Thursday, November 16, 2017


The Washington Post's James Hohmann reports that President Trump got bad marks from women yesterday in a North Carolina focus group conducted by pollster Peter Hart.
Republican women who voted for President Trump in North Carolina said during a focus group Wednesday night that they are embarrassed by and exasperated with him.

-- Annie Anthony, 56, voted for Trump last year because she opposes abortion and did not like how Hillary Clinton handled Benghazi. Now she fears that Trump is marching us toward war with North Korea. She describes the first 10 months of his presidency as “chaotic, stressful and an uphill battle.”

“While I thought his ideas appealed to me, since he’s been in there he’s embarrassed me by his behavior,” said Anthony, a divorced college graduate who runs a local nonprofit volunteer center and drives for Uber to make ends meet. “He behaves so unpresidential. The words he uses. The tweeting.... I can’t imagine how they let him build a country club — let alone be in one. Because adults don’t behave that way ...”
Emily Bell, a 32-year-old occupational therapist who voted for Trump, described him as rude and stressful. “I feel like he told people that he had all these big ideas and big plans, and it just seems to kind of roll to something else. It’s like nothing is ever accomplished,” said Bell, who is married and has a postgraduate degree....

-- Melissa Hight, a 62-year-old married retiree who has a postgraduate degree and voted for Trump, used the word “antagonistic” to describe him. “I had high hopes, but he just goes about things in a way that gets everybody’s back up against the wall,” she lamented. “He doesn’t facilitate working together. He comes out with these grandiose ideas, and there’s no follow through. It’s a lot of talk. ... He hasn’t acted presidential at all...."
My first question is: What did you expect? As president he's acting exactly the way he acted as a candidate. But they all overlooked that. They focused on the big promises and ignored the infantile behavior. Or they processed the fact that he was infantile but assumed -- or hoped -- that he'd discipline himself in office.

These people just don't like the status quo, so they're willing to roll the dice on someone who says what they want to hear, and they'll ignore evidence that they're voting for someone who's not fit to be in office. A man in the focus group says of Trump:
“He’s kind of a loose cannon — I don’t like that — but what we’ve had for years and years — not just Obama, but leading up to that — they weren’t getting the job done in terms of leading the country. So he’s still better than the alternative of a career politician.”
And despite her disillusionment with Trump, Annie Anthony seems ready to vote for more loose cannons in the future:
Looking ahead to the midterms, she offered an ominous warning for the GOP: “I think the swamp is still full. I might be voting to drain that swamp some more.”
Which explains, I guess, why Roy Moore still has a good shot at winning that Alabama Senate race. (I don't believe there's really a National Republican Senatorial Committee poll showing Moore down by 12. The GOP establishment wants him gone, and the NRSC won't even name the pollster or reveal any of the poll's details.) Moore is a loose cannon who's telling a lot of Alabamans what they want to hear, so they hope he'll use his power for what they consider good. The voters like bad boys, but they hope they aren't really bad.

Which leads me to what Rich Lowry says about Moore and Steve Bannon:
Roy Moore is the Steve Bannon project in a nutshell.

For the former Trump operative, the Alabama Senate candidate’s tattered credibility is a feature, not a bug. If Moore had well-considered political and legal views, good judgment and a sterling reputation, he’d almost by definition be part of the establishment that Bannon so loathes. Since Moore has none of those things, he’s nearly an ideal representative of the Bannon insurgency.
I think Bannon is overdoing it, but I understand why he thinks tainted candidates are good bets. (Other Bannon recruits include Erik Prince, the disgraced former Blackwater head, for a Wyoming Senate seat, and ex-felon Michael Grimm for a House seat from Staten Island.) Bannon thinks right-leaning voters will be attracted to the sense of danger while they naively trust that they're not really risking much.

They really might continue to vote that way. Which is why I'm generally rooting for Mitch McConnell's candidates in the 2018 GOP primaries. I think establishment figures will do a lot worse in the general election than the bad boys.

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