The President Is Toast

 

From The New York Times, a devastating critique of where the President’s re-election chances stand now that the Democrats are more emboldened in Congress:

At midterm, the once-dazzling political momentum… has stalled. In the year ahead, the President faces what his allies and advisers see as the most critical tests of his Presidency both at home and abroad.

”Historically, the third year is the one that makes or breaks a Presidency,” said one GOP pollster.

”It’s the year when people will judge the President not only by the goals he articulated in the campaign or the legislation he has passed, but how his program has affected their lives,” he continued. ”It’s also a year in which foreign policy will be given a more severe test.”

On the major issues, some of the President’s White House aides and Cabinet associates see similar forks in the political road. They prefer not to be identified in speaking. But privately, some acknowledge their concern that his presidency faces serious difficulties.

Their brimming optimism of 2016 has been tempered by losses in the November elections as well as by stunning defeats in the recent session of Congress. They concede… a perceptible shift in power from the White House toward Congress since November, and open splits and uneasiness among Republicans, especially while there is uncertainty whether the President intends to run in 2020. On Capitol Hill, Republicans grumble that the White House is not being well run but is hobbled by factional tensions.

”If the President doesn’t like the word ‘compromise,’ ” one aide said, ”well then, let’s say he’s got to make some adjustments in the original course. There’s a problem with people who think there’s so much mileage in being right all the time, I don’t care who it is, even the President of the United States.”

”You can’t govern this country when it’s polarized,” said the Republican moderate Senator from Maine. ”I think the President has got to compromise on most issues…”

Political realities have changed dramatically since 2016. The loss of Republican seats in the House has buried the coalition that passed his big tax cuts and has given Democrats control of the House.

Beyond that, White House strategists acknowledge that the elections showed an erosion of public support; many minority, blue collar and elderly voters who supported him in his election went back to the Democratic Party.

They also concede that the election mood will affect the legislative debate. Some of the 19 Republican senators up for re-election are acutely sensitive to avoiding (associating with the President) as they approach the new Congressional session.

In sum, the President’s political impact has diminished. He is not the feared figure of 18 months ago.

In reality, this is from The Times in December of 1982. (Read the original here.) The President was Reagan, not Trump. All I did was mask a few names and change the dates. Trump is not Reagan, but the conventional wisdom is not necessarily wise either. The tires are stuck in the same mud they’ve always been in and they just spin and spin and spin.

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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    EJHill (View Comment):
    We have seen the enemy and he is us.”

    Not to be too pedantic, but this is personal, it’s “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    • #61
  2. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    You will also need to take into account what candidate and platform the Democrats put forward and what is their record between now and then.

    Agreed. I think if the Dems nominate a fruitcake it will be the end of the two party system, and we’d have Bloomberg pay someone to run with him [Mitt?] on a national unity ticket.

    • #62
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    This is the nub. I think if we ratify the black swan election of 2016 with our national acquiescence to this man’s values and rules in 2020 we will tarnish this country in a way that will hurt us more than any four years of a Democrat would.

     

    You are saying a lot right there, I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon.

    • #63
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Our only hope is to nominate Larry Hogan, or anyone else. Otherwise, we will lose the Senate, and another 400 Legislators in 2020.

    I’d have to think twice before voting for a guy who could get elected governor twice in Maryland.

    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.  

    • #64
  5. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Our only hope is to nominate Larry Hogan, or anyone else. Otherwise, we will lose the Senate, and another 400 Legislators in 2020.

    I’d have to think twice before voting for a guy who could get elected governor twice in Maryland.

    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    I like a lot of Trump’s accomplishments. A Tom Cotton or Nikki Haley would carry on the good aspects without the baggage.

    • #65
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    It won’t be Flake, Kasich, or Sasse.  Tom Cotton’s too new to government.  The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Nikki Haley, and she’s said she’s not running against Trump.  She has time.

    • #66
  7. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Haley wouldn’t run unless Trump bows out.

    • #67
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    It won’t be Flake, Kasich, or Sasse. Tom Cotton’s too new to government. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Nikki Haley, and she’s said she’s not running against Trump. She has time.

    Maybe they are in private talks with Ted Cruz, trying to convince him to be a primary challenger, but just can’t afford to discuss it openly at this stage. Or maybe they are not, for some reason which has all of a sudden become more important than conservatism. 

    • #68
  9. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    You know, if Trump decided not to run, and Haley decided to, she would be the first Republican I’ll have enthusiastically voted for in a long time.

    • #69
  10. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Trump was the first Republican nominee I had ever enthusiastically voted for, and I look forward to doing so again next year.

    • #70
  11. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Petty Boozswha: I think if we ratify the black swan election of 2016 with our national acquiescence to this man’s values and rules in 2020 we will tarnish this country in a way that will hurt us more than any four years of a Democrat would.

    But if you don’t you risk forever fracturing the opposition to to the Left. Again, you’re not thinking beyond the next election cycle. If Trump loses, that’s on him. If you bust the Republican Party into two of three pieces what does that do beyond 2020? You’re thinking of four years, I’m asking about a generation (or more.) That is where the visceral and emotional response to Trump does you no good. 

    • #71
  12. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):
    I can still wish Trump would accept that if Lindsey Graham and Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan go to him next summer and tell him it would be best if he stepped aside.

    If Trump were to step aside before a primary challenge, perhaps saying that he had accomplished what he meant to accomplish and was ready to return to private life, saying that he would support whomever the Republicans chose as their candidate, then that would work. There’s no betrayal in Trump choosing not to run again. (Similarly if, heaven forbid, he were to die in office, another Republican could run.) As long as the supporters don’t see him as having been forced out, I think another candidate has a decent chance. But there are few paths to a no-Trump, no-betrayal state for his substantial base of ardent supporters.

     

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    You said “Trump is who we have….”. 

    No. Trump is not who we have.

    Well, not quite. I said that it would be nice if conservatives who express strong opposition to Trump would say that. Though the literal truth is, obviously, that Trump is who we have, right now, as the political leader of the party.

    Gary, perhaps unfortunately, all of your electoral history and electoral math are likely to be irrelevant to the tens of millions who love Trump and will feel betrayed by his ejection. I think that’s reality, and I don’t think you can safely ignore it.

    Maybe it’s possible to put together a coalition that excludes millions of offended Trump supporters yet somehow wins the election. I don’t see it, but maybe it could be done. You figure out how to win with 15-20 million 2016 Trump voters staying home, and maybe I’ll buy it.

    • #72
  13. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Petty Boozswha: I think if we ratify the black swan election of 2016 with our national acquiescence to this man’s values and rules in 2020 we will tarnish this country in a way that will hurt us more than any four years of a Democrat would.

    But if you don’t you risk forever fracturing the opposition to to the Left. Again, you’re not thinking beyond the next election cycle. If Trump loses, that’s on him. If you bust the Republican Party into two of three pieces what does that do beyond 2020? You’re thinking of four years, I’m asking about a generation (or more.) That is where the visceral and emotional response to Trump does you no good.

    A valid concern but I think the damage done will go away when Trump does.

    • #73
  14. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Petty Boozswha: I think if we ratify the black swan election of 2016 with our national acquiescence to this man’s values and rules in 2020 we will tarnish this country in a way that will hurt us more than any four years of a Democrat would.

    But if you don’t you risk forever fracturing the opposition to to the Left. Again, you’re not thinking beyond the next election cycle. If Trump loses, that’s on him. If you bust the Republican Party into two of three pieces what does that do beyond 2020? You’re thinking of four years, I’m asking about a generation (or more.) That is where the visceral and emotional response to Trump does you no good.

    A valid concern but I think the damage done will go away when Trump does.

    I think that last is true, but it’s true whether or not Trump wins in 2020. I think the Republican party, and conservatism, will survive Trump. I’m not sure the Republican party will support an electoral coup in the form of a successful primary challenge.

    • #74
  15. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Petty Boozswha: A valid concern but I think the damage done will go away when Trump does.

    No it doesn’t. The underlying situation that allowed him to capture the nomination will still exist. And if that underlying situation is not addressed he will be replaced inside the Republican Party with someone else who will.

    This is what NeverTrump does not deal with. If you insist on treating politics as performance art and you start ticking boxes and you’re not dealing with the issues. Mitt Romney was from central casting, lost and opened the door for Mr. Trump.

    • #75
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    You figure out how to win with 15-20 million 2016 Trump voters staying home, and maybe I’ll buy it.

    And whatever the never-Trumpers hate or fear  in Trump is nothing compared to the increasingly encroaching oligarchic state that will turn — inevitably turn, because this is what they want — the US into another, bigger Venezuela.

    I say this is what they want not out of my own ideological reasoning.  I say it because over and over again oligarchical, financially socialistic, socially-coercive governments have been tried and failed; anyone capable of stringing two sentences together can see that increased governmental power, increased spending and indebtedness, increased mandated social and intellectual conformity, denial of property rights and decreased Rule of Law always destroys a country and impoverishes it’s people.  To continue with in plain view the failure and falling Venezuela can no longer be stupidity or naivete but varying forms and degrees of malice and cupidity.

    • #76
  17. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Petty Boozswha: A valid concern but I think the damage done will go away when Trump does.

    No it doesn’t. The underlying situation that allowed him to capture the nomination will still exist. And if that underlying situation is not addressed he will be replaced inside the Republican Party with someone else who will.

    This is what NeverTrump does not deal with. If you insist on treating politics as performance art and you start ticking boxes and you’re not dealing with the issues. Mitt Romney was from central casting, lost and opened the door for Mr. Trump.

    I don’t think I understand your argument. Do you see Tom Cotton or Jim Lankford or even Ben Sasse as the same as Mitt Romney? Trump has won on the valid issues, he’s just an unworthy – in my opinion, an unfit – messenger of that position.

    • #77
  18. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Mitt Romney was from central casting, lost and opened the door for Mr. Trump.

    I always picture a close-up of him sipping a cup of coffee and saying, “Ahh!  Maxwell House.”

    • #78
  19. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: In the 2016 South Carolina primary, Trump got 33% of the vote, while Rubio and Cruz got 22% each. However under the antiquated “plurality wins all delegates” rules, Trump got all 50 delegates.

    And if you alienate that 1/3 of Republican voters in South Carolina exactly how do you win that state in 2020? You have a plan to drive large sections of the populace out of the party. What you do not have is a plan to replace them.

    You are ignoring that the “plurality wins all delegates” alienated 67% of all South Carolina voters.  

    What should have happened was for Trump to get 17 delegates, and Rubio and Cruz to get 11 delegates each from South Carolina, instead of Trump getting all 50 delegates.

    • #79
  20. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Petty Boozswha:
    I don’t think I understand your argument. Do you see Tom Cotton or Jim Lankford or even Ben Sasse as the same as Mitt Romney?

    Ben Sasse, yes. Jim Lankford, I don’t know enough about, but his biography probably makes him unelectable. Tom Cotton would be more widely acceptable, but I doubt he runs. 

    Trump has won on the valid issues, he’s just an unworthy – in my opinion, an unfit – messenger of that position.

    But who else has run on these issues? Who has taken the same stance on illegal immigration? They either cower to the Chamber of Commerce crowd with their insatiable desire for cheap labor or their knees shake at every poll of Hispanic voters. (They should ask Rick Scott about that.) 

    Who among the Republicans can win the labor vote? (See above.) Who is talking fair trade vs just free trade?

    Trump filled a vacuum, both in the party and the country. Eliminating him re-creates that vacuum. You just can’t fill the slot with someone you deem more likable without addressing the circumstances that created Trump’s opportunity. That’s what bugs me about these questions of “style.” You better spend as much time contemplating the issues as you do the style of the candidate.

    • #80
  21. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Our only hope is to nominate Larry Hogan, or anyone else. Otherwise, we will lose the Senate, and another 400 Legislators in 2020.

    I’d have to think twice before voting for a guy who could get elected governor twice in Maryland.

    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    Um, Larry Hogan, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Jim Mattis, John Kasich, Jeff Flake, Nikki Haley, any Republican Governor, any Republican Senator, any Republican Representative (other than Steve King and other so-called “Freedom Caucus” members) would all be better than Trump.

    • #81
  22. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    You figure out how to win with 15-20 million 2016 Trump voters staying home, and maybe I’ll buy it.

    And whatever the never-Trumpers hate or fear in Trump is nothing compared to the increasingly encroaching oligarchic state that will turn — inevitably turn, because this is what they want — the US into another, bigger Venezuela.

    I say this is what they want not out of my own ideological reasoning. I say it because over and over again oligarchical, socialistic, socially-coercive governments has been tried and failed; anyone capable of stringing two sentences together can see that increased governmental power, increased spending and indebtedness, increased mandated social and intellectual conformity, and decreased Rule of Law always destroys a country and impoverishes it’s people. To continue in the plain view of a falling Venezuela can no longer be stupidity or naivete but varying forms and degrees of malice and cupidity.

    We are already seeing the form that socially-coercive government will take in America. California, Illinois, and New York are leading that parade. I agree with the potential oligarchic state you see on the horizon if the direction is not changed. But we are not Venezuela.  These states will reach a financial crisis as they fail. The fate of our nation will then rest in how our federal government deals with that.  We need to control immigration, do some resets on how we handle banking and monetary issues, and don’t do bailouts like previously.  There is a need to make sure congressional leadership is not from the failing states, that will make things more difficult. People and businesses are leaving these states now so the political influence of other states will be increasing. Federalism  might make a difference yet.  

    • #82
  23. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Gary Robbins: What should have happened was for Trump to get 17 delegates, and Rubio and Cruz to get 11 delegates each from South Carolina, instead of Trump getting all 50 delegates.

    So, how do you feel about the Electoral College? The winner-take-all format is designed to keep things from fracturing, not to promote the fractions. This is very large “D” Democrat of you. The guy I liked didn’t win, so the rules should have been…

    And so much of the Republican base was alienated by Trump’s win he pulled in 83,744 more votes in 2016 than Romney did in 2012.

     

    • #83
  24. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    @garyrobbins Any credibility you may believe your arguments have are instantly eliminated with the names of Kasich, Romney and Flake. Why do you bother?

    Edit: If Donald Trump’s 39% is the problem how is Jeff Flake’s 18% the answer?

    • #84
  25. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Our only hope is to nominate Larry Hogan, or anyone else. Otherwise, we will lose the Senate, and another 400 Legislators in 2020.

    I’d have to think twice before voting for a guy who could get elected governor twice in Maryland.

    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    Um, Larry Hogan, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Jim Mattis, John Kasich, Jeff Flake, Nikki Haley, any Republican Governor, any Republican Senator, any Republican Representative (other than Steve King and other so-called “Freedom Caucus” members) would all be better than Trump.

    Four of those make me want to spit up. Two probably won’t run, and I know little about the last. I’ll just sit on the sidelines and watch the show. 

    BTW, glad to see you are well enough to be commenting. 

    • #85
  26. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    EJHill (View Comment):

    @garyrobbins Any credibility you may believe your arguments have are instantly eliminated with the names of Kasich, Romney and Flake. Why do you bother?

    Romney couldn’t even get Bigfoot’s endorsement:

    • #86
  27. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: What should have happened was for Trump to get 17 delegates, and Rubio and Cruz to get 11 delegates each from South Carolina, instead of Trump getting all 50 delegates.

    So, how do you feel about the Electoral College? The winner-take-all format is designed to keep things from fracturing, not to promote the fractions. This is very large “D” Democrat of you. The guy I liked didn’t win, so the rules should have been…

    And so much of the Republican base was alienated by Trump’s win he pulled in 83,744 more votes in 2016 than Romney did in 2012.

    The winner take all format was designed for Jeb!, so he wouldn’t have to deal with ankle biters like Herman Cain or Rick Santorum. Bush lost the popular vote by 250,000, Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million – if we keep “winning” like this the electoral college will be abolished no matter how good we think it is.

    • #87
  28. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

    • #88
  29. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    It won’t be Flake, Kasich, or Sasse. Tom Cotton’s too new to government. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Nikki Haley, and she’s said she’s not running against Trump. She has time.

    Maybe they are in private talks with Ted Cruz, trying to convince him to be a primary challenger, but just can’t afford to discuss it openly at this stage. Or maybe they are not, for some reason which has all of a sudden become more important than conservatism.

    Ooooo, a Robert/Ted rematch, but at the national level. That’s some nutty machinations I can get behind. The furry versus the serial killer. The 2020 election will be even crazier than 2016.

    • #89
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Our only hope is to nominate Larry Hogan, or anyone else. Otherwise, we will lose the Senate, and another 400 Legislators in 2020.

    I’d have to think twice before voting for a guy who could get elected governor twice in Maryland.

    One approach that the NeverTrumpers seem not to have considered is coming up with somebody who is better than Trump. If they did that, maybe there would be some interest.

    Um, Larry Hogan, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Jim Mattis, John Kasich, Jeff Flake, Nikki Haley, any Republican Governor, any Republican Senator, any Republican Representative (other than Steve King and other so-called “Freedom Caucus” members) would all be better than Trump.

    That’s what I thought. Better stick with Trump, then.

    • #90
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