Suprising chart of the day

Now, this is from only NBC/Survey Monkey and I’d like to see what others say, but this is a solid tracking poll run by smart people.  Amazing to see how committed Republicans have remained to Trump.  I would never have guessed recent changes in the polls were from strengthening among Democrats rather than more Republicans finally abandoning the walking horror-show that is Trump.  That PID is strong stuff.  More interesting thoughts and charts at the link.



The Republican base as Frankenstein’s monster

Not only does John Scalzi write first-rate science fiction, he can sure bring the politics on his blog.  This post about how Trump is the natural consequence of the Republican Party’s actions in the past decade is so good.  Read all of it.  If you don’t, here’s a lot:

But note well: Donald Trump is not a black swan, an unforeseen event erupting upon an unsuspecting Republican Party. He is the end result of conscious and deliberate choices by the GOP, going back decades, to demonize its opponents, to polarize and obstruct, to pursue policies that enfeeble the political weal and to yoke the bigot and the ignorant to their wagon and to drive them by dangling carrots that they only ever intended to feed to the rich.[italics are Scalzi; bold is mine] Trump’s road to the candidacy was laid down and paved by the Southern Strategy, by Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, by Fox News and the Tea Party, and by the smirking cynicism of three generations of GOP operatives, who have been fracking the white middle and working classes for years, crushing their fortunes with their social and economic policies, never imagining it would cause an earthquake.

Well, surprise! Here’s Donald Trump. He is the actual and physical embodiment of every single thing the GOP has trained its base to want and to be over the last forty years — ignorant, bigoted and money-grubbing, disdainful of facts and frightened of everything because of it, an angry drunk buzzed off of wood-grain patriotism, threatening brown people and leering at women. He was planned. He was intended. He was expected. He was wanted.

But not, I think, in the exact form of Donald Trump. The GOP were busily genetically engineering the perfect host for their message, someone smooth and telegenic and possibly just ethnic enough to make people hesitant to point out the latent but real racism inherent in its social policies, while making the GOP’s white base feel like they were making a progressive choice, and with that person installed, further pursuing its agenda of slouching toward oligarchy, with just enough anti-abortion and pro-gun glitter tossed into the sky to distract the religious and the paranoid. Someone the GOP made. Someone they could control.

But they don’t control Trump, which they are currently learning to their great misery. And the reason the GOP doesn’t control Trump is that they no longer control their base. The GOP trained their base election cycle after election cycle to be disdainful of government and to mistrust authority, which ultimately is an odd thing for a political party whose very rationale for existence is rooted in the concept of governmental authority to do. The GOP created a monster, but the monster isn’t Trump. The monster is the GOP’s base. Trump is the guy who stole their monster from them, for his own purposes…

I feel sorry for many of my individual friends who are Republicans and/or conservatives, who have to deal with the damage Trump is doing to their party and to their movement, even if I belong to neither. But I don’t feel sorry for the GOP at all. It deserves Trump. It fostered an environment of ignorance and fear and bigotry, assumed it could control the mob those elements created, and was utterly stunned when a huckster from outside claimed the mob as his own and forced the party along for the ride. It was hubris, plain and simple, and Trump is the GOP’s vulgar, orange nemesis.

Um, yeah, that.  Good stuff.

Photo of the day

So Kal Penn and John Cho were at NC State today campaigning for Hillary Clinton.  And the local news station wanted to interview a professor about the Millennial vote just before interviewing these two, so…



Even Trump’s best polls are bad for Trump

Poor Donald Trump.  It’s gotten to the point where he’s tweeting about polls where he down “only” 4 points.  And, of course, that’s easily his best national poll.

So, the Post took a deeper dive into this poll and found that even in this, the least unfavorable recent poll for Trump, things do not look good at all:

With the help of our in-house pollster Scott Clement, I studied the 14 percent of registered voters who support neither Clinton nor Trump in the four-way poll test. [emphases in original] This includes the 6 percent for Gary Johnson and the 3 percent for Jill Stein but also the 3 percent who volunteered to our callers that they are supporting none of the four and the 2 percent who said they have not decided yet.

Among this sub-group, 71 percent are “strongly unfavorable” to Trump versus 46 percent who say the same of Clinton. He comes fairly close to her on honesty (83 percent say Trump is not honest and trustworthy, compared to 78 percent who say the same for Clinton) and on who is best for the economy (35 percent say Trump and 32 percent say Clinton). But there is a big chasm on two questions that tend to be better predictors of vote choice: 77 percent say Trump is not qualified to be president, compared to 44 percent who say Clinton is not. And 86 percent say Trump lacks the temperament to be president, compared to 42 percent who say the same of Clinton…

This 14 percent is crucial because nearly everyone else can no longer be persuaded: 88 percent of Trump supporters and 89 percent of Clinton backers said they will “definitely” support their current preference. More than 1.4 million ballots have already been cast, and a superior Democratic ground game is locking in her advantage.

And again, the polling average is more like 7 points behind for Trump.  It really is a question now of just how much he loses by.  As for Wikileaks, if they actually had anything decent, they surely would have used it by now.  I’m sure we’ll be getting plenty more weak tea from them before the election.

Trump’s declining favorables

Via Charles Franklin:

Note, that in this election where all we hear about is how unpopular and hated the candidates are, Hillary Clinton is +55 among Democrats and Trump is still +29 among Republicans.

Also, it’s amazing to see the long arc of this and how many Republicans basically got on board once it was clear that Trump was the nominee.  Partisanship is strong.

My professional anti-Trump endorsement

So, I gave a talk on the election to a great group of engaged NC State “Scholars” today.  I framed it around the idea of the “Trump Tax” (as nicely explained in Vox) in that Trump is a uniquely poor presidential candidate falling way below where we would expect a generic Republican to.

I was pretty critical of Trump’s quality as a candidate in all the usual ways, but never anything particularly harsh.  But something towards the end got me onto the topic of the “rigged election.”  And I’ve written plenty here so that you know what I think of the matter.  So, I took the opportunity to speak not just as liberal Steve Greene, but Professor of American Politics Steven Greene.  I said that, as a Political Scientist, I would never have advocated voting against any previous Republican nominee in my lifetime.  And, yes, there’s plenty to disagree about with regards to health care, abortion, immigration, etc.  But some things are far more important– like the respect for bedrock democratic values such as the rule of law and peaceful transitions of power.  Donald Trump is clearly a threat to these foundations of American democracy, as someone who is a scholar studying our democracy– and loves our democracy, warts and all– we truly have a responsibility to see to it that Trump is not president.

I had some great conversations afterwards with some thoughtful young Republicans who appreciated my words and were upset and sad their party had nominated Trump.  I encouraged them to work to make it a better party.  And then there was the guy who said, “how can you say that about Trump but not bring up the threat to democratic values from Hillary Clinton and Benghazi?”  I really just wanted to say “seriously??!!”  I tried to be nice about it, but I have very much come to the conclusion that when somebody starts with “Benghazi!” they have done you the favor of instantly letting you know they are just not somebody intellectually serious about politics.

Even the AP has had it with Trump

So, I enjoy telling my classes about how the Associated Press symbolizes the era of “objective press” that took over reporting in the 1900’s (prior to that, newspapers were agressively and openly partisan).  The AP was in the business of selling news stories to outlets around the country, from Minnesota to Mississippi so it was in their interest to adopt a “just the facts, m’am” approach that plays this as straight and down-the-middle as possible.  That means not always the most helpful news, but it has worked well for the AP.  So, when the AP is leading a story like this, that’s telling you something:

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A beleaguered Donald Trump sought to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday, pressing unsubstantiated claims the contest is rigged against him, vowing anew to jail Hillary Clinton if he’s elected and throwing in a baseless insinuation his rival was on drugs in the last debate.

Not even the country’s more than two centuries of peaceful transitions of political leadership were sacrosanct as Trump accused the media and the Clinton campaign of conspiring against him to undermine a free and fair election.

Of course the fact that prominent Republicans have called out Trump for this dangerous, shameles, stupidity, is important for the AP to be able to write the article this way instead of a mindless, “he said, she said,” but, still, good on them.


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