Saturday, August 24, 2019

Donald Trump to America - ‘You Like Me! You Really Like Me!’ America to Trump - 'no we don't!'

That quote, “You Like Me! You Really Like Me”, is attributed to actress and 1984 Oscar winner Sally Field. But, as "The Cut explains in The Science of ‘You Like Me! You Really Like Me!’, that was not what she said.

Even if you’ve never seen the 1984 film Places in the Heart, in which actress Sally Field portrayed a 1930s southern widow trying to keep her farm out of foreclosure, you no doubt are familiar with Field’s acceptance speech for the Academy Award the role won her. “You like me,” she declared. “You really like me.” With the strong emphasis on the word really, it’s a classic example of the adulation that actors crave.

There are two errors in the previous paragraph, one more important than the other. The minor error: Sally Field did not actually say this line in her acceptance speech. The real line in her speech was, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me.” We probably misremember the quote because of the other, more important error. It isn’t just actors who are primarily motivated by being liked; we all are. The misquote is so sticky because it exemplifies a central human need.

We all have a need to belong. Signs that others like, admire and love us are central to our well-being. But until very recently, we had no idea how the brain responds to these signs. …

And Donald Trump has that need more than any other creature on this planet. So “You Like Me! You Really Like Me” expresses something that Trump might have said, and something that he desperately wants to be true, and may even believe to be true. The problem for Trump going into the 2020 election is that it is not true of wide swaths of the electorate.

Large and growing numbers of voters from important blocks really, really, REALLY, REALLY don’t like Trump and see him as unfit for the office. They may not want impeachment, but they really want him gone in 2020.

Lest you think I’m indulging a fantasy, consider the numbers that Jennifer Rubin reports in the Washington Post, Trump may be a lot more vulnerable than you think.

President Trump may have had the worst fortnight of his presidency. His most cringe-worthy moments came during his horrific visits to El Paso and Dayton, but his most revealing episodes came this week with his multiple outbursts and head-spinning reversals. He has been at his emotionally and mentally shakiest, and perhaps a growing share of Americans simply cannot ignore it.

The Aug. 15–19 Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that just 36 percent of Americans approve of how Trump is doing his job, and 62 percent disapprove. He’s even in negative territory on the economy (46 percent approve, 51 percent do not), and draws at least 60 percent disapproval on health care, immigration, guns and foreign policy.

With similar findings, the latest Monmouth University poll tells us: “Trump’s overall job rating stands at 40% approve and 53% disapprove, which is similar to his 41% to 50% rating in June. … The usual demographic clefts remain present — men are divided on the president’s job performance (49% approve and 43% disapprove) while women are decidedly negative (31% approve and 62% disapprove). White Americans without a college degree tend to approve of Trump (55% approve and 37% disapprove), while the reverse is true among white college graduates (38% approve and 57% disapprove).”

While most Americans oppose impeachment, the Monmouth poll says, “A majority (57%) of registered voters say it is time to have someone new in the Oval Office, while just under 4-in–10 (39%) feel that Trump should be reelected in 2020.” He is losing support just about everywhere. [For example:] In approximately 300 “swing” counties, accounting for about one-fifth of the total U.S. electorate, only 35% back the incumbent’s reelection compared with 60% who want a new occupant in the White House.

This should provide a few takeaways for the 2020 election.

First, if he is less popular in red counties, blue counties and purple counties, the chances of winning the electoral vote and losing the popular (as in 2016) would seem unlikely. We see that phenomenon in some swing states where Democrats haven’t recently won electoral votes. (“Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are statistically tied with President Trump in Arizona, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in a quarter century, according to a new poll.”)

Second, the notion that “nothing matters” — a cynical expression of conventional wisdom — is dead wrong. He’s losing support all over the place, especially among women. …

Third, the intensity of opposition to Trump is through the roof. In the mid-August Morning Consult/Politico poll, his strongly disapprove number (43 percent) is nearly 20 points higher than the strongly approve number (24 percent). While the country doesn’t want him out by impeachment, a remarkably high percentage really, really want him gone after 2020.

Fourth, Trump’s numbers have never been good, at best in the middle- or high 40s. It’s hard to imagine circumstances where he suddenly is able to add support after dividing voters for so many years and aiming so intensely at his base. …

Is it time for Madame President?

Trump’s atrocious numbers should also inform Democrats’ decision about who is “electable.” The answer might be “anybody but Trump.” And while plenty of Democrats want to take no chances and go with the perceived “safe” candidate, the uptick in suburban women’s disapproval of Trump and their votes in the midterms might shift the definition of “electable.” The question should not necessarily be who is going to win white voters in the Upper Midwest, but rather who is going to win women everywhere. Harboring a karmic dream of a woman nominee ousting Trump, these are among the most engaged and enthusiastic voters. Perhaps the most electable presidential nominee, like so many of those elected Democrats in 2018, would be a woman with strong appeal to suburban women, college-educated voters, nonwhites and younger voters. As a reminder, three of the 10 candidates to qualify for the third debate are women.

So why is Trump so disliked? Perhaps it is because he doesn’t know sh!t and doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. Hence the increasingly bad news about the economy. Catherine Rampell, also at the Post, explains how Trump’s tendency to double down on bad ideas doesn’t bode well for the economy.

There are lots of reasons to worry about how President Trump would handle a recession, should we tip into one. There’s his incompetent economic team. Or the limited fiscal policy tools at his disposal, given that Republicans already spent nearly $2 trillion on tax cuts. Or his efforts to discredit the Federal Reserve just when we’ll need it most.

One underrated concern: Trump’s tendency to double down on stupid and destructive ideas, despite — perhaps because of? — overwhelming evidence of their stupidity and destructiveness.

Trump’s worst policies, economic or otherwise, tend to follow a pattern. First, he posits something like: Sure, the experts say that has predictably high costs and bad consequences. But ignore them! Believe me, it’s a great idea, and it’ll be completely costless.

To wit: Tax cuts will pay for themselves, without injury to deficits. China will pay all the tariffs, without harm to U.S. importers, manufacturers, retailers, farmers. Mexico will pay for the wall, without costs to U.S. taxpayers or international relations.

Actually, Escalation in U.S.-China trade war threatens global economy, poses Trump reelection risk is a report in China targets soybeans, autos and other products in key swing states ahead of 2020 election.

Many countries around the world are closely tied to the Chinese economy, however, and the damage caused by the U.S. trade fight has radiated out and harmed others.

A slowing global economy, in turn, has harmed U.S. exporters and manufacturers. A new survey of manufacturing executives, for instance, suggests the sector contracted in August for the first time since the end of the 2007–2009 Great Recession.

As if all that weren’t enough the Times in its Friday evening briefing email …

President Trump demanded that U.S. companies leave China after Beijing threatened new tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. He also said he would increase tariffs on all Chinese products.

In a series of angry tweets, Mr. Trump said American companies are “ hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” It was not clear how the president planned to enforce his demands.

U.S. stocks fell more than 2 percent over Mr. Trump’s comments, highlighting the uncertainty stoked by the escalating trade war. The Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, said the central bank was limited in its ability to offset Mr. Trump’s trade policies. The president responded, “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?”

“hereby ordered”? This is not America. It’s like a communist dictator issuing commands and threats.

In response, the Dow was down this Friday by over 500 points after China’s most recent threatened retaliation in response to Trump’s tariffs - and Trump’s further escalation.

Perhaps that’s a reason why the American voters have reason to say to Trump “We really don’t like you. We really don’t like you.”

But Trump deludes himself about this too. Rampell concludes:

The possibility of a synchronized global downturn would require some sort of coordinated global policy response, just as it did a decade ago during the Great Recession. But rather than evaluating how we got to the present situation, or how to make amends with the allies we might need to help get us out of it, we already know what Trump’s objective will be: proving his very wrong ideas were very right all along.

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