Saturday, November 30, 2019


I'm concerned about this.
As Democrats in Congress push to impeach him, President Trump has toured a manufacturing plant in Texas, boasted about economic gains and signed numerous bills. He served turkey to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving and grieved with the families of fallen service members at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

And next week, Trump is scheduled to jet to London to meet with European allies and be received at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II.

... he and his aides ... have staged photo opportunities and public events designed to showcase the president on the job — a strategy one year out from the election to convince the American people that he is hard at work for them at the same time that Democrats are trying to remove him from office....

Trump is taking a page out of the Clinton playbook. Then-President Bill Clinton survived his 1998 impeachment in part because the economy was roaring and because he appeared to many voters to be relentlessly focused on doing the business of the American people.

... Clinton’s experience has been instructive to Trump, who recently met in the Oval Office with former Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who counseled the president to focus on governing and travel frequently.
Will all the turbulence in the Democratic race, and with the mainstream media given negative coverage to every leading Democrat except Pete Buttigieg, who has minimal non-white support, I've been concerned about the election, but I've been comforted by the fact that Trump seems to be campaigning in a way that's guaranteed not to expand his voter base. All he wants to do is toss red meat to his most hardcore supporters. He's not accomplishing anything that might impress swing voters, and he's not moderating his tone. His campaign seems determined to find new deplorables who rarely vote instead of reaching out to the middle. The Trump campaign might be right to believe that there are a lot of non-voters to be reached, and some observers seem to agree with him...

But I'm thinking about a poll story I read last week:
By 74 to 19 percent, the American public said they would rather their preferred candidate win the 2020 presidential election than their favorite team win the Super Bowl or World Series.

However, 28 percent of males said they would rather see their favorite team win the championship than have their favorite candidate win the 2020 presidential election – while 64 percent said they would prefer their favorite candidate to win. Another 8 percent said they did not know or had no opinion....

These are the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll....

The more education the respondents had, the more strongly they felt about the election results. For those with less than a high school education, 55 percent said they would prefer their favorite “presidential candidate to win,” while 31 percent said they would prefer their team to win (14 percent did not know/had no opinion).
I assume the non-college men who care more about their favorite team are the guys the Trump campaign is trying to get polling places. Good luck with that.

Trump likes the base-only strategy because it means he doesn't have to do anything he doesn't enjoy. He likes fighting with people. He likes watching Fox News. He likes going before crowds of adoring fans and regaling them with stories of fights he's having because of things he saw on Fox News. He likes being cheered by those crowds for picking those fights, then he likes going on Fox News and telling the hosts there about the same fights. For Trump, that and golf add up to a complete life.

Trump could reach moderates, but the most effective way to do it would be to do things he doesn't like doing. He'd have to compromise. He'd have to swallow his pride and work with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. He'd have to abandon lines in the sand he and his followers have drawn. Oh, and he'd have to learn about legislation. That's hard work!

But Mark Penn may have found a way that Trump can reach moderates without doing anything he doesn't feel like doing. Trump likes being a ceremonial president. He doesn't want to work hard, but he's eager to be seen as someone who's hard at work.

So he visits the troops. He tours factories. He signs bills, although the bills aren't exactly paradigm-shifting.
Lacking a bevy of big achievements of late, Trump has striven to make a show of whatever he can. On Monday, he invited journalists into the Oval Office to observe him signing the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.

The law revises criminal penalties for creating or distributing videos or images depicting animal torture. The bill did not require much of a lift — it passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent — but the president celebrated its passage nonetheless.

“This is something that should’ve happened a long time ago and it didn’t,” Trump said. “I ask the same question I asked for another bill that we just signed: Why hasn’t this happened a long time ago? And I give you the same answer: because Trump wasn’t president.”
And, yes, he boasts that big things are happening because he's in charge.

In the impeachment year of 1998, the Clinton administration made serious efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland and the Israelis and Palestinians. Trump's big accomplishment this month has been to claim credit for a "new" Apple factory where Mac Pros have actually been built since 2013.

Nevertheless, low-information moderate voters might fall for this. Let's hope not.

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