Politics & Policy

The Corner

Can Trump Turn Both Ways on a Dime?

Alexandra notes that, per CBS, Trump’s speech last night seems to have been a hit:

A full 97 percent of Republicans approved of the speech, as did 72 percent of independents and 43 percent of Democrats. The positive rating from independents is a good indication that Trump’s address succeeded in striking a bipartisan, unifying tone. Sixty-five percent of viewers said the speech made them feel proud . . .

This, I think, is remarkable. Since he became president, Trump’s approval numbers have been poor, and his opponents have been energized. Moreover, the one major piece of legislation he’s signed — an overhaul of the tax system — has polled terribly. Despite all this, the president didn’t seem to have too far to travel last night in order to achieve good notices. Given the ongoing Russia investigation; the sharp criticism he receives — both warranted and unwarranted; and his peculiar penchant for blowing himself up over trivialities, I’d have expected to see these sorts of numbers only after a long series of uninterrupted good steps. Instead, he seemed capable of turning on a dime. Is that normal? One wonders what sort of sustained rehab Nancy Pelosi would have to undergo before almost half of the Republican party approved of a major speech.

Perhaps this was a fluke. But if it was not, there are obvious implications here — including for 2020. One is that the majority of the American public does not seem to have written Trump off as an irredeemable mistake, or to have stopped listening to the content of his appeals. Another — and it’s related to the first — is that voters seems to be engaging in at least some compartmentalization. For a while now, it has been correctly observed that whatever good Trump does himself on a Monday, he’ll have undone by Wednesday afternoon. But could it also be true that whatever bad he did on the Wednesday can itself be undone by the Friday? Is he an Etch-a-Sketch? 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More