1. Gallup approval day 331, Dec 11-18, 77%/83% Republican/Conservatiive Republican. Decline again.
Here’s some celebration that Trump support and GOP identification sliding in polls. Given the media onslaught on Trump and the likelihood that this will still result in a large Trumpist party in Congress from 2018 I would have thought they would be less celebratory and more worried about how small an impact the onslaught has had.
Details of slide in GOP identification:
Democrat identification remains steady so most leaving GOP are not becoming Democrat identified but “independent” and potentially available for a split in GOP. Their leaving implies greater proportion of Trumpists voting in GOP primaries and so consolidates the likely emergence of a Trumpist party in Congress after 2018.
Widespread expectations of a Democrat majority in House of Representatives seem entirely plausible to me, despite being so widespread. Given the total discombobulation of Democrats it is interesting that I haven’t seen any analysis from others suggesting that a Democrat majority facing a Trumpist minority in Congress might be a far better environment for Trump than the present one. Do people actually imagine that voters will be favourably impressed towards the Democrat candidate in 2020 by the results of another two years of gridlocked disfunction in Washington that Trump will be able to blame on them?
If I was a Democrat I would prefer to remain a minority in the House and be able to keep on pretending that Trump is to blame for the GOP’s disfunctionality (and would prefer not to be stuck with having to irritate and demoralize everybody by unsuccessfully impeaching him).
No real confirmation of Democrat split yet, but it would be hard to stay united in that situation.
2. Nearly all the commentary is celebrating Alabama as defeat for Trump and sign of things to come. Here’s two antidotes:
3. Some confirmation that Jerusalem announcement was about shoring up alliance with Evangelicals (whose support for Trump has declined significantly):
Likudniks are less enthusiastic than Christian Zionists about the end-times, conversion of the Jews etc but they sure need allies (and most other Zionists still want to pretend they want “peace” rather than more pieces).
Here’s their allies (and a significant part of Trump’s coalition):
Roughly a third of the American evangelical population, which is something like 15 million people.
Why are these evangelicals so interested in the fate of Israel?
These are the folks who believe that there will be a millennium in the future, a golden age, where Christ reigns on Earth, [and] they believe that before Christ will return, there will be a tribulation where Christ defeats evil. There will be natural disasters and wars, and perhaps an Antichrist, as the book of Revelations notes. Then at the end of that period, the people of the Mosaic covenant, including the Jews, will convert. Then after their conversion, the great millennium starts.
And what about the people who don’t convert? What becomes of them?
Well, according to the evangelicals who believe this, they’ll end up with the rest of the unsaved, which means they’ll be wiped out and sent to hell.
One would think it would not be difficult for opponents of that coalition for the end of days to win. Problem is the liberals also believe the unsaved will be wiped out and sent to hell (by the “intelligence community” or other saviours).
In addition they also have their fair share of Zionist extremists. Even though most pro-Zionist American jews are even less enthusiastic than Likudniks about making an issue of Jerusalem you can rely on a Democrat leader to boldly go where not even Trump went and loudly proclaim he urged Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel ie he wants credit for explicitly demanding acceptance of the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem – the capital of any future Palestinian State.
4. Bernie Sanders is following the standard line on tax cuts. Joining the GOP pretence that those cuts that go to majority will expire in 10 years (to pretend to balance the budget) while also saying that they won’t, so there will eventually be huge budgetary pressure for cutbacks in necessary government services. This line may work in very short term, but only among people who still pay attention to what the media reports. When it comes to election time, what matters is the actual impact, which will be positive at that time. I would have thought Bernie would have more sense than the rest of the Democrats and explain that yes, it will have a positive effect until election time and that long term it can only make the crisis being postponed worse. But I guess that would require coming up with a positive program for transition from capitalism, and that’s our problem, not his. Just saying the truth, without having that alternative program, only helps the standard GOP/Koch brothers line against deficits and for cutbacks.
On the bright side, this direct connection between current politicking and economic theory about postponing and intensifying capitalist crisis does help clarify the need to get the theory right and formulate economic policies for transition from capitalism guided by a coherent theory.
5. The consumerist Trump hater’s gift guide. No this isn’t a sendup, it really is at the Guardian:
6. It’s been so bizarre following Trump news for the past year that I hadn’t noticed we are now in the silly season.
Latest BREAKING NEWS development is not just a BOMBSHELL, its an EXPLOSIVE bombshell!!
A Democrat has speculated that there are RUMORS that Trump MIGHT fire Mueller!!!!
National Review says this would be INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!
This NEWS totally DWARFS the CNN report that Trump’s PARANOIA that his enemies are trying to undermine his electoral victory by linking him to Putin is TERRIFYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hmmm, come to think of it, when you look closely at these stories maybe Trump will fire Mueller. With the Congressional inquiries moving towards shutting down due to having nothing to inquire into and reports that Mueller could wind up soon with the same conclusion, there may be no other way to keep Trump’s opponents obsessed with this distraction…
It’s even got to the point where they are trying to convince themselves that if they cannot get him for colluding with Russia they can demand a coup based on the fact that he liked Wikileaks (which is one step removed from Russia).
Who knows how many steps closer to thinking about actual reality they might get if they were enabled to stop blithering about Russia?
Nah, even a totally paranoid Trump could not be worried that his opponents might start thinking coherently. If he was worried about that then he would be even more worried that sacking Mueller could be seen through as a transparent ploy to keep it going.
But then, sacking Comey worked for months. So it could be worth a try? It would be so easy to do, all it took to set them down this rabbit hole was a GOP member of the House of Representatives boasting that he had advised Trump to sack Mueller. One could keep them going for months just by having Trump actually hint he was interested in such advice…
On the other hand, why bother? Trump denying that he might sack Mueller works just as well as hinting he might to get them going. At this point there is no way to prevent the media making idiots of themselves, let alone a need to work out ways to ensure they continue doing so.
Here is the sort of stuff that Trump will have to face from the “resistance” if they ever do stop blithering about Russia:
Ivanka Trump accused of ‘conflict of interest’ after opening shop in New York’s Trump Tower
Since the Democrats KNOW they deserve to win they are quite capable of going all the way to the 2020 elections with absolutely nothing to say about anything meaningful, even without further distraction. It is reasonably certain that Ivanka Trump did not setup shop in Trump Tower with the strategic aim of distracting idiots, but as the idiots have claimed, she would have done it to exploit other idiots.
7. I just came across this “Resistance Guide” promoted by “Democratic Socialists of America” (which has roots going back to the Social Democrats that helped establish movements like SDS in the 1960s and is now closely related to the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrats):
I strongly recommend downloading and reading the whole 72pp. It is valuable in itself as a reminder of what serious broad left mass politics looks like (with a focus on polarization and trigger protests appropriate to the earlier stages aimed at reaching the first 3.5% that is necessary before actual mass organization can take off). It is also important as a warning about how easily that can be adapted to ruling class politics. Their initial focus on “monthly” trigger protests is not intended to lead to actual mass organization and potential revolution but to a second focus on “weekly” pressuring politicians and more relevant institutions, building to a final focus on taking over the Democrat party.
Came across it via link for “increasing popularity of left-wing groups outside of the (Democrat) party” in a liberal rant:
That in itself indicates that they are starting to have some impact. They at least “exist” in the sense that mainstream politicking is aware of their existence and others can find out about them from that – it is the same sense in which a broad left once existed many decades ago in Australia and other developed countries. That provided a milieu in which a harder and sharper left could and did grow and even got to the point of existing once. The fact that they have to explain these basic concepts about organizing the people by reference to successes of the “Tea Party” and the CIA’s “color revolutions” is a reminder of how long it has been since there actually was any sort of broad left.
I think there are real possibilities of such a milieu existing again soon. It looks like a very plausible approach to splitting the Democrats and possibly winning office or becoming the main opposition if Trump still wins in 2020. Far more plausible that this could gain traction than that the liberal pap in the mass media remains unchallenged as the only alternative to Trumpism. Whether they end up governing or as the main opposition, it would be important to understand this trend and work with the people mobilized by it and be able to help a harder and sharper left grow again when the Social Democrats again prove unable to deliver. (For similar reasons it was important to understand the Tea Party and now Trumpists).
There a lots of indications this is just more pseudoleftism. The limitation to “circles” of no more than 15 is a dead giveaway that the “movement organizers” intend to remain a top down leadership of an atroturf “movement” only capable of helping spread slogans chosen by others and not capable of developing independent policies. Classical “Soros”. The “meeting script” at the resources guide makes this quite explicit. Just “resonating”, no asking questions, certainly no policy making.
But similar politics has a significant mass base in Britain as well as Spain, Greece and Eastern Europe, so why not America and Australia? There is still no organized left that can help people participating in politics to learn to think by actually having to discuss policy and tactic. The Occupy movement, demonstrated how easily such movements can be contained and dissipated even though it did not start out as astroturf.
I intend to just keep monitoring the mainstream while studying economics. It would be very good if others followed up on what’s happening with attempt to re-establish Social Democrat politics by monitoring their blogs etc. They might become part of the mainstream again and if so, they could either provide an opening for political engagement or an effective block to it that needs to be thoroughly understood in order to overcome it.
BTW here’s an amusing video clip rebutting far right paranoia about “Soros”, (but far too skillfully done to refute my leftist paranoida about “movements” sponsored by “leftist” billionaires inspired by the Koch brothers success with the Tea Party).