Monday, August 20, 2018

What will it take for Trump supporters to give him the boot?

Consider: the Access Hollywood video didn’t come close to putting a dent in Trump’s standing.

Consider: He rails against the First Amendment and his followers prove their adoration with chants against Trump’s claimed enemies like the press.

So, Max Boot asks What will finally turn Trump’s supporters against him? Here, from Boot’s Washington Post column are possibilities along with answers to the question: will this finally bring Trump down?

Let’s review what might have brought Trump down.

President Trump suffered the kind of body blows this week that would have felled any other politician. …Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman revealed she had taped conversations with [Trump and] other senior officials … Trump added to the damage by lashing out on Twitter [calling her “that dog” … hundreds of newspapers published editorials denouncing Trump as a threat to the First Amendment … After Trump vindictively revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance, Brennan hit back in a New York Times op-ed, writing that Trump’s denials of collusion with Russia are “hogwash.” … [and] provoked a powerful backlash from normally apolitical intelligence and military veterans …

Pow! Wham! Ka-pow! Any other president would have been knocked out. But for Trump, it was just another ordinary week. … [so …]

What might prevent Trump’s tried-and-true Don Rickles strategy from succeeding? It won’t be the criticism he gets from retired security officials, which only feeds his crackpot conspiracy theories about the Deep State. It certainly won’t be criticism from the press; in one recent poll, 43 percent of Republicans want Trump to have the power to shut down news outlets “engaged in bad behavior.” I fear that even if an n-word tape is discovered, it won’t do the trick. As Jonathan Last argues in the Weekly Standard, Republicans are more likely to normalize the n-word than they are to turn on Trump.

But at the end of the day, what would make the biggest difference would be an economic downturn. President Richard M. Nixon might never have been impeached were it not for the “oil shock” of 1973 and the resulting recession. While Trump might not care what newspaper editorial boards or even retired CIA directors think of him, he should care that two-thirds of business economists in a recent survey predicted a recession by the end of 2020. A growing economy has been the only thing saving Trump from a knock-out. He will hit the canvas for good if a bear market enters the ring.

Max Boot, a Post columnist, is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a global affairs analyst for CNN. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."

About that “economic downturn”? Another conservative columnist, George F. Will warns that Another epic economic collapse is coming.

… according to the Financial Times’s Robin Wigglesworth and Nicole Bullock, “the U.S. stock market will officially have enjoyed its longest-ever bull run” …

… Sept. 15 will be the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank. History’s largest bankruptcy filing presaged the October 2008 evaporation of almost $10 trillion in global market capitalization.

The durable market rise that began March 6, 2009, is as intoxicating as the Lehman anniversary should be sobering: Nothing lasts. Those who see no Lehman-like episode on the horizon did not see the last one.

In reaction, “a contraction probably will begin with the annual budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion.”

Another hardy perennial among economic debates concerns the point at which the ratio of debt to GDP suppresses growth. The (sort of) good news — in that it will satisfy intellectual curiosity — is that we are going to find out where that point is: Within a decade, the national debt probably will be 100 percent of GDP and rising. As Irwin M. Stelzer of the Hudson Institute says, “If unlimited borrowing, financed by printing money, were a path to prosperity, then Venezuela and Zimbabwe would be top of the growth tables.”

I admit to being of Keynesian persuasion. Government has a role to play in managing the economy and controlling excesses of an otherwise unrestrained free market. However, there was no need for government borrowing to stimulate an already over-heated economy by a massive tax cut for the already overly wealthy.

Despite today’s shrill discord between the parties, the political class is more united by class interest than it is divided by ideology. From left to right, this class has a permanent incentive to run enormous deficits — to charge, through taxation, current voters significantly less than the cost of the government goods and services they consume, and saddle future voters with the cost of servicing the resulting debt after the current crop of politicians has left the scene.

Please don’t dismiss this analysis as some mere conservative complaint. Remember that starting 40 years after the 1929 crash, economic inequality started an historic rise that persisted regardless of who sat in the White House and who controlled congress. That rise continues today.

The only good thing there, as Boot predicts, is that a crash might be the only thing that will wake up, and wise up, the electorate to the excesses of this administration and it’s wanna-be king.

No comments:

Post a Comment