It's the economy, stupid.
There is a school of thought that Donald Trump is voicing the right policies and that Trump-ism is more popular than the unpopular Trump.
Immigration policy. One presumption is that, in fact, a great many Americans are worried about too many immigrants, too fast, and that they are changing traditional America. Trump led on that issue and he demolished his GOP rivals, then beat Hillary.
|Click here. Politico article saying what this blog has been warning.|
Foreign policy. A third presumption was that Trump voiced a strong and selfish America First policy, and a great many voters thought the Obama language of cooperation and harmony came across as weak, and they wanted Trump-style change.
I say no. That's not it. It isn't policy. It is salesmanship.
Donald Trump is a skilled brand manager and he is--right now--at work creating an extension to the Trump brand.
Trump is evolving from "Mr. Shake Things Up on Policy" to "Mr. Prosperity." And it is working for him. Democrats are letting him get away with it.
Trump says, prior to me it's carnage. Now the economy is booming. By the time of the mid-term elections GOP candidates will have a story in place that makes all the mis-steps and frustrations and midnight tweets of Donald Trump and the GOP legislative fecklessness irrelevant.
Their story will be: "Well, Trump may be a little undisciplined, but he sure knows how to supercharge the American economy. The tax bill was part of that."
That is it. That is enough.
Trump's presumed collusion, his golfing, his narcissism, his tweets, his intemperance, his White House chaos, his emollients, his family, his crassness, his hairstyle, his dishonesty, his fawning love of Fox--all the things that get Democrats riled up--become irrelevant. GOP people can concede them, if they want. The more time Democrats focus on them the more time they utterly waste.
Trump's quirks? Who cares. He's Mr. Prosperity. It's the economy, stupid.
Democrats have a choice: either they say he improved it for stockholders and the very rich (which he did) but not for the average middle income person, or they argue that the improvement was underway under Obama and all Trump did was ride on Obama's coat-tails. It is probably too late for the second option. Neither Obama nor other Democrats made the claim of recovery clearly and strongly when they had a chance.
Therefore, Democrats are left with the path of saying the recovery is un-even, that the stock market reflects the rich and the comfortable getting richer, not the poor and middle class getting ahead. It puts Democrats in the position of being nay-sayers. It puts them in the class-war position, the poor against the rich. And it forces Democrats to say that business is not all that good, even though, in fact, it was getting better under Obama and is improving still. It is less than ideal.
Democrats need to get on this, with a narrative of rich man's bliss and middle class neglect, and then they need to sell it as well and vigorously as Trump sells his narrative. Or else quietly pray for a recession.