Thursday, November 1, 2018

BTRTN: This American Carnage

Tom with the BTRTN October 2018 Month in Review.

THE MONTH

When Donald Trump stood at the podium on Inauguration Day, he was intent on describing the dark and desperate America that he had spent his campaign inventing.  His message was clear, and I quote: “This American carnage stops here and now.”

Image result for donald trump dark carnageMany of us wondered what in the world he was talking about.  Carnage?  What carnage?  We had avoided a depression, witnessed 100 months of job growth and made solid, if unspectacular economic progress since the Great Recession.  We had exited Iraq, reduced our commitments in the unwinnable war in Afghanistan, resisted the temptation to put American boots on the ground in Syria, yet maintained our commitments to our allies and stood tall on the world stage.  We had passed historic health care legislation, saw progress in acceptance of the LGBTQ community, and saved the U.S. auto industry.  We invested in renewable energy at record levels, boosted automobile emissions standards, signed the Paris accords.  We even tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden.  And when we were wounded, our president comforted us, united us – he even sang to us.  It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t always pretty, but we were in a far better place in 2016 than we were in 2008 in every single way.
­

Donald Trump, in his twisted mind, was referring to the past on that fateful day in January.  But under him, the American carnage actually began.

The month of October was the darkest of any Trump month, a month when our collective national psyche simply gasped with despair.  How many people do you know who can no longer watch the news, who can no longer stomach the constant buzz of the twitter feed, who cannot find America in the headlines?

This was the month we put a man on the Supreme Court who was credibly accused of sexual assault, a charge that was papered over by a sham investigation under White House direction.  We did this despite the presence of many other qualified conservative justices, any of whom might have been quickly substituted by our president after the charges emerged, as would have happened in any other job search in this country under similar circumstances.

This was the month when the Original Lie was exposed, when it turns out that, far from parlaying a modest (in his world) Fred Trump loan of $1 million into his alleged fortune, Trump actually received hundreds of millions outright, mostly illegally (through tax avoidance) and mostly squandered (since the returns on such a windfall have fallen far short of simple money market interest).  From the standpoint of presidential myth shattering, this is the equivalent of discovering that Abe Lincoln was born not in a log cabin in Kentucky, but rather in a condo in Jersey, or that Bill Clinton was actually born in Fayetteville, not Hope.

This was the month when a so-called ally had a journalist brutally murdered in its embassy in a foreign country; our president initially defended that nation and its ruler, and still refuses to punish them, ostensibly to preserve an arms deal that is mostly fluff. 

This was the month that, on the campaign trail, the president invented a tax cut, declared that he could unilaterally change the Constitution to eliminate the birthright citizenship clause, and over-inflated the threat of a desperate migrant caravan.  He first promised to send more troops to the Mexican border than we have in Iraq, and then upped that to exceed the number of troops we have in Afghanistan.  All to take on an unarmed group of women and children, the saddest group of “invaders” our nation’s military was ever called upon to repel.

This was the month that a Trump-radicalized deadbeat attempted to assassinate, via mailed pipe bombs, two former presidents, a former Vice President, a former U.S. secretary of state and roughly a dozen other luminaries of the Democratic Party, as well as the offices of a major cable news network.  Our president responded by expressing little remorse and extending no sympathy to the intended victims,who represented his own widely denoounced enemies list.  Instead, he complained that the bombs were deflecting attention from his “message.”

And, finally, this was the month when 11 Jews were slaughtered in Pittsburgh by another hate-filled madman, and the president chose to come to Pittsburgh on a day convenient for his campaign schedule, against the wishes of local officials who wished to respect the burials of the dead.  Our president found no voice of comfort, empathy or unity, and instead quickly continued with the hate rants and divisiveness that his hysterical followers demand, and released an incredibly racist advertisement.

The first step toward returning to normalcy begins Tuesday.  Please do your part to make it a successful step.   Do your bit to send the message that – indeed - this American carnage stops here and now.

TRUMP APPROVAL RATING

The light was apparently still shining for the other half of America, as Trump’s approval rating remained in the same general zone, inching up +1 point from 43% to 44% for the month.  Trump’s monthly approval rating has been stuck between 42% and 45% for all of 2018, and short of his initiating a nuclear war or achieving total world peace, it is hard to see what might be a catalyst for change.  America has made up its mind, and is dug in.  The only realistic variable on the landscape is Mueller.

TRUMP MONTHLY APPROVAL RATING

2017
2018

Jan
Jul
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
Approve
48
40
42
43
42
42
45
43
43
43
43
44
Disapprove
46
56
55
54
54
54
52
53
53
53
53
52
Net
2
-16
-13
-11
-13
-12
-7
-9
-10
-9
-10
-8

GENERIC BALLOT

The generic ballot for October climbed to +8 in favor of the Democrats (though it has dipped back down to +6 in the second half of the month).  Fewer people are undecided as we approach election day, and the Dem vote is approaching 50%.   This too has been a steady measure for 2018.  Using our proprietary BTRTN regression model, this lead would suggest a 35- to 40-seat pick-up for the Dems in November (if it held).  We calculate the Dems’ odds of taking over the House to be 81% as of this moment.

GENERIC BALLOT:  MONTHLY FOR LAST 12 MONTHS

2017
2018
N
D
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
Dem
40
41
40
40
41
43
41
43
44
44
46
48
GOP
32
32
34
34
34
36
37
36
37
38
40
40
Margin
8
8
6
6
7
7
4
7
7
6
6
8


TRUMPOMETER

The “Trumpometer” declined to +23 in October, from +30 in September, driven by the decline in the GDP from +4.2% to the still respectable +3.5%.  The stock market dropped quite a bit this month as well, while the other three measures were pretty stable.  The +23 Trumpometer reading means that, on average, our five economic measures are +23% higher than they were at the time of Trump’s Inauguration.


TRUMPOMETER
End Clinton  1/20/2001
End Bush 1/20/2009
End Obama 1/20/2017 (Base = 0)
Trump 9/30/2018
Trump 10/31/2018
% Chg. Vs. Inaug. (+ = Better)

25
-53
0
30
24
23%
  Unemployment Rate
4.2
7.8
4.7
3.9
3.7
21%
  Consumer Confidence
129
38
114
135
138
21%
  Price of Gas
1.27
1.84
2.44
2.95
2.90
-19%
  Dow Jones
10,588
8,281
19,732
26,458
25,155
27%
  GDP
4.5
-6.2
2.1
4.2
3.5
67%



Notes on methodology:

BTRTN calculates our monthly approval ratings using an average of the four pollsters who conduct daily or weekly approval rating polls: Gallup Rasmussen, Reuters/Ipsos and You Gov/Economist. This provides consistent and accurate trending information and does not muddy the waters by including infrequent pollsters.  The outcome tends to mirror the RCP average but, we believe, our method gives more precise trending.

For the generic ballot, we take an average of the only two pollsters who conduct weekly generic ballot polls, Reuters/Ipsos and You Gov/Economist, again for trending consistency.

The Trumpometer aggregates a set of economic indicators and compares the resulting index to that same set of aggregated indicators at the time of the Trump Inaugural on January 20, 2017, on an average percentage change basis... The basic idea is to demonstrate whether the country is better off economically now versus when Trump took office.  The indicators are the unemployment rate, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, the Consumer Confidence Index, the price of gasoline, and the GDP. 







1 comment:

  1. "How many people do you know who can no longer watch the news, who can no longer stomach the constant buzz of the twitter feed, who cannot find America in the headlines?" Tom, you've said it so perfectly - thanks for summing it up so well for us.

    ReplyDelete

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