Monday, July 15, 2019


Great work from Yastreblyansky and Tom this weekend. I'll try to maintain the high standards, but it won't be easy.

While I was away, President Trump attacked four non-white progressive congresswomen on Twitter and told them to go back where they came from. (Three were born in America and the fourth is a naturalized citizen.) Some media reports said that the identity of his intended targets was unclear, but it really wasn't:

I'm fascinated by the number of conservatives who cringed when this happened, convinced that Trump had badly damaged himself and his party, while liberals cowered in fear, certain that Trump was playing a brilliant game of eleven-dimensional chess. Here's a post at RedState:
Democrats are collapsing in on themselves. All he has to do was sit back and not distract them. Instead he rips his shirt off and runs out on the battlefield screaming to be shot at. I know, 3-D chess and all that, but this just makes no sense....

All Trump has to do is play to his strengths, i.e. the economy and immigration, and he wins. But he just can’t stop stepping on his own feet. When your enemies are blasting each other, you don’t step in between them and beg to be shot in head. Yet, that’s exactly what Trump did here.

Instead of another week of AOC and Pelosi bad mouthing each other, we get a return to a unified Democrat front and multiple news cycles calling Republicans racists.

If Trump loses in 2020, it won’t be Paul Ryan’s fault, the Republican party’s fault, or the media’s fault. It’ll be a defeat that was wholly self-inflicted because he refused to practice any semblance of self-control when it comes to his personality.
And here's Mike Allen at Axios:
Conservatives who reluctantly support President Trump often try to pretend the daily outrage didn't happen, but yesterday's "go back" tweets were like his "both sides" comment on Charlottesville — a transgression that won't instantly fade, and can't be laughed off.

The bottom line: Trump is all-in on us-versus-them politics and does not care if he occasionally crosses the line into racism. Trump allies expect this to get worse, not better....

* "Republicans with a conscience are cringing," a Trump ally said. "He believes the more he puts 'The Squad' front and center, the better his re-election chances get."

* A former White House official tried to explain Trump for a couple of texts and then just said: "It's insane."
But in the same Mike Allen post, there's this:
* One influential Democrat told me Trump had achieved a tactical win — stoking both his own base and Dems' internal tensions: "His view is that he simply cannot go too far. The line doesn’t exist. ... I'm very worried."
And a liberal Bloomberg columnist tweets:

I think we'll come out of this week with most voters pretty much where they were a week ago. I don't think this will have the same impact as his Charlottesville remarks, which caused a drop in his poll numbers.

But I'm also thinking: If Trump is doing this now, 16 months before the election, how inflammatory will his rhetoric be by the fall of 2020? He thinks he's bulletproof. He thinks he's an expert on winning elections, based on a sample set of one, and is certain that this (rather than Russian interference of James Comey's incompetence) is what worked for him.

But it alienates suburban swing voters, especially women. There's been a very slight but perceptible uptick in his poll numbers lately, and it may coincide with Democrats dominating more of the news cycle of late. On Fox recently, Howard Kurtz discussed this thesis, which was advanced in a Megan McArdle op-ed in The Washington Post. Trump might have watched Kurtz and, instead of saying to himself, "Yes, if I just maintain a Rose Garden strategy I'll cruise to reelection," thought instead, "WAAAHHHH! THEY'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO ME!"

Keep it up, Mr. President.

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