Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, April 3, 2017


Greg Sargent makes a fundamentally important point: Donald Trump is unpopular because his agenda is unpopular.  He also makes the next important follow up point: Trump's agenda is basically the GOP/Paul Ryan agenda.  Immiserating the poor is a fundamental position for much of the GOP.  It turns out most people aren't all that into cutting government to the bone.  Sure, you can find people for whom keeping America basically a white, Christian country overrides their economic self-interest, but as Scott Lemieux points out, white nationalism is a form of self-interest, too.

The thing is that Trump's governing coalition is in shambles and his electoral margin of victory was razor thin.  I can't see any way that they can get an ACA repeal or tax reform through the Congress.  They will likely be able to push through some horribly regressive tax cuts, but that's about it.  That and Trump's efforts at massive deregulation.

The thing is, massive tax cuts for the rich and deregulation are really only popular with a very, very few Americans.  Hating on brown people brings in a lot more.  But not 50%.

The essential meanness, callousness and incompetence of the GOP has been largely shielded over the past decade by Democratic control of first the Congress, then the White House.  As Democrats controlled the agenda from 2006-2010, they created policies that were disruptive - combined with the Little Depression of 2008.  But they did tangible good for people. From 2008 onward, the GOP functioned solely as an opposition party.  I saw an incredible stat that roughly 75% of the House GOP has not been part of a governing majority that controlled the White House.  In effect, they never had to govern.

Obama was the animating force of the GOP resurgence.  However, now that he is gone, the basic unpopularity of the GOP's active agenda is being exposed.

I know that policy rarely is important to voters.  Sadly.  But cruelty married to incompetence is not a very good recipe for electoral success.

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