• This Week's March: Environmentalists
• Should Trump Worry About His Polls?
• The Trump Economy, 100 Days In
• 2.13 Falsehoods Per Day
• The Next 100 Days Begins Today
• Democrats Feeling Bullish
Donald Trump decided that the very best way to commemorate his 100th day in office was with his favorite activity (well, maybe second favorite, after golf). So he traveled to Harrisburg, Penn. to commune with thousands of the faithful at yet another rally.
Throughout the week, the President had planned to use the rally to make some sort of major, dramatic announcement that would please his base. Initially, it was going to be withdrawal from NAFTA, but then he changed his mind on that subject. Then, it was going to be ending the Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was negotiated by arch-nemesis Hillary Clinton, but The Donald let the cat out of the bag on that issue on Thursday when talking to the Washington Post. And so, with nothing important to announce, the President satisfied himself with a particularly poisonous version of his stump speech, full of red meat for the base. He slammed the Democrats, warned the members of Congress that they better make progress on repealing Obamacare, and fired with both barrels at the media; asserting that they are "very dishonest people" and declaring that, "If the media's job is to be honest and tell the truth, the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade."
Clearly, after 100 days that were not nearly as successful as the President might pretend, he felt the need to reconnect with his core supporters. The problem is that there is a big difference between "candidate" and "president." Many argued that Trump's vitriol was not really apropos even while he was running for office; it's considerably less apropos for someone who actually holds office. CNN's David Gergen, who has worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations, was particularly disdainful, describing the address as "deeply disturbing" and the "most divisive ever" from a sitting president. In every way, Trump has made clear that he has no interest in being the president of the 63 million people who did not vote for him.
Trump's performance came as the White House Correspondents Association held their annual dinner, the first one to be president-less since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 (and even he called in from the hospital). There is little question that Trump skipped the event because he simply cannot handle being the butt of jokes or criticism; the last time he went (invited due to his status as a TV star and mogul), he was targeted for a few minutes of banter by President Obama, and was clearly furious. In other words, Trump can dish it out in Pennsylvania, but he can't take it back in Washington. That would seem to be pretty close to the textbook definition of a bully. (Z)
It must be rough living in Washington these days, as it seems that nearly every weekend the town is descended upon by yet another group of protesters. This weekend, it was environmentalists, who wanted to bring attention to the issue of climate change. Tens of thousands of people showed up, marching and carrying signs with messages like, "Keep the Earth clean, it's not Uranus," and "Scott Pruitt, you are a fossil fool."
The timing of the march was propitious, as Environmental Protection Agency staff spent Friday scrubbing all talk of global warming from their website. They really ought to change the name of that agency while Scott Pruitt is in charge, because whatever he's doing, it's certainly not protecting the environment. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has announced that he will decide within two weeks whether or not to pull out of the Paris climate accord. He's being pulled in both directions; some of his inner circle (Ivanka Trump, Rex Tillerson, Jared Kushner) want to keep the agreement intact, while others (Pruitt, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence) want it dead. In other words, when it comes to figuring out what Trump will ultimately decide, your guess is as good as his. (Z)
There have now been dozens and dozens of polls assessing Donald Trump's approval rating since he took office. And, thus far, three trends have become clear:
- Trump's overall approval hovers between 38 and 45 points (Rasmussen polls excepted)
- His base remains wildly happy with him, with roughly 85% approving
- Democrats and independents are wildly unhappy, with roughly 12% approving
The $64,000 question is: Should Trump be nervous? Politico's Steven Shepard took a crack at that question, focusing particularly on how Trump's numbers compare with those of Barack Obama and George W. Bush at this point in their presidencies. In brief, both had similarly sky-high support from members of their own party, but neither was approved by so few in the opposition party (Obama was at 28% and Bush at 31%) or by independents (Obama was at 64% and Bush at 61%). It's still early, but this is surely a bad sign for someone who won the presidency by the barest of margins.
There are other things for Trump to worry about, as well. His Democratic opposition knows these polls well, and recognizes that they give carte blanche to oppose the President on everything. Another potentially worrisome data point is that Trump's twitter engagement is sinking like a stone. In the first 50 days of his presidency, nearly one-third of his tweets were retweeted 60,000 times or more. In the second 50 days, none of his tweets reached that level. He's also something of a piker compared to Barack Obama, who had 3-1/2 times as many followers, and had tweets retweeted as many as 940,000 times. By contrast, Trump's highest retweet number is 82,000.
Add it all up, and it is clear that Trump is connecting only with his base, and nobody else—something that does not seem likely to change. Meanwhile, the base already seems to be losing interest (which may explain the need for the speech Trump delivered on Saturday night). Neither of these is good news for the President, and that's before we consider the fact that he will not have an opponent in 2020 that is historically unpopular, and he presumably will not have Russian assistance. He still has some things in his favor; incumbency is a powerful tool, in particular. But when it comes to asking whether or not Trump should be worried, the answer is undoubtedly "yes." (Z)
Beyond his appointment of Neil Gorsuch, the primary basis Donald Trump has used for judging himself a success in his first 100 days is the performance of the economy. "Our country is going up, and it's going up fast," he said on Friday. Forbes magazine, which is generally friendly to Trump, decided to evaluate this claim using 100 different indicators; here are their conclusions:
- The Stock Market: Good; the Trump rally continues
- T-Bills: Average; Rates have dropped slightly since Trump took office
- Jobs: Poor; The U.S. added jobs, yes, but had its worst quarter in that regard since Q1 2011
- Unemployment: Average; Unemployment is at its lowest since 2007, but many of the remaining unemployed need expensive retraining
- GDP Growth: Average: 0.3% growth since Inauguration Day, but that's far short of the 4.0% annual growth Trump promised
- Oil Prices: Slightly above average; price per barrel has dropped about $2 since Trump took office
- Consumer Price Index: Good; 2.4% is above the fed's goal of 2.0%, though that could cause them to increase interest rates
- Retail Sales: Very poor; retail outlets are hemorrhaging jobs and money
Overall, it would seem that the performance of the U.S. economy has been fine, perhaps even above average, but it's certainly not "going up fast," at least not at the moment. (Z)
There are a great many outlets competing with one another to do the best job cataloging President Trump's exaggerations, distortions, and outright falsehoods. One of the best comes from America's neighbors to the north at the Toronto Star, eh.
Each outlet has a slightly different take on what rises to the level of a lie, of course, but by the Star's accounting, Trump has delivered 213 distinct falsehoods since taking office. The site also tracks which falsehoods were repeated multiple times, and also allows users to organize by category. For those who were wondering, Trump's favorite subjects to lie about are Barack Obama (23), immigration (22), health care (17), jobs, (16), Democrats (15), and Hillary Clinton (8). (Z)
For all the attention that has been paid to Donald Trump's first 100 days, Newsweek's Bill Powell makes the useful observation that the second 100 days will actually be more important. In part, because it will be much clearer whether or not Trump can actually grow into the job, and build a functioning administration. And in part because (in his effort to make the first 100 days special), he's gotten a lot of balls rolling, and we shall see where they roll to.
Powell lists several key issues where we should have clarity by mid-August: North Korea, healthcare, tax cuts, China, the wall, and military funding, among others. By then, there will have been plenty of time for Trump to make clear whether or not he can make progress, or if he's just all talk. (Z)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is pretty happy with Donald Trump's first 100 days—that is to say, how poorly they went. He sat for an interview with MSNBC on Friday, and said he thinks there's a chance the Democrats will retake the Senate in 2018. That's quite a prediction, given how many seats they will be defending, with many of those in red, red states. And to some extent, Schumer's words were for show, targeted toward wealthy donors and possible candidates who might be considering throwing their hats into the ring. However, the ever-shrewd Senator wouldn't say such things in public if he didn't think there was at least some chance they might come to pass.
Meanwhile, things are looking truly rosy for Democrats' hopes of retaking the House. The DCCC has been doing a land office business in contributions, and candidates are declaring their intention to run at a record rate. Already, 400 people have formally put their names in contention, a 58% increase from this point in 2014. Further, the DCCC is in talks with 300 other candidates who are considering runs in 70 GOP-controlled and open districts. With that many candidates, the DCCC is going to need all that money it's collecting. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Apr29 North Korea Not Backing Down
Apr29 Trump's America Is Less Safe
Apr29 What Is MS-13?
Apr29 Secret Service Spread Thin
Apr29 Democrats Considering Suit Against Trump
Apr29 Lewandowski Appears to Be Selling Access to Trump
Apr28 Flynn's in Big Trouble--Thanks, Obama!
Apr28 Obamacare Replacement v2.0 May Be Dead on Arrival
Apr28 Military Buildup Unlikely
Apr28 Trump Claims He's a Nationalist and a Globalist
Apr28 So Much for Russian Hacking Report
Apr28 Democrats Not Backing Down on Wall
Apr27 Trump Tax Plan Underwhelms
Apr27 GOP Unveils Obamacare Replacement v2.0
Apr27 Trump to Pull out of NAFTA...or Not
Apr27 Net Neutrality Getting Closer to Being a Memory
Apr27 Trump 100-Day Mark Approval Rating Will Be Lowest Recorded
Apr27 Trump Unveils Anti-Immigrant Phone Line, Gets Trolled
Apr26 Michael Flynn Is in Hot Water
Apr26 Judge: No Defunding "Sanctuary Cities"
Apr26 Trump Eager to Appoint a Second SCOTUS Justice
Apr26 Trade Wars: Win Some, Lose Some
Apr26 Bannon Loses Again
Apr26 Sessions: Hawaii Slam Was Just a Joke
Apr26 Clinton Trolls Trump
Apr25 Michael Flynn in Hot Water
Apr25 Judge: No Defunding "Sanctuary Cities"
Apr25 Trump Eager to Appoint a Second SCOTUS Justice
Apr25 Trade Wars: Win Some, Lose Some
Apr25 Bannon Loses Again
Apr25 Sessions: Hawaii Slam Was Just a Joke
Apr25 Clinton Trolls Trump
Apr24 White House Tax Proposal Coming Wednesday
Apr24 North Korea, U.S. Continue War of Words
Apr24 What Trump Is Actually Good At
Apr24 Sessions Says Reversing Erroneous Tax Credits Could Pay for Wall
Apr24 Ben Carson Disappoints at HUD
Apr24 Trump Says He Won't Fire Spicer
Apr24 France: It's Le Pen and Macron
Apr23 Scientists March
Apr23 Retail Decline Presages Trouble for Trump
Apr23 Why Did Trump Win? Racism
Apr23 Surgeon General Asked to Resign
Apr23 Trump Will Hold 100th Day Rally
Apr23 Democrats' Eyes Turn to Montana
Apr23 Trumps' Marriage in Trouble?
Apr22 Russians Tried to Infiltrate Trump Campaign
Apr22 Trump Shifts Gears on North Korea
Apr22 Trump Slams "100 Days"