Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"Trump is afraid he’ll lose reelection, and he’s in a fury over it."

Greg Sargent:


It’s fairly standard stuff for campaigns to project outward confidence, to keep supporters energized. But President Trump and his propagandists often go to extraordinary lengths to create the almost cultlike illusion that he is winning everywhere, possesses total mastery of events, and wields absolute dominance over his foes.
This leads to all manner of absurdities: Trump insists he’s taking fearsome actions against enemies he isn’t actually taking, blames the media for fabricating polls that accurately depict his deep unpopularity, and even pretends large protests greeting him abroad simply never happened.
We are now learning that Trump’s reelection campaign is cutting ties with several of his pollsters, because word leaked that his internal polling shows his reelection prospects to be far grimmer than the campaign’s spin suggests.
But this episode represents more than just a typical campaign shake-up. It reveals in new detail how Trump and his campaign view his political vulnerability right now -- while also showcasing how Trump’s nonstop falsification of reality places limits on how far he’s willing to go in acknowledging that vulnerability.

More below.


The tale begins in March, when the Trump campaign conducted an internal poll and found that Trump is trailing Joe Biden in many states he needs to win, sometimes by large margins.
The New York Times reported on that polling last week, adding that Trump instructed his aides to deny that it showed any such thing, and instead to assert that other polling showed him doing great. Trump himself then flatly denied the existence of the bad polling, after which ABC News reported that, in fact, this polling does indeed exist.
In response to this revelation, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale gamely asserted that since March, the internal polling has shown huge swings in Trump’s favor, due in part to the release of Attorney General William P. Barr’s dishonest summary of the Mueller report, which gave Trump a way to falsely claim total exoneration.
“We have no current polls against defined Democrats — at all — that show him losing in any of the states we have tested,” Parscale said.
But it turns out that this, too, represents just more absurd hype. Buried in the Times’s account of the firing of Trump pollsters we find this:
"The more recent survey conducted by the campaign involved extensive message-testing — in other words, asking questions about support for Mr. Trump only after first describing the Democrats in negative terms, according to two people familiar with the data.
Such polling methods can be useful in assessing the strength of various messages but are not considered meaningful bottom-line measures of the current state of a campaign."
That’s a crucial revelation. If true, the very best spin that Team Trump can put on its own internal data is that it shows Trump beating Democratic rivals who, for purposes of testing negative messaging against them, were already defined in the polling questions.
So, to review: Trump falsely claimed internal polling showing him losing didn’t exist. After that lie imploded, the Trump campaign claimed that in reality, he has been surging, in part due to the Barr summary, which of course says nothing about how the actual Mueller report — which was utterly devastating — might have impacted his fortunes.
That’s a useful reminder of what a nakedly political document the Barr summary really was. But it doesn’t end there: To buttress the claim that Trump is surging partly due to that Barr effort, the campaign is pointing to data against Democrats that were already negatively defined.
✦When all the lies become the reality
What’s particularly notable about this extensive effort to obscure Trump’s true political weakness is that Trump himself knows he’s in serious danger of losing reelection.
We know this because The Post and CNN report that these internal numbers, combined with conversations with advisers, explain why Trump has been attacking Biden so regularly. Meanwhile, Trump is “angry” and “livid” about the leak.
Thus, Trump is enraged mainly because he has been revealed as deeply vulnerable to a Biden challenge, but he does appear to know he is vulnerable. It’s unclear what the campaign found against other Democrats, but recent polls show Trump trailing many other top-tier challengers.
None of this means Trump won’t win reelection. He retains the advantages of incumbency and the good economy. His team is building a genuinely formidable operation. The polling now is far too early to be predictive. But Trump is, in fact, deeply unpopular, and as political scientist Jonathan Bernstein notes, this does render him vulnerable.
It’s often hard to know whether Trump believes his ongoing falsifications. In this case, Trump does seem to know he could very well lose. Yet the sheer volume of falsehoods and distortions employed by Trump and his campaign to portray him as dominant and in control -- which they plainly see as critical to his political mystique -- are in a sense threatening to overtake that awareness.
You can see this everywhere in Trump’s ABC News interview. Trump claims internal data showing him losing is “phony” (we now know that’s a lie). He cherry-picks polls to suggest his real approval rating is 50 percent (the averages put him below 43 percent). He says approval of the media is “in the teens” (majorities trust the media over Trump). He says he won 52 percent of women in 2016 (in fact he won 52 percent of white women).
The big story Trump is telling, then, is that the campaign’s data shows he’s winning and that his public approval rating is soaring; that negative media coverage of his presidency has been discredited; that his very real problem with women (and even white women) is nonexistent; and that he really and truly has been totally exonerated by Barr’s summary (voters think the opposite about the actual Mueller report).
How much of this does Trump believe? It’s hard to say. But it’s obvious that, even as Trump clearly knows he’s vulnerable, the constant repetition of his preferred story is threatening to swamp that recognition.

6 comments:

Dave Miller said...

Here's what's perplexing...

Trump is firing his pollsters for leaking the results of polls that he says are... wait for it... "Fake News."

So what is it? Did the pollsters leak real information and President Trump lied, again, to the American people? Or is he firing them for leaking the polls that he says never existed?

I'm confused because it there doesn't seem to be a third option.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, you're trying to find rational rational thoughts from n irrational mind. Impossible.

First and foremost, DJT is a bullshitter and a liar. To understand him at all, all you need to know is that.

skudrunner said...

I can't understand how he thinks he can win. Granted the economy is good, unemployment is low, wage growth is up, the multi million dollar two year Mueller investigation was a bust and the democrats have done zilch in six months but he cannot win.
The democrats will keep trying to find reasons to impeach him, even though they know they can't, and the media will continue to hammer him.

Trump has one thing going against him and that is Trump. He will not keep his mouth shut and put his massive ego on the back shelf and that will cost him the election. It is my hope that a reasonable conservative will run against him but I can't see that happening.

Oh well the country has survived the two most incompetent presidents in history, Carter and Obama, so I guess we can survive anything.

Rational Nation USA said...

Trump is probably one of, if not the most illogical and emotionally driven president in the history of our nation. And, all the emotion is all about Trump, 24/7

Shaw Kenawe said...

"skud: I can't understand how he thinks he can win. Granted the economy is good, unemployment is low, wage growth is up, the multi million dollar two year Mueller investigation was a bust"

The Mueller Report shows that the POTUS obstructed justice and engaged in criminal behavior. It is now up to the House to bring articles of impeachment. So, you're wrong, skud. The Mueller Report was not a bust, it showed how corrupt and criminal Trump is.


"skud: and the democrats have done zilch in six months"

You don't get out much, do you, skud? The Democrats have passed over ONE HUNDRED BILLS! And McConnell is presently sitting on all of them and won't bring them to the Senate floor for even a hearing. And YOU blame the Democrats for doing nothing?

"skud: but he cannot win."

That is what a majority of Americans and the world hope.

"skud: The democrats will keep trying to find reasons to impeach him, even though they know they can't,"

Skud, do you know ANYTHING about how our government works? Apparently not. The House brings Articles of Impeachment. The HOuse CAN absolutely impeach Trump. IT IS THE SENATE that decides whether or not he's guilty. Were you asleep during the Clinton years???? Seriously it sounds like you know nothing about how our government works. That's probably why you're a Republican.


"skud: and the media will continue to hammer him."

That's the media's job. Or would you rather this country be like Russia where journalists are murdered for doing their job?

Shaw Kenawe said...

This is for skudrunner who willfully ignores facts:


Democrats have passed more than 100 pieces of legislation on issues ranging from gun control to health care since gaining majority control in the House in January. Those bills have yet to be taken up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

That legislation includes the For the People Act, which is a comprehensive package of reforms to expand voting rights, limit partisan gerrymandering and limit the influence of donor money. It also encompasses the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and the Save the Internet Act.

Last month, Senate Democrats issued a press release accusing McConnell of turning the Senate into a “legislative graveyard.”

“Leader McConnell promised that he would open the Senate so that ideas with bipartisan support could come to the floor, and said that he would allow a free and open amendment process to foster bipartisanship and deliver real legislation to the president's desk. But Leader McConnell has failed to live up to these commitments,” the press release read.

Even Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration at the Senate's lack of action in Congress. Senator John Kennedy told lawmakers on the Senate floor on Tuesday that they've done “nothing” but confirm the president's judicial nominations.
-- Newsweek