Friday, May 10, 2019

War Footing

From David Brooks to three (3!) different Wall Street Journal opinion pieces, the center-right is claiming Rep. Nadler and Speaker Pelosi have suspect motives in talking up a constitutional crisis and pushing subpoenas. They minimize what is obvious: the White House has provoked much of this fight, not just because it reflects Trump’s pugilistic nature, but because it also helps the incumbent’s re-election prospects.

Speaking of which….

Trump’s Obsession with 2020

Per the NY Times: “An internal poll of 17 states taken by Mr. Trump’s campaign showed…Biden..overtaking Mr. Trump in a head-to-head contest…. Mr. Trump fared better in a matchup against…Bernie Sanders…, but Mr. Trump’s low approval numbers were dragging him down against the Democrats.”

My take: Why does Trump spend so much time thinking about the campaign?

a. He knows history will condemn him as a failure if he is the first person in over twenty years not to win a second term.

b. He is much more interested in politics than in his actual day job.

c. He believes (rightly) that his chances of winning depend to a very large degree on who the Democrats nominate and what the political health of that person is on the day she or he becomes the de facto nominee.

d. Despite his reputation in some quarters, Trump loves a challenge, especially one in which he believes his own performance will almost uniquely determine if he wins or loses.

Stephens: Democrats Should Stop Rooting for a Bad Economy

NY Times columnist cautions Democrats not to think Trump can be beaten on his economic record.

My take: If you are an American who wants Trump defeated, don’t take conservative Stephens’ word for it. Read this recent piece by genius Democratic strategist Mark Mellman, who makes the same point. Democrats need a nominee who has at least two things: a theory of the case on growing the economy and a clear vision on health care that is more popular than both the status quo and whatever the president has on offer.

China State of Play

Trade talks continue amid mixed singles from the markets and the negotiators.

My take: Too much of the focus of the US media has been on the challenges and perils for Trump and the American economy if the talks go awry. Read this New York Times story to understand why the Chinese also face cross pressure to both reach a deal and to walk away.

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