Late Night Sad Trombones Open Thread: Viewers Grow Bored with Novelty Act

‘Bipartisan’ horse-race promoters at the Cook Report, last Thursday:

First, all the polling released in the last week shows that Trump, not Democrats are taking the blame for the shutdown. Moreover, Democratic voters are more united in the sentiment that it’s Trump fault than Republicans are united that the blame should fall on Democrats.

Trump’s decision to center the debate solely on the construction of a wall (or fence or barrier or steel slats), has also has helped to consolidate Democrats. By now, Republicans had warned us in numerous ads over the 2018 campaign, Democrats would be hosting anti-ICE protests and defending sanctuary cities. The ‘open borders’ liberals would be forcing suburban, swing seat members to choose between their moderate constituents and their liberal allies in Congress. But, what’s keeping the Democratic caucus from splitting in two (or three, or four) is that debate isn’t about immigration anymore. It’s about a wall. And, even his own base isn’t convinced that a wall is worth it.

A Pew Research Poll (Jan. 9-14) found that most Republicans, 76 percent, approve of the way Trump is handling the shutdown including 50 percent who strongly approve. But, that doesn’t match the intensity of disapproval by Democrats: 93 percent of Democrats disapprove of Trump’s handling of this shutdown situation, including 87 percent who disapprove strongly! Not surprisingly, how you feel about the president colors one’s opinion of who should take the blame for the shutdown. Among those who disapprove of the president, 88 percent put the blame on him. Those who approve of Trump as president blame Democrats. But, it’s not universal. About three-quarters (77 percent) of Trump approvers blame Democrats for the mess of the shutdown, but almost a quarter (23 percent) blame the president.

By this point, it’s pretty clear that the president and the GOP are in a very deep hole. The wall hasn’t become more popular. The majority of the public blames the shutdown on Trump. A CNN poll found that just 66 percent of Republicans agree that building the wall will help solve the crisis on the border — not exactly a ringing endorsement. But, what should worry Trump the most – and could be more problematic in the long run – was this finding in the Quinnipiac poll: When asked who they trusted more on border security, Democrats in Congress were ahead of Trump by 5 points (49 to 44 percent). In other words, not only is Trump losing the argument on the wall and the shutdown, but he’s also losing on the issue of safety and security. That’s losing the battle AND losing the war…

34 replies
  1. 1
    sigaba says:

    The “Hannity-ish part of the base” will of course return to Trump because, in the end, there’s no alternative. What are they supposed to do, challenge authority?

  2. 2
    oatler. says:

    Tomorrow Chuck Todd has on Giuliani and Liz Cheney. Both sides want you to eat shit, Chuck.

  3. 3
    Luthe says:

    Reposting from downstairs:

    The Fart Cloud’s negotiation strategy is seriously reminding me of the Goblin King in Labyrinth*: “Fear me, love me, do as I say, and I might give you a quarter of what you asked for will be your slave.”

    *with apologies to David Bowie, who at least did not have to live through this utter shitshow*

  4. 4
    Luthe says:

    @sigaba: If Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh tell them to. I’m sure Steve King always wanted a chance to run for President…

  5. 5
    sigaba says:

    @Luthe: Coulter and Limbaugh will drag him for a week until the new shiny and then be back on-side.

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    Dolt45, nor the Turtle can be trusted.
    No negotiating with terrorists😡😡

  7. 7
    misterpuff says:

    One Hit Wonder starring in One Trick Pony.

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    @sigaba: i think we’ll have to see how Fox and Friends spins this to be able to accurately assess how Trump will react…. if they blow smoke up his ass, it’ll be like Groundhog Day and we’ll get six more weeks of economic and political disaster. If they tell him or Mitch to cave, then we may see them back at the table with Nancy Smash… I guess it depends on how much short selling the Murdoch clan has done….

  9. 9
    FlipYrWhig says:

    IMHO Trump’s best move would be to quietly ask McConnell to bring up and pass the bills Pelosi is passing in the House, veto them with some showmanship, then allow the Senate to override his veto, then run for reelection raging about how The Two-Headed Washington Establishment is trying to tie his hands. That’s not necessarily Senate Republicans’ best move but they’ll survive.

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    Angela Davis (@TheKitchenista) Tweeted:
    Pay close attention to people going out of their way to speak up in defense of the Covington kids, but they never bothered to speak on any of the highly publicized cases of injustice involving children of color in recent years.

  11. 11
    sigaba says:

    Depends on your philosophy:

    A) Fox News doesn’t want to run the United States, nor do they want to be the secret power behind the throne, they want to make money, and as much money as possible off of conservative viewers. It just happens that, in the current technological and political environment, you make a lot more money by giving some self-selected minority exactly what they want, every time. So, you whip your fanbase into a rage at Trump and Mitch for their “betrayal,” no matter what they say or do. You can always shake the etch-a-sketch next week when video emerges of Kamala Harris dancing the Macarena or something.

    B) Fox News isn’t actually trying to make money, they really are trying to exert political influence on the government and Trump in particular, in which case the entire network’s content is calibrated to steer Trump and the Republican senate to whatever solution preserves the most power and freedom of maneuver, and they do it in a way that preserves the fiction that elected Republicans are still actually running the country, and not just dogs at the end of Sean Hannity’s leash.

    Both can be true, indeed I suspect Coulter and Hannity fancy themselves very powerful and influential living in column B, right up to the moment this all might crash down upon their heads because they’ve systematically sabotaged all the escape routes, like now, when they retreat into column A.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    piratedan says:

    @sigaba: in this regard, I guess we could categorize the GOP punditry as capitalistic nihilists…guess it would work for a good many of their politicians as well….

  14. 14
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Eh. I think showing some “independence” from Trump might ultimately be good for the Senate Republicans in 2020. It won’t help them in their primaries, but it might do a lot in the general.

  15. 15
    Redshift says:

    I’ll admit that intuitively, it feels very, very weak, but it’s just a bet that, in the long run, everyone will forget about it and the Hannity-ish part of the base won’t abandon him, both of which seem like reasonably safe assumptions.

    But as we’ve learned through decades of fights with gun humpers and anti-abortion fanatics, it’s about intensity, not just whether they’re “with him”.

    Even if they answer polls saying they’re with him, I wouldn’t bet on it having no effect on the enthusiasm of their support for Trump and especially for other Republicans, who are busily doing nothing.

  16. 16
    Duane says:

    @oatler.: Liz fucking Chaney. Didn’t she just flim-flam herself into the House? Hadn’t been a member two minutes till she lead the racist cheers. She’s pathetic. Reminds me why republicans and those shows suck so much.

  17. 17
    Keith P. says:

    he Hannity-ish part of the base won’t abandon him

    Yep, just as soon as the next SCOTUS opening comes up, they’ll be puckering up in no time.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @rikyrah: Very powerful, and makes an important point.

  19. 19
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Their usual reasoning, though, is that standing with Trump *might* hurt them in the general but turning on him *will* certainly kill them in the primary. The interesting question is whether that ever ceases to be true.

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Declaring emergency wall building powers will be tied up in courts for a while which means that his base still won’t get a wall any time soon. And it may end up not working out in the long run if courts decide against Trump.

    I don’t see how Trump comes out of this mess with anything resembling a win.

  21. 21
    Cermet says:

    This is a battle that will only get worse – and a lot worse – for decades to come. As AGW bites – and we are starting to see what it is doing in Central America (the drought there in some regions) – migration North will continue, grow and become even more desperate. AGW and the high temps along the equatorial regions are just taking baby steps and look at the fight. Wait as this trickle starts to grow into the inevitable wave all thanks to our over use of carbon fuels. This is, as I keep pointing out, the elephant in the room. We need to get the Dreamer act done and accept that this fight is just barely starting and will define much of the next thirty years to come.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    “She’s not only outmanoeuvring him, she’s outraging him,” said Michael Cornfield, associate professor of political management at George Washington University in Washington. “She’s taunting him. She’s the matador, he’s the bull. He has no idea what he’s doing. He’s a genius of the publicity arts, not the political arts. In this he’s an absolute novice.”

  23. 23
    Aziz, light! says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Trump comes out with a win by breaking the government, never budging on his demands. Democrats must cave to save federal workers and the U.S. economy. They won’t have any choice.

    Trump’s biggest weapon is that he doesn’t care how much damage he inflicts.

  24. 24
    Bess says:

    Republicans in the Senate will worry more as time goes along.

    Trump’s second term is irrelevant to Senate Republicans. Most realize that he has a very small chance of gaining a second term and probably won’t make it to the end of his first. At some point they will have to jump off the USS Trumptanic. Contact with iceberg is occurring right now.

  25. 25
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Patricia Kayden: The wall is never going to exist, at least not in anything like the form Trump’s base imagines, but it doesn’t matter. Trump has a good chance of winning this confrontation, because the idiot media are already portraying his “deal” as a reasonable offer that the Democrats are rejecting sight unseen. The Dems are going to cave when public sentiment turns against them, and it probably will soon. When that happens, it’s a “win” for Trump. Whether there is ever a physical wall is immaterial..

  26. 26
    randy khan says:


    The problem with the “override a veto” strategy is that it depends on House Republicans going along – the Dems don’t have 2/3 of the House, so they’d have to get 55 Republicans to vote to override.

  27. 27
    trnc says:


    Tomorrow Chuck Todd has on Giuliani and Liz Cheney. Both sides want you to eat shit, Chuck.

    Finally, Chuck is giving the silent oppressed a mic.

  28. 28
    donnah says:

    I’m just going to say thank god for Nancy Pelosi. She’s pulling the Democrats together and she shows spine against the bullies. She’s smart and she’s savvy, knows how to get under Trump’s skin and she knows all of the rules. I’m so glad she’s in charge.

  29. 29
    Ivan X says:

    I love the New Yorker. That cover is fantastic.

  30. 30
    artem1s says:

    The media’s focus on the optics is obviously part of the problem here. This stopped being about the wall long ago. Pelosi doesn’t care one way or the other about the damn wall IMO. She does care about actually doing the work of Congress and running ‘the people’s’ branch of the government. If there is to be an end to the Louie Gohmert, cray-cray branch of the GOP, you pretty much have to kill the idea that holding hostages and shutting stuff down until you get your way is a valid political strategy. One issue politics has been slowly killing our democracy (and causing Dems to be in disarray) since Karl Rove at least. The one issue tools that the GOP have used to tilt elections and turn out the base are daily becoming less and less valuable. States rights, gay marriage, the gold standard, killing the fed, caravans, non-gender specific toilets, right to smoke anywhere you damn please, etc. Even gun rights are losing the attraction it once had. for the GOP. The GOP jumps from sound bite to sound bite trying to find the next big thing to keep a certain percentage of their base foaming at the mouth. The Dems are fighting to represent their constituents. That’s a battle worth fighting and winning. It’s means when there is a single issue that could eventually affect how we all prosper and live our lives, there is a chance we might figure out how to make it work…IF we haven’t forgotten how to legislate around complex, multilayered issues. The GOP only knows how to run a circus and freak show to win a popularity contest. This is why having Pelosi as Speaker is so damn important. She knows from personal experience that being unpopular in the polls isn’t terminal and shouldn’t mean you don’t do your job. This could be the beginning of the next congressional dynasty and determine which side has control over the legislative agenda for a couple of generations. Maybe we can put the whole ‘running the government like a (bad small) businessman would’ to rest finally.

  31. 31

    @Matt McIrvin: Boy am I glad that it is Nancy Pelosi negotiating with T and not you.

  32. 32
    John S. says:


    Concern troll is concerned.

  33. 33
    japa21 says:

    Speaking of negotiating. How can Trump be expected, or even allowed, to attempt a negotiation with North Korea when he can’t even manage a negotiation against a woman to reopen the US government?

  34. 34

    @John S.: I don’t think he is a troll but he does worry a lot.

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