential elections. Overwhelming opposition among Democrats and others continues and remains irrelevant until after primaries.

3. Above drafted a week ago. Latest gallup for September 18-24 has 82% and 88% so trend clearly back up where it counts for 2018 primaries. I am doing a link dump now for items accumulated over the past week, although Alabama primary tomorrow will be an important indicator.

4. This serious analysis suggests a strong correlation between (“red”) states with higher approval of Trump and larger recent decline in approval. This could of course just be “regression to the mean” but they suggest it correlates with “reluctant Trump voters” who voted Republican against Clinton but might not turn up to stop Democrats in the mid-terms.

That sounds plausible to me but it is natural for Democrat analysts to focus on only the direct implications for Democrats and not look more deeply. They describe it as “suggesting the president’s base isn’t as solid as it once was.” What it also suggests to me is that these “reluctant Trump voters” might well include traditional Republicans who no longer identify as much as Republicans and are therefore less likely to vote in Republican primaries.

Those “reluctant Trump voters” are certainly not Trump’s base. What it suggests to me is that Trump’s (possibly smaller) base is becoming more dominant in the GOP as others leave. (That would not show up in most polls which weight the actual samples according to previously verified assumptions regarding the usually stable proportions of Republicans, Democrats and Independents as well as genders, ethnicities and various ranges of income levels and ages). 

Here’s their conclusion:

We’ve also seen that House Republicans are picking up very few supporters among people who disapprove of Trump’s job performance in national polling. That is, there aren’t a lot of voters who dislike Trump and are still willing to say they’re going to vote Republican.

If red state voters who dislike Trump but voted for him in 2016 abandon the Republican Party in 2018, it could lead to some unexpected electoral results. It’s another reason that Democrats, if they want to maximize their chances of winning back the House, should compete in a wide variety of districts.”

What they don’t notice is that it is another reason to expect that even if Democrats win a House majority they could be faced with a very different GOP and an overall political situation that they are completely unprepared for because the Trumpists could be overwhelming in the Republican primaries.

6.  Meanwhile Trumpists have made it clear that there will be challenges to all incumbents, with or without Trump’s endorsement:


Democrats have attacked the president every which way, but polling and focus groups show none of it’s working.


I think that gets it about right.

10. Democrats are responding to collapse of old GOP by nominating candidates closer to Trump on immigration and other issues. They will certainly be closer to Trump’s party in voting for the big deficits, infrastructure programs, tax cuts (excluding rich) and improved healthcare that he needs for another term in 2020.
11. NBC news explains that Trump wins either way in Alabama primaries.

If Trump’s endorsed candidate, the traditional GOP incumbent Strange, wins despite being massively less popular than his opponent the former Chief Justice of Alabama they know that being loyal to Trump and winning his endorsement could be a hope for surviving the 2018 purge. If he loses to a candidate more deranged than most Trumpists they know they are really stuffed but sucking up to Trump is still their best hope.

12. But Trump is sincerely going all out for Strange because he really is better off with incumbents who will vote as required than with independent crazies who get themselves sacked for defying Supreme Court orders to implementing gay marriage and taking down statues of the 10 commandments from their courts. His method is really simple. Whip up an Alabama crowd by denouncing failure to stand patriotically during the national anthem as a protest that “black lives matter”. Strange thinks that could actually tip the result his way:
13. I can’t even be bothered looking at the vast numbers of items reporting various sports stars and other celebrities joining the protests and the media celebrating how much he is pissing people off by such an outrageous attack on the very foundations of American freedom. But here’s one drawn to my attention by a good friend, that actually notices Trump’s position is shared by a large majority of Americans:
Doesn’t even mention Alabama, but gets it a lot better than the hyperventilation.

Still got lots of old links to dump, but will leave it there for now.

The indigenous imitation game

Republished from Bill Kerr’s blog

“Man is a creature who makes pictures of himself and then comes to resemble the pictures”
– Iris Murdoch, Existentialists and Mystics, p. 75

“the magical power of replication, the image affected by what it is an image of, wherein the representation shares in or takes power from the represented”
– Francesca Merlin (1998), p. 150 quoting Michael Taussig (1993)

Most of us, white fellas, have images of the indigenous “problem”. Some of us even have images of the indigenous “solution”.

Ever since Whitlam, 45 years ago now, indigenous self determination has been on the table. The indigenous will determine their own future. Old style, immoral, coercive assimilation into white culture will be a shameful thing of the past.

Into this power vacuum step indigenous thought leaders who map out the requirements for self determination.

Is this real? Or is it more an imitation of an image of what aboriginality is meant to be. An attractive delusion for the guilt ridden white middle classes down south. (Please, please someone fix this problem, this terrible shame in our nation’s history)

The reality is that aboriginal culture was never a unity but divided into more than 100 different tribes with differing language and cultures. Those different cultures are now positioned in a complex limbo somewhere in between their old partly forgotten, partly degraded traditions and western culture, the good, the bad and the ugly.

“Representations of Aboriginality as made most powerfully by others come to affect who and what Aborigines consider themselves to be. The imitative relation as lived out in Australia has rested on the assumption that Aboriginal cultural production continues to be autonomous from what previously sought to encompass or displace it. Further, the relation often requires from Aborigines demonstrations of the autonomy and long standing nature of what is seen of their cultural production.”
– Francesca Merlin (1998)

Caging the Rainbow by Francesca Merlin (1998)

Notes on Trump 8

UPDATE 1 below

1. Level of bewilderment among “analysts” seems to be increasing. Scott (Dilbert) Adams has a good description of recent “mass hysteria”:

2. Scott also does not rule out Trump inviting Kim Jong-Un over for a hamburger:

(Certainly more plausible than the imminent danger of nuclear war touted in media).

Here’s some more links on the general discombobulation as Trump more or less openly works with Democrats to endanger Republican incumbents in 2018.

3. BBC concludes that Democrat establishment won’t cooperate with Trump, because it would outrage their “resistance” base. More realistically it will intensity the split on Democrats side, since they cannot afford to oppose popular measure but base will continue to be outraged.

4. Why would Trump want to weaken the GOP?

5. This one (from a less ant-Trumpist conservative) is more perceptive, explains why and also why Democrats will cooperate in creating the economic conditions he needs for 2020:

(Oddly ends with idea that Trump only just now starting to grasp the situation accurately described by the article).

6. New Yorker quotes possible outcome from above analysis of Trump/Democrat convergence on populist policies:

“What does that look like?” he wrote. “daca for e-Verify. Minimum wage increase for welfare work requirements. Cutting payroll taxes while raising the phase out. Infrastructure billions for employee labor reforms. Universal catastrophic coverage in exchange for regulatory relief to drive down health care prices.”

New Yorker dismisses that sort of outcome as “fanciful” on bizarre grounds that it would be inconsistent with that magazine’s story that Trump wades “further into the cesspool of white identity politics by ordering the rescinding of Barack Obama’s policy of providing legal protections to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors, which is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or daca? (Trump’s subsequent tweets and verbal statements urging Congress to take action didn’t alter the fact that the government is no longer accepting daca applications, and the program will expire in six months.) ”

7. Anti-Trump nativist conservatives are under no such illusions about what Trump actually did by giving Congress six months to deal with “Dreamers”:

8. But liberals just don’t get it:

9. Neither do mainstream GOP analysts:

10. I would have expected Obama to get it, but apparently not:

Actually it may have been the Guardian taking Obama to be just saying what they want to hear. He was, but on looking at the end of his actual statement I think he does also know that the inevitable result will be that Congress will give Trump the legislation that they would not give Obama:

11. And NYT explains how Trump doing the opposite of what they reported he was doing about “Dreamers” is due to his inconsistency and sudden switch:

12. Here’s a quite serious and thoughtful Democrat analysis:

“Stay tuned for a probable civil war within the GOP pitting feuding factions against each other, and a resurgent Democratic Party making a strong bid to regain control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.”

Obsessive focus on Democrats vs GOP ignores entirely new situation that would result from Trump winning the GOP civil war. Democrats regaining control of House more likely to help Trump win in 2020.

13. This item from Slate seems to have noticed that Trump has just illustrated how he can govern as a bipartisan populist:

“And yet a majority of Republican members who voted—133 out of 223—supported the deal. Likewise, when the Senate approved the deal on Thursday, 33 out of 50 Republican senators supported it.

That’s an encouraging sign for President Trump as he considers making more deals with Democrats down the road. He can simply agree to Democrats’ opening offer, collect all of their votes, and still get about two-thirds of Republican votes, as apparently these people don’t want to oppose their president. He can even send a Wall Street-via-Hollywood smart-ass to insult GOP members ahead of time, just for kicks, and still get their votes. Seems like a model worth replicating in December, or forever”

(But since it was in Slate, maybe it was just being sarcastic about GOP rather than actually noticing. I cannot tell).

14. But this GOP analysis does seem to get some of it:


UPDATE 1 (Minor typos above plus item numbers above, new items below 2017-09-10T1140)

15. NYT notices Trump represents a third party that has upended the two party system:

(But still no mention that he cannot do much without party in Congress and that is why his focus is on the GOP 2018 primaries).

16. “Business analysts” demonstrate their sophistication compared with the ignorant Trump:

““Trump might understand real estate deals, but he’s a rube when it comes to dealing with Congress. The Democrats want more spending, no tax cuts for the rich, and protection for the ‘Dreamers’ — and those goals now look attainable in a mega-deal this winter.”

Should be obvious that Trump wants more spending, populist not GOP tax cuts and comprehensive immigration reform. Business wants that, Trump wants that, Democrats want that. But “analysts” know he is a conservative Republican so they know he cannot be doing what he plainly is doing:






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