It’s been two days and a hodgepodge of things have happened.
- That union guy pushed back against Trump in The Washington Post.
- Trump continues talking about rigged voting at his speeches.
- Signs point to Trump getting money for being involved in The Apprentice. Trump upset, calling it “fake news” because he won’t be spending any time at the show.
- Rudy Giuliani removed his name from contention for State. I wonder why this is a news story. They’re planning something with the rollout but I can’t figure out what.
- Social security cuts are looking STEEEEEEP.
- The likelihood that the GOP repeals Obamacare, pockets the tax cut, but never actually gives people another health care option, is rising.
But the biggest news is that the CIA is sure Russia not only was trying to influence the election but purposely trying to get Donald Trump elected. Prior to that, Obama ordered a formal review to be delivered before he leaves office.
This is a really big deal. We knew this was happening, and now it’s not just a theory. It is the professional opinion of the CIA. Of course Trump’s supporters immediately said the CIA also thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, which thousands of Trump fans across the internet are repeating.
They also claimed his victory was a historic landslide. Nope, he ranks at #44 out of 57 elections. Second lowest out of the last ten. But you’ve got to give them credit for staying on message, even though one is a smear of the CIA to prop up the Russian government and the other is a literal lie. They keep doing it because it keeps working, and it will here.
I’m trying to figure out how this Manchurian Candidate business is going to play in the mainstream. For political junkies, even ones who vote Republican, Trump’s conflicts of interest with his business and close advisors are very troubling. Plus the Putin/Wikileaks/Trump connection was pretty obvious from the outside, and now it’s been confirmed by reports from our own government.
And of course on the other side you have people who just hate all media, and love Trump no matter what, and think everything is planted to hurt their side. That’s a pretty big group too. That 16% of Americans who said they were “excited” by Trump comes to mind.
But votes in America don’t all count equally. The states of Kansas and Montana are blood red, and aren’t switching any time soon. So if Trump has a big fan there, or in Texas, or in South Carolina, none of that matters much. That’s all built in.
The real question is whether or not he can hold his 2016 states. He took Pennsylvania by less than a percentage point, whereas Wisconsin and Michigan went by barely more than a percentage point. And those states swung the whole election.
It’s my view that scholars will see the Trump presidency as having a Russia-shaped cloud over it. He can recover, sure. His approval ratings can go up and down, sure. But I think he’ll be constantly reminded by the press and voters that he has global conflicts of interest. I just don’t see that going away.
Not that it matters for liberals. We already don’t like Trump. And not that it matters for white supremacists. They’ll vote for him no matter what. But could these revelations be enough to make 1% of likely voters lose confidence in Trump and vote the other way next time? I think there’s no question it’s possible.
Inaugurations and wars give presidents a boost in the polls. So he may crest 50% in January. But barring a war that the public can get behind, I’d be surprised if his inauguration bounce isn’t followed by deflation. The big question for me is whether Trump will be above or below 50% by the time this essay is posted.
Additional note: looks like Rex Tillerson is emerging as the Secretary of State pick. Close to Putin’s Russia. Got an “order of friendship” from them. We’ll see how that plays out in confirmation hearings with senators who are concerned about Russia’s outsized influence in this election. Wow.