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America looks at the first month of Trump’s presidency

America looks at the first month of Trump’s presidency

Two different worlds

The first month of Trump’s presidency has highlighted marked divisions in public opinion that have been building for many years.

Do you remember Obama’s 2004 DNC speech? It had a dramatic effect on many listeners, and helped to set him on the road to the eventual presidency. The lines that appeared to have resonated most were these, which spoke to a deep yearning that already existed in many Americans who were listening:

It’s painful to look back and reflect that one of those “who, even as we speak…are preparing to divide us” seems to have been the speaker himself, Barack Obama. He did a mighty fine job of it too, although he certainly wasn’t alone; he had plenty of help in that endeavor.

Which brings us to now, twelve years after that speech and eight years after Obama took the oath of office in 2008. It’s easy—on opening one’s phone or computer and checking out the news—to see that division quite starkly. To take just one example typical of many, Memeorandum (which I’ve long used as one of my go-to sources for a variety of the most talked-about topics and articles of the day on the web) features an abundance of daily links to pieces that are profoundly anti-Trump. It’s clear that the self-styled “Resistance” is active and energized, and that the MSM has suddenly and magically regained its ability to Question Authority, now that the authority is Donald Trump and the Republicans he appoints. The NY Times has even seen its digital subscription numbers rise in the last quarter of 2016, to the highest levels since its current pay model was instituted in 2011.

Meanwhile, for the most part, periodicals and pundits on the right soldier on in a different world, a world in which Trump is making many excellent appointments, giving good speeches, and generally going about the business of setting up his presidency, while the stock market climbs (for now, anyway).

Two different worlds, we live in two different worlds. And never the twain shall meet—at least, hardly ever.

I want to mention something that I experienced the other day, though, while talking to a liberal friend who had voted for Hillary Clinton and most definitely doesn’t like Trump. This friend mentioned that she had watched part of Trump’s recent press conference, the one in which he’d criticized the MSM in no uncertain terms, and she’d noticed several things.

The first was that some of what Trump said had made sense to her. The second was that he predicted the press reaction when he said, “Tomorrow, [the press] will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.’ I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you.” She agreed that he hadn’t really been “ranting and raving” during that press conference and yet she also noted with some surprise that Trump had predicted correctly, because that was exactly the spin the press gave his performance. It certainly got her attention.

How common is that sort of reaction in a liberal watcher? I doubt very; but I report at least one, anyway. What difference will it make? I don’t know; perhaps little or none. But the farther the press goes with the extremity of its negative spin, the more some more moderate liberals who are paying attention are bound to notice that something is amiss.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Bitterlyclinging | February 25, 2017 at 7:44 am

After 8 years of Buraq Hussein Obama, the only way Americans will be united again is when they are lying, piled on top of each other, in mass graves.

casualobserver | February 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

It is perfectly clear to any observer that the left had decided that deepening the division is the highest priority in their minds. Oddly, they want near revolt, and somehow think that is the path to winning more votes outside of the west coast and the northeast. Worse in my opinion is that they have decided to draw that line of division by race, gender, sexuality. And it isn’t a thin line they are drawing either. So, post election it has shifted considerably. Very little talk of economics or the middle class. All about progressive protected classes.

    “It is perfectly clear to any observer that the left had decided that deepening the division is the highest priority in their minds.”

    Yes. The great irony is that they don’t realize that (at least to my perception) Trump has decided that this is his top priority as well. It’s a huge gamble on both their parts, and I don’t think this is a safe direction for any of us. But, it may be that the times are such that we have no other path to take.

    GWB was a very nice man, who thought it was bad for the country if he fought back as a partisan while he was President. And we all know how that turned out. When I see the left today, and wonder how hard a fight we should put up, I think about this:

    “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” – Winston Churchill

      casualobserver in reply to Tom Servo. | February 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      “Trump has decided that this is his top priority as well.”
      I don’t see it that way. He is only targeting media that is less than rigorous in their sourcing and reporting. In fact, some of his actions so far satisfy the left more than the right (or should if they weren’t being to anti-Trump about everything).

I would call this first month bumpy; there were several amateurish mistakes, but all things that can be corrected and none that will have permanent consequences. (the rushed rollout of the immigration EO’s, especially)

On the other hand, the appointments have been fantastic, as has been the ability to keep the Senate Republicans together in all important aspects. (John McCain is now the GOP’s grumpy old uncle who is always going to wander off and complain bitterly about something from time to time – if it isn’t immigration, it’ll be too many lumps in his cream of wheat)

Most of all, Trump has made a better show of working to live up to his campaign promises since any President I have seen since Reagan. People who hated what he said then will hate what he’s doing now, can’t help that. But I think he knows that GWB failed because he lost the support of his people, not because he aggravated the left.

    Walker Evans in reply to Tom Servo. | February 27, 2017 at 12:03 am

    The only thing wrong with the first EO on immigration was that it was signed by Donald Trump. It was well written and in complete accordance with 8 USC 1182(f). It did not say any of the things its detractors claimed. No one who had actually read it could have made those statements unless they were knowingly lying; Ms Streep in her righteous arrogance made an ass of herself, although she doesn’t seem to have realized that yet.

    The left is either lying or they are taking the word of someone who is; there seems no other choice.

I see two possible snares in the future. One iwould be taking away the states’ right to regulate marijuana, and the other would be getting embroiled in a military fiasco or proxy war.

My impression is he promised not to do these things. We’ll see.

    Tom Servo in reply to Petrushka. | February 25, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I think having 3 generals so high up in his command structure actually makes military adventures much less likely. Military amateurs are much more likely to take an overly optimistic view of how things will play out and jump into something they shouldn’t; case in point, Obama and Hillary all gung ho about making war on Libya.

    Trump is of course an amateur, but Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster, will put the brakes on any adventurism. And remember that Trump campaigned on pulling back to America and not getting involved in a bunch of foreign adventurism.

    A close to home example – I think an adventurous President would currently be looking at finding some way to overthrow the Venezuelan govm’t. since they are turning into a totalitarian dictatorship right in our own backyard. But I think Trump will be content just to take a completely hands off, no contact approach, and just stand back and watch them while they burn. And at this time in our history, I think that approach is the best, for us at least. For the Venezuelans – well, they’re damned already. Time for them to learn again that if you won’t stand up for yourselves, no one else will stand up for you.

      Joe-dallas in reply to Tom Servo. | February 25, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      “I think having 3 generals so high up in his command structure actually makes military adventures much less likely. Military amateurs are much more likely to take an overly optimistic view of how things will play out and jump into something they shouldn’t”

      A good example would be the eisenhower administration. He had plenty of opportunities to get into a shooting war, suez canal, etc.

What’s clear after Month One is that Trump’s not a professional politician. He’s a professional manager.

We haven’t had one of those in a loooong time.

We should do it more often.

As for the Two Americas … one half is intent on running off a cliff, and our Professional Politicians seem to think that there’s some virtue in sending the other half off the same cliff, all in the name of “bringing us together”.

Trump seems happy to let one half run off the cliff, but not forcing the other half to go along. Sounds good to me.

E pluribus unum was a formula for defense against Britain, and became a practical plan immediately after the Crown’s response to the original Tea Party. It was never intended to be a suicide pact.

    casualobserver in reply to tom swift. | February 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    “What’s clear after Month One is that Trump’s not a professional politician. He’s a professional manager.”

    I think he is more of an anti-politician who also has a long track record of being a executive in the business world. Other politicians have been fair executives (some claim 43 was), but rarely in over 200 years has someone deliberately wanted to be anti-politician. Trump has played politics in his life, and most people who build a business must do it off and on. Especially to survive in the real estate world in big cities. For Trump it is deliberate, like I say.

      tom swift in reply to casualobserver. | February 25, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      It’s an entirely different career path.

      A professional politician’s career consists of staying in office. That’s not just a detail; it’s vital, the difference between success and failure. To do that, he needs votes, if not immediately, then in the foreseeable future. He already has the votes of one chunk of the electorate; but he’ll eventually almost certainly need more, and he’ll get those by sucking up to voters who aren’t currently his supporters. This is why, immediately on gaining office, they almost aways start wimping out on the promises they made to get elected to the office in the first place.

      A manager’s job is much more straightforward. Success or failure is not measured by how long he can prolong his job, but by how well he performs it, as determined by the people who hired him.

      The outlook and methodology are radically different, and, if we’re lucky, the results will be, too.

It is like old coversations (arguments) that I had with a co worker in grad school. I listened to Rush in the lab, and she said “How can you listen to him? He is so (insert liberal accusation here)!! I calmly said: “what did he say that made you think that?” To which she replied “I don’t listen to him.” Nice for a scientist, eh? Liberals only believe what they hear from other libs. If they actually listened to people, as neo’s friend did, they might actually learn something based on fact and not leftist hysteria. Kinda like now.

I’ve been meeting regularly at a local watering hole in Ann Arbor with a Liberal friend who says adamantly that he is not a Democrat and not a Leftist and he’s embarrassed by his other Liberal Progressive friends in town. He can’t even talk to them anymore. He doesn’t like Trump but he is smart enough to appreciate what he’s doing. That’s a win for the Right, in my opinion.

It’s an anecdotal story but I am seeing others where posters have said they have moved a step farther away from the Democrats due to what they are seeing. The migration seems to be towards Trump and seeing as he is not up but Republicans are in 2018 it is worse for Democrats. I can’t imagine the Democrat party is going to go on and on about impeachment, etc and have anyone see them as the party they want in charge. The midterms are always whiter and more conservative which makes it worse since their identity politics and open borders is the last thing older and whiter voters would want to see. It will be interesting to see how Perez does the dance around the progressive base. Shumer doesn’t look so good so far trying to do it.