Now trying to dump links as I find them. Still have huge backlog.
1. Gallup approval rates were still 80% for Republicans and 86% for Conservative Republicans (day 254 of term, polled Sep 25 to Oct 1). Then still 81% and 86% (day 261, Oct 2-8). Now 79% and 85% (day 268, Oct 9-16).
Slight decline perhaps due to latest flurry over seeming to want worse healthcare than Obama. But so far much smaller decline when a more serious case could be made about the GOP legislation that Trump nominally supported.
Basic stability of Trump’s base implies no successful challenge from incumbent GOP this term (and no impeachment), general capitulation and large Trumpist party after 2018 mid-terms (including replacements and turncoats). That will be totally different political situation from the current President with no party in Congress, still not widely grasped.
2. This wapo/fairfax article does partially get it:
As usual focus is on need for Democrats to get their act together. Could be just wanting to avoid complacency by acknowledging he is on track to win second term. Incredible levels of complacency among most commentators who just outraged they cannot remove him by sheer indignation rather than contemplating that they could lose again. Does not mention implications of Republican incumbents collapse in 2018. But does see multiple candidates (eg Democrats split and more small party Independents rejecting both does favour Trump who will still have a solid base for a large party). Not aware of the implications of House voting by States when Electoral College deadlocked. Avoids mentioning increasing rejection of political system with low turnout to vote.
We have entered a new era in American politics. The 2016 election exposed how economic, social and cultural issues have splintered the country and increasingly divided voters by age, race, education and geography. This isn’t going to change.
What have changed are the political fault lines that have driven the debate since the early 1980s. Until now, the ideological divides between the parties were largely differences around social issues, defense spending and trade, as well as tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Today, the central issue has become populism as voters have moved away from the two political parties and increasingly self-identified as independents.
In 2016, Trump capitalised on this changing political environment. He consolidated the growing number of angry voters who felt let down by the people and institutions controlling power in the country. Trump’s support from these voters is personal, not ideological. That explains their willingness to stick with him despite his failures of leadership.
Since Trump’s inaugural address, his focus has been on maintaining his support among this loyal base rather than expanding it. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, this could be a winning political strategy.
I have highlighted the ridiculous claim that Trumpists support is personal (which shows total incomprehension). But rest of it basically gets far closer to understanding than I have come to expect from a “Democratic political strategist” (Doug Sosnik).
3. “Calm before the storm”. CNN does know that Trump is running a reality TV show always aimed at attracting attention. They know because he is their main source of their ratings (and they are a major source of his). They treat this as just his narcism rather than a successful means to keep his base mobilized and his opponents totally discombobulated. But I cannot tell whether they also share the widespread fears that something might blow up over North Korea or Iran or it is just part of CNN’s contribution to the show. The hysterical commentary on those “dangers” does not seem to differ much from the hysterical commentary about anything to do with Trump nor bear any relation to anything actually (not) happening in the real world, like actual changes in force posture, let alone deployments.
4. I haven’t been following Brexit details as it seemed clear to me that the last British election must inevitably result in reversing Brexit. This article from the anti-Brexit Guardian tends to confirm that this is getting closer. Whatever the legal situation, “Outer rim” like Norway and Switzerland might well be a feasible intermediate stage, but long term the “core” that will become a European Federal State will include both them and Britain.
5. Meanwhile the Catalan referendum may provoke more breakouts of nationalities into independent States. But this is in a context where the nationalities remaining part of the EU reflects growing assimilation of nations rather than increasing nationalism. Could happen with Scotland if reversing Brexit delayed too long. Bizarre contradictory trends in Poland and Hungary that espouse strident populist nationalism but need EU.
6. This level of imbecility was quite common in liberal and pseudoleft blogs during Iraq war. Now it is mainstream media.
7. Here is a former speech writer for George W Bush disintegrating. Trump is so stupid and ignorant he doesn’t know why he won in 2016 so he won’t win in 2020. His opponents who lost on the other hand are very clever.
8. Trump is clearly nuts. Convincing people of that will save us from imminent nuclear catastrophe.
(People who understand this are sane, cool and rational should be put on a panel to decide whether people elected to political office should be removed from it for being so insane as to not agree with them.)
9. New Yorker ridicules the psychiatrists above. Seems quite rational (unlike New Yorker) until the last paragraph that suggests it is is Trump voters who should be diagnosed and prevented from installing such dangers to humanity in positons of power. I am honestly not sure whether it is being sarcastic.
10. On the other hand this satirical item from New Yorker is unmistakably sarcastic.
It would not be possible to write and laugh at that piece without getting how utterly ludicrous the impeachment “campaign” has been.
10. Here’s a fairly detailed analysis of the recent healthcare announcements.
As far as I can make out it demonstrates plausibly that the results will be:
* talking points of Democrats claiming that funding cuts will hurt poorer voters in Trump’s base most.
(Media is indeed full of articles repeating those talking points – so far with surprisingly small decline in Trump’s approval rate among Republican primary voters).
* actual substantial rise in Federal tax rebates to those voters (as premium rises for poorer tax payers are automatically refunded directly to the taxpayer) so as usual no actual substance to Democrat talking points.
* thus massively increasing the fiscal deficit that Trump needs for an economic climate conducive to second term.
* substantial rise in premiums for better off voters that don’t get tax rebates for poverty
* thus putting major pressure on GOP to fix the problem or get wiped out by Democrats in mid-terms
* no pressue whatever on Democrats who have every incentive to offer nothing or split over whether to demand a single payer system that would be a real improvement.
So natural question would be, “what is there for Trump not to like?”
But since they still don’t get it that Trump is at war with the GOP and the Democrats are still irrelevant they are deeply puzzled as to why Trump would do such a thing. Some complicated theory that preserves their assumption that he is so stupid he doesn’t realize that his claim to be putting pressure on the Democrats rather than the GOP is nonsense.
Still got a huge backlog, but will leave it there for now.