Two Repentant Sinners, Having an Epiphany

prodigaql son

Emma Green, Why Some Christians ‘Love the Meanest Parts’ of Trump: The writer Ben Howe grew up in the world of conservative evangelicalism. When he looks at the religious right now, all he sees is a thirst for power and domination.


Howe is still an evangelical, but he thinks—and thinks very correctly—that Trump and his “evangelistic” enablers are given evangelical Christianity a very bad name.

Scaramucci still supports Trump’s plutocratic agenda, but has come to realize that worshipping a jackass is not the best long-term strategy to advance that agenda.

I do not respect Ben How or Anthony Scaramucci, and I do not plan to invite either to my next dinner party. Nor do I claim that Ben How or Anthony Scaramucci is representative of the worlds from whence they came—respectively, evangelical Christianity and plutocracy. I do not necessarily predict that their exit from the Trump Train presages a wider disembarkation among their respective brethren and sistern.

But I will say this. As it becomes clearer with every passing day that Trump is headed down the crapper in 2020, and that he is going to take a lot of R politicians with him, I would not be at all surprised to see a lot of former Trump enablers striking their paws to their foreheads in the sudden realization that they could have had a V8..



Some of today’s readers come from Denmark. We love you, and we love Greenland. Please keep it.

It’s Mighty White of Trump to Make Us Want to Celebrate National Brotherhood Week

mighty white

Reuters, For Trump, appeals to white fears about race may be a tougher sell in 2020: Reuters/Ipsos poll:

The July 17-22 poll … found that 29% of whites agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage,” down 7 points from a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in August 2017 and 9 points down from another Reuters/Ipsos poll in August 2018.

The poll also found that 17% of whites and 26% of white Republicans said they strongly agree that “white people are currently under attack in this country,” a drop of about 6 points and 8 points respectively from 2017.

Over a Barrel

Over a Barrel

Several recent posts have raised the question, what is the Chinese strategy in the current trade war? I have offered my views and commented on those of Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman. Today, Morning Joe weighed in, prognosticating that in the next few months, Xi Jinping will use his negotiating strength and Trump’s negotiating weakness to cut a really good deal—from China’s perspective.

I disagree. I do think Xi might be tempted by a deal so transparently one sided that it would expose Trump, even to those of the meanest intelligence, as a weak, incompetent charlatan, and thus cost Trump reelection.

But I do not believe Xi will be tempted by a deal that leaves Trump any wiggle room to claim victory and thus to escape the consequences of his own folly.

Here is why I reach that conclusion. Some people are obnoxious, but you can do business with them. Others, you cannot do business with. Mainly because, if you reach a deal, the deal with not stay pinned down. They will enter into a contract to sell Blackacre for a million dollars—and then demand a hundred thousand more at the closing.

I believe Xi wants, and desperately needs, Trump to lose in 2020. Because if he wins, any deal that Xi does in 2019 or 2020 will be up for renegotiation in 2021.

For several millennia, Chinese statecraft has consisted mainly of understanding the barbarians and manipulating the barbarians. They are still at it today.

China has a strong motive to create a recession that will cost Trump the election. It has the means to accomplish this result. And Trump has offered China a wonderful excuse to use its abundant means in support of the goals that motivate it.


Trump is by Way of Taking a Long Walk Off a Short Pier

short pier

Last week’s Fox News poll, along with today’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, offer compelling evidence that Trump is on a trajectory to lose the 2020 election. This is as it should be.

But how might this trajectory be changed? The answer is that Trump would need to do each of two things. And if he did both of those things, he would have a shot at victory. (I still think he would lose, but the election would be a damn sight closer than it’s going to be, given how things are going right now.)

Thing One

With respect to the trade wars—and most especially the trade war with China—Trump would need to do what Senator George Aiken proposed, back in the Vietnam War era. That is to say, he would have to declare victory and then retreat.

In doing so, he might save us from a recession.

Thing Two

He would also have to dial back his batshit craziness—from about a 9, where it is now, to maybe a 2 or a 3.

Dialing back the batshit craziness might allow some of the fetus people, the judge people, and the tax cut people to remember how much they love the fetuses, the judges, and the tax cuts, so that they can refocus from how much they hate Trump’s batshit craziness.

That would probably increase Trump’s vote by about three percent, and might put him in spitting distance of a victory.

“He Doesn’t Have it in Him”

Some pundits shake their heads and mutter sagely, “But he doesn’t have it in him” to do what he needs to do. But I really don’t know. Faced with annihilation, people often have it in them to do things they would not otherwise be willing to do. So I just don’t know.

The Wall Street Journal Would Like You to Know that the WSJ Poll Makes the WSJ Pee in its Pants

The Journal buries its report on today’s NBC/WSJ poll so deep that the article can hardly be found. Once you find it, the headline ludicrously spins the results: 2020 Democrats See Favorability Ratings Slide: Three leading Democratic presidential candidates are viewed more negatively by Americans than positively, a new WSJ/NBC News poll finds.

After expatiating on this theme for five paragraphs, the article finally gets to the part where the man bites the dog, and discloses that

Still, registered voters in the new survey picked a generic Democratic candidate over President Trump, by a margin of 52% to 40%. Among suburban voters, there has been an 8-point decrease in support for Mr. Trump from 2016 exit polling.

After which, the article abruptly ends.