Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category


In the end the GOP, not the Democrats, will determine Trump’s future

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

The American left seems unable to come to terms with Trump and doesn’t know how to deal with him. It’s his own side he should be worried about says Keiran Pedley

Donald Trump’s presidency may barely be 6 months old but it certainly feels like the die is being cast. The Russian investigation, healthcare fights and threat of war with North Korea are setting the tone for his first term as midterm elections loom next year.

America’s dark side rears its head

This weekend the world has looked on aghast at events in Virginia. At the time of writing a state of emergency has been declared as ‘alt-right protestors’ (e.g. neo Nazi thugs) march on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate war hero Robert E Lee. Watching the violence on television is a sobering reminder of America’s past and how race continues to define politics there in a way – for all our faults – it simply doesn’t here.

Don’t press the button!

Meanwhile, in Korea tensions have risen in a way that feels different to before. North Korea now appears to have the ability to fire viable nuclear weapons. Experts continue to question their ability to fire them accurately but that will be little consolation to the people of Guam, the small US territory in the pacific that appears to be the sights of North Korean leader Kim Jung un.

Liberals react badly

As the pace of events picks up, America’s left has reacted with horror. It’s understandable. The far right appears to be quite literally on the march and Trump’s threats to meet North Korean aggression with ‘fire and fury’ make the prospect of a cataclysmic war in Asia seem frighteningly real.

With Republicans in control of Congress all Democrats can do is look on helplessly. That lack of Congressional control, plus a challenging electoral map next year, means Democrats need to get their message to the American people right as they look to turn the tide.

I’m concerned that they won’t. Many liberal commentators in the U.S. will have you believe that Trump is genuinely about the start a nuclear war (he isn’t) and that the morons in Charlottesville somehow represent the average Trump voter (they don’t).If they aren’t careful, their tendency to react hysterically to everything Trump says and does will end up being the political equivalent of the boy who cried wolf. Voters will stop listening and may start to believe Trump when he tells them that ‘they are all out to get me’. Bluntly, American liberals risk handing Trump an ability to fight back against them that he doesn’t deserve.

Look behind you Donald

With American liberals floundering for a message that resonates, plus a weak Democratic bench in 2020, my hunch is that Trump’s biggest problem may end up being his own side. His relationship with Senate leader Mitch McConnell has soured and a very interesting poll last week put Ohio Governor John Kasich 12 points ahead of Trump among Republicans in a hypothetical primary matchup in New Hampshire.

I’ve long been of the view that Trump will not get impeached but that he might face a challenge from his own side in 2020 that causes him not to run again. If Trump can’t get healthcare through and he allows North Korea to become an untouchable nuclear power then his opponents in the GOP (who will be horrified) will smell blood. This is before we consider the ramifications of the ongoing Russia investigation for the medium and long term political environment in Washington.
Watch South Carolina Senator and Trump critic Lindsey Graham, close friend of John McCain, who I see as a potential ‘stalking horse’ candidate in Iowa for 2020. He won’t be president but he could be the guy the performs well and persuades others to enter the race. It may well be that the 2020 Presidential Election doesn’t involve Donald Trump at all. A Democrat may end up in the White House in 2020 but I suspect the Kasich’s and Pence’s of this world are eyeing up the Oval Office too.

Keiran Pedley tweets about politics and public opinion at @keiranpedley


The Trump Presidency after 200 days and the ratings slump continues

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017


A new CNN/SSRS poll has been published overnight and the figures look even bleaker for the property billionaire who won last year’ White House race. These are some of the findings:

How Trump Is Handling Job as President

Strongly approve 24%
Moderately approve 14%
Moderately disapprove 9%
Strongly disapprove 47%

Is Trump Someone You Are Proud to Have As President?

Yes 34%
No 63%

Trust Most of What You Hear from the White House?

Yes 24%
No 73%

First six months of Trump’s time in office?:

A success 36%

A failure 59%

The betting, meanwhile, edges away from Trump completing a first term. I have yet to be tempted to have a punt.

Politically the big challenge facing Trump is maintaining the support of his party in the run-up to next November’s midterm elections. If those in Congress up for election next year see themselves losing because Trump is dragging the party down then he could be in real difficulty.

Mike Smithson


As Trump’s rating slump even more it’s now odds-on that he won’t serve a full term

Friday, August 4th, 2017


His approval ratings slump following the Obamacare change failure


The innards of the polls are terrible for the President

The big political story in the US over the past few weeks has been the failure of the White House to get the promised changes to ObamaCare through Congress. The proposals would have impacted on millions of Americans who rely on the system that the Democratic party introduced during the Obama Presidency for their health cover.

The efforts to get this through have dominated the news and the big message is that Trump’s controversial initiative has failed. This isn’t good for someone who has been in the White House for little more than six months.

We don’t need reminding that this failure comes at a time when the Republican party controls the House, the Senate and, of course, has Trump at the White House

PoliticalWire had a good analysis of the respected Quinnipiac poll that offers four choices when it asks its approval question. Do respondents approve strongly or somewhat or do they disapprove somewhat or strongly. The normal practice is to add the strongly and somewhats’ together to get the regular ratings.

    The breakdown had 55% of those sampled saying they disapprove strongly with 6% saying disapprove somewhat. This compared with 23% saying they approved of Trump strongly with 10% saying somewhat.

As seen in the RCP polling average chart above Quinnipiac numbers are very much in line with the rest.

Another appalling finding for Trump is that 54% to 26% voters say that they are embarrassed rather than proud to have Trump as president and by 57% to 40%, they say he is abusing the powers of his office.

Looming next year for Trump are the mid-term elections and those will focus the minds of the leadership of his party.

Mike Smithson


The betting edges a notch from Trump and now its a 51% chance that he won’t serve the full 4 year term

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017


Tonight’s cartoon on the crazy staff changes in the Trump White House

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Just trying to keep up with the ins and out in the Trump White House is becoming a huge challenge. In the past fortnight we’ve seen the exits Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, and Reince Priebus, the first chief of staff. Tonight’s news is that the President has removed Anthony Scaramucci from his Communications Director role after he’d served for just ten days.

Quite whether things will now settle down is hard to say but the rapidity of the changes hardly gives a good impression and responsibly, surely, rests in the Oval office.

Mike Smithson


After what’s been described as Trump’s worst week yet the betting stays with the president surviving

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Chaos and back-stabbing have become the new norm

Based on publicly available betting data the main issue that’s attracted the interest of political punters in the past week has been whether or not Mr. Trump is going to survive as President to the end of a full term. The numbers are in the chart above and show that the UK betting markets rate his chances of remaining at 51%.

So far I’ve not been tempted by the Trump survival betting because I don’t like the betting options that are on offer. How many months that he serves as president would be a good spread market but, alas, the spread firms are far less imaginative than they were in the 1990s when Bill Clinton had all his troubles.

The President’s tumultuous week in which his main legislative objective of repealing ObamaCare failed is well described Peter Baker in the New York Times on the background to the latest White House staff moves.

“.The shake-up followed a week that saw the bombastic, with-me-or-against-me president defied as never before by Washington and its institutions, including Republicans in Congress, his own attorney general, the uniformed military leadership, police officers and even the Boy Scouts. No longer daunted by a president with a Twitter account that he uses like a Gatling gun, members of his own party made clear that they were increasingly willing to stand against him on issues like health care and Russia.

The setbacks came against the backdrop of a West Wing at war with itself, egged on by a president who thrives on conflict and chaos…”

At the moment the Republicans hold the White House, the House and the Senate a situation that might not survive the November 2018 mid-term elections. This should be the period when the Trump administration gets most done.

Mike Smithson


Back Trump to be impeached in 2019 at 18-1

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Making enemies could cost him dear, as McCain has already shown

Donald Trump is an unusual president. Unusual in the same way that a triceratops turning up at Crufts would be unusual. He is not merely of a different species; his whole manner and understanding of the role are utterly alien to DC.

Even by his standards though, this week has been extraordinary. He publicly attacked his own Attorney General, he banned transgender people from serving in the military (without bothering to run it past the Joint Chiefs or the Defense Secretary), he has overseen his communications director describing his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, as a “paranoid schizophrenic”, he lost a key vote on Obamacare after three Republicans rebelled (including John McCain, who Trump mocked for being captured during Vietnam; a war Trump dodged serving in), and he ended it by firing the aforementioned Priebus. And that list could easily be extended.

In normal times, any one of those stories could have dominated the news for two or three days but these aren’t normal times and the rapidity with which they come means that the morning’s news may be barely mentioned by the evening bulletins.

Does it matter? If a president wants to run the White House in a way that might be unorthodox but which has worked for him in business, why shouldn’t he?

The simple answer is yes, it does matter. It matters because politics is not business and as the healthcare vote proved, the methods cannot be directly imported: Trump simply does not have the power as president to shape Washington that he had within his business. Not only can he not fire senators or congressmen, he may find that he cannot even fire members of his own administration if they enjoy sufficient support on the Hill (as Sessions does) – or if he does, it will come at a grievous price.

How high might that price be? Is it time to mention the ‘I’ word again? With Trump, it always is. None of what he’s done this week is impeachable. It may be that his transgender ban is ruled unlawful but even if it is, it’d hardly be the high crime or misdemeanour that the constitution requires. His attacks on his Attorney General are certainly unwise and probably inappropriate but it’d be a stretch to suggest they’re illegal. For that matter, there is no proscription on running a chaotic and dysfunctional administration or losing congressional votes on your platform.

What the week does demonstrates yet again is Trump’s utter disdain for the rules of politics, not just in the sense of what works and what’s effective but in that indefinable but very real sense of what’s appropriate. In a rare moment of modesty on Tuesday, he described himself as capable of being the second-most presidential president ever, after Lincoln (which nonetheless puts him ahead of Washington, for example). It’s a claim which is would be utterly laughable if it didn’t reveal the combination of delusion and rampant ego at the heart of it.

And when delusion, ego and a disdain for the rules meet (plus a thin skin and an unhealthy desire for revenge when he feels wronged), there opens up the very real possibility of Trump doing something which does finally go beyond the pale. There also opens up the likely scenario that should something of that nature occur, he’ll find himself with few defenders.

Rather than try to speculate about what might occur, or when, we’re better off looking at the politics – because impeachment is ultimately about politics. Proceedings are unlikely to be brought in 2020: that’s too close to the election and if there were some particularly scandalous behaviour, congress would still be likely to leave it to the voting public in the primaries and – if it got that far – the general election to deal with the matter.

Similarly, while there is a chance of action being taken this year or next, the odds aren’t attractive. For one thing, Trump is here protected by his otherness. Politicians will be wary of someone who ignored all the rules and yet won anyway as it implies powers in action that they do not fully understand and hence might suffer from. That’s not to say Trump is safe – he’s too hyperactive and too unrestrained for that – but it does give a layer of cover.

No, to me, 2019 offers the best value being priced as far out as 18/1 for an impeachment vote with Paddy Power. 2019 is, obviously, after the mid-term elections. That matters on two counts. Firstly, midterm elections tend to run against the White House and though that’s unlikely to result in a change of control of the Senate, where the GOP are only defending eight of the 33 seats, it could well flip control of the House – and it’s in the House where an impeachment vote would take place (the Senate conducts the trial).

The second reason is related: if the Republicans do badly, that will tarnish Trump’s aura of being able to defy political gravity. He would no doubt try to distance himself from a defeat and put it down to his party in congress but even if there were truth in that analysis, it’s not one that will easily be accepted by the congressmen whose votes would matter and whose seats would be on the line. Not that that would even necessarily matter if the Democrats gain control.

Impeachments are rare but they are rare because presidents usually play by both the written and unwritten rules. Trump doesn’t play by those rules, which is in different ways both an advantage and a handicap politically, as well as potentially courting action by the very fact of his unorthodox behaviour. They’re also rare because in reality, popularity will protect a president. Trump, however, isn’t popular – his current approval ratings are worse than anything that Obama ever recorded in his eight years. He is vulnerable to an attack on the right issue at the right time. And to my mind, 2019 is the easiest time.

David Herdson


Unsurprisingly the betting moves against Trump serving a full term

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Following the recent revelations about Donald Trump Jr the betting on Trump serving a full term dipped below 50% for the first time in nearly two months, though at the time of writing at (12.30pm BST) the odds were 50/50.

I’m still backing him to serve a full term for the reasons stated last night, I just can’t see the Democrats coming anywhere near close to having 67 Senators, as would be needed to convict Donald Trump Snr in the Senate nor can I see enough Republican Senators voting to convict either (I’m assuming the Democrats take the House next year, and that they will vote to impeach.)

It will be an amusing irony if Donald Trump’s Presidency were to be ended by a controversy over emails, given the brouhaha over Hillary Clinton’s emails and email server which many felt derailed her campaign to become President.