"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, December 16, 2016

Call me pisher, Or: Donald Trump's landslide [not]

"[We had a] massive landslide in the electoral college.”

As a butthurt "journalist" reminds us in the butthurt Los Angeles Times, Trump's 306-232 EC win was only 46th-best in 52 presidential elections. And if you google "trump landslide electoral college" you'll see a ton more of delicious butthurt.

Of course to normal people, 306-232 looks like quite a thumping, but we're told 56.97% of the EC ain't a landslide, let alone massive.

OK, so be it. Once again Trump loses the battle of the factoids. Make that President Trump.

It's all Trump's pushback [he always pushes back] on the left's attack on his legitimacy which continues to this very moment. As Dick Morris called it back in the Clinton days, the "permanent campaign." Bill did it, Barack did it, and each will have had left office with their approval ratings in the black.

By contrast, President Dubya Bush didn't believe in the "permanent campaign" and so he left office deeply in the red. If you don't act like you're winning, most of the public will believe you're not. As things began to sour in Iraq and in the economy in 2006, Dubya went into a shell. He lost both houses of Congress that year, and though he limped home with the war in Iraq re-won as the result of his single-minded shepherding of The Surge, whatever was not left in ashes was soon turned to ashes by his successor.

[Indeed, it's said Poppy Bush felt campaigning vigorously for re-election versus upstart Bill Clinton in 1992 was a bit beneath him. Forget the "permanent campaign"; Poppy wouldn't even campaign-campaign!]

Well, that was the end of that, and the beginning of something else. The Permanent Campaign isn't just directed to the "24/7 news cycle," we have the First Twitter President, folks.

It's early in the going with President Trump, but already he is showing signs of not repeating Jimmy Carter's fundamental error of losing his own party, and now not repeating the Bush errors of trying to absorb attacks with patience, class and dignity rather than vigorously beating them back.

Trump's approval numbers have been rising after starting at a historic post-election low, and I certainly think he would not have won the presidency had he not seemed so convinced he would win despite his political obituary already having been printed by 98% of the experts.

As for Trump's [lack of?] mandate, I'd say he has enough of one as long as he's in harmony with his party--which he is so far. FTR [and pardon my Wiki], in the House elections, the GOP got 3 million more votes [a 2.6% margin], fairly obviating the Democrat argument about Hillary getting the plurality of the presidential popular vote.

All that remains for Trump to do is continue to play "strong horse," and build his popular support--just as he did in somehow winning the presidency in the first place--and if that takes a bit of hyperbole like "landslide," well, call him pisher.



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