It is Saturday Afternoon, So Let Us Wring Our Hands and Rend Our Garments


The British election has engendered another burst of hand wringing and garment rending among progressives. Actually, as Eric Levitz writes—tongue firmly planted in cheek—“in a shocking turn of events, the outcome vindicated every American political commentator’s proposed strategy for defeating Trump in 2020.”

Levitz has lots of other interesting things to say as well—from his perspective as a Democratic Socialist—but I want to turn instead to Ed Kilgore’s companion piece in New York Magazine. In five paragraphs, Kilgore accurately distinguishes between the forest and the trees.

One key fact is that there has been no impeachment backlash.

A second key fact is that Trump’s popularity remains unchanged. That’s because “you are either repelled by him, or are overjoyed that he repels people you dislike.”

A third key fact is that his national approval level is so low that it would be a big stretch for him to win the Electoral College. Not an impossibility, but a major stretch.

The Really Astonishing Thing

If the numbers were reversed—if 53.2 percent of us loved his ass, while 41.9 percent hated his guts, rather than the other way around—it might not be breathtakingly odd to make arguments intended to appeal only to 53 percent of voters, arguments destined to disgust and repulse the 42 percent who are against you.

But, on impeachment and much else, Trump is appealing exclusively to 42 percent of the population while spitting in the eye of everything else.

And, for this, fellow hand wringers and garment renders, let us be truly thankful.