The Democrats may have already lost the 2020 elections — Part II

On June 13, we reported that President Trump’s job approval rating was 50%, according to the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll:

President Trump’s Job Approval Rating

Favorable 50%
Unfvavorable 47%

Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll, June 13, 2019

On five of the last seven days Trump’s job approval rating was 50% or higher. On June 12 it hit 51% with Disapproval at 47%.

The Democrats have been lulled to sleep by the other polls, which however are based on a flawed methodology. Rasmussen is the only daily tracking poll, and one of very few polls based on a model of “likely voters”. In the past, their polls have been shown to be highly accurate in predicting election results.

Watch the Rasmussen daily job approval poll. It is the one scoreboard where Democrats, and everyone else, should have their attention firmly fixed.

See “Democrats have already lost the 2020 elections,” The Trenchant Observer, June 13, 2019.

A month later, Trump’s approval rating stood at 50% Favorable, 48% Unfavoreable, according to the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll published on July 17, 2019. By comparison, the Economist/YouGov poll of “registered voters” published on the same date showed Trump with an Approval Rating of 46% with a Disapproval rating of 51%. See the RealClearPolitics tables every day for the latest polls, including information on methodology.

Now, for those who don’t know or care about polling methodology, the difference between a poll of “likely voters” versus one of “registered voters” may not make any difference–until the election results come in.

Trump’s resilience in the polls is quite extraordinary. No matter what he does, or says, he bounces right back like “The Terminator” in the movie of that name.  His fortunes seem unrelated to facts and events.

What is the explanation?

The explanation we have offered, for some time now, is that Trump has succeeded in demolishing the concept of truth among a very large portion of the population, and has by his repeated violations of the law and basic social norms created a group that is unconcerned with his lies and outrageous behavior. These groups undoubtedly overlap. Between them, they seem to account for about half of the likely voters in the 2020 elections.

Half of the likely voters, and probably the population, have exited the rational-analytical paradigm upon which our 18th century republic is based. And they support Trump, who seems to have an iron grip on their allegiance.

Democrats do not understand the formidable challenges they face if they wish to send Trump home in 2020.

First, Trump is the incumbent.

Second, he has developed a fanatical following, much like the leader of the Nazi Party did in Germany in the 1930’s.

Third, it appears likely that Russia will intervene in the elections on his behalf, as they did in 2016, but this time on a much larger scale.

Fourth, as President, he has the power to create any kind of wild diversion in order to swing the election, even starting a war or defying a Supreme Court decision, or calling his supporters into the streets.

Fifth, the economy is doing very well, a factor which usually plays strongly in favor of the incumbent.

Sixth, Trump does not need to win a majority of the popular vote. An electoral majority like the one he achieved  in 2016 will do nicely in order for him to keep his grip on the reigns of power.

The biggest challenge for the Democrats, whether they know it or not–and it seems that they do not–is to burst the Trump propaganda and cult bubble which prevents voters from seeing and understanding what is actually going on.  Inside the bubble, they are susceptible to believing Trump’s lies rather than any objective rendering of the facts and the truth of any situation.

In a word, they can’t think independently.  If they could, they would be worried to death about global warming.  If the Democrats had a clue, they would be pounding home different aspects of Trump’s denial of reality on the environment every day.

How might the Democrats burst the Trump bubble of lies and propaganda?

This is at once the central question of the 2020 elections and the task that Democrats are unwilling to take upon themselves. They defer to Robert Mueller, and if not to his devastating report on Trump’s crimes, then at least to the illusory hope that his limited testimony to Congress, on one day, will somehow change the equation which currently puts Trump in the lead for re-election.

The house leadership is sclerotic, comprised of people in their late 70’s who lack flexibility and imagination and boldness, as many of their age group do. Nancy Pelosi made her decision to oppose impeachment or even the initiation of impeachment proceedings, at any cost. And she has adamantly refused to reconsider her decision with updated inputs about what is going on in the country and how her policies are impacting Trump’s and the Republicans’ electoral prospects.  See the Trump approval ratings above.

The one thing the Democrats might have done was to take on Trump and his administration, with impeachment hearings, with quick decisions and actions, such as holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt for failing to turn over the unredacted Mueller report, or failing with many others to appear before Congressional Committees in response to Congressional subpoenas. Whenever Trump or his minions committed an outrage, the Democrats should have been in court challenging the President.

Part of it may be a cultural thing, the culture of legislators who tend to think they will always have another chance to vote on a piece of legislation, to take another bite at the apple, as it were. But that is not the case here. The Democrats have wasted the summer. They have wasted precious months in which they might have educated the American people about Trump’s misdeeds.

Indeed, they have failed to rise to the challenge. Should Trump succeed in establishing an authoritarian regime in the United States, two people and their supporters will bear the greatest responsibility. First, Trump himself, of course. and his Republican enablers. But second, Nancy Pelosi, and her colleagues in the elderly and timid leadership of the House.

The point Pelosi misses is that Trump was not on the ballot in 2018.  2020 is likely to be more about him, and more like 2016 than 2018.

After winning the 2018 House elections decisively, she and the Democratic leadership of the House have failed utterly to carry out their mandate by taking the battle to Trump, frontally, forcefully, and with all of the weapons which our Constitutional democracy has placed in their hands.

The Democrats are not fighting Trump. Not effectively.  If our democracy is to be saved, they must take him on directly in every way, and begin impeachment proceedings now.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.