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

How Unpopular Is Trump?

Not very, unfortunately.

The bottom line is simple enough: The job economy is doing better than it has since the financial crisis. Oh, it’s still not a good job economy–the unemployment rate is low, but the labor force participation rate hasn’t recovered, and wages aren’t increasing like they would be if it was actually a tight labor market.

But still, it’s a relatively good economy.

As for the rest, the fact is that most Americans don’t think that the Russia story is important: It’s not a major concern to them, but Democrats are insisting on running with it. If they run with it in the mid terms they will shoot themselves in the foot unless they have hard, obvious evidence.

These numbers are also why Trump isn’t going to be impeached by Republican members of the House: They would lose their next primary.

Trump’s a nasty piece of work in a lot of ways: Drone murders are up by three times from Obama (who increased them about ten times from Bush), he’s saber rattling at Iran, and his immigration policies are cruel, rather than just strict.

But most people don’t care that much about such things. And it shows in the numbers.

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.


The Current World Peace Paradox


Oligarchy and the Death of Worlds


  1. Bill Hicks

    Thus the sheer desperation of Bill Maher’s recent comment about how he’s rooting for an economic crash and he doesn’t care how many people get hurt as a result. Bill should be careful what he wishes for, because it would appear that the current “good economy” is also so fragile that if it starts to break it will shatter completely–and then most people aren’t going to have extra money to spend on such frivolities as premium cable channels.

    As for the Russia nonsense, I’ve never voted Republican in my life (3rd party a few times, sat the 2016 general election fiasco out), but I’m sorely tempted to do so this time. Not only is my Senate-creature the odious Clinton-lover Tim Kaine, but it’s the only way I can think of to register my ever increasing anger towards America’s BS “liberal” party. When the likes of sanctimonious jackass James Comey try to tell me what my duty as an American citizen is, that’s the quickest way to get me to do the exact opposite.

  2. I am curious as to why you would look at President Trump from such limited perspectives. You are certainly partly justified, as most Americans vote their pocketbooks.

    I conceded so much to a cousin of mine, an ardent Democrat who seems to hate the Republicans, when arguing the subject. He asked me why I voted for Trump, and I make clear that my reasons were likely not the main reasons for most Trump voters. First and foremost, Hillary Clinton wanted a no fly zone in Syria (which she only walked back during her last debate with Trump), and I always thought this an insane POV, which could lead to military conflict with Russia. Secondly, Clinton had already held the reins of power, as Secretary of State, and proved to be an idiotic (assuming she wasn’t being completely duplicitous) and thoroughly immoral and irresponsible agent during her tenure. I refer readers to Pulitzer prize winner Seymour Hersh’s article “The Redline and the Ratline”.

    Also, her true feelings regarding the TPP, which I think of as economic treason, were revealed by wikileaks.

    Besides having a healthy respect for Russia’s capability to incinerate all of us, Trump is also notable in that he’s willing to challenge PARTS of the a) globalist status quo(s) and the b) domestic, “swamp” status quo.

    Yes, he’s also greatly in the swamp. But it shouldn’t be hard to figure out that he’s not totally a swamp creature. The level of push back by the Deep State has been compared to what President Kennedy had to endure. (BTW, thanks for that quote about his level of drone murders. I had suspected so much. However, a reference would be nice.)

    I follow Srdja Trifkovic’s POV that a multi-polar world is safer and more stable than a uni-polar world. Thus, what might even be viewed as mega-blunders by Trump – such as weakening alliance with NATO countries – can legitimately be viewed as laying the foundation for a more peaceful future. D’ja hear that Germany is going ahead with Nordstream 2? Doesn’t look like they’re interested in a war with Russia, at all.

    The biggest tragedy about Trump is twofold, both related to what is the likely, eventual failure to make deep and, more importantly, long-lasting reforms against the Deep State and the globalists. Trump is politically inept (beating the detestable Hillary is isn’t much of an accomplishment), and hasn’t expanded his base all that much. Even if he had, he’s been a complete zero in terms of organizing and leading any sort of reform movement, that would at least get better Republicans into Congress. If he were smart and principled enough – which he isn’t – he would also have worked to get better Democrats elected. AFAIK, he’s done nothing to get money out of politics, which is the root cause of corruption.

    The other side of the Trump tragedy are his adoring fans that cheer him on at his rallies, but exert zero pressure on him to keep more of his campaign promises, much less use such opportunities to organize at least the Republican base so that they could more effectively challenge the Republican elites. These people strike me as idiots, frankly. They have no better idea than Trump has of what an opportunity they are wasting. I didn’t mind a few of these events early in his Presidency, as Trump was getting savaged by the media so much I figured that stroking his own ego might have a remedial effect.

    At this late date, and having a clearer grasp of his own, as well as the public’s likely trajectory, I can only roll my eyes at such stupidity. The 5 Star reform movement in Italy came to power in only 9 years, but in 9 – 1.5 years, Trump and has adoring fans are likely to be seen as having as much long term significance as the Tea Party. The 5 Star movement was an engineered organization with clear goals. “Make America Great Again” is basically feel good rhetoric, and if you’ve ever read “9 Things Successful People Do Differently”, you know that non-specific goals are a gateway to failure.

    Ah, but talking to a Trump fan-boy is about as frustrating as talking to a Trump hater. Neither is likely to be rational, or capable (or even interested) in doing nuance.

  3. Ed

    It’s been pretty clear to me for some time that it’s more than the economy. I have encountered zero Trump supporters who can defend him without using the words “Clinton,” “Obama,” “liberal,” “Democrat,” or the variants thereof. Their hatred for the left, wherever is comes from, dominates any other rationale.

  4. Willy

    According to Nate:
    Trump’s approval for his first 550 days is below that of every president of the modern era.

    What Ian is describing is tribal approval. I’ve suggested that without this particular tribe we have a populace that might vote, overall, in ways not too different from back in saner days.

  5. brian

    If overall is 45% and intra-tribe is 88%, that means ex-tribe approval rating of Trump is at 10% or below. This is political polarization of almost utmost degree. At this point two different realities of America are being held that sharply differ. This can not last forever.

  6. Willy

    My Deep State is better than your Deep State seems to be their mantra.

  7. V

    Trump is uneducated, doesn’t read, is ignorant, and a bully.
    He also lacks erudition and comes across as infantile in his twitter rants.
    Just how is it he’s president; of, maybe the, nuclear power on the planet?
    That deserves a serious look, IMO…

  8. @Willy
    538 is one of the most partisan, biased organizations in the nation, and should have been 100% discredited by the 2016 election. Their continuing operation is due entirely to today’s political insistence for listening only to what one wants to hear.

    @Bill Hicks
    Yes, I can relate. I have voted mostly Democrat for several decades, but voted Trump for many of the same reasons that “metamars” did. Since the election the hatred, vitriol and intolerance exhibited by the left are leading me to believe that I might very well vote for him again, this time more firmly as an anti-Democratic protest.

  9. someofparts

    Well, I’m all the way over on the Bernie Sanders end of the spectrum. Despite that, the howler monkey abuse the corporate Democrats heap on Trump makes me feel sympathy for the guy sometimes. I imagine that impulse is much stronger in anyone who ever vaguely aligned with his policies in the first place.

    On a visceral level, a bumbling doofus is less repulsive that someone clever and fraudulent. After Obama bailed out the banks, my dislike of him was so strong that I could not tolerate hearing him speak at all. Still can’t. Also, I’m glad Trump is not hostile to Russia and glad he blew off TPP, NAFTA, and NATO. I’m also not sorry he is hitting China with tariffs.

  10. Willy

    538 is one of the most partisan, biased organizations in the nation, and should have been 100% discredited by the 2016 election. Their continuing operation is due entirely to today’s political insistence for listening only to what one wants to hear.

    Speaks volumes when you offer no proof.

  11. Willy

    @ Bill H,

    So you leave your wife who cheats on you, for another woman notorious for cheating, as a protest to your ex.

    I’m sorry, but that kind of logic escapes me.

    (Also sorry about all the posts. I hate paperwork week. This diversionary habit is hard to break.)

  12. someofparts

    It strikes me as nuts on an epic scale to imagine that folks would just snap our fingers and forget the predations we have survived under neoliberals. The damage from these things hurts people for the rest of our lives so, as long as we are breathing, they are still a real negative that we feel every day. People who die young from lack of health care are never forgotten and always missed. A house, gone now, that represented a decade or more of hard-earned income leaves financial scars that blight a person’s retirement every single day.

  13. Ché Pasa

    As has been hinted at above, Rs are very much a minority party and shrinking. Ds don’t do much better — but they outnumber Rs by a slight margin. Independents or no-party affiliation outnumber them both. Of course non-voters outnumber all of them.

    Popularity polls like generic ballot midterm polls are always suspect, and I wouldn’t be so sure Trump is either as popular or not as popular as is being reported. It’s pretty much impossible to tell. People have gone to their corners, and deep distrust of the entire political class is evident right along with tribalist taunts and craziness.

    The Russia Thing has never resonated with the public, and there’s no reason it should. The underlying problem is the intrinsic vulnerability of our laughable electoral system, and that is not being addressed; in some ways it’s being made worse — in my view because it benefits important interests above the interests of the People. The Rs benefit vastly from gerrymandering and voter suppression, and they’re not about to let them go. Dems go along with it more often than not.

    If the Dems try to hang their future on the Russia Thing, they may as well just abolish the party. Maybe that’s what they want… I couldn’t tell you. The Rs would be delighted!

    As for Trump, as I’ve said many times, if The Powers That Be weren’t satisfied with him, he would not be in office. He’s primarily an entertainer, secondarily a con-man and a gangster. In some ways, he is what they, the PTB have longed for in the presidency: someone who can keep the media and much of the Rabble entranced with bullshit and tweets while the looting, plunder and warmongering, killing and destruction continue at an accelerated pace. It’s almost magical.

    The People have very little say in this shit-show. And that’s by design. So what, exactly, are they being polled about? Is this like Nielsen ratings? What is being measured? And what, ultimately, does it matter?

    Dems may well take over Congress in January, but given past experience, it’s not likely that much will change if they do. There may be an impeachment, but if there is, it will likely fail, made even more likely if Trump gets one of his many additional wars on, say with Iran. But who knows, given his insecurities and the shaky-handed chaos of his rulership, he could just as easily target Russia for shits and giggles. Or Canada. Or Mexico.

    So here we are, puzzling over the future, a future that in the end doesn’t include most of us.

  14. Willy

    Dems may well take over Congress in January, but given past experience, it’s not likely that much will change if they do.

    If there’s only two women in town, and both cheat partly for that reason, and masturbation is not an option, we must demand more women!

    (*a few groans with a hissing noise from the back*)

    Maybe there are other options. While Trump manly-man threatens Iran, hoping to prove to his supplicants that his pathetic Russian capitulation was a fluke, somebody needs to galvanize all these various issue protests we’ve been seeing into a cohesive revolt against the real enemy!

  15. NR

    Not only does Bill H offer no proof for his assertions about 538, he ignores the fact that they are simply comparing polling data, both current and historical, from a wide variety of sources.

    The reality is that Trump has been the least popular president for this point in his term for basically his entire term thus far.

  16. nihil obstet

    Powerlessness is such a distressing feeling that people create a spot where they can feel that they are exercising power. You may not be able to afford the accouterments of a middle class life, so you buy overpriced cups of coffee from the cool chain for a low level feeling of wide economic choice. When you feel that your life isn’t getting better and you won’t have the things you always believed you would, you invest your feelings in an overpriced con man who says in the grossest terms the things that you think give you value. Since the respectable politicians of neither party have made life better, why not at least get the emotional thrill of hearing and being able to say that you’re better than other people? It’s your spot where you can feel you’re exercising power.

    Attacks on Trump just make him more valuable to his followers. We ought to quit it.

  17. Lot of people sort of proving my point here. How many are saying that they disagree with me and providing arguments to persuade me to their side, as opposed to those who are merely venting their spleen at me for saying things that they did not like. Today’s political discussion does not consist of trying to sell one’s point of view, or even defend it, it merely consists of calling one’s opponent nasty names.

  18. NR

    Bill H:

    You made an allegation and provided no support for it. This was pointed out to you, as was the flaw in your argument (namely, that since 538 is simply providing a collection of polling data, “bias” doesn’t enter into the equation). I have no idea why you would choose to characterize that as people “venting their spleen at you.”

    Also, no one here has called you nasty names.

  19. Ché Pasa



    But it is odd, isn’t it, that all the many protests involving millions upon millions of Americans (not to mention more millions around the world) have not coalesced into a comprehensive movement of any kind. Being anti-Trump is all well and good, and demonstrating solidarity with other like-minded souls is energizing and refreshing, but… what’s the upshot? If it is solely about elections and putting more women and people of color in office, we’re not really going to get anywhere. The system itself is the problem, and having a more diverse workforce pulling the levers and pushing the buttons doesn’t fix it. We should know that by now.


  20. Willy

    I’d say the enemy is unchecked concentrations of power which always leads to a corrupt system regardless of the dogma, but I can’t think of a shorter/catchier description than that. Most protesters won’t make signs with all those words in it.

    We had a guy here once who compulsively checked our reality by playing Pavlov. Except he forgot the part where subjects need to know specifically what it is that’s being rewarded or punished. So we had a bunch of confused angry people running around here. Whoops. He also proclaimed himself to be some variation of “stable genius” so… there went that fine opportunity.

    I don’t know squat. But I am an avid student of human nature. I don’t have the luxury of cheetos in moms basement or easy retirement or some lonely tech cubicle where I’m unwatched and alone. I have to get out there and deal with people.

    I have yet to have anybody rationally refute that my own humble experiences in the corporate trenches do not scale up well to the globalized political world.

  21. Willy

    Strike that last goof. Should be:

    I have yet to have anybody rationally refute that my own humble experiences in the corporate trenches, with all the various personalities, scales up quite well to the globalized political world.

  22. Heliopause

    I honestly think that if elite media would dial back their absolute spitting hysteria about Trump that his approval amongst conservatives/Republicans/right-leaning independents would drop a bit. Also, center-liberals/Democrats might pull back a bit from their Russia mania and start focusing more on things that actually matter. But I’m just a dreamer.

  23. different clue


    Michael Moore was speaking to a audience beFORE the election happened. He preDICted the Trump victory beFORE it happened. That means that either Moore got lucky, or that Moore had a predictively robust political framework through which to analyse coming events. Moore never did suPPORT Trump and NEver has. He was a Clinton backer. Still, he predicted the Trump victory.
    The speech was recorded.

    After the fact, the Trump campaign itself, or maybe just supporters and sympathisers, has taken the Moore video segment and set it to music and pictures in support and approval of Trump. I would suppose these retro-upgraded video experiences would make Michael Moore very sad. But they do help make Moore’s prediction and the points behind the prediction even stronger than otherwise.

    If you want to know why Trump won, factor in this analysis from a Clinton supporter who predicted that Trump would win. Here is a link to the video.

  24. ponderer

    I don’t think the economy is good. I think it is polarized and localized. Same as its been for years, but the labor statistics have been so manipulated and watered down its hard to do much with them. Is the Rust Belt seeing a resurgence? I don’t think anyone would argue it was but at least POTUS acknowledges there is a problem and that appeals to a lot of people.

    Well, I was wrong about Trump doubling down on immigration (I thought he would). He makes enough intelligent moves I wonder if he has a genius advisor tucked away some where. What he has given his base is more peace, more attention to economic issues, and more nationalism (which is already pretty high here). Everything that will appeal to the flyover states. He hasn’t made great strides some just some IMHO, but what has happened is that the deep state influence has been so obvious that I think people, especially Rs, have rallied behind him. I think thats showing up in the polling numbers. I would be more likely to vote for Sanders, but anyone that can/will stand up to the MIC and their obsession with Russia is the largest priority. We couldn’t have voted Hillary out of office as radioactive dust pulls few levers, but with Trump at least we have options. If Sanders joins the Borg, I’d rather sit the next one out.
    To me the bigger question is that if Trump didn’t increase the assassination rate, immigration troubles and other things he has done, could he have survived that meeting with Putin? If Bernie was in the same spot, what would have happened. I had more faith before he caved to Hillary. So Ian, is it because so many people don’t care about such things, or that they recognize no ones getting out of this sewer without mud on their boots? As much as I hate the lesser evil argument, that may be all we have here.

  25. Herman

    I agree with the other commenters saying that Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is about tribalism. That doesn’t mean that the Democrats will have it easy in the midterms, though. Elections are about turnout and even though they are relatively few in number Republicans are almost always motivated to get out and vote. They don’t call them “broken glass Republicans” for nothing.

    Democrats and independents (who sometimes lean Republican anyway) need more reasons to get out and vote and the Democrats have not done a good job giving people reasons to vote for them. Most people don’t care about the Russia story and a relatively good economy might convince people to just stay home. Plus midterms usually have lower turnout anyway which is usually bad for the Democrats. The Democrats might take back the House simply due to the usual midterm swing against the sitting president’s party but I don’t buy into the theory that public anger toward Trump is going to produce a massive blue wave.

    Most people outside of hardcore partisans are still relatively apolitical and you need to give them reasons to come out and vote for you. “Russia! Russia! Russia!” and “we aren’t Trump” are not good enough.

  26. bruce wilder

    I think Trump’s unpopularity with Democrats is about tribalism, too.

    The media hyper-focus on him combined with a low standard of journalism (lots of baseless speculation and embellishment of tendentious narratives by the punditry) mean that the same kind of fake outrage Wurlitzer is being used.

    The whole “this isn’t normal” thing that seems to matter to tribal Democrats is highly synthetic. It doesn’t reflect a considered view of what politics is about and what ought to matter morally and in terms of the general interest in well-functioning institutions, just a view shaped by politics-as-entertainment with powerful interests either hidden or caricatured.

  27. bruce wilder

    politics-as-entertainment produces tribalism as a dramatic device: to quote wisdom upthread it “merely consists of calling one’s opponent nasty names”

  28. Herman

    @bruce wilder,

    Yes, there is tribalism on both sides among partisans. The real key is who will get the swing voters. In close elections swing voters matter a lot. Trump won in 2016 in large part because he won enough former Obama voters to put him over the top in the Rust Belt

    Another issue is getting more people active in politics. Democrats would do well to try to get more nonvoters to come to the polls since they fit the Democratic Party’s demographic profile. Nonvoters are more likely to be non-white and poor.

  29. Stirling Newberry

    Two key points:

    1. The midterm hasn’t happened. That will change the media.

    2. Trump has a big advantage: his fans are will to pay a price.

  30. sbt

    @different clue:

    That video link reminds me of the basketball game scene from -American History X-. It seems triumphant for all the wrong reasons.

  31. StewartM

    As for the rest, the fact is that most Americans don’t think that the Russia story is important: it’s not a major concern to them, but Democrats insist on running with it.

    That’s because “RUSSIA!!!” (TM) and xenophobia is all the Clintonistas and Obamacrats have left after having driven the Democratic party into the electoral ditch. Really, look at some of the comments on Kos:

    They’re quoting this KGB defector’s of 1984 claiming Marxist-Leninist propaganda would slowly ‘erode American patriotism’ and make America fall. I mean, crapola right from the John Birch Society playbook. And the Kossacks are eating this up (some claiming that Russians are ‘always like this’ or inferring that “Patton saw we needed to do something about this in 1945” or other such garbage). Cold War stuff.

  32. marku52

    “Politics is the entertainment division of the Military-Industrial Complex”

    Frank Zappa, a man ahead of his time…..

  33. Dean Rao

    “It’s been pretty clear to me for some time that it’s more than the economy. I have encountered zero Trump supporters who can defend him without using the words “Clinton,” “Obama,” “liberal,” “Democrat,” or the variants thereof. Their hatred for the left, wherever it comes from, dominates any other rationale.”

    Ed must hang out with the sort of folk I have to associate with at my planet-destroying job. I have no problem with these guys on a personal level. We’re ALL about making our corporate masters more money as fast (efficiently) as we can manage to (“safely”) do it.
    But I hate to listen to my fellow serfs talk “politics”. (To describe their commentary as “political” gives it far too much credit.) Maybe we are only suited for slavery or serfdom.

  34. Ron Wilkinson

    Holy crap! I did not like Hillary and her neoliberal third way ‘Democrat in name only’ and war mongering politics. But vote for Trump? I voted for Hillary even after the DNC ( and Hillary) screwed Bernie, much for the same reason’s Bernie endorsed her (so to speak).
    I don’t buy the let’s let it all go to shit faster to enable the revolution. That’s how Nixon got elected, or at least that’s how my Yippie friends presented it.
    I’m a retired carpenter who went through the “Reagan Revolution” and I knew from the get-go Bill was a jerk. But Trump is the God Damned anti Christ AFAIC.
    I joined the Democratic Socialists late last year and the disappointing thing about it is there’s not that many old union people in it. It’s young millennial college students who make up most of the membership in San Diego, they are good kids who are working hard for the cause but when they call me comrade it makes me cringe.
    And don’t give me shit about war mongering Democrats, I marched against the Vietnam war and Bush Jr’s war.
    Trump? Jeezus!

  35. zot23

    I don’t know Ian, using intra-party polls to determine popularity while ignoring the other metrics? Seems like you are cherry picking to a fault here.

    Same polls also say amongst all registered Independents that 20% more would like to see a D led Congress than R. That would seem to be worthy of note too and none too friendly to El Presidente.

  36. different clue


    It is the “repurposing” music and images which make this audio-video seem triumphalistic for all the wrong reasons. I suspect Michael Moore would disapprove of the re-purposed use to which this videoed-audio has been put by the Trump Group.

    Other videos ( and raw video of the Moore talk running straight as-is ) include the first few sentences Moore spoke at that event. Sentences to the effect that after visiting Michigan and being surprised by how many of the people he knew would be voting for Trump, he felt it necessary to mention that they do not like Trump. But they like their betrayal by the Free Traderites and Clintonite Forces even less. And they will vote to escape the fate that Clinton’s Wall Street Free Traderite’s plan for them, and also to get revenge on the Wall Street Clintonites to begin with.

  37. S Brennan

    “…the fact is that most Americans don’t think that the Russia story is important: It’s not a major concern to them, but Democrats are insisting”

    The fact is; Democrats ie[DNC/Hillitites] are trying to swing voters with extreme right-wing fascist propaganda, Joseph Goebbels would be proud of today’s Democratic “leaders”. Most people I know think the “story” is stinking pile of vomit, with my dear Clintonistas friends declaring in private “well…if it works, who cares if it’s all bullshit”.

    The depravity of [D]s is hard to quantitatively measure, Americans voted Trump into office to express their frustration with elitist Dems we’ll see what happens in the midterms, will the Dems succeed with a “call to arms” war, War, WAR, or will the public once again reject what they are being fed?

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén