Trump and the Five Stages of Grief (Redux)

Four years ago today, I wrote a piece called “Trump and the Five Stages of Grief.” Its opening sentence remains among political science’s most poignantly written: “It’s been about 36 hours since our collective gast was flabbered at the realization that Donald F. Trump was President-elect of the United States.”

I went on to outline how many Americans would struggle coming to grips with Trump’s win. In the process, I said, they may go through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s “five stages of grief“: 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and finally 5) Acceptance.

Now, four years later, with Scranton Joe having apparently defeated Trump in the 2020 presidential election, I can’t help but quote from Scranton’s second most famous citizen:

“Well, well, well. How the turn tables.”

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Two Days Out: Presidential Politics for America Op-Ed

For a few years now, my “About the Writer” page labels me a “radical moderate.” At first I thought it a cute, oxymoronic coupling of words, but I’ve since grown to proudly wear the label.

I feel confident in few political positions; I neither watch cable news nor subscribe to slanted newsletters, so I haven’t bought into an army of one-sided talking points, incomplete facts, and uncontextualized claims. Through my fairly balanced Twitter feed and media diet, however, I’ve encountered all of those things. This approach has taught me that few political issues are as clear cut as a devout partisan suggests.

As a result, one of the few beliefs I do feel strongly about is that one shouldn’t feel too confident in one’s ideology. There’s a virtual guarantee that someone out there is smarter and more informed than you, yet they disagree with your politics. That being the case, my conclusion feels axiomatic: you shouldn’t feel confident in your political positions either.

Thus, as a radical moderate, I can’t say I’m pleased with the state of our political discourse.

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Quick Hit Friday: Comparing the Paths of Trump 2016 and Sanders 2020

Bernie Sanders is without question in the best position to win the most delegates in the Democratic Primary. He won the popular vote in the first two contests, he now leads national polls, and Joe Biden, once Sanders’s top rival in this race, looks like a car driving down the road with various parts falling off it.

Though Sanders faces resistance from the pile-up in the moderate lane, a pile-up it remains. As long as Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg vie to be the alternative to Sanders, Sanders should win most primaries and caucuses.

Considering the above, some people compare Sanders 2020 to Trump 2016. Both had a high floor of devoted, non-mainstream support, which aided them against the internecine conflicts of the establishment. Though Trump had a hard time winning popular vote majorities, his consistent plurality victories were enough to dominate the primary. Indeed, though he only won 44.9% of the primary vote, he won 1,441 of the 2,472 pledged delegates — a comfortable majority rate of 58.2%. Even that 44.9 number was a bit inflated; he clinched a delegate majority before the the last nine contests, each of which voted for an opponent-less Trump with 60 to 80 percent of the vote, including a 75% number from mega-California.

The theory now is that Sanders can follow a similar path: keep winning pluralities and contests until he has a delegate majority, outlast all the losers, and then voters have no one left to choose by the end of it. Makes sense.

Or does it?

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Most Republicans Think Trump Is a Better President Than Lincoln. Yes, PPFA Has Some Thoughts.

(Note: I was hoping to run this piece as a Quick Hit Friday last week, but I figured a threepost week was all you could stomach from me. I gave you the weekend to recuperate.)

The Economist and YouGov recently conducted an in depth poll of the usual things — Trump approval, impeachment, Democratic candidates, et cetera. Tucked away deep in the survey, interestingly, were some questions about how President Trump measures up against past Republican presidents. A response to one of these questions raised some eyebrows:

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When asked whether Donald Trump or Abraham Lincoln was the better president, 53% of Republicans picked Trump. Gender, age, and family income didn’t matter much. Party ID meant everything.

Cable news, liberal websites, and Twitter reacted apoplectically, but you know what? I wasn’t surprised. If I had known of the question in advance, my guess for the share of Republican respondents picking Lincoln would have been “about half.”

Still, I think a response breakdown like that is worth discussing. It’s actually paradigmatic of modern politics, which is to say it’s the latest example of a self-evidence truth that we’re seeing play out every day, from the campaign trail to the impeachment inquiry: American partisans have gone absolutely bonkers.

Yes, PPFA has some thoughts. Several.

Continue reading “Most Republicans Think Trump Is a Better President Than Lincoln. Yes, PPFA Has Some Thoughts.”

Instructive March Polls for 2020: Day One — Trump’s Re-Election Numbers

Author’s note: As my most loyal readers know, I’ve recently enjoyed consecutive monthly growth in this website’s “Visitor” category, which measures the number of people that come to the site each day. (It should not be confused with “Views,” which measures … Continue reading Instructive March Polls for 2020: Day One — Trump’s Re-Election Numbers

Halfway There: After a Midterm Loss, How Do Trump’s Re-Election Chances Compare to That of His Predecessors?

It’s been two years since President Trump’s inauguration — and two months since the Democratic Party had its most successful House midterm since Watergate. Now that all the votes are finally counted, we know that the Democrats did better than … Continue reading Halfway There: After a Midterm Loss, How Do Trump’s Re-Election Chances Compare to That of His Predecessors?