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.

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