Trump’s Next Foil — California; Plus, Crocodile Tears on Bolton, Canadian Election
Author: Greg Valliere
September 11, 2019
DONALD TRUMP’S GREAT SKILL: No one can identify and demonize a foil like President Trump, which is one of many reasons why it’s way too soon to count him out despite terrible poll numbers. Just last night in North Carolina, GOP turnout seemed boosted by voters who agree with Trump’s assertion that Democrats are socialists who will ruin the country. And more foils are coming.
THE NEXT ONE WILL BE CALIFORNIA, where the non-judgmental climate in San Francisco and Los Angeles has produced Dickensonian scenes of addicts sleeping in the streets. The upcoming narrative seems clear: Trump is about to demand a crackdown, but negotiations to produce reforms will break down because the state’s uber-liberal Democrats will refuse to deal with him. Trump will then blast away, making the squalor in California a campaign issue.
TRUMP NEEDS ISSUES LIKE THIS to drive up turnout, as he did last night, where the Republican candidate won by only 2%. The losing Democrat, a politically moderate former Marine officer, was hurt Trump’s last minute charges that Democrats “hate” America. Politics ain’t pretty, and Trump knows how to push the buttons.
NEW POLLS FROM THE WASHINGTON POST AND ABC NEWS were immediately denounced as “fake” by Trump because they showed a sharp drop in his approval rating — below the all-important 40% threshold — and, more importantly, a significant decline in his ratings on handling the economy. With a new poll in Texas showing him trailing the top three Democrats, you know Trump is vulnerable — which is why he will exploit every foil imaginable.
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CROCODILE TEARS ON BOLTON: The hypocrisy is always thick in Washington, so yesterday’s reaction to John Bolton’s sacking wasn’t surprising. He’s an abrasive foreign policy militant, even more hawkish than Dick Cheney, and he couldn’t get along with anyone in the Trump Administration, including the president.
BUT BOLTON WAS HAILED yesterday by Washington’s Trump-hating talking heads as a victim of Trump’s dysfunction; suddenly, Bolton has become a sympathetic figure despite his desire to take military action in Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, etc.
TWO TAKE-AWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE: First, Trump and Trump alone is the decision-maker; Bolton’s replacement will have little real influence. Second, chances of U.S. military involvement in global hot-spots have diminished a bit. Trump is eager to meet with all of the world’s despots, and undoubtedly will get some great photo-ops before the election, claiming victories when none are apparent.
TRUMP IS AN ISOLATIONIST, averse to nation-building and foreign entanglements. While chances of a serious conflict aren’t zero, they’re lower than in recent years because the president wants a huge defense budget and personal deal-making, and his unorthodox approach has kept the U.S. out of war.
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WE LOVE FASCINATING ELECTION CAMPAIGNS, so a treat is about to begin in Canada, where Justin Trudeau launches his re-election campaign today. Unlike the endless slog in America, Canada will vote in about five weeks. What makes this election interesting is a scandal that Trudeau handled poorly, offset by an economy that looks pretty good in all but the energy-producing provinces.
THEN ADD IN A WILD CARD: Could the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact, replacing NAFTA, be ratified before the Oct. 21 election? We think it’s possible. Any kind of breakthrough would help Trudeau claim that he has won a great victory for his country’s economy.
SO IT LOOKS LIKE A CLOSE RACE between the charismatic Trudeau and the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, 40, who is a classic small-government, low-tax candidate who is socially conservative. A major complication in the race will be third and fourth parties, especially the Greens, who favor a carbon tax, an issue that could hurt Trudeau.
THE FINAL OUTCOME may be a weakened Trudeau, forced to patch together a minority government and an awkward coalition in Parliament. That could result in still another election within a year or so.
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