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January 30, 2017

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Since no one's voted yet...

I picked 1 right up to 1:00 on the election night, and was wrong. So no.

2...if there's any way Trump comes out net ahead from the past two weeks, I am not seeing it. So no.

That leaves 3. But he's too dumb to pull it off. (Crosses fingers.)

I'm conflicted between 1 and 2.

In support of 1:
Gross incompetence with cinematic qualities can erode a Presidency rapidly. I also wouldn't rule out something like a "killer rabbit" incident.

In support of 2:
There were drastic errors in elections up and down the ballot last year. Unpopularity and mainstream ridicule did not prevent electoral success. I would be careful assuming political success is not possible.

I do not find 3 to be credible yet.

Hmmm...I think 2 might be correct, and that 3 and 1 might both come into play. Trump may be attempting 3 but will only achieve 2 because of 1. So he won't be as successful as he hoped but he will be more successful than his opponents hoped.

Noel, have you read this article?

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win

If accurate, I suspect the upshot is that it won't be long before the Democrats and liberals elsewhere begin to use the same methodology, thus nullifying the current advantage of the Brexit/Trump brigade.

Trump is an authoritarian; he is exactly the same kind of person as strongmen elsewhere. He is less competent than most of them--but he has an instinctive grasp of bullshit that works with a large fraction of the population. On the other hand, there's been far more pushback in the general culture than I expected (I thought liberals and the mass media would fold like tissue paper immediately after Inauguration Day, possibly under bloody crackdown). So some mixture of 2 and 3.

He may eventually self-destruct, but the collateral damage will be immense. It took six years for things to really start falling in on George W. Bush, after which the economy was wrecked and many thousands had been killed, and the standing of the US abroad had been permanently damaged; and he was much less of a celebrity/cult figure.

US democracy is a phenomenon mostly managed by the states, and it's already eroded almost to the vanishing point in many states--and Trump's DOJ will speed that process rather than pushing back. I have little trouble imagining Donald Trump cruising to reelection even with a majority of the US despising him, because a crucial margin probably will just not be able to vote.

Eventually, the pendulum will probably swing back. But it might take a very long time. What helps is that Trump himself is an old man with unhealthy habits and will probably not last that long, he probably won't hang on much longer than eight years even if they repeal or ignore the term limit, and his celebrity power goes with him; the other Republicans are all more unpopular figures. Ivanka is the only potential successor who has it, and I don't think she's really interested in being dictator of America.

2020 is a census/redistricting year, and Trump has the incumbent advantage. The next census year, 2030, is a midterm year, when Republicans will have the gerrymandering advantage if they prevailed in 2020. So I'm thinking we may have to wait until at least 2040 for US democracy to start to recover, unless some disaster created in the interim has wrecked everything to a degree that no prediction is possible.

...Also, 2040 is about when my wretched generation starts to die off in earnest, and that will help.

With reference to Trump himself, I infer from the excellent reporting out there and his own words that it is mostly a combination of 1 and 3. He fancies himself a strategist and brilliant negotiator on behalf of America and he possesses something of a neo-mercantalist realist world view. Yet he does not seem to understand the the basics of presidency (Congress and Courts will push back) or the instruments of power at his disposal. He and his goons are a menace to America and the world.

Stephen Miller's comments concerning "one unelected judge in Seattle" gave me a definite 1930s vibe. I half expected to hear him next say that the President was considering getting Congress to pass the equivalent of the 1933 Enabling Act.....

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