The politics of Trumpcare

When someone is having a really bad losing streak it can be very tempting to exaggerate any positive development, no matter how small. Thus it came to pass last week that House Republicans – at least 217 of them – and Donald Trump celebrated the approval of one of the most despicable pieces of legislation ever to see the light of day, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Continue reading

Trump is content with only the support of his base

The poll numbers for Donald Trump’s first month in office are anemic. New first year presidents in recent history have always started off with a substantial positive bump. George W. Bush had an approval rating of 57 percent in his first month in office. Barack Obama was at 68 percent, Bill Clinton at 58 percent. Richard Nixon started at 59 percent. Trump is at 45 percent approval in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Pew and Gallup have recently had him at 42 and 43 percent respectively. A president’s approval numbers usually trail down after the beginning of a new term. Trump’s numbers have already dropped during his first month in office. Continue reading

Party bases in turmoil

The 2016 election has settled officeholders in place for two to four years. What the election did not do, however, was to create well-organized, efficient and ready-for-the-long-term structures. This is true for both parties.

The Republicans are clearly dominant in national and state politics, holding the presidency, Congress, and at some point in 2017, the Supreme Court. The party holds 33 governorships and a large majority of state legislative chambers. Continue reading

The Trump administration is a big question mark

Where to begin?

I was blindsided as much as at least half the country Tuesday night. It is going to take an extended period of time to see what this election means. Elections have consequences.

I think the campaign, as a previous post noted, was rigged by some Republican-controlled state governments that worked to restrict voting opportunities. But the polls were open everywhere on Tuesday, with people free to come and vote. Fewer did so than four years ago. More people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. Imagine what would be going on today if Trump had more votes and Clinton won the Electoral College. Continue reading

“The base” — first of an occasional series

All politicos know, understand, and appreciate what their political base is and how important it can be. Let’s begin with an attempt to explain what a political base is.

In order to be successful as a candidate, or in order to be successful as a legislator trying to get some legislation approved, you need to know how to count – accurately. In building your majority, or is some cases, your plurality, you start out with those who you can depend on most. Hopefully it is large enough to get you close to where you need to be. It is not likely to be large enough by itself to carry the day. That is your base – people who generally think as you do and support what you are proposing. Continue reading