Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman (one of my favorite journalists) reports that Donald Trump is increasingly desperate and down about his nosediving poll numbers. So much so that he called one of his Fox News unofficial advisors, Tucker Carlson, and asked Carlson (who some GOPers now say is arousing interest as a Presidential candidate in 2024) what he should do.
Here’s part of his report:
With Donald Trump’s approval sinking to Jimmy Carter levels and coronavirus cases spiking across the country, Trump is reluctantly waking up to the grim reality that, if the current situation holds, his reelection is gone. Republicans that have spoken with Trump in recent days describe him as depressed and “down in the dumps.” “People around him think his heart’s not in it,” a Republican close to the White House said. Torn between the imperative to win suburban voters and his instincts to play to his base, Trump has complained to people that he’s in a political box with no obvious way out. According to the Republican, Trump called Tucker Carlson late last week and said, “what do I do? What do I do?”
To console himself, Trump still has moments of magical thinking. “He says the polls are all fake,” a Republican in touch with Trump told me. But the bad news keeps coming. This week, Jacksonville, Florida—where Trump moved the Republican National Convention so he could hold a 15,000-person rally next month—mandated that people wear masks indoors to slow the explosion of COVID-19 cases. According to a Republican working on the convention, the campaign is now preparing to cancel the event so that Trump doesn’t suffer another Tulsa–like humiliation. “They probably won’t have it,” the source said. “It’s not going to be the soft landing Trump wanted.”
Nervous Republicans worried about losing the Senate are now debating when to break from Trump. Trump campaign internal polls show Trump’s level of “strong support” dropping from 21 to 17 points since last week, a person briefed on the numbers said. A source close to Iowa Republican Joni Ernst’s campaign said Ernst advisers are upset that a solid seat is now in play. “Joni’s campaign is pissed. They should not be in a competitive race,” the source said. (“This is completely false,” an Ernst campaign spokesperson said in a statement. “Folks are energized about re-electing Joni Ernst, President Trump and the rest of Republican ballot in Iowa this November.”) A Republican strategist close to Mitch McConnell told me that Republicans have Labor Day penciled in as the deadline for Trump to have turned things around. After that, he’s on his own.
Trump should be concerned which means Americans should be concerned because it’s likely he will take norm-shattering to even greater heights. A new poll finds more voters rule out ever voting for Trump then his likely Democratic rival Joe Biden. Intense voter suppression, some kind of a big event, or some info that comes out about Biden (most likely from a foreign source again) could be on the U.S. political horizon.
As I and many others have repeatedly noted, Trump won and rather than expand his base he has spent his presidency focused totally on the base. Rather than a unifying President, even a highly partisan President, Trump has been President of the base, by the base and for the base. Biden has a double digit lead nationally over Trump. Even though polls at this point in a Presidential race are largely meaningless, this makes the hole Trump has to climb out of vastly bigger.
Hong Kong (AFP) – Books written by prominent Hong Kong democracy activists have started to disappear from the city’s libraries, online records show, days after Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the finance hub.Among the authors whose titles are no longer available are Joshua Wong, one of the city’s most prominent young activists, and Tanya Chan, a well known pro-democracy lawmaker.Beijing’s new national security law was imposed on Tuesday and is the most radical shift in how the semi-autonomous city is run since it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.China’s authorit…
Keystone (United States) (AFP) – US President Donald Trump bemoaned protests demanding racial justice as “violent mayhem” Friday, but said little about an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases as he attended a crowded, fireworks-studded Independence Day celebration beneath majestic Mount Rushmore.Trump, under fire for his response to America’s spiraling coronavirus caseload four months before the presidential election, spoke on the eve of the July 4th celebrations before thousands of closely-packed people — many of whom chanted “Four more years;” few of whom were wearing masks.In the shado…
MIAMI — Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been arrested by federal authorities and is in the custody of federal authorities. She was arrested Thursday morning in a residence in the small town of Bradford, New Hampshire.The British socialite allegedly helped procure girls for the financier, who died in August 2019 in a jail cell after being arrested himself a month earlier on federal charges of sex trafficking.Maxwell has been charged with four counts of sex trafficking a minor and two counts of perjury, according to the federal indictment.The charges against Maxwell invol…
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Hong Kong (AFP) – China appointed a hardliner to head a new national security agency in Hong Kong Friday as police brought the first charges under a sweeping new anti-subversion law that has shaken the semi-autonomous finance hub.Zheng Yanxiong — a party official best known for tackling protests on the mainland — will lead the office set up by the legislation that empowers mainland security agents to operate in Hong Kong openly for the first time, unbound by the city’s laws.The appointment came as a man accused of deliberately driving his motorbike into a group of police officers became the …
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An election looms. An unpopular president wrestles with historic unemployment rates. Demonstrations erupt in hundreds of locations. The president deploys Army units to suppress peaceful protests in the nation’s capital. And most of all he worries about an affable Democratic candidate who is running against him without saying much about a platform or plans.
The parallels between the summer of 1932 and what is happening in the U.S. currently are striking. While the pandemic and much else is different, the political dynamics are similar enough that they are useful for anyone trying to understand where the U.S. is and where it is going.
Although less than the thousands of Black Lives Matter protests, there are similarities.
African Americans participated in these movements, and many of the protests attracted police violence. Indeed, the unemployed people’s movement of the early 1930s was the first important multiracial street protest movement of the 20th century, and police violence was especially vicious against black activists.
Atlanta authorities announced in June 1932 that 23,000 families would be cut from the list of those eligible for the meager county relief payments of 60 cents per week per person allocated to whites (less for Blacks). A mixed crowd of nearly 1,000 gathered in front of the Fulton County Courthouse for a peaceful demonstration demanding US$4 per week per family and denouncing racial discrimination.
The biracial protest was unprecedented in Atlanta and yielded two results. The eligibility cuts were canceled, and police promptly hunted down one of the organizers, a 19-year-old Black communist named Angelo Herndon. He was charged with “inciting to insurrection,” a charge that carried the death penalty. Lawyers spent the next five years winning his freedom.
Protests over unemployment
But race was not the key issue of the 1932 protest wave. It was government’s failure to rescue the millions in economic distress.
Hundreds of Chicago police mobilize to keep unemployed demonstrators at bay at the start of the Republican Party nominating convention.
• June 17
A so-called “hunger march” of 3,000 jobless in Minneapolis ends peacefully, but in Bloomington, Indiana, police use tear gas on 1,000 demonstrators demanding relief, while in Pittsburgh unemployed supporters crowd a courthouse to cheer the not-guilty verdict in an “inciting to riot” case.
• June 20
Police break up a march by 200 unemployed in Argo, Illinois, and a much larger protest by jobless in Rochester, New York. In Lawrence, Massachusetts, 500 protesters successfully demanded an end to evictions of unemployed mill workers; in Pittsburgh, protesters block the eviction of an unemployed widow. The same day in Kansas City, a mostly Black crowd of 2,000 pleads unsuccessfully with the mayor to restore a recently suspended relief program.
The unemployed protests in urban areas of 1932 seem similar to today’s protest culture, but that was not true in the farm belt.
Dealing with collapsing prices and escalating farm evictions, farmers in many regions staged near-uprisings. Black farmers in the cotton belt braved vigilante violence when, by the thousands, they joined the Alabama Sharecroppers Union, which advocated debt relief and the right of tenant farmers to market their own crops.
Newspaper headlines focused on the white farmers mobilizing in Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas in the summer of 1932. The Farmer’s Holiday Association formed that year pledging to strike (“holiday”) to raise farm prices. The strike that began on August 15 involved sometimes heavily armed white farmers blocking roads to stop the shipment of corn, wheat, milk and other products. The strike withered after a few weeks, but farmers had sent a message, and some state legislatures quickly enacted moratoriums on farm foreclosures.
Counties that today are marked as Trump territory distinguished themselves in 1932 as centers of what became known as the “Cornbelt Rebellion.”
Unrest helped FDR defeat Hoover
Periods of grassroots protest and civil unrest interact in unpredictable ways with presidential elections. In 1932, unrest helped Franklin Roosevelt defeat incumbent Herbert Hoover. Again, there are similarities between that summer and this one.
Hoover’s credibility was further damaged in the summer of 1932 when more than 15,000 World War I veterans converged on Washington, D.C. under the banner of the Bonus Expeditionary Force, commonly called the Bonus Army. They demanded that Congress immediately pay them the bonuses they were due to get in 1945.
For Hoover, the deployment of U.S. Army units played out much as it did for Trump this May, when he had Lafayette Park violently cleared of protesters. Hoover’s action deepened his image problems and strengthened the sense that he lacked compassion for those in need, including those who had fought for their country only 14 years earlier.
Hoover tried to mobilize a backlash against the summer of protests, claiming that Communists were behind all of the unrest, including the Bonus Army, which in fact had banned all Communists. It didn’t work: Roosevelt won in a landslide.
Three years of grassroots action had forced even reluctant politicians to recognize the urgency of reform. The early New Deal would race to provide debt relief for farmers and homeowners, jobs for the unemployed, and public works projects – part of what demonstrators had been demanding for years.