Don’t argue with 4.1 percent growth.
.. don’t bet on bad news.
Why? Because it creates a toxic perception that Trump’s critics would rather see things go wrong, for the sake of their own vindication, than right, for the common good. That, in turn, reinforces the view that Trump’s critics are the sort of people whose jobs and bank accounts are sufficiently safe and padded that they can afford lousy economic numbers.
.. If working-class resentment was a factor in handing the White House to Trump, pooh-poohing of good economic news only feeds it.
While they’re at it, they might try to observe Rule No. 2: Stop predicting imminent disaster. The story of the Trump presidency so far isn’t catastrophe. It’s corrosion — of our political institutions, civic morals, global relationships and democratic values.
.. Democrats can make a successful run against the corrosion, just as George W. Bushdid in a prosperous age with his promise to restore “honor and dignity” to the White House after the scandals of the Clinton years.
.. Third rule: Stop obsessing about 2016.
.. The smart play is to defend the integrity of Mueller’s investigation and invest as little political capital as possible in predicting the result. If Mueller discovers a crime, that’s a gift to the president’s opponents. If he discovers nothing, it shouldn’t become a humiliating liability... Tweets are the means by which the president wrests control of the political narrative from the news media (and even his own administration), whether by inspiring his followers, goading his opponents, changing the subject, or merely causing a ruckus.
.. Fifth: Beware the poisoned chalice. We keep hearing that the 2018 midterms are the most important in all of history, or close to it. Why?
Democrats took control of the Senate in the 1986 midterms but George H.W. Bush easily defeated Mike Dukakis two years later. Republicans took Congress in 1994, only to become Bill Clinton’s ideal foil. Republicans took the House again in 2010 amid a wave of discontent with Barack Obama, and you know what happened. Get my drift?
Finally: People want leaders. Not ideologues. Not people whose life experiences have been so narrow that they’ve been able to maintain the purity of their youthful ideals.
.. governors. John Hickenlooper. Deval Patrick. Maggie Hassan. Andrew Cuomo. Want to defeat Trump? Look thataway.
They failed to consider how grotesque Clinton herself appeared to these same Republican women. The authors quote pollster Wes Anderson to establish a point that sums up these voters and their decision process: “These women may not have decided to vote for Trump until late in the race, but most had decided much earlier that they were definitely not voting for Clinton.” For many, Clinton’s stances on issues like abortion and gun rights ruled her out from the beginning. Many others were repelled by her inauthenticity and dishonesty.
It is difficult to describe Trump as a workingman, but he sounds like a workingman.
.. The man had inherited millions and was worth billions, but somehow he sounded like he understood the plight of people whose pleas were not heard in Chappaqua. Meanwhile, the Democrats increasingly became associated with the non-working class, identifying more with the lifelong welfare recipient than with the worker whose taxes pay for that government program.
.. “I used to think that the Republican party stood for country-club folks in nice suburban homes who talked about bottom lines and stock prices. Not anymore; they are for the blue-collar worker, they are for me, and the irony is not lost on me.”
.. “Big banks, big media, big corporations, I want nothing to do with them,” one man said. Another linked the what Justice Louis Brandeis called the “curse of bigness” to a culture of dependency: “We are Americans, that means something, that means figuring it out without the government giving us free stuff, without the big banks and big companies making us need them so much, and not feeling as though we are entitled to something once we get it.”
.. The confusing part for those who do not buy it is that it makes Trump the representative of the little guy. That is harder to swallow than William Jennings Bryan’s leadership of the 1890s populists. It clearly wrong-footed the Clinton camp, as evidenced by the supreme effort taken to remind the voters just how often Trump had shortchanged, bamboozled, and defrauded various little guys in his long business career.
.. With Clinton as the obvious representative of the Left’s establishment, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and the rest as representatives of the Right’s establishment, and Trump as the eager antagonist of both, the answer was clear to many forgotten men and women: This guy, whatever his past, is in my corner.
as mass immigration increases diversity, it reduces social cohesion and civic trust
.. the trust problem is not a simple matter of racist natives mistrusting foreigners, since social trust is often weakest among minorities — which is one reason why the most diverse generation in American history, the millennials, is also the least trusting.
.. It’s one reason why campus politics are so toxic, why Democrats struggle to keep their diverse coalition politically engaged
.. Then linked to these ethno-cultural tensions are the tensions of class, where mass immigration favors stratification and elite self-segregation.
.. regions and cities with the largest immigrant populations are often the wealthiest and most dynamic.
.. The hinterlands are also filled with people who might want to move to wealthier regions (or who used to live there) but can’t because an immigrants-and-professionals ecosystem effectively prices out the middle class.
.. Thus our rich and diverse states also often feature high poverty rates when their cost of living is considered, while second and third-generation immigrants often drift into the same stagnation as the white working class
.. Which in turn encourages them toward mild contempt for their fellow countrymen who don’t want to live under a cosmopolitan-ruled caste system
.. For some pro-immigration Republicans this contempt is Ayn Randian: We’ll all be better off with more hard-working immigrants and fewer shiftless mooching natives. For pro-immigration liberals it’s the predictable cultural triumphalism: The arc of history is long, but thanks to immigration we won’t have to cater to heartland gun-clingers any longer.
In both cases there’s a fantasy of replacement that’s politically corrosive, and that’s one reason why Donald Trump is president and Jeb! and Hillary are not.
.. Hence my own view that keeping current immigration levels while bringing in more immigrants to compete with our economy’s winners and fewer to compete for low-wage work represents a reasonable middle ground.
How does this happen? It happens because the Republicans with the solid family lives, sparkling résumés, unlined faces, and big white teeth think they are entitled to rule the rest of us in their own interests. They think their (real) virtues entitle them to ignore the priorities of the electorate. There will always be fools and con artists but, right now, the vices of the good men are killing us.
The Republicans have managed the unlikely feat of producing a tax-cut bill that has only 26 percent support. This is part of a pattern whereby the allegedly responsible, thoughtful, public-spirited Republican leaders, such as Paul Ryan, produce legislation that is somehow even less popular than our already very unpopular president.
.. But maybe they haven’t forgotten. Maybe the Republican leadership has changed.
.. But something has changed in recent years. One visible sign was the Wall Street Journal’s infamous “lucky duckies” editorial, which complained that lower-middle-class people (those lucky duckies) with little income-tax liability might get a cut to their payroll taxes, and that this cut would reduce the tax cuts that might otherwise have gone to the more productive and deserving high earners.
.. Edward Conard, like Mitt Romney a Bain Capital guy, might be called Mitt Romney’s id. He argues that a proposal to set the corporate tax rate at 22 percent rather than 20 percent in order to finance a tax credit that reduces the payroll-tax liability of mostly wage-earning parents would hurt the economy, because it would reduce economic growth and diminish “middle-class incomes in the long run.”
.. The congressional Republicans are having trouble selling tax cuts to the middle class, because the middle-class tax cuts are included only grudgingly as a sweetener for the business and high-earner tax cuts that are the real goal of the Republican congressional leadership.
.. The elite Republicans haven’t forgotten. They have changed.
The Republican Party of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is no longer the party of Ronald Reagan and the middle-class tax revolts of the 1970s.
.. Why do Americans turn to elderly socialists like Bernie Sanders, or clownish (or worse) populists like Trump and Roy Moore? It is because the best of the Republicans are wedded to a politically self-destructive view of the world.
.. They seem to have the home life of the family man. They have the discipline and diligence of the organization kid. They have the looks of the pretty boy. Yet the public still rejects them, because the voters find their ideas even more unpleasant than Donald Trump’s odious personality.
.. When they think they can get away with it, they disparage the idea of tax cuts for the middle class (much less for wage-earning parents). They pretend that the taxes paid by wage-earners don’t even exist. They mouth the Reaganite lift-all-boats rhetoric, but they act on a get-those-lucky-duckies agenda. Reagan’s party is being infected with the Romney Disease.