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Monday, May 01, 2017

Paul Krugman: On the Power of Being Awful

"What will Trump’s Katrina moment look like?":

On the Power of Being Awful, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: The 100-day reviews are in, and they’re terrible. The... faceplants just keep coming... The gap between big boasts and tiny achievements has never been wider.
Yet there have, by my count, been seven thousand news articles — O.K., it’s a rough estimate — about how Trump supporters are standing by their man, are angry at those meanies in the news media, and would gladly vote for him all over again. What’s going on? ...
One basic principle I’ve learned in my years at The Times is that almost nobody ever admits being wrong about anything — and the wronger they were, the less willing they are to concede error. ...
Now think about what it means to have voted for Trump. The news media spent much of the campaign indulging in an orgy of false equivalence; nonetheless, most voters probably got the message that the political/media establishment considered Trump ignorant and temperamentally unqualified to be president. So the Trump vote had a strong element of: “Ha! You elites think you’re so smart? We’ll show you!”
Now, sure enough, it turns out that Trump is ignorant and temperamentally unqualified to be president. But if you think his supporters will accept this reality any time soon, you must not know much about human nature. In a perverse way, Trump’s sheer awfulness offers him some political protection: His supporters aren’t ready, at least so far, to admit that they made that big a mistake. ...
Sooner or later, however, this levee is going to break. ...
I’m old enough to remember when George W. Bush was wildly popular — and while his numbers gradually deflated from their post 9/11 high, it was a slow process. What really pushed his former supporters to reconsider, as I perceived it — and this perception is borne out by polling — was the Katrina debacle, in which everyone could see the Bush administration’s callousness and incompetence playing out live on TV.
What will Trump’s Katrina moment look like? Will it be the collapse of health insurance due to administration sabotage? A recession this White House has no idea how to handle? A natural disaster or public health crisis? One way or another, it’s coming.
Oh, and one more note: By 2006, a majority of those polled claimed to have voted for John Kerry in 2004. It will be interesting, a couple of years from now, to see how many people say they voted for Donald Trump.

    Posted by on Monday, May 1, 2017 at 10:52 AM Permalink  Comments (58)


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