Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The New Abnormal

One bad outcome of the Trump era is its possible impact on future standards for US presidents:  There might be none. 

A president can now be openly racist and sexist, a president can now clearly demonstrate that he knows nothing about the job of being a president and that his general levels of knowledge are minuscule.

A president can now demonstrate signs of extreme narcissism, possess a vocabulary of no more than a few hundred words and explicitly show that he is going to use the presidential throne for personal grift, business profits and lots of time spent golfing. 

A president can refuse to show the American people his tax forms, a president can refuse to let the American people know what his actual state of health might be, and a president can have a proven history of corporate malfeasance.

A president can now appoint white male supremacists as his advisers and he can hand much governmental power to his daughter and son-in-law.  A president can simply refuse to separate his business interests from the job of running the country, and a president can create the opaqueness to keep us from knowing how much his firms benefit from his position.

A president can now give an interview like this one:

AP: Do you feel like you've been able to apply that kind of a relationship to your dealings with Congress as well?
TRUMP: I have great relationships with Congress. I think we're doing very well and I think we have a great foundation for future things. We're going to be applying, I shouldn't tell you this, but we're going to be announcing, probably on Wednesday, tax reform. And it's — we've worked on it long and hard. And you've got to understand, I've only been here now 93 days, 92 days. President Obama took 17 months to do Obamacare. I've been here 92 days but I've only been working on the health care, you know I had to get like a little bit of grounding right? Health care started after 30 day(s), so I've been working on health care for 60 days. ...You know, we're very close. And it's a great plan, you know, we have to get it approved.
AP: Is it this deal that's between the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus, is that the deal you're looking at?
TRUMP: So the Republican Party has various groups, all great people. They're great people. But some are moderate, some are very conservative. The Democrats don't seem to have that nearly as much. You know the Democrats have, they don't have that. The Republicans do have that. And I think it's fine. But you know there's a pretty vast area in there. And I have a great relationship with all of them. Now, we have government not closing. I think we'll be in great shape on that. It's going very well. Obviously, that takes precedent.
AP: That takes precedent over health care? For next week?
TRUMP: Yeah, sure. Next week. Because the hundred days is just an artificial barrier. The press keeps talking about the hundred days. But we've done a lot. You have a list of things. I don't have to read it.

For some background on that health care plan:  Trump told us repeatedly during his rallies that he would abolish the ACA and replace it with some cloud-cuckoo-land perfect plan where everyone would have the highest quality health care for practically no money at all.

Later he told us that "nobody knew health care could be so complicated!"

You know all this, of course.  But that preface is useful when looking at the findings of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which aims at finding out what voters think of the president now.

Here's the gist of those findings*:  Even though Trump's approval ratings at this point of his presidency are the lowest of any president since 1945, the majority of Republican voters still like him:

Current politics, moreover, are marked by especially sharp partisanship, a central reason for Trump's comparatively poor rating. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of his job performance; just 12 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents agree. Obama at 100 days did better in his base, with 93 percent approval from leaning Democrats, but also had 40 percent from leaning Republicans.
The tribal aspect of voting has never been clearer to me.  And, yes, the Democrats also vote on a tribal basis, but Trump is objectively different from all US presidents in the recent memory:  He is utterly unqualified for the job and something weird is happening under that hairdo of his.

But never mind any of that!  At least he belongs to the right party and wants tax cuts and person-hood rights for egg-Americans.

All this suggests to me that in the future a cheese sandwich would be a viable candidate for running the most powerful country on this earth, as long as the cheese is American cheese and the kind real guys like to eat.


*  Other findings show similar tribal patterns.  White Evangelical Protestants and white Catholics approve of Trump at rates of 73% and 58%, respectively, for example.