Sunday, July 16, 2017

All The World Loves A Clown But Is It Good To Have A Clown In White House?

The late night shows in the US have been mining gold by making fun of Trump.  He provides them with a constant stream of material and the audience has grown substantially.  Trump really is good for some time types of business.  That may be harmless in the US but it may not be good for US leadership when leaders in the rest of the world view Trump as a clown.  They realize that the US is a critical ally that cannot be ignored, but too many of them don't respect him and they don't really know what to expect from his leadership.

A recent poll shows that Trump's popularity has declined in the US since the previous poll in April.  His overall approval rating has dropped from 42% to 36%.  His disapproval rating has increased from 53% to 58%.  However, Trump's approval rating among Republicans has only dropped by 2%.  He is still supported by 82% of Republicans.  His support from Independents has dropped from 42% to 36%.  His approval rating from Democrats has dropped from 13% to 11%.  Things could be better for Trump but despite his performance in office he still doing OK.  Republicans are sticking with him and it does matter much what Democrats think about him.  The only concern for Republicans is that they depend upon votes from Independents.  On the other hand, its not clear that Democrats have a message that is attractive to voters.  They don't have a clear message, and many believe that it relies too much on an anti Trump message.  Its hard to blame Democrats for leveraging the numerous mistakes made by Trump but that could easily change if the economy continues to approve and Trump figures out how to be a president.

One of the strange findings in the poll is that only 33% of Republicans believe that Russia attempted to influence the election.  The US intelligence agencies claim that they have no doubt about Russian intervention in the election.  Apparently, that has not been enough to convince 67% of Republicans that something dangerous happened in the last election.  Trump has expressed doubts about Russian intervention and that has been enough for the great majority of Republicans.

Some may look at Trump's approval decline in the polls and cheer.  I don't fell like cheering.  Trump's performance in office has been so dismal that he looks like a fool to many global leaders who depend upon a reliable president in the White House.  The fact that great majority of Republicans still approve of his performance tells me that our politics have become too tribal.  It does not seem to matter to most Republicans that Trump's performance in office is still viewed unfavorably.  Its also pretty clear to me that the Board of any major firm would have fired any CEO that demonstrated the level of incompetence that we have observed during Trump's first six months in office.  Such decisions are difficult because the Board made a bad choice to begin with.  On the other hand, the decision to fire the CEO would be unanimous.  Our electorate seems much less competent than corporate Boards.  Donald Trump's success has demonstrated a major flaw in our democracy.  Its a potential flaw that worried our founders.  They put checks and balances in place that have worked rather well over the years.  We have had bad presidents but none of them compare with Donald Trump and we are stuck with him.  He might even be reelected if the Democrats don't get their act together.  America seems to love clowns.

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