No, Trump Isn’t Imploding — But the Opposition Is Broad and Intense

Yves here. This post doesn’t incorporate the Trump controversy of the day, namely, the escalation of remarkably thinly-sourced accusations about Trump campaign contacts with members of the Russian intelligence community. Aside from the fact that a careful reading of the stories reveals a yawning chasm between the headlines and the content, a Washington-savvy reader pointed out: “If they had a smoking gun, they’d be presenting it to the intelligence committees and having hearings, not flogging it to the press.” But he nevertheless thought that relentless hammering on the notion that Trump was in bed with Russia, no matter how thin the evidence, would eventually do real harm.

A DC insider had a different perspective. He didn’t regard the intelligence leaks as all that damaging, but thought that Trump was at sea in terms of getting things done inside the Beltway. Given the composition of his team, things were unlikely to get better on that front. Trump is sorely lacking in people who knew how to get the right players on board or at least somewhat placated. Thus Pence muscling aside Christie was a big loss; although Christie might not have taken the job, Christie would have been invaluable to Trump as a chief of staff and would have brought that expertise. Put it another way: Trump has too many billionaires on his team who like him don’t know what they don’t know. This is consistent with one of our occasional observations: that Trump would wind up being a blustery, hyperkinetic version of a Jimmy Carter: an outsider who got little done because he had far too few DC old hand in his Administration. Carter mistakenly thought Watergate gave him a mandate to do things differently; Trump owed too many favors to marginal players who were willing to back him early and had a hard time getting members of the GOP mainstream to sign on.

This post has a key point toward towards the end: that Trump and the Republicans need to avoid looking “mean spirited” in delivering on their policies, by implication, the ones meant to increase wages and employment. It’s hard to see how Trump can do that. His fabulous short temper means that pettiness is already part of his brand image. And that is already being exploited by the media. For instance, we’ve commented repeatedly on how bog standard transition moves that the press ignored under Obama are being depicted as sinister because Trump. Similarly, one of the big stories last weekend were ICE raids, which the articles insinuated were unusual and harsh. Yet a story we ran yesterday from Grist that was sympathetic to illegal immigrants included this factoid:

The recent “immigration enforcement surge” has gotten a lot of media attention, but even if the government manages to deport everyone who was rounded up over the weekend, it would need to more than triple its pace just to match the Obama administration, which deported 409,849 people in 2012.

By New Deal Democrat. Originally published at Angry Bear

My post from two weeks ago, “No, Trump isn’t Imploding” got picked up by a few other sites within the past few days, and I wanted to follow up because we have a fuller picture of public opinion now.

Basically, Trump still isn’t imploding. He is holding his base. In fact, there is a little economic evidence that they are putting their wallets where their mouths have been. BUT, on the other hand, the opposition to Trump is revealing itself as broad-based and intense, in a way that hasn’t been seen in America since at least the 1960s (if not the 1930s or 1860s).

Here’s Gallup’s Presidential approval polling through yesterday:

Three weeks after the start of his Presidency, Trump’s last approval rating was 41%, down from 45% on his Inauguration Day. He has been between 41% and 43% for the last two weeks.

That’s simply not an implosion.  And his GOP base stands behind his controversial Executive Decrees.  For example, here’s the breakdown on support for his Muslim exclusion decree:

While Democrats are almost universally opposed, the support by GOPers is similarly almost universal.

But while Trump isn’t imploding, the opposition to him is broad, as shown in the increase of disapproval ratings shown above from 45% on Inauguration Day to 53% in the past week.

Moreover, the opposition is intense, as shown by the 45% support for Trump being impeached as evidenced by a PPP poll several days ago:

In short, the mushy “bipartisan-y” center so worshiped by the likes of the late David Broder has all but disappeared. Red and blue America are at complete loggerheads.

There is some evidence, by the way, that the optimism of GOPers, as shown in Gallup’s economic confidence survey:

is showing up in real consumer spending. January is typically the month in which consumers spend the least.  Two weeks ago I noted that so far spending was lackluster.  Well, that has changed.  In the last 21 days, consumers are spending close to 25% more than they did one year ago:

This spending is at the highest level since before the 2008 recession.  I have no way of knowing whether this spending is motivated in part by Trump’s presidency, but the coincidence is there.

In the short term, notice that the Congressional GOP has largely gone silent.  No big statements by Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell, and no big Congressional legislation being shepherded to Trump’s desk so far. I think they are in a wait-and-see mode.  There is nothing for them to gain with their base by opposing Trump now.  But if he does implode, they don’t want to be associated with that implosion.

In the longer term, for Democrats, Trump and the GOP are going to be judged on whether or not they deliver the goods to a majority of Americans, and do it in a way that does not appear mean-spirited. That means, for example, deporting Illegals who have engaged in violent crimes or theft. It does not mean splitting up families by deporting the working parents of American children who have been here for several decades and whose only wrongdoing was using a false Social Security number.  It also means delivering on jobs and wage growth — something that I doubt very much Trump of the GOP will be successful in doing.

While a number of statistical analyses of the 2016 election have pointed to the primacy of racial attitudes, as for example, shown in this graph:

there is not a 100% correlation between that and Trump votes.  In other words, while it may not have been the most common motivator, there were a significant percentage of white voters who did not take Trump’s remarks about Muslims or Mexicans seriously, or for that matter that he was really going to repeal ObamaCare.  This last group are the swing voters who can be persuaded back into the Democratic camp by candidates who reject Wall Street and embrace economic progressivism.

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141 comments

  1. vlade

    “Trump was at sea in terms of getting things done inside the Beltway”
    This is why I thought, that short of a nuclear scare (I would not really want him to decide on whether to push the button or not if it could be a flock of birds.. but not really sure how better HRC would be there) he would be possibly less harm than HRC who was the polar opposite.

    I’ll still reserve judgement on that till the end of his term though.

  2. ambrit

    The last sentence is the real kicker.
    “This last group are the swing voters who can be persuaded back into the Democratic camp by candidates who reject Wall Street and embrace economic progressivism.”
    Except for the Sanders Coalition, to use an appropriate phrase, I see no “progressive” Democrats anywhere, and certainly none in positions of power within the Party. Throwing the Ninety Percenters under the bus failed miserably as a campaign strategy for H Clinton and the DNC. Until this changes, the trend is Whig City here we come.
    On another note; since Anti Trump operatives are pushing the theme of Trump as H—-r, they should not be at all surprised if a real H—-r type were to arise to fill the power vacuum they will create if Trump is “Removed.”
    Just as I keep saying that “One can never be too Cynical;” things can always get worse.

    1. nick

      Based on his administrative record, public statements, and actions Tom Perez seems to be that elusive progressive Democrat outside the Sanders coalition. Like you I’m not optimistic for the chances of any corporate-funded progressive platform.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Tom Perez of TPP support fame and the same guy who routinely spreads lies about Sanders supporters?

        Does anyone at the DNC grasp public statements are stored forever and easy to view these days?

        1. nick

          Yes the same. His TPP support, if genuine, indicates a belief that progressive or redistributionist policy goals can be attained through non-adversarial engagement with sympathetic power. (Basically asking nicely). A lot of progressives think this way. Just bc they’re dumb on strategy doesn’t mean they’re insincere.

          1. witters

            But after the 10000 time? Come on! By this stage ‘sincerity’ isn’t an issue of anykind, and neither is stupidity.

          2. aab

            Of course his TPP support is genuine. He’s a neoliberal. That’s why Obama employed him and nudged him to block Ellison’s path.

            a belief that progressive or redistributionist policy goals can be attained through non-adversarial engagement with sympathetic power

            There is no viable definition of “progressive” that includes this notion. Progressivism by definition means not trusting consolidated power, or it means nothing. No actual progressive thinks like this, but certainly lots of corporatist neoliberals who do call themselves “progressive” because it sounds so much nicer, and all the cool kids like it.

            They are insincere. They can be dumb AND insincere; the one does not preclude the other.

            1. witters

              ‘Of course his TPP support is genuine.’

              I agree.

              I just say its long gone past when sincerity mattered here.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        A pro war, lifelong Republican isn’t going to light the world on fire. Warren isn’t Joe Biden, but she isn’t going to restore trust after the primary.

        1. crittermom

          “Warren isn’t Joe Biden, but she isn’t going to restore trust after the primary.”

          I agree. IMO she completely ‘blew it’ when she backed Clinton & will never recover her base enough to be a contender.
          We just need to clone Bernie.

          1. Carla

            “We just need to clone Bernie.” Who ultimately backed Clinton.

            Is there a Berniecrat who can explain to me how he would have bucked the MIC and created a foreign policy substantially different from Obama’s or Clinton’s?

            Because if Bernie laid that out during the campaign, I somehow missed it.

            1. jerry

              He was against war in Iraq, he repeatedly stressed need to not get involved with “intervention” and “spreading Democracy” around the globe, as Trump has also said.

              And personally I’m MUCH more concerned about domestic policy than foreign policy.

                1. aab

                  Bernie has a long, long, LONG track record as a politician. To compare him to Obama, whose wretched history was able to be covered up in part because it was so thin AND because the banking, real estate and Democratic elite all worked to hide it, is absurd.

                  I don’t know if he has actually moved right at all, or if he just tactically knew there was no point in going after the MIC while also trying to get universal health care. He certainly looked viscerally disgusted in that debate when Hillary started praising Kissinger.

                1. reslez

                  A gardener is concerned with his own garden first before everyone else’s. That includes lobbing bombs over the fence.

            2. DH

              This commentary string has listed three people: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden. Warren is the youngest at 67 years old. She will be 71 at the next presidential election. The other two are now 74 and 75 years old. This election was the last shot for all three of them. Two of them didn’t put their name in the ring.

              The Democratic Party is doomed if the great hopes are all in their 70s. That just means it is a party of old white liberals from the 60s.

              Where are the 40 and 50 years olds that will get somebody’s pulse to elevate? Until the DNC can put half a dozen of them in public, the Democratic Party is going nowhere.

              Trump won in the Republican Party but there was no shortage of people in their 40s and 50s running against him as well as people like Paul Ryan in Congress.

              1. BeliTsari

                They were among the “exciting down-ticket progressives” stomped down in Philly? Sneering neo-Confederate Dominionist kleptocrats will soon be writing all their own rules, as they’ve been doing in the state houses for three decades; they’ll have their judiciary rubber stamp them and drooling, sadistic oathkeepers rapaciously enforce them… even on some verklempt, speciously oblivious, complicit affluent white folks in big costal cities.

              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                Warren isn’t an old white, liberal from the 60’s. She was a Republican.

                Where are the 40 and 50 year Olds? The decline of the middle class and the focus on recruiting and supporting non entities over the years has created a genuinely rotten system. If all the people with the ability to walk away from their lives live in safe districts, there is a problem.

                Nina Turner has many wonderful qualities, but she has never held federal or statewide office. She hasn’t been a general or director of a major corporation or bureaucracy. The Democrats are in such disarray she needs to be considered as a 2020 candidate.

                What the Democrats really need to do is promise people gainful employment for walking away from their lives which means hitting up their donors not for television ad buys in September but a job.

                How does a person with $200k student debt run for any government office?

                These realities have to be dealt with because the Jefferson dream of farmers taking a couple years off during times when their fields are fallow and their kids can run the farm are long since past. Democrats won’t address these realities because they are Team Blue.

              3. WheresOurTeddy

                There’s a whole lot of angry millenials with 100% of Bernie’s integrity, 50% of his age, and 0% of his politeness. What we in the future will call “the lost American generation.”

                Let’s see how far they get in Tom Perez’s DNC.

                1. Time2WakeUpNow

                  “There’s a whole lot of angry millenials with 0% of Bernie’s integrity, 25-50% of his age, and maybe 50% of his political correctness. What a few homo-sapien survivors in the future will refer to as “the last American corporate centric generation.”

                  “Let’s see how far they get with their fake rage and riding Oligarchical Dems as their psuedo-progressive leaders.”

                  There……fixed it for you.

            3. jrs

              Maybe it’s just not possible. You see the deep state trying to bring down Trump, no it’s not because Trump makes a particularly good martyr, they just don’t like either him or a few of his polices (yea one can say they don’t like his instability but I don’t even trust the deep state to actually have a GOOD reason for what they are doing).

              So maybe Bernie would do what Bernie ALWAYS tries to do which is get what he can within the limits of the political game. Which is get some social democratic concessions for the people here within what is afterall a capitalistic empire. Maybe considering any good achieved is better than none. At least he’s more sincere about the concessions than most politicians who merely pretend.

              I mean we can speculate what a true anti-interventionist would do – say Ron Paul maybe as that’s as close as we seem to have had. Oh he might try, but I’m not so sure the deep state wouldn’t be after him like flies on Trump :)

              1. Lambert Strether

                > the deep state trying to bring down Trump

                A silly and disempowering claim; for it to be true, the State would have to be a monolith, which it isn’t. Clearly, some factions are trying to bring Trump down; others are not. “The” “deep state” forsooth. Reification, I think this is called. (Disempowering because you’ve got to know your enemy.)

            4. Plenue

              That’s the thing with Sanders. Despite all of the idiotic criticisms that Sanders supporters were naive idealists making the perfect the enemy of the good, Sanders has never been a revolutionary. He’s a bog standard New Deal Democrat. But the entire political spectrum has moved so far to the right that what was normal 40 years ago is an oddity now. Sander’s is eminently decent, but not perfect. He may or may not have done much to curb the empire abroad. But he would have at least endeavored to make life better for people living here, which is a hell of a lot more than can be said for Clinton. Sanders was the compromise candidate, not flawless, but a lot more good than bad.

              1. aab

                That needs to be said more. I have enormous respect for Bernie Sanders, but the platform he ran on last year was significantly to the right of my preferred policies. After volunteering for Obama in 2008 and then waking up, I moved left (basically returning to the positions of my youth) pretty dramatically, both in terms of what I want, and what I’m willing to accept. Bernie’s 2016 platform is the furthest right I would be willing to vote for now.

                Likewise, I have plenty of issues with Keith Ellison. He is my compromise candidate. The biggest argument in his favor is that unlike Perez, he has won elections, and is talking in concrete, realistic terms about organizing.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            People want fighters. When she had the opportunity to ask her strongest supporters to make a difference, she was no where to be found then ran a snide twitter campaign against Trump for some reason ignoring the basic lesson of politics don’t sink to your opponents level.

            Except for not being the usual drooling moron the Democrats stuck glasses on and hailed as a “nerd,” she doesn’t have enough of a record to overlook she was offered a chance on three occasions and failed: Sanders wanted her to run, she failed to endorse Sanders, and instead of voicing support for progressive policies she played twitter games. Everyone knows Trump is a clown. Next, she might tell us that Lebron James is a good basketball player.

            1. aab

              She also spoke out forcefully in favor of Standing Rock on the exact day it did not matter, and not one moment before.

              Elizabeth Warren is not a progressive. She also has no honor. She also has no viable political skills — she’s apparently doing whatever the party tells her to do tactically, even now, when she has all the evidence needed to recognized that’s a mistake.

              She isn’t going to win the Presidency. She’s very unlikely to run. The party isn’t pushing her. It’s pushing Booker and Harris. Gillibrand will probably get pushed by House Clinton so Chelsea can take her seat if she wins.

              The insurgent will be Gabbard, unless she waits. She is very, very clearly setting herself up to run as the insurgent/Berniecrat option inside the party.

              1. MojaveWolf

                Tulsi & Nina Turner would be my top two choices, Tim Canova right behind them. All of them have proven, if nothing else, that they have the necessary spine to stand up to the neoliberal scumbuckets. Zephyr Teachout and Lucy Flores also look good. Twill need a war against the party establishment to get them in, but we need that war and need to win it. If not their will be plenty of people like me to help the neoliberal establishment crowd losing until someone worthwhile takes over. Hopefully this will be in time.

      1. aab

        There are plenty of young, talented, leftist candidates for the Democrats to run: add Jayapal, Kim, Nguyen, Fetterman. The biggest problem outside the party not wanting to run them is that that national leadership has successfully boxed most of them out of national positions. Fetterman should have been the PA Democratic candidate for the Senate, but leadership pushed a Hillary crony and fan girl who, of course, lost.

        That’s part of why it’s so crucial to take control of the party. If we have to vote out every single corporate Democrat until they are so weak their corporate patrons stopping funding them completely, I’m okay with that. After all, they have no governing power as it is. It won’t make anything worse. What’s the defense for keeping, say, Joe Manchin in office. Anyone?

  3. dontknowitall

    I don’t know about Trump being at sea in dealing with the Beltway Blob… Trump was ‘hired’ to do things differently and that brings an initial sense of disorder as the old resents being pushed away and the new is not yet in place. He managed to calm things down with China, did not (yet) engage in war with Russia, has not escalated any our other various wars, has given notice of renegotiation on NAFTA, killed TPP (yes!!!), is slyly getting rid of the paleo-conservatives that came with him to DC and were unready for it, and the economy is showing significant signs of confidence in the future (and implicitly demonstrating it had no confidence in Obama and Hillary) and it has only been three weeks or so…

    I bet if Sanders had been elected he would be in the same situation as Trump now with the Blob resenting all of his program and resisting it everywhere. Like in the election he would have been accused of racism, sexism and whatever else the NYT would find fit to print.

    1. Carolinian

      I bet if Sanders had been elected he would be in the same situation as Trump now

      Probably, but despite all the emphasis on immigration etc one suspects that the real reason for the elite hissy fit over Trump has to do with foreign policy. This is the area where he has real power including the power to disrupt the warfare/terrorism industry that gives the DC area some of the richest zip codes in the country. Sanders would have been much less of a threat in this area.

      And to the above post: no Trump isn’t over among the people who voted for him and still support him to the hilt. Where he is hitting a brick wall is with the elite media and even the not so elite media who ape their bigger brothers. I’ve overheard people complaining about our local newspaper–which was once highly conservative to the point I stopped reading it–because of the way it covers Trump in lockstep with the Post, Times etc. There is a middle class versus working class divide in this country and it’s hard to see it ending well.

    1. Seamus Padraig

      I just checked over at RealClearPolitics, and it’s crazy! Trump’s numbers are all over the map, depending on which poll you believe. It’s just like it was before the election. You would think that they would have learned by now where they went wrong before the election and fixed the problem. But no:

      Gallup has him at 40%, Rasmussen has him at 53%, while Reuters and The Economist both have him at 46%. (Congress, meanwhile, is at 19%.)

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/

      Go figure …

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The issue is non-voters and voters. The Democratic Party of Clinton produced a situation where she did worse than John Kerry in a number of key states whereas Trump basically put up numbers a bit better than McCain. Despite still growing populations, the number of voters crashed. It would be absurd to assume Trump will be popular In the short term with the country.

        The next question is how does Trump do against Biden, Kaine, or Perez. He blasted Hillary who used her celebrity and status to avoid difficult questions and early campaign appearances that could have been embarrassing. Did Hillary pull in older Democrats put of nostalgia who might not have voted? Whereas Hillary often received questions about being a woman and what do. our do with a former President, Kaine would get questions about his support of public private partnerships.

        As long as the Democrats are dominated by the Clinton-Obama “#Resistance” (just like in Disney Star Wars), disapproval of Trump might be widespread but will be shallow and divided.

  4. I Have Strange Dreams

    To outsiders it gives the impression that the USA is imploding – a house divided. For most of the rest of the world, this is a good thing and we wish both the GOP and Dems well in their endeavour to fulfill Prof Berman’s prediction in his book, Why America Failed. It is no surprise that a country which has no values except those of hustling has started to cannabalize itself. The rest of the world only hopes that Americans use their massive stockpiles of weapons against each other instead of us – it would be nice and I hope, however, that your decline be managed in a less violent manner but that is not the American way.

    All this talk of reforming the Dems or the system is just wishful thinking. 400 years of vicious exploitation with greed as society’s guiding principle has led to this point. Anyone with a brain should have their escape plan in place. Once again, the billionaire overlords are many steps ahead of their serfs.

    1. blucollarAl

      I was abroad recently (GB and N. Europe) and basically all I heard from the locals was the same thing: America is finally getting what it deserves and can go to Hell. There did not appear to be much introspection among the chattering class about what in many cases is their own similarly situated condition.

      1. gman

        This last year or so has shown me quite how prejudiced, unpleasant, intolerant, blinkered, irrational or just plain dumb a surprising number of self-styled ‘liberal minded’ people can be.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        The cognitive dissonance necessary to ignore the 800lb gorilla in the room is astounding.

        When the financial Titanic that is the USA goes into the sea, do you really think your little lifeboat won’t get sucked down too?

        1. Albacore

          Peter Think appears to think so – he’s now a New Zealand citizen. You can have him back any time.

    2. jrs

      the whole world values hustling at this point. Oh yea lets pretend just about the entire western world and then some (some exceptions sometimes in latin america) hasn’t gone neo-liberal at this point, but of course it mostly has, and may well get worse.

  5. no one

    When he became president, Trump was the most powerful person in the world, beholden to no one. Yet he seems to have fallen into the clutches of the Republican party, a minority party. To my mind, he will implode unless he can free himself from poisonous Republican politicians and beltway insiders.

    How? Not easy with the advisors he has surrounded himself with, but still possible: he could decide to appeal to millennials. The Bernie platform — universal health care, free college tuition, and good jobs for all — would 1) kill the Democrat party and 2) revitalize the Republican party by attracting a wave of voters

    Plus it would be good for his ego. Capturing the youth vote remade Bernie Sanders into an international icon. It could do the same for Trump.

    Interestingly, the member of the family that seems to realize Trump’s immense power is Ivanka. Is she thinking, as I would be if my father were president, “now we can end world hunger,” “we can ensure proper care for every mother and child on Earth,” or even “world peace”?

    1. Vatch

      Sure, Trump could turn out to be a great President. To do so, he’ll first have to fire several of the cabinet officers who have already been confirmed, and he’ll have to withdraw his nomination of a few others. A President doesn’t govern all by himself — he delegates a substantial amount of authority to people who will carry out his vision, and none of those people is remotely interested in doing what you suggest. Aside from that, there’s the problem of a Congress that’s completely obedient to the oligarchs. The Republicans and the corporate wing of the Democratic party are no friends to the people of America or the world.

      1. reslez

        Plus it looks like Jared is fully on board the neolib train. I wouldn’t hold out much hope for Ivanka.

    2. aab

      the Republican party, a minority party

      The Republican Party controls all branches of the federal government and has complete control of more than half the states. That is not “a minority party.”

      You are correct if you mean that neither Republican registration nor Republican affiliation reaches 50% of the electorate. But within the context of your reference, that doesn’t matter. Trump “fell into their clutches” because they are the ONLY national party with real governing power, and they are, at least nominally, his party. His problem is that Republican voters are more aligned with him, but nationally elected Republicans — especially the leadership of the party — are primarily neoliberals, more aligned with the corporate Democrats than with Trump or their own base. But that means there is a coalition in Congress that could potentially impeach him and neuter him far beyond the intelligence services coup — if Republican electeds think they can get away with it and (in each case) keep their seat.

  6. Leigh

    Sorry, he is most definitely imploding imo.

    He refuses to believe there are rules and decorum that confines, or should confine his behavior. He and his family see themselves as above any law.

    Name one country that has elected an egomaniac of his caliber and that person has survived.

    He will end up resigning. He will not allow himself to be drawn into an impeachment – he must allow himself an out – he will blame the media, the CIA, little green men…..people will tire of his obfuscation rather quickly.

    The psychological toll his administration is putting on our country is what most are severely underestimating. It has a limit.

    1. Seamus Padraig

      It seems to me that our Deep State now sees itself as being above the law. You know that wiretapping Federal officials and leaking their calls is a felony, don’t you?

      1. Leigh

        “.It seems to me that our Deep State now sees itself as being above the law”

        .The Deep State has seen itself in those terms for a very long time – waaaaay before Trump.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Italy, and Berlusconi led the government three times for a total of over eight years. He’s if anything more flashy and tacky as well as seriously corrupt even by Italian standards.

      No way will he be impeached unless the Republicans lose their majority in the House in 2018. The Republicans screeched like crazy when he won the nomination, vowed to do him in somehow, and then found they’d have to answer to voters, and Trump has more than enough hard core support to make that a career-limiting move.

      And if impeachment talk were actually to get rolling, Trump would start having rallies in the districts of the Republican cabal leaders.

      The Republicans will lose big if they impeach Trump. They are not giving up their control of government. And he can give them some things they want dearly like tax cuts and deregulation. Politicians value their own personal survival above all and not enough Republicans will risk that to impeach Trump.

      1. Jim A.

        Yeah, there will be no impeachment or article 25 until AFTER he has lost the support of most of his voters. Now plenty of Republicans in congress AND the White House seem to be positioning themselves for the moment when that happens, but the Republican party is SCARED of his electorate. Trump won the primary DESPITE the best efforts of both the banker wings and the theocratic wings of the Republican establishment members. And all the inside baseball and skewering of the status quo won’t sour HIS base. We won’t see much progress on that front until either the recession hits (and those are kind of slow motion train wrecks) or he enacts some of the “punish the poor” policies (like killing healthcare or social security) beloved of the Republicans in congress.

        1. DH

          The support of the Trump voters will be lost if they lose their healthcare and jobs (or don’t see their jobs improve). Once Trump requests a replacement for Obamacare and support and funding for his infrastructure program, then the Republican Congress becomes the enemy if they don’t deliver (which they won’t). So the Representatives and Senators will lose the Trump voters’ support before Trump does.

          2018 will be the key year. Insurance companies are already pulling out of ACA exchanges for 2018. A replacement needs to be passed by spring if the health coverage carnage is to stop. Similarly, it takes 12 to 24 months for infrastructure spending to start to make any difference, so funding for that needs to start this spring if anything is to happen on the job front in 2018. Anybody see the slightest bit of evidence that Congress can even conceive of accomplishing these two goals?

          Their one hope is tax reform. However, that is mainly going to be structured into tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations which will take years to show any jobs impact (if at all). If they put border taxes and tariffs in play, then that will likely be disruptive to business and the initial reaction will probably be loss of jobs before companies get restructured around the new tax system, so tax reform could be a negative in 2018.

          1. Old Jake

            The support of the Trump voters will be lost if they lose their healthcare and jobs

            Wanna bet? My guess is they double down.

              1. aab

                My thesis is that those voters won’t flip back to New Dems, even if the next four years are terrible, just as the Republicans who came to hate the Bushes wouldn’t come home to Jeb even after eight years of Obama-brought suffering. If Trump looks to be completed captured by those forces, they’ll stay home, unless the left is giving them options.

      2. Jessica

        The Dems won’t impeach Trump. I don’t think they have the guts and actually the current situation is optimum for the Dems. They get to bay and howl and keep their base worked up, but can’t be held responsible for anything.
        If Trump is impeached, it will be the regular Republicans, the ones Trump beat so decisively in the primaries, who do it. They would be happy to replace Trump with a solid, reliable Christian Dominionist like Pence. But they can’t go after Trump as long as his base stands by him and I doubt that his base cares what the elite’s media says.

        1. Jim A.

          It doesn’t matter whether the Democrats would like to impeach Trump. They can’t. Even if enough Republicans got fed up enough to vote for impeachment, if the Republican leadership won’t schedule hearing and votes, it won’t happen. Impeachment would only happen if the leadership was SURE that it wouldn’t come back to bite them on the butt in the next election.
          I don’t think that an amendment 25 replacement by Pence is forthcoming either. That would smell too much like a palace coup. And really, Trump’s behavior is no great departure from his pre-election behavior. The only people who are surprised are those who convinced themselves that he was just ACTING like a nut-job to get elected. He simply hasn’t become any less able to perform his duties than when he was elected.

        2. DH

          The Democrats couldn’t even stop DeVos. Puzner went down because not even a bunch of Republicans could support him.

          1. Code Name D

            No, the Dems can’t impeach Trump. But that doen’t mean they woun’t try. Like Ahab after the white whale. Trump made Clintion look bad, so they are going to distroy him in the worst posible way they can think of.

            From the dems I have talked too, they are incresingly convinced that Trump will be impeached before the end of the year, and it will be over treason with Rusha. The ariticals of impeachment are praticaly already writen.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Please tell me how they pass an article of impeachment in the House. That’s where the process starts. The Republicans have a bigger majority there than in the Senate.

              1. Code Name D

                How? I will tell you how! In their wildest fantasy. (Kind of my point.) The dems have this narrative going that Trump is imploding and that impeachment proceedings can happen any day now. The fact that this will and can never happen is a point that exist outside the new Overton Window. Until then, they are going to keep beating the impeachment war drum. Even if it means dooming the whole of the Democratic Party.

      3. johnnygl

        Much like dilma in brazil, they need to wait until he’s unpopular enough before they can pounce. Dilma hurt herseld by selling out her base. If trump is seen to be selling out, then he implodes, and then the repubs make their move. But no sooner than that.

        1. Yan

          They can start by spreading zika or a similar virus. Preferably through Trump biting a baby in a rally or something.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          When are the Republican voters going to support the Republicans elites they already rejected in favor of Trump? Trump trashed saint McCain’s war record then had more votes than him. Much like Obama and the Democrats, Obama despite being the primary problem of the last eight years did relatively well compared to the Dems at large.

          In Brazil, those were different parties. The Democrats are on defense in the Senate and have no interest in even the appearance of picking up House seats. They ran up the score in California and managed to not pick up reachable House seats at the same time. As long as the Pelosi clown tolerated, they have no interest in winning.

          The only way Trump is ousted before 2021 is he gets bored and quits in which case it still won’t be an ousting.

      4. dontknowitall

        I wish people would keep in mind it has only been three weeks or so, I imagine Trump is still trying to find the keys to the Lincoln bedroom. This is a massive change for him. Of course the MSM knows this but I bet they are being told to cause a ruckus and they will not let the election be over just as they were told by the DNC to talk up Trump during the election. I hope there is another DNC email leak and I bet we would see more of the same collusion. Lets give the guy his 100 days then we can all start wondering where the lifeboats are stashed.

    3. Northeaster

      If Trump delivers on putting people to work, with decent wages, you’re out of your mind.

      The one-hundred year landslide that Republicans did over the past few years will continue and/or solidify for at least another decade. I’m in a deep blue state, I did not vote for Trump, I didn’t even vote for a single Republican, including one who I know personally that ran for Congress. There’s a lot to be desired for a lot of The Republican platform, but Democrats, especially those in my state, which includes Elizabeth Warren, have sold their base out, then double-down and lie about it or prey on their bases ignorance on issues.

      Not to be outdone, in one of the worst “eat cake” moments in political history, my own state legislature (super-majority Democrat) voted to give themselves raises in light of ridiculously high levels of poverty, home ownership crashing (reverting to mean?), and wages still less than pre-2000 levels. I even received a personal letter from my legislator explaining why she voted for such, including how hard she works gathering campaign donations for a safe seat, it was insulting.

      Trump may be an egotistical narcissist jackass, but if he succeeds where BOTH Democrats and Republicans have failed, for so long, you are suffering from either political confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, or both.

      1. DH

        I think Trump voters know he is a used car salesman. but many of them buy used cars. So as long as the car does what it is advertised to do, they will be happy. If it catches fire two weeks after leaving the lot, they will not be happy. So if their lot improves, they will be happy and will vote for him again. If it becomes clear he intentionally sold them a lemon, they will vote for someone else.

        1. polecat

          My lot has already improved now that the extortionate cACA ‘mandate’ can be ignored … the money towards which is needed for far, far better uses in our household, than to be forced to gulp down a heaping sh!t sandwich !!

          That … almost by itself … makes voting deplorable worth it !

    4. jerry

      Agree with others, as long as his base is intact then he is good. And if it is still intact after everything that has happened so far, I can’t imagine anything short of nuclear war that would change that.

      The media seems to be hilariously desperate to push any and all possible scandals, real or imagined, in front of the American people. And when I smell such desperation from the media, it can really only mean one thing – scared elites. Everyday, rational people don’t give a damn that he stands up for his daughter’s business, they don’t care about Russia, they know that all politicians are full of it anyway. But they care that he gives the finger to anyone he feels like in Washington.. because that’s really what we all want to do anyway isn’t it? And at least he has his garbage all out in front of us where we can see it, unlike his recent predecessors who not-so-effectively try to cover up the fact that they are in bed with wall street, big business, etc.

      As long as living vicariously through the president (seen as the victim under attack by corrupt Washington, media, etc.) remains desirable, why would we even want him to go? For what? Back to the same b.s. we’ve had for the past few decades?

  7. Seamus Padraig

    This whole meme about Obama having conducted record numbers of deportations is actually very far off base. It turns out that almost all the apparent increase is due to the fact that the INS simply redefined word ‘deportation’, making it look as though the numbers went up, when they actually hardly budged: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.9321a4e2ac12

    It seems that, in addition to lying to us about employment and inflation, Uncle Scam is now in the business of lying to us about immigration matters as well.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Looks like you did not read to the correction at the bottom.

      Moreover, even if you adjust the “deportation” to the ratio of actual removals, as of the date of the article, 55% were removals.

      So take the old “Obama deported people at three times the rate Trump is”. 3 x 55% = 1.65%

      The conclusion is still the same: Obama deported people at a much higher rate that Trump is, using what you argue is a more apples to apples comparison. It’s just not as dramatic as stated originally.

        1. jrs

          It’s early but it is actually a comparison of the *rate* of deportations so far. I suppose the entirely safe conclusion would be: we have no idea if Trump will deport more or less than Obama. Will a coin come up heads or tails? It’s anyone’s guess.

          It’s mostly given as an actual data point to counter the completely baseless claim that Trump is stepping up deportations which so far is simply untrue as opposed to predictions about the future which are simply unknown.

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        It’s really pathetic and sad how liberals can’t face the fact that their heroes Obama and Clinton are, and let’s be clear here, fascists in the Singapore-Malaysia style rather than the more dramatic Italy-Germany style.

        Obama had more deportations than the 2nd and 3rd place contenders combined, bombed seven countries, prosecuted more whistleblowers than every other president combined, and sold the police more military equipment than every other president combined.

        Liberals trying to regame the deportation statistics so that their Judas Goat doesn’t completely blow the competition away in eliminationism compared to an ethnonationalist is just another brick in the wall of liberal moral bankruptcy.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          The last Democratic president was FDR.

          The last one who even tried to be a Democrat was Carter.

          40+ years of failure. By design.

          1. polecat

            “The last one who even tried to be a Democrat was Carter”

            well ….. except for that ‘Carter Doctrine’ thingy ……

            and please note that i’m in no way giving the administrations that proceeded his a pass, either.

          2. Deadl E Cheese

            I have a better take: Democrats were never good.

            FDR killed a 32-hour workweek so we could toil in factories for the MiC longer, set the foundations for the Deep State that Truman and Eisenhower combo’d off of, and missed a golden opportunity to finish off the GOP by humping the gangrenous leg of centrist respectability with his dumbass recession. Do I need to go into his actual descent to fascism by suppressing Marxist parties and ethnic internment?

            And he’s pretty much the best of the lot.

  8. Barmitt O'Bamney

    It doesn’t matter what Trump’s approval level is or will be. The War Party and Big Spook are going to take him out. They’ve got the Mighty Wurlitzer cranked up to eleven. You know the kind of thing that “can’t happen here”? Well, here it comes.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not if the Republicans won’t indict. And as I said in the intro, if the intel apparatus had any real goods, they would have gone straight to the intel committees, not the press.

      People who are on the coasts think the MSM has more sway with the public than it actually does. We pointed out that polls show that Trump is trusted more than the press is, and by a pretty large margin:

      The poll, conducted by Emerson College, found that the administration is considered truthful by a slim majority, 49 percent, versus 48 percent of registered voters who said it was untruthful. By way of comparison, only 39 percent of registered voters view the media as truthful, with 53 percent saying the news media is dishonest.

      http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-02-09/trump-administration-more-trusted-than-the-media-poll-finds

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          Uh, no. What we learned, or rather should have learned, is that buying into polls is meaningless when you combine it with the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy and use it to perform predictions. As Dems did with their ‘demographics are destiny’ nonsense.

        2. John k

          TINA
          Agreed they get a few wrong, especially if conducted only over land lines and the issue has is age biased.
          But broadly they got the last election right, she did win the pop vote.
          And they consistently got Michigan wrong, obviously missing disaffected both times.

          1. Time2WakeUpNow

            “But broadly they got the last election right, she did win the pop vote.”

            WRONG!

            With the exception of the USC/LATimes poll, almost all of the mainstream corporate media polls were off by fairly impressive margins – even accounting for their plus/minus margins of error.

            And Michigan was hardly the only state they completely botched – completely whiffing on all of the other important “rust belt” swing states – especially Pennsylvania – which some still had her up by as much as double digit numbers right up until election day.

            Clinton’s “win” in popular vote total was basically due to just two states: California and New York. Had their been no Electoral College as the winning determinate, both parties campaign strategies would have been wholly different in execution – with Trump campaigning far more aggressively in those two states than he did – negating Hillary’s Popular vote edge – or even surpassing it..

          2. Time2WakeUpNow

            “But broadly they got the last election right, she did win the pop vote.”

            WRONG!

            With the exception of the USC/LATimes poll, almost all of the mainstream corporate media polls were off by fairly impressive margins – even accounting for their plus/minus margins of error.

            And Michigan was hardly the only state they botched – completely whiffing on all of the other important “rust belt” swing states – especially Pennsylvania – which some still had her up by as much as double digit numbers right up until election day.

            Clinton’s “win” in popular vote total was basically due to just two states: California and New York. Had their been no Electoral College as the winning determinate, both parties campaign strategies would have been wholly different in execution – with Trump campaigning far more aggressively in those two states than he did – negating Hillary’s Popular vote edge – or even surpassing it..

          3. Time2WakeUpNow

            “But broadly they got the last election right, she did win the pop vote.”

            WRONG!

            With the exception of the USC/LATimes poll, almost all of the mainstream corporate media polls were off by fairly impressive percentages – even accounting for their plus/minus margins of error.

            And Michigan was hardly the only state they botched – completely whiffing on all of the other important “rust belt” swing states – especially Pennsylvania – which some still had her leading by double digit numbers right up until election day.

            Clinton’s “win” in the popular vote total was basically due to just two states: California and New York. Had their been no Electoral College as the winning determinate, both party’s campaign strategies would have been wholly different in execution – with Trump campaigning far more aggressively in those two states than he did – somewhat negating Hillary’s Popular vote edge – or even surpassing it..

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          And what was wrong with the polls? Did you miss the fact that she won the popular vote by about 2.5%?

          I suggest you get better at statistics.

          Clinton’s lead during the campaign was almost all of the time was 2% to 7%, averaging around 4%. The margin of error was around 4%-5%. The 2.5% result is totally consistent with the polls, which also did show Trump closing in in the final days.

          The gap in the two questions in poll above is over 10%, way beyond any margin of error.

        1. polecat

          16 years ….

          after winning control of the House in 2006 : ‘impeachment is OFF the table” ….. the honorable speaker of the house .. ’embrace the suck’ Nancy Pelosi

          and they think people forget their vile, cynical, conniving ways …

  9. The Trumpening

    Trump’s highest strategic goal is to avoid getting “Marine Le Pened” where the NeoLiberal / NeoCon right combines with all the left to marginalize him. You do see many liberals more than eager to join with NeoCons to bring Trump down but so far most of the establishment Republicans have stayed on Trump’s side.

    Dialing up the kulturkampf is the best way to keep red-blue tensions high and therefore keep most of the Republican political tribe in their camp. Certainly Trump will want to see several repeats of Milo / Berkeley type violence to keep red hating blue. On the other hand Team Blue is so desperate they would side with Dick Cheney if he had any chance to take power from Trump

    Trump’s other goal is to ensure nationalist friendly corporate money for the 2018 and 2020 campaigns. I don’t think Trump can finance future campaigns himself so he has to quickly establish an oligarchy that will benefit from his policies to help balance the huge spending potential of the already existing globalist oligarchs just waiting to fund War Party-friendly and Neoliberal-leaning Democrats in 2018.

    During this first term Trump should do as many of his widely unpopular things early in his term so he has enough time to make up for them by the time elections role along. On the other hand Trump is attempting to solidify his base by doing things they want like the “Muslim Ban” and getting tough on immigration. Of course the reality is he is not doing much but the MSM is acting like an echo chamber and turning Trump’s whispers into roars – which is exactly what Trump wants them to do.

    And if the reports are to be believed of Muslim refugees in the US now making their way northward to Canada, Trump will certainly see this as a victory. I would imagine that Milo or other nationalist personalities offering to rent buses to assist these internal US refugees (and any celebrities) to get up north as soon as possible.

    So after an initial consolidation period I would expect Trump to go on the warpath against establishment Republicans to see which ones will stick their heads over the parapet and dare attack him. Any safe seat Republicans who take him on will get primaried. In marginal seats he has to tread more carefully as Dems could vote for an anti-Trump maverick Rep. But hope of taking back the House in 2018 could keep the partisan divide strong enough to keep Dems from combing with anti-Trump Reps.

    At some point in the summer of 2018 he needs to propose TrumpCare which includes at least a Medicare buy-in and make Ivanka the public face of this plan. What would help would for the Democrats to go full Mark Blyth and reject NeoLiberalism and start proposing solutions for the working class. This would force Trump to do something real for his working class voters. Keeping the Dems in full blown Nancy Pelosi IdPol Deplorable-hating mode means Trump can win future elections just on hatred of the Dems and not on his accomplishments.

    All this falls to pieces if he is stupid enough to get involved in any war bigger than the glorious invasion of Grenada!

  10. Tim

    I grew up in Trumpland (Missouri and Wisconsin) and have lived in AccelaLand for the last 25 years. My friends and family “back there” who supported Trump are not shaken in their convictions yet. If you doubt this, take 30 minutes and survey the headlines and opinion pages of major midwestern news outlets (eg Kansas City Star). Urban blue staters seem to think they can impose a reality on others – they can’t.

    I have given up trying to convince East Coast HRC supporters that there is a different perspective held by many smart and decent people elsewhere. I’m not a Trump supporter , however, the obsession and reactivity about Trump allows people to overlook the fact that the big problems aren’t about Trump.Maybe it took this to purge the Democratic party of the Clinton addiction.

    My guess is that it will be the Republicans who will undermine and effectively remove Trump for office. They have a 2-4 year window to do as they please with the US government and Trump is becoming an impediment to their agenda. Pence will be far better in this respect. He can at least support an insane agenda without appearing so.

    1. Katharine

      I agree with much of what you say, but I think even major midwestern news outlets have their blind spots. Take a look at minor ones and you may see something different. The Sioux City Journal has this article on the Day without Immigrants:
      http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/south-sioux-city-businesses-back-day-without-immigrants-thursday/article_cf2254a5-a2e4-5631-92c7-3850cb63d8de.html

      We might all usefully do periodic checks of small town news and opinion. There is a lot we don’t know. My best resource for finding these things is http://www.actualidad.com, which if you use advanced search options provides an extraordinary range of material worldwide.

      1. Ivy

        Agreed on Actualidad. One concern I have about small town newspapers is that so many of those got hoovered up by Warren Buffett, among others. That provides an under the radar way to influence many citizens and potential voters. How much editorial control may be exerted in many small towns and counties where there is a single source of local news, with curated coverage of non-local news?

    2. j84ustin

      As someone who grew up in the semi-rural South and now lives in a major American city, I can attest to this as well. Back “home,” I have several “aware” friends and family members but it is a largely “us vs them” mentality. However, the same can be said about many people I know in my current home as well. And yet neither “side” sees what you say, the fact that the big problems have nothing to do with Trump. He’s a symptom. Or the culmination of years (decades? centuries?) of these problems.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trump is dearer to Republican voters than any other Republican. It’s the virtue of being President. The President is like the Pope, he’s a unifying figure who can stomp on any bishop no matter how beloved said bishop was. The Khristians might prefer Pence to Trump, but they hate Democrats more, and what makes Democrats happy is repulsive to them. The Chamber and country club Republicans don’t care for the Khristians. There is no stomach in the GOP electorate to remove Trump.

      The Republican who challenges Trump will be separated from his power base swiftly. There won’t be corporate gigs for people with no use. I don’t know what people watched during the election season, but every time Trump was finally cooked, the Republicans went groveling or disappeared entirely.

      After all, Mrs. McCain knew his people in South Carolina would never fall for Trump and endorsed Jeb, and here we are.

  11. PH

    The premise of the introduction is that Trump has a “jobs agenda” that he plans to implement through Congressional action, and that Trump has fumbled its rollout through lack of D.C. Insiders in the cabinet.

    Why does anyone think there is any such jobs agenda legislation planned? Because Trump bragged about it in a speech when trying to get elected? Because Trump voters hope for a miracle?

    No one is fumbling anything. No one ever planned to do any such thing. It was a con. Sometimes the guy in front of you who appears to be a boorish liar is just a boorish liar.

    The real plans of deregulation are proceeding apace.

    The trickier agenda — tax cuts and military spending increases, plus debt ceiling — lay ahead. But that is the usual legislative timetable. You might see fiscal expansion by unfunded military build-up. Hurray, some here might think.

    Killing Obamacare has been awkward because promises do not fit reality. But this is just a traditional narrative of Repub rule. Trump has no real plan or interest.

    The only thing real about Trump is his racism and ego. This has been on full display. The DEEP STATE did not have to frame Trump for this.

    What about Russia? My guess is that corrupt hacks like Manafort were not careful, and there is a lot of awkward stuff on tape. But that is just a guess, based on my opinion of their character. It gives the establishment a stick. But it also points out the danger of putting Trump in charge. He surrounds himself with unsavory characters.

    There is no secret inner populist Trump reformer. That rhetoric was just a con.

    1. Cazenov1a

      Too true. Lotsa love in these parts for Tom Frank’s “Listen Liberal.” And justly so. But you gotta remember “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” the message of which: The R’s promise working-class Xtians that they’ll ban abortion and roll back gay rights, but when they get elected they deliver deregulation and tax cuts for the rich.

      Trump’s merely a Republican who has adapted his pitch to the new times and the new mood. Basic operation is the same. Enjoy it, everybody, cuz we’re gonna get it good ‘n’ hard. That was always the plan.

    2. b1daly

      Absolutely, I agree. Trump speaks nonsense as far as I can tell. He will do whatever he thinks is in his own best interest. It is extremely obvious that actually undertaking policies that will impinge upon the overclass in the US would cause him nothing but grief.

      He will fumble along, and blame anyone else for his problems.

      Most domestic policy in the US will be set by the republicans in congress, and their financial and institutional backers.

      What actual policies has Trump proposed to help everyday workers in the “heartland” of the US. The only thing are protectionist trade policies.

      I doubt he will renegotiate NAFTA. Even if he does cook up some tariff scheme, this could easily backfire, and cost more jobs than it saves.

      Trump won by allowing a beleaguered, mostly white, populace to project the blame for their problems onto imaginary causes. While this is, sadly, a time tested strategy for a demogogue populist to gain power, it does not lend itself to solving complicated social problems.

      Actually doing this requires a high level of technical competence, political skills, governing skills, leadership ability, and hopefully some genuine goodwill towards others.

      Trump is severely lacking in these skills, especially the last one. His whole career is one of screwing over people for his own benefit. He is an objectifier of people.

      He is not without skills. He’s an entertainer. He gets some buildings built, golf courses, luxury developments. This is not nothing, but nothing that indicates he has ability or inclination to help other people.

    3. Spring Texan

      Yep . . . that’s exactly right. Those who believe anything positive he says were and are suckers. Con men tell people what they want to hear, and then take them for a terrible ride.

  12. Gman

    As the old saying goes, ‘just cos you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you.’

    If the American ‘civil service’ is anything like most of their counterparts the world over then taking on this many headed, near omnipotent, faceless Hydra of vested interests will make taking on the conspicuous Democrats and the Republicans look like a cake walk by comparison.

    Whether Trump is going to implode under this additional sustained pressure remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure is that he is at war with the United States’ own self-serving entrenched bureaucracy and all that entails. The odds surely must be stacked against him, electoral mandate or no, and that’s why his failure at its all to obvious hands, in the eyes of those who voted for him, is potentially so destabilising.

  13. RenoDino

    Not imploding, but as Moon Over Alabama put it “His standing is diminished.” From this point forward, he will become smaller and smaller every day. Like all Presidents, he had a window of opportunity to take out the Deep State before it got him and he blew it. Granted, it was only three weeks, but timing is everything as I’m sure Trump would agree.

    Now with Goldman Sachs in charge of rewriting the tax code, CEOs ordering off a Trump deregulation menu, a massive build up of defense spending, and Russia now clearly our enemy, we can now resume our regular programming.

    Trump’s fate will become a very entertaining sideshow. Now we know why Obama was smiling so much at the end.

  14. Crazy Horse

    Trump’s enemies:
    1- His overblown ego and immature personality.
    2- The neo-con establishment– both Democon and Repugnant flavors whom he snookered out of the Presidency by superior salesmanship.
    3- The Deep State establishment– the arms manufacturers and merchants of death, spook agencies, lobbyists and their Congressional whores, Zionist foreign policy establishment, and the millions of Americans who make their living from the Permanent Warfare State.

    And his assets:
    1- A mass of believers who know they have been screwed by the establishment and are looking for a Messiah to save them.
    2- Pragmatic billionaires who only care about the lower tax rates and pork projects that he promises.
    3- Delusional ideologues who wrap themselves in belief systems like “free markets” and climate change denial.

    Given the intensity of the division between the neo-cons and the Trumpeters, is there a way it could lead to an impeachment battle? Even if the Democon’s should regain control of Congress I don’t see it happening. Trump’s most serious enemies are buried in the Deep State. I doubt than any outsider President— even one far more intelligent and Machiavellian than Trump– can threaten the War Party without one of it’s many branches taking the kind of action they specialize in. Trump will not be impeached because he will choke to death on a chicken bone or have an unfortunate collision during take-off with a flock of drones disguised as Canada geese long before it comes to impeachment.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      No. Impeachment is a pipe dream of supporters of Clinton who delivered the nomination to the worst, serious candidate (a few were sacrificial lambs) in history and refuse to acknowledge responsibility and hang their hats on a fantasy about KGB moles. Their delusion is so deep they don’t even acknowledge the Clinton Foundation largely did everything they accuse Trump of doing except publicly.

      “MoveOn” was founded to support Clinton during his impeachment, but the premise was the business of the country was being consumed by something small. Without an impeachable offense, and the best stuff such as killing citizens without due process (an Obama specialty) and war crimes haven’t moved Washington before. Trump just has to keep his crimes relatively small.

  15. DJG

    I keep dropping heavy hints on my FB page that no one can turn McCarthyism on and off. My “liberal” friends are caterwauling and are drenched in melodrama. Now the so-called liberals are looking for Russians under the bed. Joe McCarthy would be proud–and even prouder if they can do more damage.

    My question about the whole Flynn affair. What is truly at issue? Surely, every major presidential campaign during the runup to the general election is in contact with foreign powers. Surely, a foreign-policy team starts talking to their potential counterparts. That would mean contacts with the U.K. (the special relationship!), Japan, maybe China, certainly Russia, maybe France.

    So what am I missing here in the substance of the charges against Flynn? Talking to an ambassador as a representative of the Trump campaign is treason?

    Since the whole shebang seems to lack substance, I concur with Yves’s analysis that it is office politics writ large.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Don’t think you’re missing much. The best I can tell, the establishment has managed to catch Flynn in what it considers a lie and they’re running with it no matter how stupid it is.

      Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador but said he did not discuss sanctions. Then the spooks come out saying they have a transcript of the recorded conversation. Then Flynn flopped around a bit and said maybe, he didn’t remember exactly, blah, blah, blah.

      Supposedly the recorded conversation has the Russian guy asking Flynn about the sanctions and Flynn responded that they could discuss them further after the inauguration. And these are the recent post election sanctions for unproven interference with the election, so BS sanctions to begin with.

      Is this a lie? Well Flynn didn’t bring up the subject himself but I suppose he did technically ‘discuss sanctions’ by saying they’d discuss them at a later date.

      In any case, this ‘lie’ is definitely not on the level of “I did not have sex with that woman” or “We know where the WMDs are”. Mountain out of a molehill.

  16. paulmeli

    “In fact, there is a little economic evidence that they are putting their wallets where their mouths have been”

    This statement implies that ‘confidence’ has much if anything to do with increased spending.

    Confidence may be a necessary condition but it’s not sufficient…confidence or not you have to have the increased income to increase your spending. People generally have more ‘confidence’ when they have more disposable income.

    Or you have to be able to borrow to spend more (anticipate future income gains) and there is no evidence that is happening.

    Nothing has happened since the election to generate increased spending, investment or otherwise.

    Why does the ‘confidence fairy’ enter into so much of our economic discussion?

  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Perhaps I’m overly finance-centric, but I feel it is noteworthy that the vampire squid and Wall Street own both this administration and the legislative branch. I expect there will be the usual dosage of socially divisive issues run up the flagpole to divert the plebes attention while substantive policies are quietly enacted and implemented in the shadows. Not to say there aren’t some unhappy campers among significant factions in the intelligence community and War Party. But barring the reemergence of severe and visible problems in the financial system, that’s pretty much all it will ever amount to IMO.

    Rep. Paul Ryan’s interview on PBS Newshour last week was also enlightening to me. Basically Ryan said that it is important to respect the results of the election. He noted that the majority of the voters in his home state of Wisconsin voted for the president, that he intends to work with the president, and that he is focused on enacting legislation that he can influence. Unfortunately, he is also of the view that a balanced budget and fiscal austerity are not economically and socially damaging.

    1. DH

      DJIA corporate CEOs have at least a minority ownership position as well.

      The only people not represented in the Administration are the Trump voters.

  18. PH

    It seems to me that the comments miss the most likely trajectory of next 4 or 8 years.

    Trump will do nothing real for his “base” in terms of jobs or health care, but he will remain popular by use of more (and quite traditional) cons. He will blame “The Others” who frustrated his plans and sabotaged the promised miracle.

    As long as Trump can whip up hatred of Muslims and Mexican and Chinese, etc., Trump is golden. Popular. No worries.

    War is probably not even necessary, though it often comes in handy for propaganda purposes.

    Heck, Trump can even rant on and on against the evils of Wall Street (while selling out to Wall Street) and get plenty of mileage out of it.

    Many here see Trump as a result of failed policies. Dialectical materialism. But politics is only somewhat reality based. There is a lot of emotion involved. And a good con man can win the game even with terrible policies (see Obama).

    Trump will continue to con those who want to believe — whether he offers any real help or not.

    But will the con work beyond that base?

    That is where Trump’s obvious racism and intemperate behavior has gotten him in trouble. It makes people unwilling to believe, or afraid that they will be a targeted Other.

    Trump can still turn it around. Evil often wins. But the key is to knock off the unconventional behavior in public. With more stealth, his brand of racist Republican rule could have great appeal. Many would like to believe.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      Trump’s strengths and weaknesses and his attempt to run a con are meaningless without an analysis of the opposition. A strength one can’t leverage is not a strength and a weakness one can’t exploit is not a weakness.

      I remember the 2012 post-mortem where people said that the Republicans were doomed long-term because of demographics and their indebtedness to their base and blah de blah. At few points did these analyses touch on how this would play out when the GOP clashed with their opponents. And when it did, they always assumed that the GOP would run interminable, interchangeable McCain / Romney / Jeb clones. More damningly, it also assumed that politicians like Obama were the norm (Bill Clinton) rather than the exception (Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry). Well, we get to 2016 and slightly change the matchup and look what happened.

      What Trump does is largely immaterial to his and the GOP’s fortunes. What matters more is what the Democrats do. Whether the Democrats embrace FDR-style class warfare and they get their gonads in a vice by a parallel movement like the Tea Party/Religious Right or whether they continue down their tired path of imperialist fake-multicultural meritocratic technocracy will determine how this battle goes.

      1. PhilM

        “their tired path of imperialist fake-multicultural meritocratic technocracy”

        Euphonious, pithy–yet another word-gem from the “Comments” section.

    2. PhilM

      Your post demonstrates an evident ignorance of the meaning of both “dialectical materialism” and “racism.” The way you repeat the latter word, using it to spread a stink like some kind of fecal nugget in a word-cloud of vituperative nonsense, smacks of bad faith. That and your repetition of the word “con,” which you placed liberally in your last post, as well.

      The real “tell” happens in the phrase “Trump’s obvious racism and intemperate behavior,” in passing. And since only a fool would deny that Trump behaves intemperately, his obvious racism (which would be an evil in a different quantum shell, incommensurable with mere intemperance) is accepted as a given, right?

      There are people on this site who are skilled textual critics. You look like a shill to me; maybe you look like that to them as well. In any case, using the phrase dialectical materialism properly will increase your credibility.

      1. TheCatSaid

        Thank you for drawing attention to this. The extent of the media’s concerted (i.e., well-coordinated) actions to associate specific negative words and concepts with Trump is remarkable. Mass media control is effective in brainwashing even the people who are quite aware. It’s good to be reminded when we see this, including certain commenters here.

        My antidote is to do things that reflect what it is I want to create.

        If we get caught up in reacting, or become passive due to the deliberately-created mass confusion, we delay our forward movement.

        Fortunately we can each be pro-active, if we want to be. The answer is one person at a time making personal decisions, reflecting on their values and choosing more consciously what they want to energize through their actions, thoughts, and use of money. (Money being mentioned specifically as this is an economics/finance blog, and because money is one of the concepts most effectively used to control people on our fine planet.)

      2. PH

        My understanding of dialectical materialism (from discussions long ago) is that thought form in response to experiences, and then those thoughts shape future experiences. And so if you look at existing circumstances, then you can predict the sequence of experiences and thoughts into the future. Layman understanding.

        But I think it can be short circuited by attachments to fanatical fantasies of purpose and belonging. Eric Hoffer. True Believer.

        Americanism would be the brand of nationalist fervor, often militaristic and racist, most often encountered here recently.

        1. PhilM

          Sorry about my reflex nasty pompous pedantry, but that is an important phrase. From Wikipedia, on the phrase, using my personal google-fu so people don’t end up misunderstanding diamat:

          Dialectical materialism (sometimes abbreviated diamat) is a philosophy of science and nature, based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and developed largely in Russia and the Soviet Union.[1][2] Inspired by dialectic and materialist philosophical traditions, it accepts evolution of the natural world and the emergence of new qualities of being at new stages of evolution. As Z. A. Jordan notes, “Engels made constant use of the metaphysical insight that the higher level of existence emerges from and has its roots in the lower; that the higher level constitutes a new order of being with its irreducible laws; and that this process of evolutionary advance is governed by laws of development which reflect basic properties of ‘matter in motion as a whole’.”[3]

          I think you’re looking for something along the lines of BF Skinner’s behaviorism, q.v. on Wikipedia as well, for another bit of horrifying reading.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      From his base’s perspective, he already HAS done something on health care. He got rid of Obamcare penalties via executive order. You don’t have to fill out the line on your tax return saying whether or not you have coverage. The IRS will no longer reject your return.

      I know people who have been paying the penalties (none of them above the subsidy level, contrary to the widely touted claim that only higher income people are punting). They were all bitter about the penalties. This is a cheap win for Trump.

  19. Gman

    Worth reading the Wikipedia page on the arcane, seemingly conceived in sin anachronistic 1799 Logan Act and worth remembering that Mike Flynn was also previously one of Obama’s appointed and subsequently dismissed swamp creatures.

    ‘the Logan Act has been rarely enforced, possibly because the court has been concerned that speech between a private citizen and a foreign government may still qualify as free speech and be protected in that regard.’

    and under proposed (failed) revisions….

    ‘The chair of the House Judiciary Committee in the 109th Congress, F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, proposed a comprehensive revision and modernization of the federal criminal code in 2006. The bill, H.R. 6253, was not enacted into law. The Logan Act was significantly revamped in the proposed legislation to prohibit only knowingly false statements made under oath.’

    Mike Flynn was widely acknowledged as a bit of a loon, and maybe the world is a safer place without him, but I think it’s fair to say that this smacks less of political suicide and more of a an establishment hit job to me.

    1. RenoDino

      Worse than that, he’s a realist. Putin came to the conclusion that Trump is now playing games, having already been coopted by the Deep State. Putin lives in the no bullshit zone, otherwise knows as Hell to Americans.

    2. witters

      Apparently Putin likes the Stones.

      Please allow me to introduce myself
      I’m a man of wealth and taste
      I’ve been around for a long, long year
      Stole many a man’s soul to waste

      And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
      Had his moment of doubt and pain
      Made damn sure that Pilate
      Washed his hands and sealed his fate

      Pleased to meet you
      Hope you guess my name
      But what’s puzzling you
      Is the nature of my game

    3. Time2WakeUpNow

      Or…In reality, just another charter member of the oligarchy’s “Satan-of-the-Month”. Every month they conveniently deliver another global super “Evil Doer” that’s trying to undermine our eternally benevolent “Murican” Peace & Freedom loving shining examples of humankind.

      And if you psychologically signup for all future issues (or reissues) of the empires upcoming Satan’s in waiting, they’ll throw in as a bonus: a free half dozen domestic Satans, all for the low, low price of your suspension of critical thought and/or dissent.

      Act-Now!

  20. TheCatSaid

    I learned a lot from Peter Lee’s observations about Trump’s recent activities in relation to Asia, and about how the media has (and hasn’t) covered it, in “On China Beat, Media Out-Bungles Trump.”

    A number of issues and events are covered, some supportive of Trump and some critical. None of them reported elsewhere (in English), at least not in a meaningful way with this kind of thoughtful analysis. Lee says some of the best coverage he’s seen about one specific Trump and China issue was from media based in Japan.

  21. dcblogger

    By this time in his term Obama had passed a stimulus package, a grotesquely inadequate one, but still he passed it. The only thing Trump has achieved is the destruction of our foreign tourist business.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Obama had a country that was prostrated and desperate for action. And he was not fighting his own party nor under relentless attack by the Republicans. He had a ~3 month window in which he could have done a Roosevelt 100 days. He blew it.

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/03/the-empire-continues-to-strike-back-team-obama-propaganda-campaign-reaches-fever-pitch.html

      We said whoever won would face a legitimacy crisis. If Clinton were President, the Republicans would be on their way to impeaching her over her private server and the Clinton Foundation.

      1. PH

        I agree about Obama. Sadly, it was predictable at the time. Obama was cautious and mindful of special interests as a senator.

        When Obama picked his staff, the writing was not only on the wall, it was lit up in giant neon signs. Baucus staffers, Bingaman staffers. They all disdained Progressives.

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