Sunday, August 14, 2016

Are Americans as Angry as Donald Trump Thinks?

There are two counter indicators to assess that.

On the one hand there is the number of Americans who think the country is on the wrong track. By that measure it would seem to suggest that Americans are very angry, so angry that they'd consider electing the American Caesar in an election that could easily be the last.

However, Americans when polled usually say the country is on the wrong track and these polls are of only limited value as they don't tell us why people say that.

There are no doubt some on the Right who say this because they hate Obama and some on the Left who are critical of Obama for not going far enough; in their mind he could have had single payer in 2010 if only he'd asked for it, or he could have had much tougher bank regulation than Dodd-Frank, and a bigger stimulus in 2009 if he'd just asked for it like he really meant it.

But there are also those who think the country is on the wrong track because of the GOP Congress or because of the rise of Donald Trump.

Indeed, the number of people who say the country is on the wrong track, while still high, has decreased since the DNC. This brings us to the counter indicator: President Obama. His approval rating has been over 50 this year-his best numbers since early 2013.

He had been stuck in the low 40s in 2013 and 2014. Amazing how things have flipped. Part of this no doubt is the rise of Trump. Americans are realizing they didn't have it so bad after all.

But it does suggest that even if people think the country is going in the wrong direction, they don't blame Obama. And if Trump is about anything, he's about those on the Right who hate Obama and will never concede that he's legitimate.

As for how angry Americans are:

"A Big Reason Donald Trump Is Losing: Americans Aren't as Angry as He Thinks."

"Seeking to ride a wave of populist anger to the White House, Donald Trump has offered himself to voters as a tribune of the disaffected, the disenchanted and the once-disengaged."

"I'm representing a lot of anger out there ... We're not angry people, but we're angry at the way this country's being run," he told CNN's Jake Tapper in February, as Republican voters' visceral antipathy toward the political and economic establishment was propelling him to the GOP presidential nomination.

"Accepting his party's nod in Cleveland last month, Trump made clear he had no intention of pivoting away from appeals to popular anger, warning of a "nation in crisis" amid rising crime, terrorism and political corruption."

"I am your voice," Trump proclaimed to the fed-up, the fearful, the furious.

"Many of them might agree, but the dire state of affairs confronting Trump's flailing campaign underscores that they won't be enough to lift him to victory."

"There's a laundry list of reasons Trump is trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the polls: his penchant for inflammatory rhetoric targeting immigrants, Hispanics, Muslims and women, his choice to pick a fight with a Gold Star family, his call for "Second Amendment people" to stop Clinton."

"But Trump's failure to gain traction largely boils down to something quite simple: Americans just aren't as angry as he thinks."

"At first glance, national anger would seem to be one the few big things Trump has going for him. Nearly two-thirds of Americans tell pollsters the country is on the wrong track, and an Associated Press-GfK poll released in April found that a staggering 78% of Americans were dissatisfied or angry with the federal government."

"So why aren't such figures redounding to Trump's benefit? Simply put, they don't mean what he'd like them to mean."

"People are just frustrated with politics, and it's unrelated to any party or any person," said Steve Schale, a veteran Democratic strategist who managed President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign in Florida. "They're looking at politics and asking, 'Why isn't anything getting done?'"

"There's a big difference, Schale said, between frustration with government gridlock and economic inequality, on the one hand, and, on the other, a wrathful desire to cast off the political establishment and radically upend domestic and foreign policy."

I can certainly understand the frustration of not getting anything done. Though the reason for this is the GOP's obstruction. Bruce Bartlett argues Hillary should pitch this to voters: Just give the Democrats one term of undivided government.
Ultimately the 'on the wrong track' number led Mitt Romney astray too.

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