So far Donald Trump has made two huge unforced errors with regard to the economy: his ruinous trade war with much of the rest of the world and the partial government shutdown, which is premised on a cause so benighted and nonsensical I’m seriously starting to think that ‘Oumuamua asteroid that’s been bounding about our solar system is an alien probe sent to determine whether we all need to be killed … posthaste. (Let’s hope it left before it saw that table full of McDonald’s; if not, we’re fucked.)
But while the trade war’s effects are harder to measure with any precision, the shutdown is causing real pain in real time.
And that’s why many of Trump’s campaign aides are currently shitting enough bricks to build a big, beautiful wall between Trump and the electorate.
As polling turns increasingly against the president, and White House officials try to find a solution to what some consider a pointless standoff, Trump aides and advisers are worried that the president is doing his 2020 Democratic challengers an early favor.
“This is a really bad spot for him,” said one person familiar with Trump’s campaign, who fretted that Trump is not thinking strategically about how the shutdown might affect his reelection chances. “He may just be fighting because he doesn’t know what the hell else to do.”
What he’s actually chosen to do? Whistle past the graveyard:
Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, has said several times that the campaign’s proprietary data show that the shutdown is a winning issue for the president.
“If you look at the people who are kind of these swing voters, who possibly may not like him for personality or other reasons, the No. 1 reason they will vote for him is because of his stance on border security,” Parscale told Fox News last week.
Parscale declined to offer hard numbers, and data from independent sources suggests the issue is mostly hurting the president.
You mean someone in Trump’s inner circle might not be telling the truth about the pr*sident’s popularity?
You don’t say.
We still have a long way to go before 2020, and a lot can happen (recession, anyone?), but federal workers who were left in the lurch without paychecks, federal contractors whose businesses will suffer or die, and anyone else who relies on a sane and steady government response to non-crises will remember what happened in early 2019.
Regardless of how this ends, though, some believe Trump has trapped himself in a no-win situation:
“If it ends with some kind of capitulation, it could be the beginning of real fracturing in Trump’s core base of support. If it ends with a deal that can be plausibly sold as advancing the case for the wall, then Trump loses little but gains little. That’s a bad place to be,” said Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, a leading conservative policy journal. “He’s fighting for something that voters outside his core coalition don’t value, so he has much more to lose than to win.”
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