The Work: Trump 2020 Reveals Its Strategy

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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87 Responses

  1. Marchmaine says:

    I’m wondering if we’re watching Pelosi getting Boehnered.Report

    • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Nope, not even remotely close.Report

      • Philip H in reply to North says:

        Agreed. She’s firmly in control of her own destiny here in a way he wasn’t.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

        Fascinating… the certitude is refreshing. I’ll bookmark for future reference. 🙂

        And just for clarity, I’m not suggesting this is Boehner 2015 on the eve of the Papal visit… just that this is what an out of control caucus looks like when everyone thinks its in control… so 2011 after big wins.Report

        • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

          To paraphrase Hitler; “how many divisions does the Squad have?”
          Boehner had a large deranged Tea Party caucus in open rebellion. Pelosi has 4 congresswomen who can be relied on for most votes but want media attention and retweets.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to North says:

            95 Dems voted ‘yes’ on Green’s impeachment resolution, North. Pelosi is hanging on by a thread. Even folks like Nadler are getting frustrated.

            I think it’s important to remember that the Iron Law of Institutions (the idea that individuals would rather see the institution fail than lose their own power within the institution) was inspired by actions Nancy Pelosi took in an effort to … retain her own power within the Dem caucus. Just throwing that out there…. 🙂Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

            Does Al Green make 5?

            And paraphrasing Stalin on the Pope in 1935… its interesting that by 1981 his successor Brezhnev (via Andropov) is likely authorizing the assassination of +JPII.

            But, yeah… just a thought… maybe not a happy one, but something to chew on as we watch the various caucuses fray amidst all this.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Boehner’s (and Ryan’s) out of control caucus had a larger out of the control membership and whose demands were more irreconcilable with the main body’s membership as well as stuff that could actually get passed into law. (i.e. the Freedom caucus had more “submarine made of cheese” demands than The Squad does.

          Plus, it’s more likely The Squad actually believes what they believe, than the Freedom Caucus ever did (as it’s been explicitly stated that no one ever really cared about spending and the deficit)Report

          • pillsy in reply to Kolohe says:

            Also the basic structure of the GOP coalition at that point meant that primary threats from the Freedom Caucus were much more serious threat than primary threats from The Squad.

            AOC is very media savvy (and I think a genuinely talented politician), the Right wants to elevate The Squad as the voice of the Dem party to scare people, and the Extremely Online Left wants to elevate The Squad as the voice of the Dem party to scare a different group of people.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Kolohe says:

            Kinda hard to get historical counts on Tea/Liberty/Freedom caucuses… but during the Boehner period, looks like around 35 members. Tea Party 2010 I saw one mention of a peak of 60.

            The Squad is 4… I’m not tapped in to D caucuses to extrapolate how 4 could align with 30? Unpossible? Impossible? Possible? Emerging? ITS HERE?Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

              A lefty like me simply says “No, not even close” but a less partisan person or a right winger could say “No, not yet.” and not come off as crazy.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I see why you would wonder that, she was challenged for the Speakership at the beginning of this term, for instance. At the same time, every time the votes actually get counted, she doesn’t seem threatened at all.Report

  2. Mark Kruger says:

    Great piece Andrew. I was worried that “send her back” was getting the same treatment as “lock her up” – a sort of tit for tat new slogan to replace the old. But you made it clear this is a drastic escalation of rhetoric. It is playing with fire. The mob is not controllable. It consumes it’s “leaders” as well as it’s victims – but demagogues always think they have their fingers on all the right levers.

    I’m reminded of the Admiral on the deck of the enterprise in “The Hunt for Red October” – this business will get out of hand and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    We’re seeing in realtime, how a republican democracy dies.

    The essential concept of Trump and the 40% who follow him is the rejection of the idea of all persons being created equal. They yearn for a world of hierarchy where some people matter and others don’t.

    They aren’t opposing any policy of those four women , they are opposed to their existence as co-equal citizens.Report

  4. North says:

    Annoying post but pretty accurate. The enraging thing for me is how the media gets off the hook in this analysis. We are talking about four congressfolk; a tiny minority of their caucus; a minuscule fraction of the number of extremists on the other side. But there the media goes panting after the squad again and again. If you ever needed evidence to comfortably debunk the claim that the main stream media is in tank for liberals or Dems this is it.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      I know you really want the Democratic Party to be a super-moderate party but white nationalism/racism are policy issues and this is really important.

      Whether we want to admit or not what we discovered with Trump is that there are millions of people in this country who want and/or will tolerate really unvarnished raw racism and white nationalism. Even if Trump is defeated in 2020, these people will still be around. This is not a fever that will break and things will go back to normal.

      I think one of the reasons that Pelosi dislikes running on impeachment and investigations is that she finds it disgusting to win just because Trump is a horrible human being. She wants to win because “gosh darn it, the Democratic Party is putting forward the best policies to help the American people” kind of like the overly-earnest kid running for junior high school student body president.

      This is not the way the world works unfortunately.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The Dems? What I want doesn’t matter much buddy, the reality is they are a pretty moderate party. They’d be right wing in any first world country except the USA; Line the caucus up and count noses if you don’t believe me. The Democratic Party is a venerable, rather corporatist, vast, clunky but functioning political party as opposed to the raging ID shit show that its republican counterpart has degraded into and I like the Dems warts and all.

        Saul, me lad, if you think Nancy fishing Pelosi is abstaining from pushing impeachment of Donald fishing Trump because she thinks it’d work but thinks it’d be a lousy way to win then you’re off your rocker! If Pelosi had any confidence that the impeachment route would yield Trump impeached or Trump crippled in 2020 she’d whip that vote so fast that you could hear the cracking from Oregon. Impeachment would be in Mitch’s lap before you could say “turtle soup.”

        The Speaker isn’t pushing impeachment because she thinks it won’t work. She has decades of experience, public opinion and a lot of pretty concrete political realist arguments supporting her thinking that it won’t work. The left, on the other hand, has really wanting it to work and saying “it’s the principled thing to do” as their arguments for proceeding with impeachment. I respect the feelz of my passionate liberal compatriots and I recognize the high principle of the thing but I’m still with Pelosi on this call.

        You wanna deal with the Trumpists? Ya gotta get Trump out of office and then the worst of them will slink back into the fringes while the rest of the right tries to grapple with the legacy of what Trump demonstrated them to be. If we try and impeach and then end up getting Trump relected for another 4 years then the Trumpsists will proliferate that much more. It doesn’t seem like a hard call to me.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        -{Redacted. Some points need to be made with more care and I’m not going to spend much time parsing this one for the argument underneath the incendiary.}-


        • North in reply to George Turner says:

          Oh George, the things you say. Omar made a couple dubious comments about Jewish people and then barely avoided getting pilloried by her own party for it. Now suddenly she and the gang are running the show in the Democratic Party? Only in Trump and the right wing’s dreams.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

            Jews serve the same purpose here that they do for the Christian fundamentalists; Useful props/cannon fodder for their own twisted goals.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        “I know you really want the Democratic Party to be a super-moderate party but white nationalism/racism are policy issues and this is really important.”

        Racism is actually not a policy issue but… What do you want Saul? Do you want the Dems to swing Far Left because you have to combat extremism with more extremism? You do realize that most of the country lives in the moderate middle. We see the Far Left and the Far Right as two sides of the same coin.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


          “Omar must be defended, but not because of her views on Israel, gay rights, or progressive taxation. You needn’t agree with her on any of those things; in fact, you needn’t like her at all. But she must be defended, because the nature of the president’s attack on her is a threat to all Americans—black or white, Jew or Gentile—whose citizenship, whose belonging, might similarly be questioned. ”

          “This is not about Omar anymore, or the other women of color who have been told by this president to “go back” to their supposed countries of origin. It is about defending the idea that America should be a country for all its people. If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere. What Americans do now, in the face of this, will define us forever.”Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I don’t really buy the ‘Today, we are all Omar’ approach. She’s a savvy political actor, one with a suspect background and an agenda that I find abhorrent. She has already been under fire for her own remarks twice in her short time in Congress. I have had Somalian employees that I would never want to group with her. That would frankly be insulting to them. So expanding the conversation beyond the Squad is, I believe, a bridge too far (even if not surprising).Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              Do you really believe, and expect anyone else to believe, that Trump was attacking Omar for her policy positions?Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I think at this point we see that some people will believe anything just so they don’t have to vote Democratic.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                This is why I don’t accept any neutral position as being legitimate.

                Questioning the basic premise of America- that Ilhan Omar is a full and equal citizen entitled to all the rights and respect afforded to everyone- this sort of challenge is itself illegitimate, and can’t be a debatable point.

                Serwer above is really just echoing that Voltaire quote about disagreeing with her but fighting to the death for her right to say it.

                It may not be necessary to support Omar, but Trump must be opposed, loudly and clearly by anyone wanting to be taken seriously as believing in the American project.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No – I think he was attacking her because he wanted to further divide the Democratic party. You all want to believe that this was his racism bubbling out, and I’m sure a little of it was, but his intent was not some racist rant, it was to stir the pot. You get that…right?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                America is made up of those who believe in the American project, not people who condemn it and want to replace it with something else, such as an Islamic theocracy, absolute or limited monarchy, the socialist flavor of the week, or totalitarian communism.

                It’s not racist to say “If you don’t like America, if you hate us so much, go back to where you came from.” George Washington told the British to do just that, and they did, becoming by far the largest group ever ejected from US soil for political reasons.

                That’s why we’re America.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Sorry, strategic use of racism is like molesting goats ironically.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Let’s imagine we were MMA fighters. You are white, I am black. Our job is to talk shit to each other for the next three months to build interest in the fight. We do this on Twitter, in interviews and press conferences. Maybe you also harbor some old man racism (we’ll call it Level 2 on Silver Wolf’s scale). We’re in yet another press conference and you are talking about how you are going to knock me out and that I don’t have any answer for your kicks and your wrestling is way better than mine, whatever. I’m giving it right back to you and you get a bit carried away and drop an N bomb. Now you are no longer trying to get in my head and sell a fight, now you are a Racist and that’s all anyone is going to talk about for the next several weeks. Sure, you are a Level 2 racist, but at the end of the day you were just trying to sell a fight.

                I believe THAT is what happened with Trump’s tweets. I think he was trying to play a political game and his Level 2 racism jumped in there and changed the whole conversation.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I believe THAT is what happened with Trump’s tweets. I think he was trying to play a political game and his Level 2 racism jumped in there and changed the whole conversation.

                Once you admit that the guy’s a racist why do any of these distinctions matter?

                “Trump didn’t *intend* to reveal he’s a racist in those tweets, but in the heat of battle things got out of hand.”

                “Oh. OK.”Report

            • pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              This is all true (or a matter of opinion) and all completely irrelevant once the President decided to attack her on grounds that had nothing to do with any of those things and had everything to do with the fact that she’s a Somali immigrant.

              Like, I specifically mean the President when I say this too. Trump’s not just some guy.

              He was either unwilling or unable to frame his attack on her in a way that didn’t expand the conversation beyond the squad.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                So moderate Democrats have a scheduled vote on an anti-BDS bill. Omar and Tlaib have countered with a bill meant to protect BDS.

                Putting Trump aside for a moment, does anyone actually believe that in their heart of hearts either one of them wouldn’t want to see Israel completely wiped off the map of the Middle East? it’s actually impressive that two almost certainly anti-Semitic congresswomen have managed to gin up this much outrage over their racist treatment by the president. It’s literally a battle of terrible people. We live in strange times.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Racism is actually not a policy issue but…

          The Civil War.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    I will be blunt and short: Trump’s staffers feel the best way to win 2020 is by repeating 2016 to a t. In this, I think they are expecting to lose the popular vote but want another freaky electoral college victory via states like NC, PA, MI, OH, etc. They tend to do this by exciting the base with enough red-meat race hatred as they can.

    Will it work a second time around? I hope not but I don’t know. I thought Trump was a human dumpster fire in 2016 and he is much worse now. I also think he is suffering from cognitive decline and possibly senile dementia but this speculation is not allowed seemingly. Fox News and Trump tried to use the “caravan” in 2018 for an electoral victory and the GOP lost a huge number of seats in the House. I think the concentration camps are popular with the nationalist base but the Trump admin seriously underestimates how much the alienate moderate white mothers in suburbs. Also the total abortion bans.

    But the rallies and remarks of the last few days are very, very ugly and stuff we should be ashamed of as a nation. When was the last time we saw this much race-baiting? Theodor Bilbo? Wallace? Even Jesse Helms was more nuanced.

    Quite simply a decent-sized minority of the white population seemingly decided that they are cool with ending democracy if democracy means that minorities have a right to rule and say in government. This is scary stuff. What is more pathetic are the mental backflips I’ve seen people do to justify not voting for the Democratic Party because they think it is icky. Or they think might be taking it too far but think the pro-immigrant stance or pro-minority stance is wrong too. Or they imagine that all the Democrats are the second coming of Robspierre and Trotsky and fret about a wealth tax that will probably never pass and they are probably way too poor to pay (but there is a .000000001 percent chance that they will win the lotto so they gotta protect those hypotheticals.)

    This should be really easy stuff to denounce and reject and seemingly for a lot of people it isn’t because they get kicks from being contrarians and/or want to pseudo-analytical scholasticism of the horserace.Report

  6. Pinky says:

    If you’re explaining this with pro wrestling terminology, you have to explain the “smark”. That’s the smart mark, the guy who knows it’s staged but still enjoys the show. He’s not watching ironically, exactly; it’s just that he knows it’s strictly entertainment, and doesn’t take the outcome seriously. He’ll chant along with any dumb thing the crowd takes up, as long as it enrages the heel.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

      Which is why the wrestling analogy fails.

      There is no audience here, no bystanders, no refs.

      Everyone is a participant, everyone has a stake in the fight.

      The suckers are the ones who think they are smarks.Report

    • Andrew Donaldson in reply to Pinky says:

      Something I wrote and deleted out of the piece for various reasons, including length, but I’ve touched on it before. The comparison on “smarking” chants would be the Acosta stuff that I’ve wrote about before here on OT. You can watch the videos where Acosta does his standup and the crowd boos and hisses and holds the signs and chants “CNN” sucks, then once the camera’s are off, MAGA hats are all getting autographs and selfies with Acosta and everyone is having a good time except for a few idiots. That’s Smark as you describe, in on the act.

      This is not going to be that. This is much deeper, much more visceral, and is going to be ramped up much further. This is othering. And it is wrong. There won’t be a “good game” once the shows over.Report

    • bevedog in reply to Pinky says:

      You know what they say: if you can’t spot the smark, the smark is you (and this community in general)Report

  7. North says:

    To be slightly more positive, though, can we consider if this strategy will work?
    I mean HRC just barely lose those states and she was HRC AND (vitally) she suffered Comey’s insane intervention just weeks before the election.

    I don’t see how any of our likely Democratic candidates currently have a risk of any of those factors: they won’t be HRC and Obama demonstrated conclusively that the right does not have the capacity to do to a new Dem candidate what they did to HRC (they will lack the time, the popular credulity, and the Clintons’ particular behavior).

    I get that Trump can point at the Squad and the Squad will enthusiastically clap back; the extremes feed off one another, like Likud and Hamas or Antifa and the Proud Boys; but none of the Squad will be the nominee. Can Trump really elevate the Squad into the public eye over the actual Democratic Nominee? I have my doubts. Especially for low engagement voters who’ll be actually deciding the contest.

    So how does Trump get those states this time around or replace them? Colorado doesn’t strike me as a potential replacement. While PA is always a swing state it seems hard to credit that MI or WI are likely Trump retentions since no Dem in 2020 will be taking them for granted. Right wingers like to say it’ll be the economy but the economy has been chugging along through Trumps term just like it did through Obama’s and that wasn’t much of an asset for the Dems in 2016. I’m 40 now and I’ve never seen the congenital Democratic purity beast bestir itself when a Republican incumbent was in the White House so that’s another pro-Trump factor that is off the table.

    I mean, yeah, Trumps revving his base and doing so in a horrible way. But it’s not an enormously big base and if he only has that and the low info default GOP voters in 2020 that’s going to be a tough start to try and turn into a winning coalition.Report

    • Philip H in reply to North says:

      He doesn’t need a winning coalition. He needs continued gerrymandering and low voter turnout. Remember that 45% of voters sat out the last election. And he then won with fewer then 50% of the remainder. I think the Democrats are in serious danger of recreating said voter apathy if they keep pushing Biden.Report

      • North in reply to Philip H says:

        Well you can’t gerrymander the presidential election. Or if you could the last time it was done was in 1787.Report

        • Philip H in reply to North says:

          gerrymandering concentrates like minded voters thus increasing turnout chances for people in a gerrymandered district who support the president.Report

          • North in reply to Philip H says:

            Err.. I suppose? But electoral votes are decided state wide and gerrymandering districts doesn’t literally move voters around in the state (quite the opposite actually) so there’s no real… concentration of like minded individuals to speak of.Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to North says:

              Clinton didn’t just lose those Upper Midwest EC votes out of the blue. It happened as part of a trend that saw the Republicans win more state-level legislative chambers, then governors and US Senators. If we’re going to talk about close states there, we should include MN, where Clinton won by less than 45,000 votes, the worst showing by a Dem candidate in practically forever.

              Even in 2018, across the broader Midwest, Dems gained four governors but lost three US Senate seats. I expect the Midwest (other than Illinois) will be tough for the Dems in 2020 no matter who the candidate is.Report

              • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Good points. Though I can’t imagine the pummeling he’s given the region via his trade wars are going to go over well. Nor his reneging on his promises on taxes or health care reform. Also I don’t think whoever the Democratic candidate is will neglect to visit most of those states or end polling in them months early.

                I’m living in MN and I’m pretty confident Trump won’t get within 45k votes of winning here in 2020. *knocks on wood*Report

              • JS in reply to Michael Cain says:

                How’d they vote in 2018?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JS says:

                Michael already answered that q in his comment:

                Even in 2018, across the broader Midwest, Dems gained four governors but lost three US Senate seats. I expect the Midwest (other than Illinois) will be tough for the Dems in 2020 no matter who the candidate is.

                A lot of pollsters think the race could come down to Wisconsin specifically and the rust belt more broadly. So focusing on those states and ignoring others isn’t a crazy view.Report

    • InMD in reply to North says:

      I don’t think Trump can elevate them alone but I worry about the media (again) being his accomplice.Report

      • North in reply to InMD says:

        Yes, me too. The media desperately wants to equal opponents to duke it out, so they are constantly painting the right as saner and soberer than they actually are and are constantly doing the inverse with the left.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to North says:


      Isn’t this where someone says that at the relevant point in the 2014-15-16 timeframe (we may be past the analogous point in this cycle now; the relevant point was when The Party was deciding whether they were going to in fact go ahead and make her the kind of favorite she would go on to be), “being HRC” was #hashtag #actuallygood as an electoral matter – that it was at least not a liability and perhaps an asset compared to the identical version of her with a different name who had never been married to a previous president. …That she was #actuallypopular?

      …Like, isn’t your line supposed to be that she was in fact popular in say 2014-15 at the crucial deciding moments for the party, and that the process that eventually made her the second least popular major party nominee ever was entirely illegitimate mostly in that it was about 90% a playing out of pure gender bias in the portrayal and perception of politicians while the other 10% (or 80/20 but in any case adding up to 100 or at least 99%), while it’s true that it’s part of politics to have your mistakes or unpopular actions used against you, in her case the particulars on the bill that was used for that were in each case not legitimate reasons to come to dislike her?Report

  8. pillsy says:

    To be slightly more positive, though, can we consider if this strategy will work?

    Yeah this is key.

    This is (even) blunter and (even) fouler than what Trump did in a lot of his campaign which won him the election, but there’s a general tendency to view a electoral victory as a blanket validation of the winner’s strategy and messaging.

    Even when we aren’t talking about a freakish EC victory like Trump’s, this is daft. There are a lot of factors that go into a victory, including but not limited to the other side fucking things up.

    Like there are dangers for Trump in this strategy, too. Among them is that elevating four first-term members of the House specifically to be a target of racist attacks is going to look extremely shitty to the vast majority of the country who don’t understand (or, you know, care about) Wingnut Demonology enough to care about The Squad’s place in it.

    The idea that a President who’s got a tailwind from a decent economy, has satisfied his Party base’s fondest desires, but is generally not popular and barely scraped by last time will benefit from turning the election into a referendum over whether he’s super-racist or just kind of racist is… extremely unobvious.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to pillsy says:

      Like there are dangers for Trump in this strategy, too. Among them is that elevating four first-term members of the House specifically to be a target of racist attacks is going to look extremely shitty to the vast majority of the country who don’t understand (or, you know, care about) Wingnut Demonology enough to care about The Squad’s place in it.

      Once upon a time, I had more confidence in the “vast majority of the country”. I still think (hope) this strategy is going to ultimately backfire on Trump, but I am not expecting, say, a Barry Goldwater level of rejection. Or even a Jimmy Carter. It’s going to be an uphill climb for the Democratic candidate to get to 50% of the vote.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Kolohe says:

        I think what I’m saying is that I believe a solid chunk people will be able to rationalize Trump and his… entire fucking gross deal, but they won’t embrace it if Trump makes his entire fucking gross deal even more of the centerpiece of his campaign than he did last time.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe says:


        No matter who wins or loses in 2020, it will be by a narrow margin, meaning there is still a deep reservoir of seething fear and ethnic hatred which will keep in place a vast army of Trumpists in Congress, the statehouses, and judiciary.

        This is one battle in a long hard war.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          There are two types of people who are going to vote for Trump:

          1. People who actually dig Trump and his awfulness.
          2. People who think Trump and his awfulness is better than the alternative.

          I’m not defending the second group of people (which, like, you’ve read my comments before right?) but I am saying that they aren’t necessarily committed.

          I worry if Trump is re-elected more of them will drift towards embracing the whole package, but getting the stink of “loser” on him may just help push them the other way.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy says:

            Like I’ve said, the second group is always, always, the larger majority in even the worst repressive regimes.

            And they are indispensable to maintaining power. They need to look the other way, nod and accept the official line, and be counted on to stand for the anthem.

            But their lack of commitment is also why they are the easiest to peel off to expose the weak core of the regime. They are the first ones turn and run when the winds shift, peel off the armband and pretend to have been a secret resistance fighter all along.

            Which is why the “Us or Them” tactic works.
            Even if at first they side with the regime, we aren’t really losing anything since they were never going to fight with us anyway.And they won’t fight strenuously for the other side since, again, they lack conviction.

            Adam Serwer- What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever

            • pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              And they are indispensable to maintaining power. They need to look the other way, nod and accept the official line, and be counted on to stand for the anthem.

              Yeah, which is part of why I am skeptical that amping up the racism, as Trump is doing, is a winning strategy.

              Like seriously racism has gotten more acceptable in the last decade or so, by my reckoning, but compared to 50 years ago, much less 100?Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

            I think group # 2 is potentially more morally damning than group # 1.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

        HRC got 48 percent of the vote in 2016. Trump got 46 percent. He has never achieved more than the too distressingly high 42 percent approval.Report

    • Road Scholar in reply to pillsy says:

      The idea that a President who’s got a tailwind from a decent economy…

      He can’t really count on that, though. There are signs he should find troubling (though he probably doesn’t understand it).

      First, there’s yield inversion in the bond market which has proceeded the last seven recessions.

      Second, the freight market, which you might imagine I follow but I can’t blame you for not, has been softening. Both rail and truck loads tendered stats have weakened considerably and freight rates in the spot market have fallen considerably. It hasn’t affected me directly since I get paid by the mile and I have a great dispatcher but the guys that get paid by percentage of gross are hurting compared to last year. A couple mid-sized (few hundred trucks) LTL (less-than-truckload) companies have gone belly up in just the last couple months, companies that were in business for decades.

      One never hopes for an economic downturn but clouds are on the horizon and it could definitely rain on Trumps parade.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Road Scholar says:

        By rooting his appeal in ethnic resentment, Trump has detached himself from the conventional rules of politics.

        For example the farmers who are suffering economic harm from him, but will vote for him anyway, or the coal miners or dairy farmers or manufacturing workers who are suffering directly from his policies.

        Their “payoff” comes not from pocketbook issues but the emotional satisfaction of being moved up the socioeconomic ladder to what they consider their rightful place.Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I’m well aware of that. We have to consider the committed Trumpists a lost cause. But he can’t win with that. He needs a good number of “hold your nosers” and other soft supporters to show up. Those are the types a recession could peel off.Report

  9. pillsy says:

    FWIW Trump seems to be maybe trying to distance himself from the chanting.

    I hope he manages to stick to that.Report

    • Trump said this to reporters: from Politico
      President Donald Trump claimed Thursday he “was not happy” with the crowd at his campaign rally in North Carolina the previous evening for chanting “send her home,” after he had goaded the audience with a fiery attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
      “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn’t say that. They did. But I disagree with it,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, adding that he “started speaking very quickly” in an attempt to silence the rally attendees.

      “It was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it,” Trump said.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        Twelve minutes after the crowd’s “send her back” chant which he cordially paused his speech for he said “They are always telling us how to run it, how to do this. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.”

        So not only did he not disagree with it in real time, he doubled down on it.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        He seems to have since walked-back his walk-back.

        Now he’ll presumably bounce back and forth over it like a crack-addled pinball through to the election, at least, as is his wont.Report

    • InMD in reply to pillsy says:

      If only the long, dark, twisted journey to discovering something that might cause Donald Trump shame was the subject of the next Hellraiser movie, as opposed to the physical reality in which we live.Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    I’ll copy and paste this thing again:

    Well, there are three groups of voters.

    1. People who, if they vote, will vote for our guy no matter what.
    2. People who, if they vote, will vote for the other guy no matter what.
    3. People who could swing back or forth either way.

    What you want is to energize the #1s, depress the #2s, and get the #3s to swing your way.

    Sounds to me like this tactic is pissing off as many #1s as it’s energizing, it’s energizing (rather than depressing) the #2s, and it’s turning off the #3s.Report

  11. Chip Daniels says:

    Comment in moderation.Report