Americans Pessimistic About Trump’s Presidency

New polling data indicates that Americans are more pessimistic about the future of the Trump Presidency. That's not good news for him, or for Republicans.

CNN’s Harry Enten notes that Americans are more pessimistic about the Trump Presidency than any President in the last quarter-century:

Poll of the week: A Pew Research Center poll released this week finds that 29% of Americans think President Donald Trump’s presidency will be successful in the long term, 47% think it’ll be unsuccessful and 23% say it is too early to tell.

What’s the point: The fact that more Americans think Trump will ultimately be an unsuccessful president than believe he’ll be a successful one makes sense. The 18-point margin on that lines up nearly perfectly with his -22 point net approval rating (approval rating minus disapproval rating) in the same poll.

What is notable is how many people have already made up their minds on Trump being unsuccessful. The 47% who said that are basically saying not just that they don’t like the President now, but also that there’s a very good chance they’ll never like him. It gives Trump very little wiggle room in trying to bring up his low approval rating before his re-election.

Last year, the gap between successful and unsuccessful was the same as it is now (18 points). The overall percentage of who thought Trump would be unsuccessful, though, was 6 points lower, at 41%. That is, Trump had more room to grow in the past. Now, people are settling in on their opinions of the President.

The lack of people undecided on Trump is truly unusual. The other three presidents about whom this question was asked elicited much higher percentages of “too early to tell” than Trump. At this point in their presidencies, between 43% and 47% of Americans said it was too early to know if the president would be successful. Trump, at 23%, is 20 points below the lower part of this range.

More amazing is what we see when we examine all the times Pew has asked this question. Even at the ends of the last three presidents’ second terms, at least 26% of Americans still said it was too early to tell if those presidents were going to be successful. In other words, people are more locked in on their opinions of Trump now than they were at the ends of the second terms of the last three presidents. The 47% who say Trump’s presidency will be unsuccessful is also higher than ever measured at any point in any term in the last 25 years for any president.

The idea that people seem more decided on Trump than previous presidents is backed up by the approval trend line over his presidency. As Gallup recently noted, his approval rating over the first two years of his presidency was more stable than it was for any other president over his first years. Pew’s future-looking question suggests that stability will continue.

Indeed, a different question also points to the difficulty Trump will face going forward. His strongly disapprove rating in the Marist poll, at 45% this week, tied his previous all-time high for that pollster. By the Quinnipiac University poll’s reading, his strongly disapprove rating stands at 50%. These are very high strong disapproval ratings. Trump is as strongly disliked now as President Richard Nixon was when he resigned in 1974.

The counterpoint to all of this, of course, is that fact that, notwithstanding the fact that Trump has had, for the two years that he has been President, the worst job approval numbers of any new President in American history, he has still maintained a core level of support that he has not dipped below. As I’ve noted before, to find times during the course of previous Presidencies when job approval numbers have been this bad, one usually has to look past the first year or more. In part, this is because nearly all incoming President’s have enjoyed some kind of “honeymoon” period during which he has enjoyed relatively high job approval. Typically, it’s not until they reach a point where something identifiably goes wrong that those numbers begin to change. In Trump’s case, though, that honeymoon period never existed and he is the first President who has gone this deep into their Presidency without seeing their job approval rise to 50% or above. Despite that, it’s also been the case that his approval number has managed to roughly stick somewhere between 40% and 45%, although it’s spent far more time on the lower end of that range than it has the upper end. This means that, notwithstanding all the negativity about the Administration, there is still a significant part of the population, mostly conservative and Republican, that is sticking with the President. Since this is the only part of America that the President seems to care about, this no doubt pleases the President.

All that being said, of course, Trump isn’t going to win re-election with the support of 40% to 45% of the population, especially if those who oppose him are as highly motivated to show up to the polls in 2020 as they were in 2018. This is especially true when you look deeper into these recent polls at numbers such as those who “highly disapprove” of the President. If that number holds or continues increasing as it has been in recent months, then Trump would be in serious trouble in 2020. As Enten notes, while it’s possible that a voter might still end up voting for someone who they generally disapprove of, especially when you take into account who their opponent might be, it’s exceedingly rare for someone to vote for someone they “strongly” disapprove of. In support of this, Enten cites evidence from the exit polls during the last two elections in which an incumbent President was on the ballot. In both 2004 and 2012, the incumbent won just 2% and 1% respectively of the voters who said they “strongly disapprove” of his job performance. Given the fact that it appears at this early date that Trump is going to need every vote he can get. If the “strongly disapprove” number increases as it has been doing, he’s going to find that to be more and more difficult.

Taking all of this into account, one would think that the President and his political advisors would be looking at ways to potentially expand his political appeal. Instead, he continues to follow a strategy that is clearly designed to appeal principally to his narrow base while ignoring the broader audience of voters that he potentially needs to get support from if he’s going to have any chance of getting re-elected next year. In 2016, he had the advantage of running against a candidate whose political and personal baggage was arguably as weighty as his own. As I noted at several points during the General Election campaign back then, the favorable/unfavorable numbers for Trump and Clinton were virtually the same throughout the campaign. In other words, in many respects, Trump was lucky enough to be running against someone who may have been the only candidate that someone like Trump could beat, even if that victory did come thanks to a narrow margin of victory in three Midwestern states. He’s unlikely to be so lucky in 2020, although the Republicans will no doubt try to demonize whoever it is that the Democrats end up nominating. Given that, Trump’s current political strategy of pandering to the base doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

 

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Another reason to be pessimistic…US home sales fell 6.4 percent in December to worst pace since late 2015.

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    Taking all of this into account, one would think that the President and his political advisors would be looking at ways to potentially expand his political appeal.

    That ceased to be a possibility on Day One of his presidency. It’s the single most encouraging thing about Trump – his utter inability to learn, grow or adapt. The notion that this buffoon could find a way to reach beyond his pathetic cult is laughable. He’s a scumbag. Even his culties know he’s a scumbag but they think he’s their scumbag, and of course they think that because they’re morons incapable of getting their tiny heads around anything more complicated than simple spite.

    Look at the body language of Democrats. No one’s scared of this guy now. We’re laughing at him.

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  3. Teve says:

    The 5 conservative members of SCROTUS just gave the green light for Trump to kick transgender people out of the military.

    U-S-A! U-S-A!

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  4. Teve says:

    We have to make it 730 days before we can start fixing the Republican damage. Again.

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  6. CSK says:

    “…Trump’s current political strategy of pandering to the base doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

    Sure it does, if you accept that Trump believes that 75% of the country supports him.

  7. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Have you seen today’s ravings and gibberings?

  8. Teve says:

    @CSK: I’m counting 11 tweets so far this morning.

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:

    The 5 conservative members of SCROTUS just gave the green light for Trump to kick transgender people out of the military.

    This is only the beginning of the havoc the stolen seats on the court will create. We are probably only one term away from a 2nd Amendment decision that turns the country into the Wild West, the NRA wet dream of armed idiots everywhere.

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  10. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    That executive time is getting longer and longer, isn’t it?

  11. Teve says:

    @CSK: maybe if we can keep him tweeting all day he won’t have time to listen to Bolton and invade Iran.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve:

    We have to make it 730 days before we can start fixing the Republican damage. Again.

    But look at the bright side. There’s a fair chance that in those two years he’ll break the Republican Party.

  13. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: everyday he drags them a little further down, and nobody in their right mind thinks that’s going to change.

  14. Teve says:

    Andrea Mitchell
    @mitchellreports
    UPDATE from
    @PeterAlexander
    –> A White House official clarifies: The WH is moving forward with plans to deliver the State of the Union at the Capitol on January 29.

  15. Kathy says:

    Look at the upside, so to speak. If the economy tanks, Dennison will lose a good deal of support from his base, and even more support from the rest of the Republican voters.

    The latter in particular may vote Democratic in 2020. Not in great numbers, but add them tot he very enthusiastic Democratic base, and enthusiastic rest of the Democratic party, and by 2021 they may have a clean sweep of the House, Senate, and White House.

    Oh, and true to his word, the tanking economy will reduce immigration, both legal and non, and thus El Cheeto will have achieved that one goal.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This means that, notwithstanding all the negativity about the Administration, there is still a significant part of the population, mostly conservative and Republican, that is sticking with the President.

    I just love your quirky sense of humor Doug, leaving room for trump voters who haven’t heard or read of anything that has happened in the last 2 years.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy:

    If the economy tanks, Dennison will lose a good deal of support from his base, and even more support from the rest of the Republican voters.

    trumpism can never fail, it can only be failed. They will just blame DEMs.

  18. roger says:

    “Trump isn’t going to win re-election with the support of 40% to 45% of the population, especially if those who oppose him are as highly motivated to show up to the polls in 2020 as they were in 2018”

    One factor is people like my parents who just vote straight party Republican no matter what. They knew what sort of person Trump was going into the 2016 voting booth but “her emails!” a thinking, fostered by a certain news network, that Hillary would be worse for the country.

  19. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I know Dennison could sign a law called “Trump Act For Killing The Economy,” and the majority of his base would blame Nancy Pelosi.

    But “you can’t fool all the people all the time.” If his base remains as supportive percentage wise, it will be because it has grown smaller.

  20. Teve says:

    I know Dennison could sign a law called “Trump Act For Killing The Economy,” and the majority of his base would blame Nancy Pelosi.

    I just saw (and blocked) a Trump Chump on Twitter saying the shutdown was Pelosi’s fault because “it’s her responsibility to pass a budget that the president will sign.”

    Trump has a near-monopoly on people who flunked 8th grade civics.

    Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be

  21. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: I think it was Churchill who said that “nothing brings home the problems of democracy more than a five-minute discussion with the average voter”?

    It’s at moments like this that I want to start sending out Nigerian spam letters.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    I seem of late to see a lot of people say they love Trump because people have jobs and are spending money. Trump’s support should be the proverbial 27%, but it hangs around 40. So about 13% are hanging on largely because of the cum hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy and may well fall away if the economy falters. It’d be good if they vote D, but they’ve absorbed so much nonsense about Ds from the Mighty Right Wing Wurlitzer, probably the best we can hope for is they stay home.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Instead, he continues to follow a strategy that is clearly designed to appeal principally to his narrow base while ignoring the broader audience of voters that he potentially needs to get support from if he’s going to have any chance of getting re-elected next year.

    It may be that those two cohorts are so mutually exclusive that one has to choose only one. Trump seems to have burned his bridges with “the broader audience of voters” who pretty much to a man person realize that, in the manner of a famous Clinton preceding him,

    every word he says is a lie, including “a,” “an,” and “the.”

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I do have to note that while it would be an epic fail on many levels, Trump speaking to a group of fanbois on the steps of a Capitol “that Nancy Pelosi refused to grant me entrance to” has a certain theatric quality to it that would appeal to him.

    Don’t sell the idea short; it’s great television. (He’s gonna balk at paying for a mob of fanbois to listen to him, but that’s his problem, not mine.)

  25. The abyss that is "cracker's" soul says:

    Also, it’s important to remember that everything will be well once we get rid of Trump. He is an anomaly among Republicans and everything bad that is happening is exclusively because of his boorishness and unpresidentialness. Once Trump is gone, the Republican party will revert to the good loyal Americans they showed themselves to be in 2009-2016. Keep reminding yourselves

    It’s all on Trump. It’s all on Trump. It’s all on Trump.

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  26. EddieInCA says:

    I’m torn.

    Trump has been an unmitigated disaster. Worse than even I, who knew very well about all his shenanigans in NYC and Atlantic City, expected.

    BUT… On a purely personal, selfish basis, his presidency has been good for me personally. I purchased a home in Mexico, and given what’s happening to NYC Real Estate, I’m actually in escrow on a studio in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC, that I picked up for $350K. Two years ago, that same studio condo was $550K.

    Additionally, I got a personal tax cut, and my corporate taxes went down as well, even though I had the best year of my career, with two television series on the air simultaneously.

    So…. I’m working hard for Trump’s defeat and downfall, because I think he’s a dangerous and bad man. But the problem as this point isn’t Trump. It’s the cult. And the cult shows no sign of weakening.

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I just saw (and blocked) a Trump Chump on Twitter saying the shutdown was Pelosi’s fault because “it’s her responsibility to pass a budget that the president will sign.”

    Quick aside. I wonder if future historians will credit the block options on Twitter and Facebook for averting a second US civil war.

    Ok. there are two things wrong with that statement that caused you to block the chump. One is that it can easily be turned around, making it Dennison’s job to sign the budget Pelosi passes. Two, and most important, no one can fucking tell what Trump will sign.

  28. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: they could enlist the Proud Boys, and One Million Moms, and that group that said they were going to surround the White House and demand the arrest of Pelosi and Obama a couple years ago. They should be able to get whole Tens of people 😛

  29. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    Ok. there are two things wrong with that statement that caused you to block the chump. One is that it can easily be turned around, making it Dennison’s job to sign the budget Pelosi passes. Two, and most important, no one can fucking tell what Trump will sign.

    yeah, the reason I posted that onion story was A) that guy almost certainly believes that unlike liberals he reveres the Constitution and B) he wouldn’t recognize Article I if it ran up and bit him on the ear.

    Stupid, impulsive, incurious, and egomaniacal, is no way to go through life Donnie.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    Who in their right mind wouldn’t be pessimistic about this idiot? What kind of stupidity must it take to be optimistic about this pathetic president…

  31. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Americans Pessimistic About Trump’s Presidency

    Huh… How about that.

    Who would have thought: that if a person with absolutely no political experience was given the worlds best (and worst) job, that they would blow it.

    Who could predict that?!!? You can’t explain that!

  32. Teve says:

    Sahil Kapur

    @sahilkapur
    Democratic firm @ppppolls surveys early 2020 head-to-head contests:

    Biden 53%, Trump 41%
    Sanders 51%, Trump 41%
    Harris 48%, Trump 41%
    O’Rourke 47%, Trump 41%
    Warren 48%, Trump 42%
    Booker 47%, Trump 42%
    Gillibrand 47%, Trump 42%

    Gas Station Sushi 46%, Trump 42%
    Jason Statham disguised as Barack Obama 47%, Trump 41%
    Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway 47%, Trump 42%
    Robert Downey Jr holding both a crack pipe and a shotgun 48%, Trump 41%

  33. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: for every Albert Einstein on the right hand side of the bell curve, there’s a trump chump on the left hand side.

  34. DrDaveT says:

    29% of Americans think President Donald Trump’s presidency will be successful in the long term, 47% think it’ll be unsuccessful and 23% say it is too early to tell.

    The stunning part of this is that more than half of Americans surveyed haven’t figured it out yet. I blame GOP education policies.

    In a recent Quinnipiac poll, 29% of Americans think cancer is actually good for you, 47% think it’s bad for you, and 23% say it is too early to tell.

  35. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    PPP 7/20/2015: Hillary 50%, Trump 37%

  36. Teve says:

    Jeff Tiedrich
    @itsJeffTiedrich
    ·
    5h
    no one could have predicted that the party of Nazis, child molesters, wife beaters, income tax cheaters, pedophile wrestling coaches, compromised Russian assets, blackout-drunk rapist judges and bonesaw murder apologists would also be the party of smug white supremacist teenagers

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  37. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: I don’t know about you, but I have this vague feeling that Trump’s numbers may have solidified a bit since then.

  38. gVOR08 says:

    Depressed? I’m bloody terrified.

    Trumpsky can do a lot more damage in two years. But I think the best case is for him to hang on for two years, dogged by investigations and indictments of his cronies, thwarted by the House, and dragging the Party down with him. Beats Prez Pence.

    RBG, if you don’t feel up to going to the Court, stay home, make yourself comfortable, and refuse to resign.

  39. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    PPP 7/20/2015: Hillary 50%, Trump 37%

    “Count no man happy until he’s dead.” attributed to Solon.

    One analysis which was rather popular through the 2016 campaign, was that the candidate with the highest negatives usually lost. Trump had that honor (and hasn’t relinquished it), but he won.

    The old adage about negative ratings, though, assumes the other candidate’s negatives don’t outweigh their positive ratings. In the 2016 election, this wasn’t so.

    I won’t rehash the 2016 election again, though questions remain, but will point out it was kind of a perfect storm for El Cheeto, coupled with the peculiarities of the US electoral college system (he did lose the popular vote), and the aid he got from Russia (and we don’t yet know the depth of that).

    I don’t think that will be the case in 2020. But count no man happy until he’s dead.

  40. Teve says:

    @Kathy: in 2016, Trump got 46.1% of the vote and barely slipped in due to the way the electoral college deformed the results. a few tens of thousands of votes in three states and things would have gone differently. If Trump even gets 45% in 2020, that’s 1.41 million fewer votes than 2016. It’s almost inconceivable that he could win with that.

    and the economy has been growing for a hundred consecutive months, which is some kind of record. I don’t know if anybody is willing to bet that’s going to go on another 20 months.

  41. Teve says:

    Two months ago the voters of Florida voted overwhelmingly to reenfranchise over 1 million convicted felons. if the Republicans in charge here don’t manage to screw them out of that, which they’ll almost certainly try to do, we’re seeing the last Republican politicians who will win Florida for quite some time, and Trump certainly won’t have a chance here in 2020.

  42. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Maybe so, but head-to-head matchups are pretty much useless at this point in the cycle. They always are.

  43. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    it was kind of a perfect storm for El Cheeto, coupled with the peculiarities of the US electoral college system (he did lose the popular vote), and the aid he got from Russia (and we don’t yet know the depth of that).

    Let us also give the credit they deserve to James Comey and the NYT.

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    Congrats on that, and well-deserved I can only assume. I’m in LA now pitching a TV series. Like a salmon I have returned to the dry river where I was spawned, and have bought a house in, god help me, Silver Lake.

  45. Teve says:

    someday in the next few weeks when I get around to it I’m going to write this up as a comprehensive essay, but for now I’ll just leave a few bullet points here on something I’ve been thinking about.

    * the Russians didn’t quit. Twitter, Facebook, and comment sections are increasingly full of suspicious political comments.
    * the Russians weren’t simply trying to get Trump elected, they were trying to cast doubt and grief throughout the system.
    * I’m seeing a lot of comments with nonfluent English grammar, always purportedly from someone who’s an American but doesn’t like Kamala Harris, or Elizabeth Warren, or Beto O’Rourke, etcetera.
    * While plenty of Democrats have legitimate beefs against particular candidates, there’s a whole lot of suspicious activity that doesn’t seem oriented towards anything but provoking fights.
    * If you’re online and you see somebody picking intra-party fights, at least consider the possibility that you’re being manipulated before you join in the brawl.

  46. Teve says:

    For this and other reasons I’m not engaging in any political fights on social media. So far in 2019, I have argued politics with a rando online exactly zero times, and I’ve blocked several dozen idiots.

  47. EddieinCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m in the valley. And I love it out there. Silverlake is great, but you’re going to be surrounded by so many hipsters and skinny jeans that it will make you feel older than you actually are.

    Also, It’s going to be sort of awesome if we end up working together.

  48. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: I have been busy the last couple of election seasons registering FL voters for the Dems and got a bellyful of ‘I’m a convicted felon’ from folks at bus stops and hanging around the front door of libraries. I was (and AM) a huge supporter of Amendment 4. And probably it’s passing will tip the scale somewhat toward the Dems.

    But I expect that in the trailer parks and honkytonk bars in the Panhandle and cow-counties there are lots of convicted felons who’d also love to get the franchise because they sincerely love Mr Trump. It doesn’t seem to me to be the magic that will swing FL permanently to the D’s.

    We still need to get out and work like hell in 2020.

  49. JohnMcC says:

    There’s a terrific short piece at Washington Monthly/Political Animal by Martin Longman that examines the 4 or 5 biggest landslides in US electoral history, compares the popular vote to the EC vote and then — this is the kicker! — looks at the changes that happened in following elections. If you’re the sort of history nut that I am you’ll be glad you looked.

    washingonmonthly.com/2019/01/22/the-democrats-need-a-landslide-victory-in-2020/

    Spoiler alert: A crushing landslide in 2020 for the Dems might leave the Repubs lagging behind for multiple election cycles.

  50. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I also don’t want to rehash 2016, except to say it concerns me that I’m seeing some of the same complacency about Trump’s inevitable demise that I saw in the last cycle. Granted, it’s not the same situation, Trump benefited from a perfect storm, etc. But that goes both ways, as now he comes in with the added benefits of incumbency and a party solidly united behind him. Not only have a majority of presidents who have run for reelection been reelected, but it’s historically unusual for the country to vote a party out of office after a single term. It did happen with Carter, but that’s literally the only example since the 19th century, and even that required an economic crisis; if not for that, Carter probably would have been reelected.

    Part of what makes incumbents so formidable is that they are usually (but not always) spared a bruising primary. Trump may or may not receive a primary challenge next year, but so far he remains incredibly popular within his own party, and until and unless that changes, there’s no reason to think a challenge from Kasich or Romney or whomever will go anywhere. So Trump can just sit on the sidelines while Kamala, Warren, Gillibrand, Biden, Bernie, Beto, and more duke it out, exposing one another’s flaws and vulnerabilities before any Republican even tries. There’s no reason to think it won’t get as ugly as it ever has, in part because everyone is still steaming over 2016. The Bernie Bros. will once again clash with “the establishment,” comparing any candidate they don’t like to Hillary; Dems will squabble over “identity politics” and whether it’s time to nominate someone other than a white male, or whether only a white male is capable of beating Trump. By the time the primaries are finished, it’s pretty much guaranteed that whichever candidate emerges will no longer seem as attractive and squeaky-clean as they did at the start of the cycle. That’s what always happens, and it’s one of the reasons, I’m convinced, why incumbents usually win.

    I don’t buy the argument that Trump hit the absolute ceiling in number of votes he could have gotten in 2016. Just as Dems were overly complacent, probably many GOP voters didn’t show up because they thought Hillary’s victory was inevitable. And while Trump managed to attract some voters from outside the traditional GOP coalition, many of whom have already abandoned him, I get the sense that a lot of the original NeverTrump conservatives have been pleased with Trump because he has so far (apart from a few issues such as trade) governed as a reliable conservative, something they didn’t expect. Regardless of the outcome in 2020, I suspect it will be a return to more typical partisan patterns.

    We assume Trump’s sheer awfulness will doom him before any “macro” factor like a recession does. But we assumed the same thing last time. If there’s one lesson nearly everyone misses from 2016, it’s that Trump performed pretty much as expected for a Generic Republican running to follow two terms of Democratic rule during an economy that was healthy but where growth was starting to slow down. Most of the stories about 2016 are at bottom stories about how Trump’s Trumpiness was a better match for voters than Hillary’s Hillaryness. One of the most pervasive myths about American elections–disputed by political scientists but believed by almost everyone else–is that election outcomes can be entirely explained by the qualities of the two candidates and the strengths of their campaigns, while completely ignoring macro factors such as the state of the economy and how long the incumbent party has been in power. If there’s a recession in the next year, Trump is probably toast, but if there isn’t, I definitely think he could win again; I would expect any Generic Republican president to do so at this point, and betting on Trump’s Trumpiness to doom him does not have a great track record. (And I haven’t even gotten into the matter of third party challenges, something almost no one is talking about.)

    I’m not trying to be an Eeyore here. I still think it’s more likely than not that Trump will not win a second term in office. There are several unknowns here, not just the economy, but also the results in the ongoing Russia investigation. What I am objecting to is a kind of smug certainty I keep encountering that Trump’s days are numbered, and it reminds me a heckuva lot of what I was hearing last time around–and that should scare Dems a lot more than it does.

  51. Teve says:

    @JohnMcC: I’m sure there are a lot of trump supporters who are convicted felons. The thing is, Republican voters in Florida outnumber Democrat voters by about a hundred thousand. And of the 1.4 million disenfranchised convicted felons most of them are African American. I think it’ll make a big difference in election outcomes, which is why Republican office holders in Florida are already throwing up roadblocks to their reenfranchisement. DeSantis tried to claim last month that the voting referendum couldn’t be implemented unless the state legislature enshrines it in law.

  52. Teve says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Spoiler alert: A crushing landslide in 2020 for the Dems might leave the Repubs lagging behind for multiple election cycles.

    he suggests that if Democrats win by 55% or more, they’ll really be in the catbird seat. Trump polls at most 42% against anybody at the moment. So there’s a chance those numbers could happen. But if I were in a position of Democratic leadership I’d be throwing the kitchen sink at the senate for the next two years.

  53. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I also don’t want to rehash 2016, except to say it concerns me that I’m seeing some of the same complacency about Trump’s inevitable demise that I saw in the last cycle.

    That’s my worry as well.

    The quote from Solon was allegedly told to Croesus, king of Lydia, when the latter boasted about his wealth and happiness. Some time later, he was burned alive after losing his kingdom in a war against Persia.

    Some of that is myth, but it’s a morality myth. The lesson, in the case of modern US politics, is that life can change quickly, so you don’t assume victory and go on from there. Instead you need to work hard at the goal of victory and then go on from there.

    That said, the midterms played out more or less as expected by long term polling. But also as they tend to play out historically. It’s common sense. All new presidents (or Trump) start their first term with a measure of general optimism. and pretty much all of them fail to deliver the heightened expectations. So their party loses seats in Congress two years later.

    But let’s not forget republican voters were less apathetic than expected last year. otherwise there would have been a bue tsunami rather than the blue wave we saw.

    Or consider 1992. By February 1991 Bush the elder was riding a sky high approval rating after the Gulf War. We know what happened next. Yes, maybe there was Republican fatigue after 12 years of GOP presidents. But there are other factors, like Buchanan’s challenge and a mild recession at the worst time for him.

    And that’s another thing. Buchanan, and Reagan before him, made challenges directed at the base of the party, not at the disgruntled moderates and principled conservatives. If that happens this time around, then God help you, because you’ll need divine intervention to keep your country civilized.

  54. Teve says:

    Semi-on-topic:Trump demanded NASA fly a manned mission to Mars by 2020

    “Tell me, Mars—what do you see a timing for actually sending humans?” Trump asked Whitson. (He had actually signed a bill outlining the timetable just the month before.)

    “Well, I think as your bill directed, it would be in the 2030s,” Whitson responded. “Unfortunately spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will take some international cooperation.”

    “Well, I think we want to do it in my first term or at worst in my second term,” Trump said. “So I think we’ll have to speed that up a little bit.”

  55. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    The quote from Solon was allegedly told to Croesus, king of Lydia, when the latter boasted about his wealth and happiness. Some time later, he was burned alive after losing his kingdom in a war against Persia.

    I thought he was spared by Cyrus after calling out to Apollo, but after reading your comment I looked it up, and most scholars think he in fact died on the fire. Learn something new everyday. 😛

  56. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieinCA:
    Well, I have been going around to everyone at meetings and asking, “Are you Eddie? Because we are in California. . .” Wish me luck, you know the drill – meetings, conference calls, more meetings. The couch tour.

    I kind of like the hipsters, they give me someone to sneer at.

  57. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    The Croesus story is half-legend. it includes testing oracles, selecting the two “good” ones, misinterpreted prophecies, the Athenian sage Solon, etc. But Lydia and Croesus were real, and they really were taken over by the Persians under Cyrus.

    The modern interpretation is that Croesus tried to commit suicide by funeral pyre (not wholly uncommon, considering a proper burial was deemed essential by the Greeks, and their notion of propriety involved burning the corpse and interring the bones), but Cyrus stopped him.

    Cyrus comes across today as enlightened, or as more enlightened that was customary at the time he lived in. So this rings true.

    The Persians get a bad rap because they tangled with Greece, and of course the Greeks are the quintessence of Western Civilization. All regimes of the era would be considered brutal by today’s standards (even the very democratic Athenians), but there were degrees even then. The Persians were less inhumane than most in many respects.

  58. Blue Galangal says:

    @Teve:

    “Well, I think as your bill directed, it would be in the 2030s,” Whitson responded. “Unfortunately spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will take some international cooperation.”

    “Well, I think we want to do it in my first term or at worst in my second term,” Trump said. “So I think we’ll have to speed that up a little bit.”

    I’ve run out of can’ts to even.

    At the forefront of my brain, screaming silently at those 46%, is the constant refrain: “HOW COULD YOU?!?!!”

  59. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Semi-on-topic:Trump demanded NASA fly a manned mission to Mars by 2020

    That’s funny.

    I won’t go into details, but you couldn’t launch a manned mission to the Moon, not even an Apollo-type 2 day jaunt on the surface, by 2020, if you gave NASA $20 billion now. First you’d need to design a rocket and a ship to do it. You could use NASA’s much delayed big rocket, which has yet to fly, or a Falcon 9 Heavy, which has flown once; except for the fact neither is man-rated. Even then, you have no ship to get people there.

  60. Teve says:

    @Blue Galangal: when I think of the average Trump voter I think of that scene in Dirty rotten scoundrels where Steve Martin’s fork has a cork on it and the woman asks how come his fork has a cork on it and Michael Caine says well that’s to stop him from hurting himself, and just as he says that Martin bangs the cork right into his eyepatch.

    https://youtu.be/9eJ0iGZ7Ms8

    Too bad their ballot styluses didn’t have corks on them.