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. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):
    One of the very clear components of the never-Trump mindset back in the general election of 2016 was truly an incredibly cavalier indifference to the prospect of a Hillary Clinton administration. They were more concerned about President Trump rocking their status and control of the GOP (even in a minority), rather than Hillary Clinton rocking the country and its Constitution.

    That’s very clear, is it? It certainly doesn’t describe me or anyone I know. And, by the way, I don’t have any particular “status,” and I certainly don’t “control the GOP.” But there was something in 2016 that scared me worse than four years of a President Hillary Clinton – that was 30 years of a President Hillary Clinton, or worse. It still does.

    If you must go back in time and bash people for their 2016 positions, at least try to get their positions right while you’re bashing.

    This conversation from back then is most illuminating. And shows that I am not ‘bashing’ without good support. Several of the ridiculing commenters of me back then are exactly the ones who ultimately admitted that they were not all that concerned about a Hillary Clinton administration … The Case For Trump.

    • #121
  2. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):
    One of the very clear components of the never-Trump mindset back in the general election of 2016 was truly an incredibly cavalier indifference to the prospect of a Hillary Clinton administration. They were more concerned about President Trump rocking their status and control of the GOP (even in a minority), rather than Hillary Clinton rocking the country and its Constitution.

    That’s very clear, is it? It certainly doesn’t describe me or anyone I know. And, by the way, I don’t have any particular “status,” and I certainly don’t “control the GOP.” But there was something in 2016 that scared me worse than four years of a President Hillary Clinton – that was 30 years of a President Hillary Clinton, or worse. It still does.

    If you must go back in time and bash people for their 2016 positions, at least try to get their positions right while you’re bashing.

    This conversation from back then is most illuminating. And shows that I am not ‘bashing’ without good support. Several of the ridiculing commenters of me back then are exactly the ones who ultimately admitted that they were not all that concerned about a Hillary Clinton administration … The Case For Trump.

    For Every Action, There Is An Equal And Opposite Reaction

    • #122
  3. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    The Next President … Unbound

    • #123
  4. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    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.

    An fair and free election is a coup? Is that what you are saying?

     

    Don’t get weirdly literal on me, Gary. I’m saying that it will be interpreted as a political betrayal by those who voted for Trump and think he’s doing a good job. No sitting President has been successfully primaried in modern history, and it will be hard to convince the Trump enthusiasts that it wasn’t a result of the establishment flexing its muscle in self-defense. We will lose them.

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    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.

    I agree that 25-35% of the electorate adores Trump. The problem is that 45-50% of the electorate despises and loathes him. The remaining 15-40% of the electorate have gone Anti-Trump. We cannot win with a majority vote among independents.

    I’m not talking about the electorate. I’m talking about 2016 Trump voters. Yes, 25-35% of them love Trump — they’re the ones we’ll lose if we oust him. But that 45-50% you mention who “despise and loathe” him aren’t the 2016 Trump voters. Most of the 2016 Trump voters will vote for him again; we’re in no danger of losing half of them.


    I think the Trump challenge project hinges on people believing that whoever is chosen in his stead won’t be demonized by the press and media as a continuation of Trump’s horrific rule. I think people who want to dump Trump imagine that it’s Trump’s vulgarity and petty dishonesty that makes the left hate him so much. I don’t think that’s true. That’s just a tool the left uses to demonize him; one can be as decent as a Romney or a Pence or a Bush and be treated as poorly. They won’t waste the anger.

    In other words, I don’t think a Trump substitute would pick up a lot of support Trump doesn’t already have. I do think he would lose a lot of support Trump already has — and risk seriously dividing the Republican party in the process.

    Our tradition is to support the incumbent. I think it’s a good one. 

    • #124
  5. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’m not talking about the electorate. I’m talking about 2016 Trump voters. Yes, 25-35% of them love Trump — they’re the ones we’ll lose if we oust him. But that 45-50% you mention who “despise and loathe” him aren’t the 2016 Trump voters. Most of the 2016 Trump voters will vote for him again; we’re in no danger of losing half of them.

    Spot on. I am reminded of something Goldberg said years ago about people who accused Republicans of not wanting Obama because they were racist – something to the effect of, ‘we don’t want him in because he’s a Democrat, race doesn’t enter into it at all – the only people who could reasonably be accused of racism are Democrats that don’t vote for him.’ 

    We may be scandalized by how Trump talks and what he says, but they are offended by his R – anything else is just something they can use to try to get us to help them get a Democrat in the White House. 

    • #125
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    TBA (View Comment):
    Spot on. I am reminded of something Goldberg said years ago about people who accused Republicans of not wanting Obama because they were racist – something to the effect of, ‘we don’t want him in because he’s a Democrat, race doesn’t enter into it at all – the only people who could reasonably be accused of racism are Democrats that don’t vote for him.’ 

    Like I’d have voted for a white guy with Obama’s agenda.

    • #126
  7. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: I want no one to bend their knee to me or my will.

    Then find a new song to sing.

    Perhaps you are not aware of the insistence of others that Severe Trump Skeptics get on board the Trump Train, and acknowledge our fealty to Trump.

    Not going to happen. But I think that Severe Trump Skeptics will be blamed for the Republican Party’s defeat after the Party has lashed itself to Trump.

    Gary, I don’t understand your aversion to the moniker “NeverTrump.” I know George here at Ricochet and Jonah Goldberg and a lot of others find the term offensive but I embrace it.

    I. Will. Never. Vote. For. Trump. 

    • #127
  8. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: I want no one to bend their knee to me or my will.

    Then find a new song to sing.

    Perhaps you are not aware of the insistence of others that Severe Trump Skeptics get on board the Trump Train, and acknowledge our fealty to Trump.

    Not going to happen. But I think that Severe Trump Skeptics will be blamed for the Republican Party’s defeat after the Party has lashed itself to Trump.

    Gary, I don’t understand your aversion to the moniker “NeverTrump.” I know George here at Ricochet and Jonah Goldberg and a lot of others find the term offensive but I embrace it.

    I. Will. Never. Vote. For. Trump.

    Would you, could you give an inch? 
    Would you, could you in a pinch? 
    Vote for Trump to prevent a fate in, 
    Which we get a President Statan? 

    • #128
  9. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: I want no one to bend their knee to me or my will.

    Then find a new song to sing.

    Perhaps you are not aware of the insistence of others that Severe Trump Skeptics get on board the Trump Train, and acknowledge our fealty to Trump.

    Not going to happen. But I think that Severe Trump Skeptics will be blamed for the Republican Party’s defeat after the Party has lashed itself to Trump.

    Gary, I don’t understand your aversion to the moniker “NeverTrump.” I know George here at Ricochet and Jonah Goldberg and a lot of others find the term offensive but I embrace it.

    I. Will. Never. Vote. For. Trump.

    Thank you.

    • #129
  10. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mendel (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    there are still some normal Democrats aren’t there?

    We’ll find out when a New York style abortion bill comes up in the House.

    I was under the impression that “abortion should be legal until the day of birth” is the very definition of a normal Democrat.

    They’ve been heading that way.  I wasn’t sure they’d arrived yet.

    • #130
  11. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: I want no one to bend their knee to me or my will.

    Then find a new song to sing.

    Perhaps you are not aware of the insistence of others that Severe Trump Skeptics get on board the Trump Train, and acknowledge our fealty to Trump.

    Not going to happen. But I think that Severe Trump Skeptics will be blamed for the Republican Party’s defeat after the Party has lashed itself to Trump.

    Gary, I don’t understand your aversion to the moniker “NeverTrump.” I know George here at Ricochet and Jonah Goldberg and a lot of others find the term offensive but I embrace it.

    I. Will. Never. Vote. For. Trump.

    And I completely respect your right to take that position.

    For myself, I’ll say it differently: I will vote in the way that I think is best for my country. And, since I don’t yet know who is running, I can’t say yet, with certainty, how I’ll vote.

    • #131
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