Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trump's poll numbers trend upwards

As 538 notes - Trump's approval rating is up. The trend in the polls seems to have reversed around mid-December. I think this may reflect an unusual but interesting dynamic in political groups facing extinction pressures.

Bearing in mind that there is a reporting delay of about a week or more between when a poll reports its results and when it actually polls the people in the survey, the opinion trend like goes back to the beginning of the hype cycle on the "tax cut" that Trump passed.

The "Tax Cut" that Trump passed is very problematic because if you actually read the draft that was passed, there are too many contradictions but a majority of the people only head the hype driven bylines that the Trump media managers sought to push out on major news channels. This raised Trump's profile as someone who could get "something" done.  This contrasts with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell's profile as people who can only obstruct.

However the hype cycle was dominated by two extreme countervailing forces. The Trump supporters who alleged that this tax bill would cause Jesus to walk on earth again, and Anti-Trump groups who pointed out that sort of thing is only supposed to happen just after the apocalypse.

In this environment I suspect Trumpers and "moderate" GOPer alike felt a kind of political extinction pressure and I feel that might be bringing them together.

I have only seen this happen once before - in Pakistan. When the GoI applied coercive pressure to Pakistan (usually in response to some Pakistan sponsored terrorist acts) - externally one would see a fission between the Jihadi Tanzeems and the Pakistan Army. However if one looked in detail at what was going on - on the ground - the external pressure increased the collaboration and coordination between the Jihadi groups and the Pakistan Army as the Army had to give them detailed instructions to how to avoid the Indian response. This kind of close coordination strengthened the Pakistan Army - Jihadi Group relationship. It was extremely challenging to come up with ideas that actually amplified the fissiparous tendencies between these groups.

These kind of "somehow alive at the edge of death" moves typically come with a high cost. One can eyeball the cost of this current converge at atleast 1.3 Trillion USD (i.e. the deficit introduced by the Tax Cut) and I am unsure if this is really sustainable.

The "feelings" of Trumpers and their friendly neighborhood GOP mainstream may have less and less to do with the reality of the evolving situation. Their feelings are important but this is at its core a national security crisis of unimaginable proportions.

It seems that the GOP doesn't really think support Trump against the IC is sustainable as they are finding remarkably large blue shifts in recent elections in districts Trump won by a large majority. I think the GOP is drawing closer to the idea of hanging Trump out to dry.

Which brings me to the issue of Bannon's fantastic stunts of yesterday. Trump has visibly obstructed Bannon's testimony at HPSCI and Bannon is currently facing a contempt charge for refusing to obey the subpoena. Bannon's only route to salvation now lies in complete surrender to OSC Mueller. Talking directly to Mueller is troublesome for a freewheeling professional liar like Bannon - if he says one thing that cannot be corroborated, it will be used against him. So the mere act of reaching out to Mueller will IMHO induce Trump to shut Bannon up permanently (if you get my drift). I am not sure if Bannon can get into some kind of WitSec  program but in the interests of national security it may be a good idea to provide him some.

If either the GOP loses the 2018 elections or decides that it can no longer afford to carry Trump baggage - Trump's position is gravely compromised. With the WH doctor saying that he is fully mental competence mounting, the insanity defense is out (not that you can really claim that in an Nat Sec matter but still Trump fundamentally doesn't grasp how different his situation is from the usual legal BS he gets into).

With the Bannon fiasco - Trump now faces a treason charge and I assure you OSC Mueller will knock on the WH door soon.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

the republican jirga is loathe to have a shutdown....their collective butts are on the line from various tribes.

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