The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Category: Jared Kushner

Trump and the Resistance

So, the Resistance are doing something effective, and important: They are showing up to town halls and holding their congress members feet to the fire. This is what the Tea Party did, and it works. Combined with aggressive campaigning for down-ticket offices: state, municipal, school-board, and so on, this is where true power comes from.

Obama’s reign left the Democratic party a shambling ruins, with hardly any states under their control. The weakness at the federal level is only a shadow of the weakness at lower levels, so much so that the Republicans are within spitting distance of controlling enough States to get through constitutional amendments. (If they do, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. If you’re smart, get the fuck out of the country.)

Liberals tend to think that Trump’s on the run. Sure, there’s been setbacks, but it’s worth remembering that the polls are, well, probably wrong, as they were running up to the election. Besides, general approval is irrelevant, even if the polling is correct. Trump is never going to win California, or New York, or Massachussets, and if those states oppose him en-masse it means little.

Traditional phone polls that use live interviewers — including some of the most trusted polls in politics and media — report limited support for Trump and the controversial executive orders he’s signed. But automated phone and Internet-based surveys tell a different story. Once the element of anonymity is added, the president’s approval ratings suddenly look a lot better.

In referring to an automated poll that put the president’s popularity in the black, Spicer actually understated Trump’s level of support. According to Rasmussen Reports’ most recent survey (released Friday), 54 percent of likely voters approved of the president’s job performance.

Some people are embarrassed to support Trump, but they do nonetheless, and his hard core support him very much. Further, his support among likely voters is his higher than his support among the general population.

The Resistance also has another problem: To win, Trump has to fail. This is bad in the sense that what Trump really needs to do to win is to deliver a decent economy to his core. Attacks on Kushner and Ivanka, for example, if those attacks succeed in reducing their influence, would actually make Americans worse off, because these are the sanest and kindest people who have significant influence over Trump. Likewise, while Bannon is a piece of work, the people who would replace him are an incoherent mess; evil without the silver lining of actually wanting a good economy for the working and middle class.

And if you get rid of Trump, you get Pence. He’ll make a lot less crazy headlines, but he’s a theocrat’s theocrat and an oligarch’s tool. He will be as bad as Trump in most ways and worse in others (for example, on gay rights).

Indiscriminate attacks on Trump’s advisers may make Trump fail (he’s vastly reliant on advice and guidance when it comes to policy), but they also risk railroading his and Pence’s presidencies into including all the bad and none of the good.

All this said, and at the end of the day, Trump’s fate is in his hands. If he can goose the economy, and replace Obamacare with something at least as good, and if he doesn’t allow Republicans to gut Social Security/Medicare, he’ll stay president and probably win re-election. If he doesn’t, he’s toast; either impeached or loses re-election.

But, for now, don’t believe all the numbers you’re being fed. Polling works badly with Trump; what matters is likely voters, and what really matters to them is if he delivers.

But the best form of resistance is the “In Your Face” kind: make the lives of Republicans and any Democrats who support him, personally miserable. If they are Democrats? Make it clear that you will primary them if they cooperate with Trump.

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Trump Is No Longer Trump

Stop thinking of Trump as Trump alone. He was never entirely that, and he’s definitely not that any more.

Trump is now Team Trump. The two most influential people in his court appear to be his son-in-law, Kushner, a fellow real-estate developer (and the guy who made the key strategic decisions which lead to Trump’s victor), and Bannon. Bannon is an economic nationalist with white nationalist leanings, who identifies with the working class and wants to bring manufacturing back to America. He’s quite willing to have a trade war to do it.

Priebus, the chief of staff, is also influential, but seems to be a bit of a drone. Trump’s children are influential, and it appears that Ivanka, his daughter, is the most influential of the three. She’s probably the most liberal person in the administration (even if she, strictly speaking, isn’t in the administration).

Trump has loaded up successful oligarchs and generals.

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon

So, for example, his shift on China policy is in alignment with a lot of generals’ thinking (China is the real threat) and with what Bannon thinks (manufacturing jobs, economic nationalism).

His economic and labor policy will seek to both undermine labor rights and to spike the economy, which is essentially what authoritarians tend to do.

But the important point is that Trump, because he has only a few fixed ideas, even more than most Presidents, will be defined by the agendas of his closest advisers. To understand Trump’s moves, you need to understand his court.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


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