Monday, May 29, 2017

Workers


Trump Convinces Europe's Leaders He Can't Be Trusted

(Photo of Angela Merkel and Donald Trump, from Talking Points Memo, is by Evian Vucci of the AP.

Donald Trump's recent trip abroad was supposed to make him look presidential, and like a world leader. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect.

The trip went way downhill when he spoke to NATO. All the European members of NATO wanted to hear was that the United States would honor article 5 of the NATO treaty -- the article that says if any member is attacked, then all the other members would come to their defense. In the past, all American presidents have assured Europeans that America could be trusted to come to their defense.

But Trump didn't do that. He chewed most of them out, but never said the U.S. would honor article 5. He left the NATO members with the impression that the United States might not come to their aid when needed.

Then he went on to the G-7 conference. At that conference, six of the members wanted to discuss how to further their fight against global climate change. One didn't -- Donald Trump. In fact, Trump even refused to assure them that the United States would honor the Paris global climate change accord. He left them with the impression that the U.S. was getting ready to pull out of the Paris accord -- which would be disastrous for those wanting to curb global climate change (since the U.S. is the largest user of fossil fuels and the world's biggest polluter).

Republicans can try to tell themselves that Trump's trip was a success, but they are just deluding themselves when they do. The truth is that all Trump accomplished was to convince our best allies that he cannot be trusted -- either as an ally or a world leader.

The trip was an unmitigated disaster, and it left the world a more chaotic and more dangerous place.

Everybody Pays ?

Political Cartoon is by Tom Janssen at cagle.com.

Americans Are Nervous For The Future Of The Country


A majority of Americans (55% to 38%) say they are nervous about the future of the United States. Why? Because of the controversies that plague the current president. They look at the problems plaguing Donald Trump, and they are worried about how those growing problems will affect the nation.

This chart reflects the results of a Morning Consult / Politico Poll -- done between May 18th and 22nd of a random national sample of 1,938 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

It's Not Just In The West

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

The 1967 Loving Vs. Maryland Decision Changed The U.S.


There was a landmark civil rights decision by the Supreme Court in 1967. It was Loving vs. Virginia. The Loving's were an interracial couple who were fighting the state law (which was in many states at the time) that said people could not marry outside their race.

On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court declared Virginia's law against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional (violating both the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment). That decision meant that states could not tell a person who they could or could not marry (except for a person of the same sex, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2015).

As the chart above shows (from the Pew Research Center), the Loving decision changed the face of this country. Since 1967, those marrying outside their race/ethnicity have climbed form about 3% of all marriages to 17% of all marriages. This is a good thing, because those marriages recognize a simple fact -- regardless of race or color (or religion or any other factor), we are all the same. And in a country that claims to value equality, that is an important concept.

Below are some other charts from the Pew Research Center study.






Dressed For Work

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Trump Budget Is NOT A Job-Creator - It's A Job-Killer


Donald Trump has released his proposed budget for this country. He claims it will spur the economy to more than 3% growth, and create a massive amount of new jobs. It won't.

His budget takes billions of dollars out of the economy through huge cuts to almost all domestic programs. When money is taken out of the economy, it means there is less money to be spent on goods and services (which drives our economy) and that reduces demand, which slows economic growth -- and if too much money is taken out of the economy, then the economy goes into negative growth (i.e., recession). Slower growth does not create new jobs, and negative growth actually kills millions of jobs.

Trump says he will counteract the effect from taking money out of the economy by then giving massive new tax cuts to the rich and the corporations. He wants us to believe this will increase demand and produce new jobs. It won't. The recipients of those tax cuts already have enough money to buy whatever they want, and giving them more money won't increase demand -- it will just fatten their bank accounts with having any effect on demand at all.

To be blunt, a belief in unicorns makes more sense than belief that the Trump budget will be a job-creator. It won't. It will be a job-killer.

This is how Josh Bivins and Hunter Blair of the Economic Policy Institute describe the effects of the Trump budget. It's worth reading.

Today, the Trump administration published their full budget request for fiscal year 2018. The budget is basically par-for-the-course with recent Republican budgets— doubling down on the austerity policies that have been harming American households for about a decade. But besides containing cruel cutsand deeply-dodgy economic assumptions, this proposal should also dispel any last remaining hope that fiscal policy under the Trump administration would boost, rather than drag, on growth and jobs. Were this proposal enacted, it would put a large and rapidly growing drag on economic growth going forward. All else equal, job-losses stemming from this budget’s spending cuts would total 177,000 in 2018, 357,000 in 2019, and 1.4 million in 2020. While it gets increasingly hard to estimate precise numbers further into the future, the fiscal drag just increases dramatically after 2020.
The economic intuition for why the Trump budget’s cuts would hinder growth is simply that they would reduce growth in economy-wide spending, or aggregate demand. It is always possible that the spending slowdown caused by the Trump budget could be neutralized by spending increases in other parts of the economy. Before the onset of the Great Recession, it was thought that this spending increase could be reliably engineered by the Federal Reserve lowering short-term interest rates. Since the Great Recession, however, the economy saw seven years of historically slow recovery even while the Fed held short-term rates at zero (and undertook other measures to boost growth). The reason for this slow growth despite expansionary monetary policy is clearly historically austere public spending.
This should make clear that while the Fed certainly has the ability to curtail growth by raising interest rates, their ability to offset a negative fiscal shock by lowering rates seems severely constrained. Given that a monetary policy response should not be relied on to neutralize the negative fiscal shock of the Trump budget and the AHCA, we think these estimated job-losses should certainly inform the debate. Further, the federal funds rate (the rate the Fed lowers to offset negative demand shocks) sits at just about 1 percent today, meaning the Fed simply doesn’t have much room to boost the economy in response to contractionary fiscal policy that begins next fiscal year and then ramps up. For reference, in the past five recessions, the peak-to-trough change in the federal funds rate as the Fed aimed to stop the contraction and spur recovery was over 3.5 percent.
To measure the fiscal drag that would result in the short-run from the Trump administration’s budget, we compare its spending to the CBO’s January baseline over fiscal years 2018 and 2019. While the Trump administration would boost discretionary defense spending by about $100 billion, this is more than offset by the combination of $73 billion in nondefense discretionary cuts and $78 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the period. Combined, this is a decrease of $51 billion in spending over fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
A full account of the effects on GDP and jobs from Trump fiscal policy overall would include the effects from revenue changes intended by the administration. However, the administration has chosen to assume that a tax cut which Tax Policy Center estimated would cost about $6 trillion will somehow be revenue-neutral and that economic growth will quickly ramp up to 3 percent. This renders their revenue numbers basically useless. Even budget direct Mick Mulvaney has admitted that these assumptions are more a sign of administration laziness in not wanting to include more materials with their budget release than of any intellectual inquiry.
So until more-reasonable numbers on revenue changes are provided, we will just focus on the fiscal drag provided by its spending cuts. All else equal, we estimate that these cuts would decrease GDP by 0.1 percent and slow job growth by 177,000 jobs in fiscal year 2018, decrease GDP by 0.2 percent and slow job growth by 357,000 in 2019, and decrease GDP by 1 percent and slow job-growth by 1.4 million in 2020. Even in these later years, the Fed would still be hard-pressed to provide monetary stimulus anywhere near large enough to offset the fiscal drag.
Beyond fiscal year 2020, forecasting the room available to the Fed to offset fiscal cuts becomes hugely uncertain. But at the same time, in terms of fiscal drag the years after 2019 are when the Trump budget is at its worst. To get a sense of the magnitude, consider the spending cuts in fiscal year 2027 (the last year estimated). The Trump budget proposal would cut nondefense discretionary by about $304 billion, cut mandatory spending by about $386 billion, and cut defense spending by about $19 billion. Altogether this is a cut of $709 billion, or about 2.5 percent of fiscal year 2027 GDP. We can’t estimate the effects this would have on GDP or jobs that far in the future, but this is clearly a mammoth fiscal drag, so we certainly better hope that other parts of the economy are firing well then.
And the policies in the budget make it clear that the fiscal drag would only get worse after 2027. Policymakers would need to think hard about how to mitigate the immense drag that would be created by the Trump budget proposal far into the future. Far from unleashing 3 percent growth, this budget is a disaster waiting to happen for growth.

Burning His Credibility

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

Fire


Sunday, May 28, 2017

We Are Just . . .


Jared Kushner Is In Deep Trouble (And So Is Trump)

Reuters is now reporting that Jared Kushner failed to report at least three contacts with Russian officials (two phone calls and one meeting in person). This means he lied to get his current top secret clearance.

But it gets even worse. It is now being reported that Kushner (along with Micheal Flynn) met with Russian officials right after the election (and before Trump was sworn in). In that meeting Kushner and Flynn proposed to the Russians that they wanted to create a secret channel of communication with Russia -- a channel that would use Russian secure facilities, and would bypass both the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies.

One might wonder why Trump would need or want such a secret channel to communicate with Russia. Were they planning to discuss things the U.S. government and the American people would not like? Would it have been a way to discuss paying back the Russians for collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election?

It goes without saying that setting up such a channel would have been illegal (since Trump was not yet president), and may even be illegal after he assumed office. Former acting head of the CIA, John McLaughlin called it espionage. Intelligence expert Malcom Nance said:

Had any individual other than these individuals who worked immediately for President Trump, performed these actions at any time in the SF-86 security clearance process, they would have immediately had their clearances pulled. They would have had their jobs terminated. Some of these contacts are so suspicious that they would have warranted their own counterintelligence investigation. This nation is in a counterintelligence investigation. They are in a spy hunt over at the FBI, and now we have this story—should it prove true—of an American citizen who is the senior adviser to the president of the United States, attempting to establish what we call in the intelligence community ‘covert communications’ with a hostile nation's potential intelligence agency or senior leadership. That brings you -- that crosses the line to the espionage act of 1917. This cannot be explained. Put aside the other 18 contacts with Moscow. This one incident requires Jared Kushner and all of his immediate staff to have their clearances pulled right now and to have the FBI descend on there and to determine whether this is hostile intelligence in the White House one step from the president.

This is a serious allegation. If it is true (and there's no reason to believe it isn't), then the Russian collusion has reached the highest levels of the Trump administration. Kushner is not only Trump's closest advisor, bur he is family. Would he act in such a way (contacting Russian officials) without the knowledge and permission of Donald Trump? That's extremely doubtful.

That means Trump is not only guilty of trying to obstruct justice by trying to convince FBI director Comes and two intelligence chiefs to stop the Russian scandal investigation, but is also guilty of collusion with Russian officials before the election and possible espionage after the election.

Jared Kushner is in deep trouble. At the very least, he should resign his position in the White House and give up his security clearance. And Kushner's trouble touch the president himself -- and make it even more likely that Trump could well face being impeached.

(NOTE -- The caricature above of Jared Kushner is by DonkeyHotey.)

Trump Budget Blueprint

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Trump Compares Very Poorly With Other Modern Presidents


It seems that the American people don't think Donald Trump compares favorably with the other presidents since World War II. About 55% say he is less organized, 44% say he makes more mistakes,  42% don't think he works as hard, 45% don't think he's as intelligent, and 47% don't think he's as competent. Only a tiny percentage thinks he compares well (or better) than the other presidents.

That shouldn't be any surprise. As the charts below show, the public has a very low opinion of Donald Trump. Only 39% think he's doing a good job as president. And majorities rate him poorly on all the qualifications for being president. In addition, 49% say his administration has not been competent and effective, while only 30% say it has been.

These are terrible numbers, and as I have said before, I believe that paint the picture of a presidency in deep trouble.

These charts were made using information in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 20th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,276 registered voters), with a 3 point margin of error.




Orb Of Autocracy

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Belief In Creationism Is At An All-Time Low In U.S.



Creationism is the belief that humans did not evolve like other animals, but were created by a god in their present form (and that this probably happened less than 10,000 years ago). It is a strange belief that flies in the face of science, but it is a belief that has been strong in the United States.

Fortunately though, it looks like belief in creationism is declining. A recent Gallup Poll shows that belief in creationism has declined from 47% in the early 1990's to a current level of only 38% -- a record low since 1981, when Gallup began asking this question (and the first time since then that it has fallen below 40%).

An equal 38% now believe that humans evolved with the guidance of a god, while 19% believe humans evolved without the help of any god (a record high).

The Gallup Poll was done between May 3rd and 7th of a random national sample of 1,011 adults, and has a margin of error of 4 points.

Black Hole

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Is Donald Trump's Mental Capacity Deteriorating ?

(This caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

Whether you agree with the policies proposed by Donald Trump or not, there is one thing we should all want -- that Trump's mental capacity is strong and healthy to perform the duties of the presidency. But there is now some linguistic evidence that his mental capacity is not what it once was -- and that may well indicate those capacities are slipping.

Below is part of an excellent article by Sharon Begley at Stat. I don't know about you, but I find it very troubling.

It was the kind of utterance that makes professional transcribers question their career choice:
“ … there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero.”
When President Trump offered that response to a question at a press conference last week, it was the latest example of his tortured syntax, mid-thought changes of subject, and apparent trouble formulating complete sentences, let alone a coherent paragraph, in unscripted speech.
He was not always so linguistically challenged.
STAT reviewed decades of Trump’s on-air interviews and compared them to Q&A sessions since his inauguration. The differences are striking and unmistakable.
Research has shown that changes in speaking style can result from cognitive decline. STAT therefore asked experts in neurolinguistics and cognitive assessment, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists, to compare Trump’s speech from decades ago to that in 2017; they all agreed there had been a deterioration, and some said it could reflect changes in the health of Trump’s brain.
In interviews Trump gave in the 1980s and 1990s (with Tom Brokaw, David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey, Charlie Rose, and others), he spoke articulately, used sophisticated vocabulary, inserted dependent clauses into his sentences without losing his train of thought, and strung together sentences into a polished paragraph, which — and this is no mean feat — would have scanned just fine in print. This was so even when reporters asked tough questions about, for instance, his divorce, his brush with bankruptcy, and why he doesn’t build housing for working-class Americans.
Trump fluently peppered his answers with words and phrases such as “subsided,” “inclination,” “discredited,” “sparring session,” and “a certain innate intelligence.” He tossed off well-turned sentences such as, “It could have been a contentious route,” and, “These are the only casinos in the United States that are so rated.” He even offered thoughtful, articulate aphorisms: “If you get into what’s missing, you don’t appreciate what you have,” and, “Adversity is a very funny thing.”
Now, Trump’s vocabulary is simpler. He repeats himself over and over, and lurches from one subject to an unrelated one, as in this answer during an interview with the Associated Press last month:
“People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 percent. You know, it’s funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage in the Electoral College. Big, big, big advantage. … The Electoral College is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall.”
For decades, studies have found that deterioration in the fluency, complexity, and vocabulary level of spontaneous speech can indicate slipping brain function due to normal aging or neurodegenerative disease. STAT and the experts therefore considered only unscripted utterances, not planned speeches and statements, since only the former tap the neural networks that offer a window into brain function.
The experts noted clear changes from Trump’s unscripted answers 30 years ago to those in 2017, in some cases stark enough to raise questions about his brain health. . . .
The reason linguistic and cognitive decline often go hand in hand, studies show, is that fluency reflects the performance of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the seat of higher-order cognitive functions such as working memory, judgment, understanding, and planning, as well as the temporal lobe, which searches for and retrieves the right words from memory. Neurologists therefore use tests of verbal fluency, and especially how it has changed over time, to assess cognitive status.
Those tests ask, for instance, how many words beginning with W a patient can list, and how many breeds of dogs he can name, rather than have patients speak spontaneously. The latter “is too hard to score,” said neuropsychologist Sterling Johnson, of the University of Wisconsin, who studies brain function in Alzheimer’s disease. “But everyday speech is definitely a way of measuring cognitive decline. If people are noticing [a change in Trump’s language agility], that’s meaningful.”
Although neither Johnson nor other experts STAT consulted said the apparent loss of linguistic fluency was unambiguous evidence of mental decline, most thought something was going on.
John Montgomery, a psychologist in New York City and adjunct professor at New York University, said “it’s hard to say definitively without rigorous testing” of Trump’s speaking patterns, “but I think it’s pretty safe to say that Trump has had significant cognitive decline over the years.”

Photo Op

Political Cartoon is by Randall Enos at cagle.com.

Not Proof


Saturday, May 27, 2017

War


Is It Now Three Bullies Vs. The World ?

 
 I don't wish to whitewash the history of United States actions in the world. It has a long history of bullying other nations into accepting its corporate power and greed -- using both its economic and military power. And when that bullying doesn't work, it has at times even been involved in overthrowing some democracies to protect that corporate power and greed (Iran, Chile, etc.).

But that bullying has, in the past, been tempered by a fight to protect and establish democratic movements, and to further the establishment of basic human rights around the world. That has been this nation's saving grace.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration is changing that. Trump has made it clear that he admires and supports autocratic regimes (Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, etc.) while denigrating Western-style democracies. He has made it clear that human rights are no longer a priority for the United States. It is "America first", and democratic values and human rights are to be tossed under the bus in that effort now.

The United States has now joined Russia and China in being the bullies of the world -- just another country that cares only for its own power and greed. The rest of the world is just individual pawns in the power game for these three countries, as they jockey to be the number one power. And sadly, Trump's party (the Republican Party), seems to agree with this new vision.

I fear for the future of this world. I fear for democratic values and human rights -- as neither seems to be a priority for any of the big three bullies. Trump, by shifting this nation's policies toward greed and power (and away from democracy and human rights) has made the world a much more dangerous place for all people in every nation.

Trump Math

Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

The American Public's Opinion Of Their Military Branches


With Memorial Day fast approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to show your the results of this recent Gallup Poll -- done between April 24th and May 2nd of a random national sample of 1,026 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

It seems that Americans have a very positive view of all the branches of our military, and that view is pretty equal among the branches.

Great ?

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at cagle.com.

Trump's First Trip Has Been An Embarrassment For U.S.

(This map of Trump's trip is from the BBC.)

I read the opinion of one pundit that said Donald Trump has actually looked "presidential" on his first foreign trip. That has to be a sick joke. He has praised nations with serious human rights violations (Saudi Arabia, Israel) and berated nations that are the most democratic -- calling Germany evil and berating most Nato nations. He also refused to assure Western European NATO nations that the U.S. will live up to its NATO obligations (making many wonder if they still have a solid ally in the U.S.). He was also seen pushing other leaders aside to make sure he was in front for photo opportunities. In short, his first foreign trip has been an embarrassment for the United States.

Is it any wonder that he is not respected in the free world? If you doubt that, consider this editorial from the German newspaper Der Spiegel. I post only part of the editorial below:

Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.

He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media's tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world.

Trump is a miserable politician. He fired the FBI director simply because he could. James Comey had gotten under his skin with his investigation into Trump's confidants. Comey had also refused to swear loyalty and fealty to Trump and to abandon the investigation. He had to go.

Trump is also a miserable boss. His people invent excuses for him and lie on his behalf because they have to, but then Trump wakes up and posts tweets that contradict what they have said. He doesn't care that his spokesman, his secretary of state and his national security adviser had just denied that the president had handed Russia (of all countries) sensitive intelligence gleaned from Israel (of all countries). Trump tweeted: Yes, yes, I did, because I can. I'm president after all.

Nothing is as it should be in this White House. Everyone working there has been compromised multiple times and now they all despise each other - and everyone except for Trump despises Trump. Because of all that, after just 120 days of the Trump administration, we are witness to an American tragedy for which there are five theoretical solutions.

The first is Trump's resignation, which won't happen. The second is that Republicans in the House and Senate support impeachment, which would be justified by the president's proven obstruction of justice, but won't happen because of the Republicans' thirst for power, which they won't willingly give up. The third possible solution is the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would require the cabinet to declare Trump unfit to discharge the powers of the presidency. That isn't particularly likely either. Fourth: The Democrats get ready to fight and win back majorities in the House and Senate in midterm elections, which are 18 months away, before they then pursue option two, impeachment. Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible. . . .

The U.S. elected a laughing stock to the presidency and has now made itself dependent on a joke of a man. The country is, as David Brooks wrote recently in the New York Times, dependent on a child. The Trump administration has no foreign policy because Trump has consistently promised American withdrawal while invoking America's strength. He has promised both no wars and more wars. He makes decisions according to his mood, with no strategic coherence or tactical logic. Moscow and Beijing are laughing at America. Elsewhere, people are worried. . . .

In "Game of Thrones," the Mad King was murdered (and the child that later took his place was no better). In real life, an immature boy sits on the throne of the most important country in the world. He could, at any time, issue a catastrophic order that would immediately be carried out. That is why the parents cannot afford to take their eyes off him even for a second. They cannot succumb to exhaustion because he is so taxing. They ultimately have to send him to his room - and return power to the grownups.

Current White House

Political Cartoon is by Steve Green in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Books


Friday, May 26, 2017

Exposed


Appeals Court Upholds Block Of Trump's Travel Ban

Donald Trump has lost another round in the courts over his executive order banning muslims from certain countries from entering the United States.

After his first executive order travel ban was tossed by the courts, he made some small revisions and issued a second executive order travel ban. That was almost immediately blocked by U.S. District Judges in Maryland and Hawaii.

The Trump administration appealed the rulings of those courts to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals -- asking that appeals court to overturn the lower court rulings and allow the ban to be instituted.

On Thursday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling (a 205 page ruling which you can read here). They refused to unblock Trump's ban on travel to this country by a vote of 10 to 3.

And they were unequivocal in their distaste for Trump's attempt to subvert the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom, saying the travel ban "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination".

It should be no surprise that Trump's bigoted toady in the Attorney General's office didn't like the ruling of the appeals court. Sessions, who has shown in the past that he thinks discrimination against groups is just fine, now extends that feeling toward religious groups. He says he will appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court.

What will the Supreme Court do? Will they uphold the First Amendment of the Constitution and rule that the Trump administration cannot discriminate against any religious group, or will they trash the First Amendment and decide that religious freedom is no longer protected? Sadly, with the current court, it could go either way.

Budget Crush

Political Cartoon is by Chris Britt in the Illinois Times.

Trump's Weekly Job Approval Is At An All-Time low




The charts above are from a new Gallup Poll -- done between May 15th and 21st of a random national sample of 3,548 adults, with a margin of error of only 2 points. It shows the weekly average of Donald Trump's job approval by the American public.

The top chart shows that his job approval for the most recent week is 38% -- which is the lowest since he was sworn in and took office. The second and third charts show how much his job approval has dropped since his first week in office. Note that it has dropped among every single group -- even Republicans and conservatives.

Obstruction Of Judgement

Political Cartoon is by Mike Peters in the Dayton Daily News.

Is Trump Beginning To Lose His Base (The Trumpistas) ?



The pundit wisdom has been that Donald Trump couldn't lose the support of his voters no matter what he did. That may not be true. There is some evidence that Trump is beginning to lose even some of his most hardcore supporters.

Here is some of what respected poll analyst Nate Silver has to say about this:

widely held tenet of the current conventional wisdom is that while President Trump might not be popular overall, he has a high floor on his support. Trump’s sizable and enthusiastic base — perhaps 35 to 40 percent of the country — won’t abandon him any time soon, the theory goes, and they don’t necessarily care about some of the controversies that the “mainstream media” treats as game-changing developments. . . .
But the theory isn’t supported by the evidence. To the contrary, Trump’s base seems to be eroding. There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support. And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio, which could presage an “enthusiasm gap” that works against Trump at the midterms. The data suggests, in particular, that the GOP’s initial attempt (and failure) in March to pass its unpopular health care bill may have cost Trump with his core supporters.
These estimates come from the collection of polls we use for FiveThirtyEight’s approval ratings tracker. Many approval-rating polls give respondents four options: strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove and strongly disapprove. Ordinarily, we only estimate Trump’s overall approval and disapproval. But we went back and collected this more detailed data for all polls for which it was available, and then we reran our approval ratings program to output numbers for all four approval categories instead of the usual two.1 Here (above) are Trump’s strongly approve and somewhat approve ratings from shortly after the start of his term2 through this Tuesday.
After a slight uptick in the first two to three weeks of his term, Trump’s strong approval ratings have headed downward. But it hasn’t been a steady decline. Instead, they fell considerably from about 29 percent on March 6 — when Republicans introduced their health care bill — to around 24 percent on April 1, shortly after the GOP pulled the bill from the House floor. They then remained stable for much of April, before beginning to fall again this month after the reintroduction (and House passage) of the health care bill and after Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9. As of Tuesday, just 21.4 percent of Americans strongly approved of Trump’s performance.
By comparison, 45 percent of Americans strongly approved of President Obama’s performance as of April 2009, although Obama’s strong approval numbers would fall considerably over the course of his term — to the mid-to-high 20s by the midterms and to the high teens by 2014.
The share of Americans who somewhat approve of Trump’s performance has actually increased slightly, however, from about 16 percent in early February to 17.9 percent as of Tuesday. In part, this probably reflects voters who once strongly approved of Trump and who have now downgraded him to the somewhat approve category. (Trump’s strongly approve and somewhat approve numbers have been inversely correlated so far, meaning that as one has risen, the other has tended to fall.) A potential problem for Trump is that in the event of continued White House turmoil, the next step for these somewhat approve voters would be to move toward disapproval of the president.
The number of Americans who strongly disapprove of Trump has sharply risen since early in his term, meanwhile, from the mid-30s in early February to 44.1 percent as of Tuesday. In most surveys, Trump’s strongly disapprove rating exceeds his overall approval rating, in fact. . . .
Meanwhile, the share of Americans who somewhat disapprove of Trump has been small and fairly steady throughout his term, usually averaging around 10 or 11 percent. It was 11.6 percent as of Tuesday. . . .
So while there’s risk to Democrats in underestimating Trump’s resiliency, there’s an equal or perhaps greater risk to Republicans in thinking Trump’s immune from political gravity.
If you look beneath the surface of Trump’s approval ratings, you find not hidden strength but greater weakness than the topline numbers imply.

Watch Out For That Door

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Example Of Dunning-Kruger Effect