Tab Dump

It’s been two weeks since my last update, mostly because….this election has turned totally boring and predictable. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening, however, and I’ve got tons of stuff saved in my RSS feed. It doesn’t really make for a coherent set of points, but rather than wait any longer I’m gonna dump those links here. But first….I gotta get something off my chest here:

Remember how Trump skipped a debate and supposedly held a fundraiser for veterans? Turns out he never donated the money. Everyone else involved did, but not him. It took reporters from the Washington Post hounding him to get him to do it. That hounding, apparently, makes the media “dishonest” and “nasty.” Because when you are The Donald, you’re supposed to be able to lie about anything and never get called on it. Seriously though – what kind of fucked up human being raises money for wounded soldiers and then doesn’t donate the money?  That would be abhorrent if he were poor, but as he loves to remind us but refuses to prove, he’s rich! He doesn’t even need the money! 

Now no doubt people on the Trump Train will come up with some excuses for him, but here’s a bit of advice I always try to follow myself: before defending someone’s behavior, imagine how you would feel if your opponent did or said the same thing. Would you say “oh that’s no big deal that Hillary withheld the millions she raised from those vets?” No, of course you wouldn’t. Because it’s a genuinely fucked up thing to do! And fine, bring up the Clinton Foundation if you want to, but as you do, at the very least recognize the very obvious fact that two wrongs don’t make a right? We aren’t children, and I for one am not willing to pretend like we are. So no, changing the subject isn’t answering a question, and it’s a third-grade move to pull it. Just stop. Because what he’s done here is vile.

OK…on to the bullets:

  • You wouldn’t know it from the coverage of the campaign at this point, but Cruz’s supporters have most certainly not given up. Cruz’s people are putting up huge numbers in Washington State. Sure thing, Trump won, but all of the delegates going to the convention are Cruz people. And no, that wont lead to a floor fight, but it is yet more evidence that Trump isn’t building much of an organization. He’s won without one so far (although just barely), but a general election is nothing like a primary, and there are all kinds of people inside the Republican Party worried about that. Trump, for example, has no staff in Ohio. Ohio! But more on that later in the season. Trump does look to be organizing a serious fundraising campaign, however. What, you thought he was serious about that whole “corrupting influence of money” thing?
  • He’s also brought a new level of energy to the white nationalist movement. You can scream “it’s not his fault” all you want, but in their own words, these dudes explain why Trump has them so fired up. Given that this does not normally happen in American politics, that it has not happened in at least 50 years, surely this means something, yes?
  • And what about those polls? Sam Wang is right – May is historically the month when the polls are least accurate, so just ignore them. May produces totally nonsensical results like these. Both sides can find things to like and to hate in equal measure, but none of them hold up against the other. It’s all noise, and it wont be until after the conventions are over that we really have any idea what’s going on.  In the meantime, let’s step back for a moment and think about what polls really are and how polls really work. Take it away Matt!
  • Looks like Bernie is going to have all kinds of influence at the convention. He’s managed to get a bunch of people on the platform committee, and he’s warning of a messy convention. Good! There’s strength in diversity (No joke – I can show you the complex system math on that if you want!), and the Democratic Party will be stronger the more perspectives it brings in. 
  • Check out what’s happening in California to voter registration numbers! A state that was already blue is turning a much deeper shade, and as California goes, so goes the nation. 
  • Josh Marshall has been interested in the role of dominance in American politics for awhile now, and this election is really bringing out the best in his analysis. Given that we are apparently going to spend several months talking about whether or not a woman should be held responsible for the misdeeds of her spouse, and given that the point of that conversation has nothing to do with facts or logic or reason, you’ll want to factor what he’s saying into what’s happening. It’s barely even started and I already feel like I need to take a shower. [UPDATE: Shockingly, even Bill O’Reilly doesn’t like it. That’s unexpected.]
  • Republican efforts to reduce early voting in Ohio have been overturned by a federal judge. Because of course it wasn’t a coincidence that the changes imposed more of a burden on African Americans than on other groups.
  • Obama’s approval rating continues to rise. A majority of Americans now approve of his performance. That’s important enough that I should just delete everything I’ve written above and make it the entire post.
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Election Updates

Well…it looks like my decision last week to transition from the primaries to the general election was the right move. Sticking with the three categories for bullets, if for no other reason than that it helps illustrate the enormous difference between the periods before and after the convention. So here we go…

Republican

A number of events this week have begun to confirm this hypothesis from Lee Drutman at Vox: “This election will reveal which Republicans have policy principles and which Republicans are primarily partisans.” And I’m filing this here, rather than under the General Election category, because if anything is likely to lead to problems at the convention, it is this divide. On one side you’ve got what I’ll call the principled policy people – conservatives like Paul Ryan who genuinely believe in the rightness of a certain approach to government and who want to use power to align policy with their principles. On the other side you’ve got the pure partisans, people for whom politics is essentially a tribal conflict and who want nothing more than to punch their opponents in the face. For more than two decades, these two factions have existed in the Republican coalition side by side without much tension, and particularly so over the last seven years. The first group has been opposed to Democratic policy proposals, while the second has seen blocking the advance of those policies as a fantastic way of “winning the day.” 

But now that we’re entering an incumbent-free election, and now that Republicans have settled on the candidate with the least clear record of support for conservative policy positions, everything is different. Walk with me through some of this week’s biggest stories:

  • The biggest is obviously Paul Ryan’s very public refusal to endorse Trump. Lots of people seem to think that this is just his attempt to gain some leverage over Trump, but I don’t think that’s all that is going on here. Check out this line from Ryan’s anti-endorsement speech on Thursday: “This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp.” Unless you paid particularly close attention to Republican politics in the 1990s, you’re probably wondering about one of those name. Lincoln and Reagan are obvious, but Jack Kemp? I happen to have been a Republican back in the 1990s, and from the perspective of my youth Kemp was one of the main reasons why, so this reference jumped out to me right away. Kemp was Ryan’s mentor as Ryan was working his way up through the Republican power structure in DC. He was a true believer in the power of conservative policy to uplift the poor, and it is thanks to Kemp’s mentorship that Ryan is often seen as a policy wonk. Point is, Ryan really does believe in this stuff. He’s not just in the arena to punch Democrats in the face. He wants to affect real change irrespective of what it means for the party that opposes him. And Trump? Trump is his mirror image. For Trump, tribal warfare is everything and policy is nothing. Everything is negotiable but for the warfare. As you will see as we move through these bullets and through the election season.
  • But not far behind should be the Southern Baptists. Reagan’s ability to bring evangelical Baptists into the Republican coalition was one of his greatest political triumphs, and if Russell Moore, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is to be believed, Trump has them on their way out the door. As you read the op-ed from which the following quote is taken, remember that the Southern Baptists are the single largest Protestant denomination in the US, and for the last forty years they have been extraordinarily reliable Republican voters. I’m not remotely naive enough to think this will sway large numbers of voters in the short-term, nor am I unclear on the fact that many of the members of this church are Christians in word but not deed, but even so, the long-term implications of this shouldn’t be underestimated. It was the denomination’s leaders that brought their flock into the Republican fold, and there’s no reason that over the long run they couldn’t lead them right back out. Just listen to this: “The Bible calls on Christians to bear one another’s burdens. White American Christians who respond to cultural tumult with nostalgia fail to do this. They are blinding themselves to the injustices faced by their black and brown brothers and sisters in the supposedly idyllic Mayberry of white Christian America. That world was murder, sometimes literally, for minority evangelicals. This has gospel implications not only for minorities and immigrants but for the so-called silent majority. A vast majority of Christians, on earth and in heaven, are not white and have never spoken English. A white American Christian who disregards nativist language is in for a shock. The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking “foreigner” who is probably not all that impressed by chants of “Make America great again.”
  • In reaction to this, Trump of course started throwing punches, because on his side of the divide that’s the entire point of politics. First he suggested that he was blindsided by all this, going so far as make up a series of phone calls and meeting that Paul Ryan’s people say never happened [Wait…you support Trump? Fine, prompting Paul Ryan and his people to deny that a series of phone calls ever took place. Choose your poison, doesn’t matter a whit to the point I’m making]. Then, because that was insufficiently aggressive, Trump then suggested he might move to remove Paul Ryan, former VP candidate and current Speaker of the Hosue of Representatives and leader of his party in congress, as chair of the party’s nomination convention in July. This then led Sarah Palin, another member of the politics-as-tribal-warfare camp who was the party’s nominee for Vice President prior to Ryan, to publicly back the man challenging him in an upcoming primary election, declaring that Ryan’s political career is “over” for his refusal to support Trump. Even if neither happens we’re already well into unprecedented territory just by virtue of the threats themselves.
  • Returning to the other side of the fence for a moment, more traditional movement conservatives are continuing to threat all manner of things, the least of which is the promised refusal to vote for Trump in the Fall. I’m seeing lots of people argue that they will all come around in the fall, and no doubt many of them will. But some wont, and I think it’s safe to say that the more ones financial future rides on their being a principled conservative movement, the more likely one is to make good on that threat. And here it’s important to keep in mind that the two camps I’m positing aren’t either/or. When policy and partisanship align, it’s possible to be in both camps. Erick Erickson illustrates this nicely: dude has no problem, for example, referring to a sitting member of the Supreme Court as a “goat fucking child molestor,” so even though he describes himself as a Christian he clearly enjoys punching his opponents in the face. But he’s also deeply committed to his particularly warped version of Christianity, quite possibly even more committed to that than to the punching. and it’s that story, right there, that I expect to see playing out in a variety of ways over the coming months as Republicans grapple with the things Trump says and does, including…
  • Did you know Trump no longer supports his own tax plan? That he’s open to raising taxes on the wealthy? That he wants to raise the minimum wage? That he’s hired a long-time Democratic fundraiser from Wall Street to run his fundraising operations? That he’s no longer self-funding his campaign, whatever hat might have originally meant? If you’re on team “Donald Trump will punch that bitch in the face,” this is meaningless to you. In fact, because it annoys liberals like me you might actually laugh and cheer it. If you’re on team “conservative principles and policies matter,” this is heresy. Hence the Ryan vs. Trump vs. Palin pile-up. And sure thing, maybe all these people can all figure out some way to put aside their differences long enough to run an election, but there’s just no way all of them will. Will it be enough to matter in the end? Depends how it all plays out and how Trump responds as it does, yeah?
  • But here’s an interesting tidbit, this from the man himself: “”Does it have to be unified? I’m very different than everybody else, perhaps, that’s ever run for office. I actually don’t think so. I think it would be better if it were unified, I think it would be — there would be something good about it. But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense.” And look, from the perspective of Team Punching People, it doesn’t! Why make nice with people who refuse to submit to your will when there’s quite literally nothing that says you don’t have to? Nothing, that is, except election returns, only those provide their information to late to alter behavior.
  • At a much higher level, I think this distinction helps explain why Trump’s support, contrary to what most people thinks, is coming from voters with incomes above their state’s median. These aren’t working class people, they are upper-middle class. They may well be angry, and they may well feel left behind, but it’s not their personal economic situation that’s driving their rage. What they want is to “make America great again” by “returning” it to a social and political order more like the one they remember from the past, and there’s no amount of conservative policy papers that can help them get there. In fact, the policy papers that men like Paul Ryan might offer up very well might lead in the opposite direction! And thus, the version of conservative identity politics championed by Trump that leads to…well…see above!
  • But let’s say you’ve made it this far and still aren’t convinced. How about this: The Bushes have publicly refused to support Trump, while Dick Cheney just endorsed him. J That’s the divide, right there, separating the previous Republican President from his Vice Presdient. Go ahead and explain that another way. I’ll wait.

Democratic

  • On this side of the divide, the primaries and caucuses continue along. Bernie picked up a bunch more delegates from Wasington, while Hillary won the island of Guam. At this point, the only thing that can stop Clinton is the Super Delegates, and everyone except the most die-hard Bernie fan knows that’s not going to happen. So as I pointed out last week, the only question is how this whole thing wraps up, and what role Bernie gets to play at the convention and as a Clinton surrogate in the Fall. I’m so unconcerned about this transition that I actually have nothing to say here. Bernie knows what’s at stake, and he will do what’s needed to bring his supporters home, at least in the short term. Longer term is a much more interesting question, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog.
  • Clinton is already working the back channels to unify the party, and although Drudge readers will no doubt cry foul, I promise you, Trump’s ascendency to the “presumptive nominee” status brought the entire party together in one fell swoop. Feel free to dream about “Democrats in disarray” if it makes you feel better, but nope, not this time. 

General Election

  • The Cook Political Report is the gold standard of non-partisan electoral analysis, and they’re out with their first update since Trump essentially locked things up. The short version: things look very, very good for Team Blue. Cook moved 11 states in Dems’ direction and  redefined Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin from being toss-up to lean Democratic. In the House, the Report now places 23 races into their “toss-up” category, of which a full 19 are currently held by Republicans, and another 35 as likely or lean, of which 26 are currently Republican. For now, that’s Team Blue on offense, Team Red on defense, and oh boy does it get worse for them in the Senate. Because in the Senate, there are 34 seats in play, 24 of which currently held by Republicans and six of which have become toss-ups. I’ll be all over those races once we get post-convention, but for now it’s enough to say that this is NOT where the Republicans were hoping to be at this point in the process. No doubt – everything might change! – but even if it does, it wont change the fact that at this moment they aren’t anywhere near where they want to be.
  • People always say, “no one could’ve seen this coming.” That’s just flat wrong. Norm Ornstein, the dean of non-partisan congressional analysts, saw this coming from years away. He’s been screaming about it to anyone who would listen, so it’s worth spending a moment checking in with him to get his take on where things stand. His long-view take is both interesting and concise. For example, speaking on the influence of Newt Gingrich: “He tribalized the political process. He went out and recruited the candidates, and gave them the language to use about how disgusting and despicable and horrible and immoral and unpatriotic the Democrats were. That swept in the Republican majority in 1994. The problem is that all the people he recruited to come in really believed that shit. They all came in believing that Washington was a cesspool. So what followed has been a very deliberate attempt to blow up and delegitimize government, not just the president but the actions of government itself in Washington.”
  • I don’t know if Matt Kerbel saw this all coming, but I do know that he sees quite clearly what is happening now. And this comparison to some of the nuttier races of 2010 and 2012 is I think spot on: “The upcoming presidential contest promises to be unlike any other, but if there is a roadmap for what to expect it is probably contests like these where the preferences of primary voters differed greatly from the preferences of everyone else.” Given that I used some of Matt’s research in my dissertation it isn’t surprising that I would agree with him, but still…
  • Matt’s analysis feeds quite nicely into this from David Atkins: “Trump Can’t Win. But Clinton Could Lose By Ignoring America’s Desire for Change.” Which isn’t all that different from this other piece by Matt: “Clinton Is a Poor Fit to the Election Cycle. Trump Is a Poor Fit to the Electorate.”
  • Did you know that nearly half of all working-class voters aren’t white? 
  • Did you know that Trump thinks it’s a winning political strategy to blame a wife for her husband’s infidelity? As I said on Facebook, men’s rights activists will love this, and Republican partisans will find it funny, but the other 65% of us will be horrified by this line of attack. I don’t have the energy to fully explain why right now, and anyways, we’ll see that I’m right soon enough. Maybe that would’ve worked in the days when “America was great,” but in the world we actually live in today it will be an unmitigated disaster. Remember how Bill Clinton’s popularity ROSE during his impeachment proceedings? That was a helluva trick to pull, but they clearly didn’t learn much from the experience.
  • But Benghazi and emails and infidelities, they’ll sink her! No. Here’s how this will work. Just as these “scandals” will be all over Drudge and Breitbart, so too will  there be an endless stream of reports about Trump University and other Trump catastrophes on DailyKos and other lefty sites, each with breathless reporting describing the “panic” that is setting in among opponents. Both sets of reports will be ridiculous, as both will reflect the prejudices and interests of people who already oppose the other candidate, with each group of supporters operating inside their own information bubble. If it isn’t in the mass media, it isn’t having an effect on anyone other than committed partisans, and in that phrase the word committed is absolutely key.j

Last but not least, a parting thought: “It’s a lot more impolite to go blow up a bunch of people for no good reason than it is to say “fuck” every now and then.”

Indiana Incoming!

So it’s looking more and more likely that Indiana will make the end of both races. Cruz has done a piss-poor job of managing his own narrative as the race predictably headed into Trump territory in the North East, and his naming Carly Fiorinia as his running mate was so self-evidently stupid that I suspect it cratered his campaign in Indiana. So if Trump ends up taking the state tomorrow, that’ll be the beginning of the end for Cruz. Assuming, of course, that he decides to stand down at the convention. I’m not even remotely convinced that he’s going to do that, but I’m pretty sure I’ve made that point enough by now that there’s really no point repeating myself. So instead, let’s get to the bullets.

Starting this week, I’m going with three categories: Republican, Democratic, and General Election. In the first category I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing – rounding up stories about the fight for delegates and over the rules of the convention. In the second, I’m going to mostly focus on stories that examine how Bernie is managing the end of his campaign. And in the third, well…If people want to see a Clinton-Trump race, I’ve no problem with that. We’ve got all kinds of polling on that race, and political science tells us pretty definitively that we’ve entered the period in which the polls do a pretty good job of predicting the eventual outcome. So…three categories!

But first….before you do anything else, stop and read this post by Josh Marshall. It’s called “Political Bilingualism Takes the Stage,” and it lays out quite clearly what is likely to be the single-most important fault line of the coming campaign. I’m going to quote just enough of it to give you an idea of what it’s about, but not enough to keep you from going to TPM to read it. Here it is:

These two candidates aren’t just appealing to different demographics or voting coalitions. They’re operating in what almost amounts to two different political universes. In linguistic terms it is almost like two mutually unintelligible languages. I guarantee you that everyone who has voted for Trump in any primary so far loved those remarks. They hate Hillary. They hate ‘political correctness’. More than anything else they love provocation itself. But this kind of talk, while a single instance itself, reminds us that Trump has already all but disqualified himself with huge swaths of the electorate.

The things that make Trump popular with a certain part of the Republican base are precisely the same things that are driving his unpopularity with pretty much everyone else. The initial plan was for Trump to run hard right and then pivot center, but given who Trump is that’s always been a silly notion. Trump will stay Trump, and as he said today, he’s his own strategist, a great strategies, and he likes the campaign he is running. More importantly his supporters love it, and they are convinced – utterly convinced – that the rest of the country either hates Hillary as much as they do, or will come to hate her that much once Trump gets finished with her. I’m honestly not terribly interested in engaging that argument – history suggests that Hillary has stayed popular enough with a majority of the public over the last 25 years, and either way time will quickly tell the truth of it one way or another – but the point here is that the two parties are operating in largely parallel universes. And as Josh points out, that means the race this fall is going to be driven by demographics in ways unlike anything this country has seen in a long, long time. Trump will no doubt win white men and married white women by huge numbers, but the things that attract those people to him will drive hordes of others away. And given the way the Electoral College works, white men and married white women aren’t even nearly enough to win an election. But now I’m getting ahead of myself and way ahead of Josh, so let’s leave well enough alone and say…go read that article! 

Republican 

  • If Trump wins big in Indiana – and recent polling suggests he will –  all eyes turn towards California. And I think people are vastly underestimating the likelihood of California turning nasty, chaotic, brutish, and short. Those of you  younger than me might find this hard to believe, but California used to be a swing state, and the state’s Republican Party was once one of the best in the nation – remember Nixon and Reagan? But then Pete Wilson decided he wanted to be Presdient right about the time that party’s base went all-in on immigrant-panic, and it’s been in a long, not-so-slow decline ever since (and no, electing Arnold in a 100+ person race as a Republican isn’t an effective counter to my claim). As the party there has wandered it’s way towards oblivion, the rifts between its various factions have grown deeper, and those rifts almost perfectly match the one playing out in the national party during these primaries this year. Given that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if things within the state degenerate rapidly over the next few weeks. In fact, they already are. And yes, Republicans, my Trump is Pete Wilson analogy should scare the shit out of you, not that you are at all likely to listen to me.

    Democratic

    • While Benie has been laying off – excuse me, “right-sizing” – staff across the country, Hillary is expanding her organization in the states most likely to be battlegrounds this Fall. He’s also building a very strange case that Super Delegates are going to break for him as we head into the convention. This is why people who aren’t members of a party shouldn’t run for that party’s nomination – they end up saying things that are so totally cluelessj that they embarrass themselves without having the knowledge necessary to even realize they’ve done so. Dude, I love so many of your ideas. Please, just stop. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.
    • Let’s grant Bernie the fact that he’s built a movement. For the record, I’m not sure the evidence fully supports that, but let’s leave that aside and assume that there’s something crucial voting and polling data is missing and that it is actually happening. Given that he is not going to be the Democratic nominee, the question is: where does that movement go from here? Late last week, Bernie seemed to indicate that he would use his influence to push for three specific things: automatic voter registration; same-day registration and open primaries; a return to a Howard Dean-like 50-state strategy. These are all really interesting ideas, but as Political Animal points out, the first two are controlled entirely by state legislatures and state parties, so unless his people are willing to become seriously engaged members of the Democratic Party at the state level, there’s no way this is going to happen. And the 50-state strategy sounds like a great idea – I used to be all-in on it! – until you look at what it actually produces. Do Bernie and his people really want to see a Democratic Party populated by more Southern, conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats? Because it’s the South and the rural West where Dems tend not to run candidates, and if the party were to push hard into those places, you’d get exactly what you got in 2006 and 2008 – Democrats that behave like Republcans. Believe me, I get the impulse, I really do. But in our current political culture and with our current set of political institutions, I don’t think a true 50-state strategy does anything other than make the Democratic Party more like the Republican Party. I’m open to arguments as to why 2016 might be different than 2008, but I’ve yet to hear any good ones.
    • And can we get real for a minute about all this? If Bernie really wants to make things more small- democratic, can he please come out against caucuses? Because caucuses are just voter ID laws on steroids.j And sure, doing so would mean repudiating most of his wins, but so what? He’s a principled revolutionary seeking long-term positive social change, yeah?

    General Election

    • Donald Trump says women don’t like Hillary. He’s right, particularly so with married women. The problem? No matter what Druge’s random headlines might scream, Women dislike Trump even more, and not just by a little bit. If you’re an older white dude I’m sure Trump’s whole “Hillary is an incompetent woman” line of attack sounds like a winner to you. It sure does to Trump! Me? I’m not gonna say nothing. Wouldn’t want to get in the way of what comes next. 
    • The last time Republicans were this unpopular a dude named Clinton became President. 
    • So far, Republicans in competitive races seem to want to have nothing to do with Trump. According to the widely regarded Cook Report, there are 11 Republican Senators and 34 Republican  members of the House facing competitive races this year (Let me put down a marker here: that House number will expand by at least 10 between now and September 15). So far, only one has endorsed Trump, and most have either stayed on the sidelines or announced that they wont be attending their party’s convention this summer. Obviously it’s still early, and plenty of them could either change their minds or come around. But as the summer turns into the fall, keep that list from Cook Report in mind: if the people on that list break for Trump, it is because they believe it will help them in their own races to do so, and if they stay away it is because they believe  associating themselves with him will hurt their changes. No need for punditry or back and forth on this – their own self-interested actions will quite clearly explain themselves.
    • So far, Trump appears to have neither a plan for party fundraising in the general election nor a process for vetting and selecting a Vice Presidential candidate. And as Matt Kerbel points out, it is extraordinarily unlikely that anyone even remotely associated with the Republican establishment will want to serve if asked (he calls it the Sargent Shriver problem, another comparison that should terrify my Republican readers. But won’t, because reasons!) But I think he’s underselling the problem, because I think Trump is going to go WAAAY off the reservation with his pick. Mark my words: the VP selection will be one of three truly horrific mistakes that Trump makes between now and November. It will be like Palin but then worse- 72 hours of good press followed by two months of embarrassment, including one that drowns out everything else for a good 48 hours. Not sure yet what the other two will be, but as you can see, I’ve no problem making specific predictions, so I’ll be back with them once I figure them out! 
    • In the same ways that fears of an Obama presidency led people to stock up on guns and ammo, fears of a Trump presidency are leading to a surge in naturalization and new voter registrations. Hooray for new American citizens! Hooray for integration into the Ameican community! C’mon, Republicans, that’s what you’ve always said you wanted, right? 
    • Republican votes are angry. Some of Bernie’s Bros are angry too. But average Americans? Nope. The President’s approval rating has been above 50% for months, and consumer confidence is at the level that leads to the election of the incumbent party. And before you start screaming about how the polls are wrong, I’ll remind you Democrats of 2004 and you Republicans of both 2008 and 2012. The polls might be wrong from moment to moment, but the averages over time are solid. Which brings us back to where we started – Josh is right, two political universes, and for now at least there’s no bridging the gap between them.