Trump’s Poll Numbers


Know yourself, know the enemy, said Sunzi—we used to call him Sun Tzu.

Last night David Brooks annoyed the pee out of me by repeating the claim that Trump’s approval rating has increased from 39 percent to 49 percent—and attributing that alleged rise to impeachment.

Now, you may wallow in defeatism, or you may try to learn the facts, both the good news and the bad news. If you wish to do the latter, please look at Aaron Blake, Trump exits impeachment apparently unscathed as his poll numbers reach highs.

Best to read Blake’s piece, not my shorthand summary. But if you really want a shorthand summary, here it is.

  1. Trump is currently at the top of his historical range of “approval.” What the top of his historical range is, depends on which poll you are talking about. But it’s pretty clearly south of 49 percent.
  2. It is clear that impeachment has not hurt Trump’s approval rating.
  3. It is unclear whether impeachment has helped him, or whether his current position at the top of his range arises from something else, like the persistently high stock market.
  4. If we dig a little deeper, we see that there has been a narrowing between those who “strongly disapprove” and those who “strongly approve.” There are 42 percent of the former and 35 percent of the latter.
  5. Fact number 4 is very concerning. It’s also not readily explicable, other than by reference to the economy and the stock market.
  6. But the gap between those who strongly disapprove and those who strongly approve is still at seven percent.
  7. The fact that only seven percent more people hate his guts than love his ass is not exactly a polling triumph for Trump.

Additional Fun Fact: after Clinton’s impeachment his approval stood at 73 percent.


Whataboutism, Obfuscation, Preemptive Framing, and Misdirection


CBS News poll: Majority of Americans and Democrats approve of Trump impeachment inquiry

Sarah Longwell, Trump’s PR Meltdown:

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, this playbook worked for us the first time around with that whole Russia thing. A deft combination of whataboutism, obfuscation, preemptive framing, and misdirection is all we need to pull this off.”

Here’s the problem: Unlike the two-volume, 430-page Mueller report, the whistleblower report is 9 pages long. The central allegation is clear-cut and easy to understand. And it has already been proven true with the release of the call summary between Trump and Ukraine’s president.

You can try to spin the facts and fall back on process-arguments—but the battlespace is much smaller and the tempo is much faster than the Mueller wars. Most people will be able to read the report and anyone who doesn’t can clearly understand what happened: The president was acting like a mafia don by talking about the kind of “help” he could give Ukraine and then asking for “favors.” I mean, even Chris Christie understands that this is a problem: In an attempt to pre-spin all of this before the call summary was released, Christie insisted that it would only be bad for Trump if he said something blatantly extortive. Like, “do me a favor.”

Oops. Again.

Also, the Democrats and the media may be on to you. They’ve seen you run this play before and they’ve made adjustments. And the American people aren’t so sure anymore, either. In fact, a majority of them now back the impeachment inquiry. Including nearly 1-in-4 Republicans.


Democratic candidate for US President Kamala Harris, Oakland, USA - 27 Jan 2019

CNN Poll: Harris and Warren rise and Biden slides after first Democratic debates

Politico, Harris allies see sexism and desperation in Biden camp backlash

I am not paid by the word—in fact, I am not paid at all. So I have no reason to spin this out, beyond three very brief, and very fundamental, points.

Point One. Joe Biden is a nice guy, but he is too damn old to be president and too damn old to run for president.

Trust me on this one. Take it from an old guy, but one who is not quite as old as Biden.

Point Two. Joe Biden royally screwed up two prior presidential runs. Children, in a world of great uncertainty, here’s something you can take to the bank: if you screwed it up twice already, you are probably going to screw it up again.

Point Three. Kamala is a brilliant prosecutor and debater. Her debate performance was no fluke. It was no accident. It was no flash in the pan. If you are a brilliant prosecutor and debater, then you are going to filet your next victim the same way you skewered your last opponent. You will do it again. And again. And again.

The Donald is said to be scared of her. That shows that, despite everything, the man has a certain animal cunning, a certain insight for self-protection.

One of my posse asked whether Trump might just skip the presidential debates. I think he will do that very thing.

More Midnight Reading

As I write, we are nigh upon the stroke of midnight. If you are still up and want some sweet dreams, try these two reads.

Rachel Bitecofer, With 16 Months to go, Negative Partisanship Predicts the 2020 Presidential Election

Yes, and according to the author, it also predicts that the Democrats will win 278 electoral votes and the Republicans, 197.

You may be the kind of person who is inclined to scoff at this type of analysis. Do feel free to scoff away, to your heart’s content. But, just for a fun parlor game, read Dr. Bitecofer’s analysis and explain to yourself exactly where you think she’s wrong.

Eugene Robinson, Never Trumpers have a decision to make

Enjoy a good belly laugh, along with Eugene, as he chortles over all those Never Trumpers who have taken to their fainting couches, aghast at the prospect that the Democratic Party might nominate an actual Democrat to run for president.

Plutarch’s Life of Trump


Thanks to Hans for this morning’s quotation from Plutarch’s Life of Lucullus:

The first messenger, that gave notice of Lucullus‘ coming was so far from pleasing Tigranes that he had his head cut off for his pains; and no man dared to bring further information. Without any intelligence at all, Tigranes sat while war was already blazing around him, giving ear only to those who flattered him.

For more Plutarch-worthy source material see Trump is afraid he’ll lose reelection, and he’s in a fury over it.

Ms. Motivated Reasoning Might Have Some Good Points Today


Jennifer Rubin used to be in the can for the Mittster. But she never jumped on the Trump Train. Today she writes, Maybe Trump’s incredible poll drop is real. Clearly the wish is father to the thought, both for Jennifer Rubin and for Arius Aardvark. But she makes some good points.

Last week, Washington Post/ABC: Trump approval dropped to 36 percent. And this week, from that bastion of socialism, Investor’s Business Daily: Trump’s Approval Number Nose-Dives, Dems’ Blue Wave Might Be Building: IBD/TIPP Poll. A few jewels from the latter poll:

  • one-month approval rating drop among Republicans, from 83 percent to 76 percent
  • one-month drop among men, from 49 percent to 40 percent
  • one-month drop among rural folk, from 60 percent to 45 percent

Drivin’ that wedge, baby. Drivin’ that wedge. Clear through the heart of the Republican Party. Getting down to the hard core white identity cultural resentment crowd. Creatin’ a HUUUUUUGE base of subscribers for the Trump Channel, following resignation or impeachment.

Meanwhile, the 25 percent of rabid Trump supporters will be revved up to a fare-the-well, and every single racist mother’s son and daughter will turn out in November. But it won’t be enough.

But what’s going on? The economy is booming. What gives? Jennifer identifies four Republican problems:

  1. If it’s this bad for Republicans when the economy is so good, imagine what will happen when a recession starts.
  2. Wage stagnation.
  3. Recovery has been underway for ten years, and voters take it for granted.
  4. Non-stop scandals.


Good day to readers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. Chào mừng.

blue wave