Monday, May 14, 2018


Nate Silver says:

Matt Yglesias responds:

Yglesias misses the point. Trump is gaining ground precisely because he seems like an activist president now. Until the tax bill was passed late in 2017, Trump seemed inept and stymied. Now, to sensible people like us, he still seems inept (when he's not malign), but the rest of the country (i.e., the majority of white voters, adding up to somewhat more than 40% of the public as a whole) sees him as fully in charge and making stuff happen. I'm not sure these people care what he's doing -- they see unemployment as low and they see things happening elsewhere that Trump is bragging about (and liberals are complaining about), so they have positive feelings toward Trump and they feel vicariously empowered themselves. Tariffs, North Korea, the embassy in Jerusalem, the end of the Iran deal -- it's all not-Obama activity, it's unsettling to lefties and the mainstream media, and it all seems to emanate from Trump. They voted for him because they wanted him to "shake things up" -- many of them didn't care how exactly, as long as it upset their political enemies -- and now he seems to be doing precisely what they wanted.

Please note that this poll uptick comes shortly after the moment when Rudy Giuliani was acting as Trump's surrogate in a way that I thought was effective (by Trump standards) and literally every other political observer thought was an unqualified disaster. It sure wasn't a public relations disaster for Trump. I predicted that Trump's poll numbers would rise after that series of Giuliani appearances -- and they have.

America, I'm afraid, is getting used to Trump's bull-in-a-china-shop style. We may have reached the moment I've been afraid we'd reach, when Trump seems like a reassuring Republican presence to much of the white electorate, while the rest of us foresee the disastrous nature of what he's setting in motion but can't get our fellow citizens to see it. It's possible that voters will be unsettled by the unrest on the Israeli border and (soon) elsewhere. It's possible that, after nearly seventeen straight years of war, Americans aren't ready for a military conflict with Iran. But I think the Trump presidency is more likely to resemble the George W. Bush presidency: What we see clearly as terrible misjudgment now won't seem that way to most Americans for years. Everything that fell apart by Bush's second term was foreseeable in the first: a misbegotten war, a budget-busting tax cut, inept regulation and oversight of the financial industry, inept appointees like Michael Brown. We seem to be right about Trump too soon -- the rest of America might not see the problems clearly for years. Let's hope it happens before November 2020.


AND: The Gallup numbers are getting better rapidly:

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