Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 24, 2018

The media has a new fetish: reporting all poll results through the prism that the President has sky-high approval among Republicans.   For example:

First Read: “The good news for President Trump in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll – half of which was conducted before and the day of the Helsinki presser with Putin, half of which was conducted afterward – is that his standing with the GOP base is stronger than ever. Eighty-eight percent of Republican voters in the poll approve of Trump’s job – the highest of his presidency – and 29 percent of all voters strongly approve of his performance, which is another high for him.”

What matters from that poll, and all polls really, is the number of Independents who support Trump.  Because that is where the voters are.  And 58% of Independents disapprove of Trump, while 36% support him.   Among Democrats, 89% disapprove.  For reasons passing understanding, 9% approve.

Meanwhile, the majority of Americans condemned Trump’s disastrous meeting and press conference with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in a new poll that was released by ABC News and The Washington Post.

“Fifty-six percent disapprove of Trump, in a post-summit news conference with Putin, expressing doubt about U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia tried to influence the U.S. election; just 29 percent approve. Indeed, 41 percent disapprove “strongly,” vs. just 14 percent strongly approving.  Just 51 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of conservatives approve of Trump questioning U.S. intelligence on the matter, tepid levels of support in his base. In the political center, 59 percent of independents disapprove, as do 68 percent of moderates. Indeed, disapproval of Trump on this issue is as high among moderates as it is among liberals.”

You will notice that ABC and the Washington Post reported those results with the appropriate focus on independents.   Yeah, they focused on some aberrant results that showed the GOP’s mixed results on the question of the Helsinki Summit.  But that’s a Man Bites Dog story and should be focused on.

Digby had the same opinion on these two takes and writes: “I guess you see what you want to see but if this coming election is a referendum on Trump, then I think the ABC interpretation is more salient. His cult may stay with him, but Republicans in the Congress need moderates and Independents. Since they are all acting like cowards and sycophants that’s going to be a problem for them.”

Back to the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, it found that an increasing number of Americans do believe, contrary to President Donald Trump’s wildly inconsistent statements and claims, that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election and that the interference affected the election’s outcome.

  • 65 percent of voters say they believe Russia interfered with the 2016 election. That is up 12 points from a year ago.
  • 41 percent of voters say they believe the Russian meddling affected the outcome of the 2016 election, an increase of 8 points from a year ago.
  • 30 percent of voters say they believe Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election if not for Russian interference, up 6 points from last year.

In a related finding in the NBC/WSJ poll, a mere 26 percent of Americans said they approved of how Trump has handled Russia as president, while 51 percent said that they disapproved. Republicans, however, still remain mostly supportive of the president.  No shit.  It’s news when they aren’t.  It’s not news when they are.

Bloomberg: “The tax reform hasn’t yet resulted in appreciably higher wages for American workers. Real average hourly compensation actually fell in the first quarter after the tax reform was passed.  Official data for the second quarter isn’t available yet, but private data isn’t looking encouraging. PayScale’s index of real wages shows a dramatic deterioration in the period.”

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 71% of American voters believe that Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s legal right to an abortion, should not be overturned. Just 23% say the ruling should be reversed.

“That’s the highest level of support for the decision — and the lowest share of voters who want Roe v. Wade overturned — in the poll’s history dating back to 2005. In 1989, according to Gallup’s survey, 58% said they believed it should stay in place while 31% disagreed.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that President Trump is targeting former U.S. officials’ security clearances because they “have politicized and in some cases monetized their public service” and have made “baseless” claims about the president’s relationship and contacts with the Russian government, the Washington Post reports.

“The officials Sanders said are being examined are former CIA director John Brennan; former FBI director James B. Comey; former CIA director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.”

Washington Post: “The escalation of bellicose rhetoric comes just three weeks before the first round of banking sanctions suspended under the nuclear deal is reimposed. Bigger sanctions, which will take effect in November, are aimed at cutting off virtually all of Iran’s oil market.”

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy chastised Donald Trump for inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, saying that some members of the president’s administration should consider quitting if Trump won’t listen to their advice, Politico reports.

Said Gowdy: “It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016. So the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration. But the disconnect cannot continue.”

Charlie Sykes: “As Donald Trump extends his control over the Republican party, American conservatism has entered a pseudo-Orwellian stage where weakness is strength, appeasement is toughness, lies are truth, and ‘America first’ means ‘blame America first.’”

”The fiasco in Helsinki, where the president openly sided with Vladimir Putin over his own country’s intelligence agencies, was not a one-off for this president but rather an exclamation point on what has happened to the American right.”

”For me, as an outspoken conservative for the last four decades, the experience has been vertiginous. On one issue after another – from Russia and free trade to corruption and the rule of law – Republicans have adjusted their principles to conform with Trumpism, which often means with Trump’s latest glandular impulse.”

“When President Trump declassified a memo by House Republicans in February that portrayed the surveillance of a former campaign adviser as scandalous, his motivation was clear: to give congressional allies and conservative commentators another avenue to paint the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election interference as tainted from the start,” the New York Times reports.

“But this past weekend, Mr. Trump’s unprecedented decision, which he made over the objections of law enforcement and intelligence officials, had a consequence that revealed his gambit’s shaky foundation. The government released the court documents in which the F.B.I. made its case for conducting the surveillance — records that plainly demonstrated that key elements of Republicans’ claims about the bureau’s actions were misleading or false.”

After a disastrous news conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump walked back his comments — using the double-negative defense — and said he accepted the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

But tonight, Trump once again called it “a big hoax” in a tweet.

Washington Post: “Trump’s tweet threw his position on the Russia issue into doubt again. Last Monday, at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin in Helsinki, Trump appeared to accept the Russian leader’s denial of interference. That statement was followed by days of corrections and clarifications by Trump and the White House, culminating in Trump’s seemingly begrudging acceptance of the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had, in fact, targeted the United States.”

Jonathan Swan: “Trump has been frustrated that some of his previous appearances on camera have not had the production values of the prime time TV shows he spends so much time watching.”

“Trump frequently complains to aides about the ‘terrible lighting,’ sources who’ve been in the room for his outbursts have told me. Now, instead of taking his grievances out on his chief of staff John Kelly, Trump has his own in-house TV producer to consult.”

“Yes, but: As a senior administration official pointed out to me, Shine’s official role is much larger than being a high-end TV producer. He oversees the entire White House press and communications operations.”

Stephen Bannon told the Daily Beast that he “is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring.”

“The non-profit will be a central source of polling, advice on messaging, data targeting, and think-tank research for a ragtag band of right-wingers who are surging all over Europe, in many cases without professional political structures or significant budgets.”

Politico: “Trump, his lawyers and some of his closest associates have spent months publicly dismissing the Manafort case, scheduled to begin this week in an Alexandria, Virginia, federal court.”

”But the Manafort trial will create daily reminders of the Mueller investigation, as commentators pile onto cable networks to discuss what the case could indicate about the president’s own exposure — and, potentially, as the president himself offers his own analysis on Twitter.”

Jonathan Swan: “Trump would never admit this publicly, but he told people afterwards that he was impressed by the performance of his Democratic nemesis Adam Schiff. Trump hates Schiff and calls him a horrible liar. But he marveled at Schiff’s tough and surgical opening statement that day.”

“More than six months after the hearing, Trump told an aide how impressive he considered Schiff’s performance to be.”

“A polarizing president electrifies the opposition party going into his first midterm election, raising the party’s hopes that it can reclaim governorships, ram through major policy change at the state level and redraw legislative lines in its favor for a decade to come,” the New York Times reports.

“It’s a scenario both political parties have seen before, most recently in 2010, when out-of-power Republicans rode the Tea Party-led wave against the Obama administration to smashing victories across the country.”

“This year, governors in both parties acknowledged at the National Governors Association conference here, it is Democrats who appear poised to make major gains as Republicans brace for a backlash against President Trump that could lead to grievous statehouse losses.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

3 comments on “The Open Thread for July 24, 2018

  1. cassandram

    Department of Homeland Security reports that Russian hackers got into control rooms of US utilities

  2. cassandram

    Add to that reporting fetish the amazing about of reporting done on GRIFTUS voters and we have ourselves the beginning of a frame that buys into the GOP idea that the only legitimate government is one run by the GOP.

  3. “There were 6.7 million people who cast Obama-Trump ballots in 2012 and 2016 respectively and 2.7 million people who voted Romney in 2012 and Clinton in 2016.”

    That’s the problem with focusing the party’s efforts on winning over Republicans — you lose almost three times as many voters as you gain.

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