It is not yet the summer of 2019 and even the most indolent of political observers grows weary of the campaign. Here in Paris, where the competition of rival electric scooter companies seems urgent and compelling, I try to achieve some perspective on what may, if things go badly, be the death throes of American democracy. Herewith a few thoughts after an absence of a month from the blogosphere.
1. Within two months of his inauguration, Trump’s disapproval rose above 50%, his approval, which has never been positive, sank to between 44% and 37%, and that is where the numbers of have remained for 27 months. Nothing that goes right for him gets him to 45% approval, and nothing that goes wrong for him gets him below 37% approval. This constancy is, I believe, unprecedented in the modern polling era and very strongly suggests that nothing much will change in the fifteen and a half months that remain until the 2020 election. The good news is that a majority of American voters disapprove of Trump. The appallingly bad news is that well over 100 million adult Americans approve of Trump. Trump is an odds-on favorite to lose in 2020. This fact may well influence the choice of a Democratic candidate.
2. I am increasingly doubtful that Biden will in the end secure the Democratic nomination. Never mind what is, from my point of view, wrong with him. He is carrying more baggage than the cargo hold of a 747, and history suggests that he is an awful campaigner. If he does not remain the clear front runner six months from now, I think he is toast. One can but hope.
3. Buttigieg is a flash in the pan. At the moment, he is sucking up rating points that some of the one percenters need, but I do not believe he is viable. His secret flaw, I am sorry to say, is the homophobia of the older Black community.
4. Sanders, I am afraid, won’t make it. His best shot was as the bearer of all the hopes of young progressives, but his success has been his undoing, for too many other candidates now espouse the policies he reintroduced into Democratic politics after their half century long disappearance.
5. Warren against all the odds, may make a serious run for it. The random allotment of debate slots seems to have been handcrafted to help her. We shall see how the polls look after next week’s debates.
If everything else was not enough to demonstrate the world-historical decline of the American empire, the NBA championship went to foreigners.
I will let you know how the dinner with Leiter goes.