Trump Is Beating Trump

Biden wants to make the race a referendum. The president needs to make it a choice.

In theory, President Trump is in a pitched battle with Joe Biden for the presidency. In reality, Mr. Trump is in a battle with Mr. Trump.

That’s one way to look at the recent round of sliding Trump poll numbers, which the media and Democrats are prematurely hailing as an obituary for the administration, but which also have Republicans nervous. Mr. Trump’s path to re-election rests in painting a sharp contrast between his policies of economic restoration, a transformed judiciary and limited government with those of Mr. Biden’s promise of (at best) a return to the slow growth of the Obama years or (at worst) an embrace of progressive nirvana. Instead, he’s helping Democrats and the media make the race a referendum on his Twitter feed.

Let Trump be Trump!” cry the president’s supporters. They argue it worked before. But this isn’t 2016. The U.S. is emerging from an unprecedented pandemic lockdown that left millions unemployed or bankrupt, children without education, the social order in shambles. The fury that followed George Floyd’s death has put Americans on the edge. They need calm leadership and a positive vision for the future.

Mr. Trump offers glimpses. His May 30 speech following the historic manned SpaceX launch—which addressed the Floyd killing—was a call for justice and peace as well as a tribute to American aspiration. In a subsequent Rose Garden speech, he deplored Floyd’s “brutal death” and reminded viewers that “America needs creation, not destruction.” A week later, his Rose Garden remarks celebrated a jobs report that defied gloomy predictions, and it showcased the American desire to get back to work.

But these highlights were quickly eclipsed by the many openings Mr. Trump provided the media and Democrats to focus not on American revival, but on Mr. Trump.
  • His complaints about Defense Secretary Mark Esper; his
  • bitterness toward former Secretary Jim Mattis. The
  • walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he flashed the Bible; the
  • arguments over why he visited the White House bunker.
  • His tweeted suggestion that the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo pushed to the ground by police might have been a “set up.”

What happened in Minneapolis—a city run by Democrats in a state run by Democrats—was no fault of the White House. But the president’s need to be at the center of everything has allowed a hostile press to present him as the source of racial tension.

The Trump campaign makes a compelling case that it is nonsensical to claim Democrats are running away with the race. Democratic pollster Doug Schoen wrote that the recent CNN survey showing Mr. Biden up 14 points nationally was skewed—it underrepresented Republicans and counted registered voters rather than likely ones. Match-ups still look tight in swing states.

Mr. Biden is also grappling with an enthusiasm problem. Mr. Trump this year has set records in primary after primary in voter turnout—even though he is uncontested. A recent ABC poll showed only 34% of Biden supporters were “very enthusiastic” about their nominee, compared with 69% of those backing Mr. Trump. Officials also note that the race—at least the mano-a-mano part of it—has yet to begin.

But there’s no question Mr. Trump’s numbers have eroded, both overall and among key voter subgroups. The latest Gallup poll finds only 47% approval of his handling of the economy, down from 63% in January. Those numbers are bleeding into congressional races, putting Republican control of the Senate at risk and raising the possibility of a rout in the House. If the Trump campaign can’t turn things around, the country could be looking at total Democratic control for the first time since 2010—and a liberal Senate majority that may well eliminate the filibuster for legislation and pack the courts. The stakes are high.

The prospect of a turnaround rests on Mr. Trump’s ability to do more than taunt his competitor as “Sleepy Joe” and rail against the “RADICAL LEFT!!” With an economy in tatters, Mr. Trump has an opening to redefine the election as a choice. Americans can vote again for the policies that revived the economy after the moribund Obama-Biden years and continue transforming the judiciary. Or they can take a chance on a Democrat who has promised to raise taxes on 90% of Americans, kill blue-collar fossil-fuel jobs and ban guns, and a party that is considering demands to “defund the police.”

Democrats want this election to be a simple question of whether Americans want four more years of a chaotic White House. The country has had its fill of chaos, so that could prove a powerful message for Mr. Biden. Mr. Trump has to decide just how much he wants to help him.

What the Divestment Movement Doesn’t Understand (w/ Rob West)

Rob West, founder of Thunder Said Energy – an energy consulting firm, understands that the total decarbonization of the energy industry will be fueled by political attitudes around the world over the next few decades. However, West argues that proponents of ESG investing fail to understand that this transition will involve massive investment in fossil fuels and cooperation with villainized oil majors. He explains his framework for total decarbonization of the energy industry by 2050, and highlights the new technologies and investment vehicles that will be necessary to drive the transition. Filmed on October 18, 2019 in New York.

Elizabeth Warren Unveils Climate Change Plan, Embracing Jay Inslee’s Goals

Ms. Warren and four other presidential candidates are releasing climate proposals this week, as the top contenders prepare for a prime-time forum on global warming.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts released an ambitious new climate change plan on Tuesday, embracing goals laid out by a former presidential rival and calling for $3 trillion in spending over a decade to combat human-driven global warming.

Ms. Warren made her announcement on the eve of a CNN town-hall-style event on global warming, which 10 top Democrats in the 2020 field are scheduled to attend on Wednesday — the first time in a presidential campaign that the question of what to do about the heating planet has merited its own major forum on prime-time television.

  • Senator Kamala Harris of California is expected to put forth a detailed climate change plan on Wednesday morning, and three other Democratic presidential candidates —
  • Senator Cory Bookerof New Jersey,
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and
  •  Julián Castro, the former housing secretary — have also released climate change plans since Sunday.
Read More About the Candidates’ Plans
Climate Town Hall: Democrats Lay Out Their Trillion-Dollar Plans

Democrats Say Their Climate Plans Will Create Jobs. It’s Not So Simple.

Political analysts say the rush of plans is a sign that the issue has gained remarkable traction on the national stage, as scientific reports conclude that climate change is leading to dangerous outcomes for humanity, including more powerful hurricanes, stronger droughts and shortages of food and water. The forum comes as Hurricane Dorian moves “dangerously close” to Floridaafter inflicting devastating damage to the Bahamas, where at least seven people died.

Ms. Warren’s new climate plan explicitly adopts ideas from Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, who focused his presidential campaign on combating climate change but dropped out last month after it became clear he was unlikely to qualify for the next primary debate. Ms. Warren met with Mr. Inslee last week in Seattle, according to two people familiar with their discussions.

“While his presidential campaign may be over, his ideas should remain at the center of the agenda,” Ms. Warren wrote in her new climate plan.

Mr. Inslee released six detailed climate plans, totaling over 200 pages, which were widely praised by environmental policy experts for their rigor. He said he hoped they would help “raise the ambition” of other candidates’ climate policies, and he has since had conversations with several candidates about how to incorporate his ideas into their plans, said his former campaign spokesman, Jared Leopold.

In her new proposal, Ms. Warren adopts Mr. Inslee’s plan to eliminate planet-warming emissions from power plants, vehicles and buildings over 10 years, and adds an additional $1 trillion in spending to subsidize that transition. The spending would be paid for, she says, by reversing the Trump administration’s tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations.

Like Mr. Inslee’s proposal, her plan would set regulations aimed at retiring coal-fired electricity within a decade, but also fund health care and pensions for coal miners. It would create new federal regulations on vehicle tailpipe emissions with the goal of achieving zero emissions from new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks and buses by 2030.

In April, Ms. Warren released a plan to ban fossil-fuel leasing on public lands. In June, she unveiled a proposal calling for $2 trillion in spending on “green manufacturing,” which is incorporated in her new, broader climate plan.

Gov. Jay Inslee focused his presidential campaign on combating climate change but dropped out last month.
CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Castro’s plan, also released Tuesday, includes several ideas either directly adopted from or developed in consultation with Mr. Inslee, such as a plan to replace all coal-fired power generation with zero-emissions sources by 2030, and a proposal to marshal $10 trillion in federal, state, local and private spending on jobs associated with the transition from polluting to nonpolluting energy.

Democratic strategists said that Mr. Inslee’s influence on the rest of the party’s presidential field was clear.

Inslee is one of those rare candidates who did not last for more than a few months but had a big impact on the race,” said Robert Shrum, a veteran Democratic consultant and director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “His candidacy is over, but his ideas do live on.”

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a rival of Ms. Warren’s on the left, has not explicitly taken up Mr. Inslee’s ideas. Instead, analysts said, he is trying to win over the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with a climate plan that takes its name from the Green New Deal and has the biggest price tag of all the candidates’ proposals — $16.3 trillion over 15 years. He has called for banning fracking to extract natural gas and halting the import and export of coal, oil and natural gas.

“I think Sanders is looking for ways to prove that he’s the true progressive in the race,” said Paul Bledsoe, a lecturer at American University’s Center for Environmental Policy.

Polls reflect that climate change is a rising concern among voters.

In a poll published by Quinnipiac University last week, a majority of registered voters nationwide, 56 percent, said that climate change is an emergency. That majority included 84 percent of Democrats, while 81 percent of Republicans said that climate change is not an emergency. Among 18- to 34-year-old voters, who may expect to be the most affected by climate change, 74 percent said that climate change is an emergency.

Voters also think that the United States is not doing enough to address climate change, with 67 percent saying more needs to be done.

Republican officials say the plans that Democrats have devised to address climate change will decimate the economy.

Mandy Gunasekara, a former policy adviser at the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration, branded Democrats’ plans as socialist takeovers of the economy.

“Most Americans who talk about climate change, when you ask them, ‘O.K., how much are you willing to pay,’ it’s minimal to none. These trillion-dollar plans that each of them are putting up need some measure of honesty,” she said. “What are the true costs and how are the costs going to be borne? And what are the implications for our fossil workers?”

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for President Trump’s re-election campaign, wrote in an email, “The Democrats’ radical approach to energy is to eliminate the use of all fossil fuels, which would kill more than 10 million jobs and inflict economic catastrophe across the country.”

Mr. Bledsoe said there was some political danger for Democrats in attempting to outdo one another.

“In all honesty, every one of the climate plans proposed is more ambitious than anything that’s ever been remotely contemplated before,” he said. “I mean, these are just off-the-charts ambitious, so in that sense activists have gotten what they wanted. But the danger is that they ignore the nuts and bolts of energy politics of swing states and risk handing Trump the election.”

Select the Worst Trump Minion

Just this week we had a top aide with multiple domestic abuse allegations, plus a chief of staff who never seemed to bother to pursue the matter. And a communications director — third one in a little over a year — who helped write the statement defending said aide, whom she happened to also be dating.

.. Tenure is irrelevant. Kirstjen Nielsen has only been secretary of homeland security for a couple of months, but we already know her as the woman who tried to support her boss by claiming she wasn’t sure whether Norway was a predominately white country.

.. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar .. Azar’s mission is supposed to be bringing down prescription prices, and his main qualification is having run the American division of a drug company during the five years when the price of its insulin rose from $122 to $274 a vial.

.. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos ..  “The bureaucracy is much more formidable and difficult than I had anticipated,” she complained.

.. Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency

.. “Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100? … That’s fairly arrogant for us to think that we know exactly what it should be in 2100.”

.. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is busy pushing the federal death penalty and trying to prosecute the marijuana industry in states where grass is legal.

..  U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is trying to dismember the World Trade Organization. Smaller minds are fascinated by reports that Lighthizer has a life-size portrait of himself hanging on the wall at home.

.. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is in charge of the upcoming census, which is underfunded, and rumors are that the chief candidate for deputy director is a highly partisan Texas professor whose book on reapportionment is subtitled “Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.”

..Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin .. The new Trump nominee to lead the I.R.S. is a tax lawyer who specializes in defending wealthy clients against — yes! — the I.R.S. To cheer things up, we can go back to recalling the time Mnuchin posed with his wife, dressed in black opera gloves and a come-hither hairdo, admiring his signature on bills at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is well known for his enthusiasm for fossil fuel drilling. But even some of his fans were a little perplexed when he announced a policy for expanding offshore oil and gas drilling, and then abruptly added that there would be an exception for … Florida. Think it was all about Mar-a-Lago?

.. taxpayers paid $6,000 to helicopter Zinke to a critical appointment going horseback riding with Mike Pence.

Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Proves to Be an Immovable Object at G-20

If anything, Mr. Trump’s two forays overseas have shown that some leaders are bending toward his positions, not the reverse.

The statement, for example, carried language about America helping other countries use “fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.” A European Union official conceded the reference to “these kind of energy sources is not something we like.”

But the White House liked it. Trump officials cast the wording as a victory for a president who still sees a place for oil and gas drilling.

.. When the subject of trade came up a few months ago at a meeting of finance officials from the 20 leading countries, “it was kind of 19-1—me being the one,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recalled.

.. Mr. Trump used the three-day trip to deliver the clearest vision he’s offered to date of his world view: a commitment to preserving western civilization.

.. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Mr. Trump said. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders?”

..  “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..,” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “We negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria which will save lives. Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!”