Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, February 17th, 2017.


How Dear Leader Might Be Deposed

Trump Maladministration

I don’t know how significant this is, but Even David Brooks doesn’t think the Trump Maladministration is sustainable.

I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.

Of course, Brooks is a rare old-school wingnut who insists that wingnuttery maintain the conventions of civility under the auspicses of Harvard grads. Plebian guns & gawd wingnuttery isn’t really his milieu.

The good news for today is that in the Gallup daily tracking approval/disapproval poll, the so-called president has finally dipped below the 40 percent mark. Today he’s at 38 percent approve/56 percent disapprove. Philip Bump points out that right now Trump’s approval numbers match Barack Obama’s all-time low.

Philip Bump also rights that Trump’s biggest threat is likely to come from moderate Republicans.

Like any president, Trump has a large base of people who will always like him, and a large base of people who will always hate him. In Trump’s case, the latter group may be larger than normal. But neither of these is the group that will decide his fate.

Trump’s presidency lies in the hands of the Trump-curious: the approximately 15% of Americans who dislike him but tell pollsters they think he might do a good job. A lot of these are people who voted for Trump despite having an unfavorable view of him.

With these voters on his side, Trump can wield a fearsome coalition that would help him retain Congress in two years and persuade Republicans and Democrats in Congress to bend to his agenda in the meantime. Without them, he is unpopular and ridiculous.

The “Trump-curious” were discussed by Josh Barro at Business Insider.

These polls show that a surprisingly large group of people — perhaps 15% of registered American voters — disapprove of Trump but are open to the idea that he will be a good president.

This isn’t the largest slice of the electorate. Both Trump superfans and Trump loathers are larger groups than the Trump-curious.

But the median voter is Trump-curious. The next presidential election — and the midterm election to come in 2018, as well the actions of legislators who are driven by perceptions of whether Trump and his agenda are popular — will be determined by how Trump-curious voters feel Trump is doing.

This past election was also decided by the Trump-curious: Trump won overwhelmingly among the substantial number of voters who viewed both him and Hillary Clinton negatively.

I would guess these are not people who pay much attention to politics news. Anyway, Barro says, to keep these voters on his side, Trump will actually have to accomplish things. This voter demographic seems willing to overlook Trump’s many character and psychological flaws, but if he is seen as ineffectual, he’s toast.

To me, this says it’s up to Congress. Trump is not going to change. Never in human history has a man been in so over his head while remaining utterly oblivious to it.

The Republican Party is not happy. And Republicans in Congress are losing the big  mo. They’re still not sure where to go with health care, for example. They’re stalled on a “replacement,” and I take it they’re getting no help whatsoever with the White House. House Republicans also are at war with each other over a tax bill, I understand.

Paul Ryan showed up to Senate Republicans’ weekly lunch on Tuesday hoping to salvage a controversial pillar of his tax reform plan that would change how imports and exports are taxed. “Keep your powder dry,” the House speaker pleaded.

The next day, Sen. Tom Cotton took to the Senate floor to slam Ryan’s so-called border adjustment tax, saying “some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.”

It’s going to be a miracle if anything resembling a viable Obamacare replacement or tax bill emerges in the next six months. Meanwhile, the maladministration is going to remain bogged down in investigations over the Russian connection and whatever stupid thing emerges from Dear Leader’s mouth every day.

Congressional Republicans need an actual Republican president to forward their agenda. Trump is not that person. However, Mike Pence would do nicely.

So, if the Russian investigations don’t kill the maladministration, the GOP might. Once they get Gorsuch confirmed for SCOTUS — I’m sure Republicans are over the moon for Gorsuch —  I think the move to remove the so-called president will take shape.

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