As the Rough Beast Slouches Slowly Away from Bethlehem

The First Tweet of the Day

Very Stable Genius

That, no shit Sherlock, was the first tweet of the day.

Not a Well Man

Peter Wehner, Trump Is Not Well: Accepting the reality about the president’s disordered personality is important—even essential.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. A whole bunch of French fries short of a Happy Meal.

Slip Slidin’ Away

Bill Kristol hangs out over at thebulwark.com. Kristol’s smarmy face would be the perfect illustration for a poster bearing the legend OFTEN IN ERROR BUT NEVER IN DOUBT. So, when reading thebulkwark, I understand that you need to consider the source and take everything with a grain of salt.

All that said, let me recommend Bruce Gyory, No Man Is an Island (But Trump Is Getting Kind of Lonely): The polls show the president grew more unpopular over the summer. After diving deeply into the data, Gyory sums up,

The media ought to pay particular attention to the percentage of registered voters who think Trump does not deserve re-election and how crucial subsets like independents, suburban residents, and white women with less than a college education feel about the economy, given how strongly opposed other groups are to Trump’s re-election( i.e., millennials, college educated white women and minority voters, especially minority women). Moreover, if a majority of the electorate comes to lose faith that Trump is advancing an economic recovery, given their long held mistrust of his handling of foreign policy and race relations, then Trump will be adrift in harsh political waters heading into next November.

Of course things can change. Trump can right his ship politically and events tied to Democratic mistakes can change the current pattern. But there is nothing verifiable in the most recent polling data to make the case that Trump is on the cusp of turning things around.  Yet, too many pundits remain all too traumatized by Trump having won an inside straight in the Electoral College, when that result was actually predicated upon the harsh de facto anti-incumbent rejection of Hillary Clinton. This anti-incumbent wind remains at gale force heading into 2020, but its wrath appears to be directed at political ship of President Trump, not the vessel of his Democratic opponents.

One wonders if Donald Trump has ever read John Donne. If this September swoon locks in as an enduring measurement of public opinion, perhaps the president ought to  familiarize himself with that poet’s classic admonition. Donne wrote that “No man is an island” before posing the real judgment, “For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

Give It a Rest, Maureen

Maureen Dowd,Let’s Debate: Are Democrats Doomed? Trump changed the game forever.

Maureen, it would appear, shares one key characteristic with The Donald: she trusts her gut more than she trusts the data. Having watched the Democratic debate, which failed to inspire her, Maureen has concluded that Trump is going to win again.

As for me, I don’t trust my gut, I don’t trust Maureen’s gut, and I don’t trust Trump’s gut. I trust the data.

Electability

I conclude with Ronald Brownstein, How Pundits May Be Getting Electability All WrongDemocrats are obsessing over which candidate is most capable of beating Trump. But how voters gauge that is far more complicated than it may seem.

This lengthy thumb sucker is not especially well served by the headline someone wrote for it. Its gist is that pretty much everyone on our side of the aisle places electability as the first priority, but that our primary voters think about electability in ways that are quite different from professional political consultants and politicians. It’s interesting, but provides no definitive insights on who is really right about what qualities a Democratic nominee needs to ensure his or her electability.

There is about the piece the whiff of a suggestion that the unwashed masses of Democratic voters are going to screw things up because they are not experts on who is electable and who isn’t. In principle, that could certainly be the case. But, right now, the unwashed masses of Democratic voters are placing their trust in the candidate who polls best against Trump among all voters. That doesn’t sound like a screwup to me. It sounds like the unwashed masses are following the data, and correctly applying the evidence to think about who is best likely to beat Trump.