Yo, Garment Renders, You Might Want to Check This Out

garment render

Here’s the latest Morning Consult polling on Trump’s approval in 15 states, where the 2020 race may be close. The second column shows how the state voted in 2016. The third column shows Trump’s negative or positive approval currently.

  Trump 2016 Vote Net % Trump Current Approval

Net %

Arizona plus 3.57 minus 4
Colorado plus 4.91 minus 15
Florida plus 1.20 plus 1
Georgia plus 5.09 minus 3
Iowa plus 9.41 minus 13
Michigan plus 0.23 minus 14
Minnesota plus 1.51 minus 13
Nevada plus 2.42 minus 7
New Hampshire minus 0.37 minus 15
North Carolina plus 3.66 minus 2
Ohio plus 8.13 minus 5
Pennsylvania plus 0.72 minus 7
Texas plus 8.99 plus 3
Virginia minus 5.32 minus 7
Wisconsin plus 0.77 minus 14

In Sum

Trump carried 13 of these 15 swing states in 2020. Now, his approval is under water in 13 of the 15.

In Context

Some Trump “Approvers” Will Vote Against Trump, Depending on the Democratic Candidate

That’s what lots of polling has shown. (Presumably, when the pollster asks if they “approve of the job Trump is doing as President,” they think of some policy or outcome they like, such as their big tax cut.)

You Can Fool Some of the People All of the Time, and Now We Know Who They Are, and There Aren’t Enough of Them

The 2016 data show that just over half of Wisconsinites could be fooled at least some of the time. But the 2019 data show that only 36 percent of them can be fooled all of the time.

The Trump Sorting Hat

sorting hat

The Trump effect on the country is like the Hogwarts sorting hat. It drives away everyone who can’t be fooled all of the time.

What about Impeachment?

I entertain not the slightest doubt—zero, zilch, nada—that if the case for impeachment were weak on the facts OR if it were weak as a matter of constitutional principle, the effort to impeach would be a negative for Democrats. That it might, for example, push some of the 15 percent of Wisconsinites who have changed their minds since 2016 to rethink their views and change their allegiance back to Trump.

But the Democrats’ case is very strong on the facts, and it is very strong on constitutional principle.

The Republicans deny the facts and ignore the constitutional principle. But sayin’ ain’t showin’. It’s true that if you tell the same lies over and over, your lies may tend to get accepted as truth. But that rule of thumb doesn’t work so well if, every time you repeat your lie, a voice of equal strength sounds off to explain why it is a lie.

And that Hogwarts sorting hat just keeps on sortin’.











He Can Name Barron, But He Cannot Name Barron a Baron


Alexandra Petri, Pamela Karlan committed the one unspeakable crime:

At last they have gone and done it. They have crossed that last frontier of decency. They have insinuated the unbearable — nay, the unthinkable: that Barron Trump is not a baron.

“While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” said Professor Pamela Karlan at the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing. I am chagrined to retype the words, so obviously loathsome are they. To state that a child is not a baronet — this is the worst kind of speech, and one of many reasons we ought to consider tightening up that First Amendment. …

No, this indignation is entirely justified. To allude to the fact that the president has minor children who are not royalty is the unkindest cut of all, and we must leave them out of it.

This outrage is certainly not trumped up — oh, no, now I have gone and invoked a child’s last name, too. Surely the tumbrel is coming for me.

All Seriousness Aside

All seriousness aside, sarcastic humor has its place. Like in this blog. Or, better yet, in an Alexandra Petri column.

But a witness is always advised to stay away from sarcastic humor while witnessing. It generally does not go over well.

Advocates Gonna Advocate

ballistics expert

Yesterday, Professor Turley’s role was as an expert witness advocate, not a scholar delivery an unbiased opinion grounded in factual and legal scholarship. Dana Milbank nails down the point:

[Turley] made almost exactly the opposite case against President Barack Obama in a 2013 hearing. “This will not be our last president,” he argued then, saying it would be “very dangerous” to the balance of powers not to hold Obama accountable for assuming powers “very similar” to the “the right of the king to essentially stand above the law.”

Now we have a president soliciting campaign help from a foreign country while withholding military aid, then ignoring duly issued subpoenas — and Turley says Congress would be the entity committing an “abuse of power” if it holds Trump to account. Trump shared that quote on Twitter.

Back in 1998, arguing for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, Turley said there was “no objective basis” to claim that the Framers intended a “restrictive definition of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ ” Now Turley argues that the Framers intended a restrictive definition, applying “bribery” only to “money” transactions.

How Did Turley Do as an Advocate?

Tone and Manner

He affected the tone and manner of a coolly aloof, highly confident person masquerading as an objective expert, all while mouthing arguments in support of his client.

Pretty much what you want in an expert witness.

I turn now from theater criticism to substance.

Turley’s Approach to His Job as Expert Witness Advocate

Let’s say you are an advocate—whether as lawyer or expert witness, it doesn’t matter, because you’re all on the same team—for a bad client with a rotten case. There are two things you don’t want to do, and one thing you do want to do.

You do not want to just throw spaghetti at the wall, in a transparently desperate effort to divert the judge’s and the jury’s attention from your client’s wickedness. It’s unethical, but it’s still a bad idea, even if you lack scruples, because it’s unlikely to work.

And, if you’re an expert witness, you do not want to abuse your credentials as an expert by offering an opinion that is just bullshit. If, for example, you are an expert on materials science, you do not want to offer bullshit testimony about tensile strength. (One: you’ll get found out. Two: because you’ll get found out, your client will probably lose. Three: it’s really bad for your future employment prospects as an expert witness.)

Here’s what you do want to do: you want to ask yourself, “Self, what plausible or semi-plausible arguments can I make that do not make me look like a charlatan and sound like a fool?” If that’s the way you approach the task, you will probably find some plausible or semi-plausible arguments that fill the bill.

I would say that Turley generally approached his with the right mindset.

The Standard of Impeachability and the Constitutional Definition of “Bribery”

He probably did about the best he could do to support a losing case.

Ditto for the views he shared on the timing of impeachment.

Likewise for his opinion on the “thinness” or “thickness” of the factual record.

He probably understood that his job was not to convince the unpersuaded. His job was to give the Trump Cultists some talking points that would appeal to them.

A Bridge Too Far for Professor Turley

For legal scholars and advocates, thinking about hypothetical cases is as natural as eating a ham sandwich for lunch. So the professor thought of a hypothetical case: a case where Congress—or at least one branch of Congress—violates the balance of power by refusing to recognize the judicial branch’s constitutional right to referee disputes between the legislature and the executive over what is or is not a proper assertion of executive privilege, and over what documents and testimony must or must not be provided in response to a congressional subpoena.

Turley’s expert opinion was that, in such a case, Congress would be abusing its power.

And so it would, in that hypothetical case.

It’s a perfectly fine hypothetical, and Turley’s analysis is perfectly fine.

The problem is that in the real world, it’s not Congress that is denying the constitutional principle of checks and balances. It’s Trump.

It was unprofessional for Turley, even as an advocate, to ignore or misstate legally relevant facts.

Auditioning for Defense Counsel in the Senate Trial?

I believe that is what Turley is up to.

Clearly, the job is currently vacant.

Turmp could do a lot worse. And probably will.




Laughed Out of Europe

laughed out of Europe

The Bulwark, Of Course Trump Was Laughed Out of the NATO Summit:

Earlier today, President Donald Trump cancelled his press conference at the NATO summit, called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau two-faced, and abruptly left the summit altogether after video surfaced of Trudeau, Boris Johnson, and Emmanuel Macron talking about the American president with utter contempt.

Trump seemed surprised that, after three years of crapping all over America’s allies, they do not hold him in high regard.


Lots of readers from Canada today. You all have a leader who is two faced. Better that, than a leader who is half assed.

It Usually Stops Working Around the Age of Five

toddler psychology

Jonathan Chait, Macron Uses Toddler Reverse Psychology Trick to Fool Trump Into Supporting NATO:

Today is another meeting of NATO, an organization Trump has denounced and undermined for years. The keenest minds in what remains of the free world have set themselves to the task of distracting Trump long enough to get through the NATO summit without dissolving the alliance in a tantrum. … The plans include flattering Trump with an elaborate dinner at Buckingham Palace, and presenting a series of trumped-up concessions to make it appear the allies have buckled to Trump’s demands by increasing their spending, thereby allowing him to claim victory rather than storming out in a huff. …

Amusingly, what seems to have worked instead is Emmanuel Macron’s completely different ploy. The French president gave an interview last month decrying the “brain death” of NATO, which he said had failed to account for America’s shrinking commitment under Trump.

Trump himself has called NATO “obsolete,” openly questioned whether the U.S. would come to the defense of allies under attack (the very foundation of the alliance), and privately told aides on several occasions last year he wants to withdraw from the alliance. But the notion that somebody else would question NATO, and blame its demise on Trump, has enraged him.

And now Trump is lashing out at Macron. “NATO serves a great purpose,” he declared today. “And I hear that President Macron said NATO is ‘brain dead.’ I think that’s very insulting to a lot of different forces … When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to 28 — including them — 28 countries.”

Manipulating children into doing what you want by pretending to demand they do the opposite thing is a trick most parents learn to use. It usually stops working around the age of 5.