Glug, Glug, Glug, Or, No, Faustian Bargains Don’t End Well


This morning, 43.3 percent of “likely or registered voters” “approve” Trump, while 52.9 percent “disapprove.” The difference—9.6 percent—is greater than the amount by which the Democrats won the House vote in 2018. (As usual, the percentages of “approvers” and “disapprovers” don’t add to 100; unsurprisingly, at least 3.7 percent of the adult population is just out to lunch.)

Meanwhile, Trump is polling at 41 or 42 percent against the best known Democrats.

In the United States, in view of the quirks of the Electoral College, you can win the presidency with less than 50 percent of the vote, depending on how your votes are distributed. But you need at least about 45 percent to come within spitting distance of winning.

Vox summarizes: The many 2020 polls are telling a pretty clear story.

Trump is still really unpopular. He’s generally quite unpopular in the most important electoral battleground states too. Here are the raw numbers for Trump in the states that are expected to be competitive in the 2020 election, according to the latest Morning Consult data:

New Hampshire: 39 percent approval, 58 percent disapproval

Wisconsin: 42 percent approval, 55 percent disapproval

Michigan: 42 percent approval, 54 percent disapproval

Iowa: 42 percent approval, 54 percent disapproval

Arizona: 45 percent approval, 51 percent disapproval

Pennsylvania 45 percent approval, 52 percent disapproval

Ohio: 46 percent approval, 50 percent disapproval

North Carolina: 46 percent approval, 50 percent disapproval

Florida: 48 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval

Indiana: 49 percent approval, 46 percent disapproval

It’s a grim picture. Wisconsin and Michigan were critical Midwestern pieces of Trump’s Electoral College puzzle, and he is now deeply unpopular in both states. Pennsylvania was maybe his most surprising win in 2016, and now he is 7 points underwater there. Perhaps Trump can take solace in his even job approval rating in Florida, but that is the only swing state where the president looks as strong as he did on Election Day 2016. Everywhere else, his support has deteriorated.

Glug, Glug, Glug

Much has been made of madness will ensue, and what mischief Trump will make, when he fully grasps that he is headed down the drain. And rightly so.

But an equally important question is how Republican elites will react. What post-Trump future will they envision? For those up for reelection, to what lengths will they go to placate the remaining Trump base? For those not up for reelection in 2020, will they continue to act like resident rodents on Trump’s sinking ship?

For the five Federalist Society justices on the Supreme Court, how much political capital will they want to spend to protect Trump’s sorry ass from the legal liability he so richly deserves?

Call me Pollyanna, but I think that—assuming crass, amoral reasoning on the part of the five Federalist justices—the answer will be, not bloody much.


I now have a reader in Iran, as of this morning. Let’s just try to stay out of war, OK?

Are You an Asymetrical Multiculturalist?


Obama: “We can’t label everyone who is disturbed by migration as racist”

Andrew Sullivan, The Opportunity of White Anxiety

Ronald Brownstein, Trump’s Immigration Policies Unify White Republicans: As the GOP’s political power concentrates in less diverse areas, resistance to the president’s agenda keeps on shrinking.

Brownstein, an acute political observer, acutely observes the main force behind Republican politics. Obama does what Obama does. Sullivan reflects on the expanding definition of whiteness in America, the alleged distinction between racism and mere racial conservatism, and why we should supposedly be concerned about asymmetrical multiculturalism. (Don’t know what that is? I didn’t, until I read Sullivan’s piece.)

I have a more basic point to make. People who aspire to influence and leadership in the progressive movement need to stop hemming and hawing about immigration. They need to have coherent, reasoned, humane, and defensible positions. If they are for open borders, say so, and explain why. If they are not for open borders, they need to say what rules they would apply, and why.

In particular, we need to have a coherent position on immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Yes, I know, we need to help the folks down there build livable countries. No doubt about it. But unless and until that happens, what should the US do about migrants from those countries?


Readers today come from Canada, India, Singapore, the Palestinian Territories, Romania, the UK, and the United States. See y’all soon.