Monday, February 27, 2017

Political results and national mood: a thoroughly modern misalignment

Consider the difference in poll results between Americans' views of DJT himself with how things are going since the DJT era got underway:

President Trump's job approval rating, 44 percent with a 48 percent disapproval rating in a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, makes him "the first president of the post-World War II era with a net negative approval rating in his first gauge of public opinion," according to the Journal.
Trump's most strident supporters will no doubt call the polls fake, but the fact is, Trump's numbers are low, and they're more evidence — as if any more were needed — that there is no honeymoon for the 45th president.
But at the same time, there are signs of optimism — not for Trump's political fortunes but for the country. If the Journal numbers are correct, more Americans say they are hopeful and optimistic about the future than have said so in several years. And, at least specifically where the economy is concerned, many attribute their optimism to the presence of Trump in the Oval Office.
The Journal-NBC pollsters asked 1,000 adults, "When you think about the future of the country, would you say that you are mainly hopeful and optimistic or mainly worried and pessimistic?" Sixty percent said they feel hopeful and optimistic, while 40 percent said they feel worried and pessimistic. That hopeful number is higher than when the Journal last asked the question in December 2016 (when it was 56 percent), and in August 2016 (54 percent), and September 2005 (53 percent).
Josh Kimbrell at RedState says that if Squirrel-Hair were perceptive and gave a diddly, he'd take his cue from political figures who would, if president, embody the same impetus for policy initiatives - think S-H's own vice-president, Mike Pence, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio - but would do so with a degree of maturity and dignity we have yet to see from the new president:

President Trump’s agenda is not what pushes the American people away; it is his grandiose personality. This explains why congressional candidates who have tried to run like Trump, in terms of presentation, have not fared well in their elections. Case in point: Senator Marco Rubio, who openly spatted with the President during the presidential primaries last year, carried 700,000 more votes last November in the Sunshine State than the Commander-In-Chief. They agreed on many policies, ranging from rebuilding the military to repealing Obamacare, but people judged them-at least in part-on personal appeal.
Personal appeal can only carry a candidate or incumbent so far, however, if their policies are also underwater from an approval perspective. President Obama maintained very high personal approval ratings, while his polices were consistently rejected by the American electorate. As a result, his party lost over 60 House seats, 13 Senate seats, the majority of the governors races, and nearly 1,000 state legislative seats during his time in the White House.
The cautionary tale contained in all of these numbers is simple: both policy and presentation matter for a successful political leader. If President Trump wishes to enact his robust agenda for America, he must start by acting a little more like the Vice-President in how he presents his case. Pence consistently makes the case for the conservative cause with humor, winsomeness, and humility. These traits make Pence as likable as the conservative reform agenda, which is the recipe for long-term success.
Now, here is where the irony gets rich.

People generally feel better about the current state and future prospects for the nation than they generally did during the years when the Most Equal Comrade had his grip on the nation's throat, as we can see.

So maybe conservatives (like me) who have been concerned that the general public would conflate the Trump style with actual conservatism, and as a result sour on the whole enterprise of restoration, were unnecessarily dismayed.

No one of any stripe disputes that the country is still bitterly polarized and that the Left is turning purple from the venom coursing through its veins, but it seems they do not reflect the prevailing mood.

Substantiation for this can be seen in how last night's Oscar "ceremony" reinforced the notion that those engaged in fields of endeavor such as arts and entertainment (not to mention "journalism" and"education") exist in a bubble and have less of an idea every day how flyover America lives:

The first salvo against Donald Trump was fired only a few minutes into the Oscars — and then they just kept on coming.
In what might be an unprecedented numbers of jokes, allusions, and sincere articulations inspired by a single person during an awards telecast, Hollywood’s most luminous tackled Trump and his policies during the the 89th annual Academy Awards. From host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue, to the acceptance speeches, to those blue ribbons on tuxedo lapels, there were direct and indirect references to the 45th president throughout the ceremony.
The Oscars got underway  with a joyous opening musical number by Justin Timberlake performing best original song nominee “Can’t Stop the Feeling” that brought the crowd to its feet. Then Kimmel took the stage and threw out a slew of POTUS jokes.
“This is being watched live by millions of people in 225 countries that now hate us,” Kimmel told the Dolby Theater (full monologue video below).
Kimmel also had this to say: “I want to say thank you to President Trump. Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist? … It’s gone thanks to him.”
Granted, this was an awards show and not a think-tank panel discussion, but given the fact that a plurality of Americans are generally pleased with a new direction in policy orientation, the claims that Trump is a bigot wear thin without any kind of substantiation. Such claims were merely offered as cues for guffaws and groans from those in attendance.

But back to the two figures Kimbrell cited - and I would add Ted Cruz, Scott Walker - well, any number of solid conservatives - to that list - it does seem to me that those conservatives like myself who were vehemently opposed to a Trump candidacy and presidency until the facts on the ground became brutally clear had a point: We could have had a consistent, coherent, three-pillared conservative as our candidate, beaten Hillary Clinton, and been experiencing the same results we are indeed experiencing (great cabinet picks, great SCOTUS pick, dismantling of the regulatory leviathan, demonstrating solidarity with Israel and Britain).

Which, to again stress a point I've been making since last November, makes a robust, proactive Congress all the more vital. Move aggressively on longstanding policy promises (think the "A"CA, tax reform and world-stage leadership) so that those who are seen to be getting things done are highly focused legislators and not the mad tweeter at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.



  1. Trump told what press was present yesterday that his first month had been a lot of fun. Are we having fun yet with your mandate for powa, bloggie?

  2. Mostly. There have been some moments of cringing.