Trump, Pershing and Persuasion

Don Luskin of Trend Macrolytics wrote to clients this morning about the aftermath of Charlottesville: "We think it’s a clinical case of mass hysteria – and one of the strangest we’ve ever seen. It’s not about the event itself. It’s about President Donald Trump’s reaction to the event, because he is the most famous and fascinating man who has ever lived, and what we’ve called the Trump Infamy Ecosystem profits from exploiting that strange fact. And it’s not even about whether Trump is a racist. It is self-evident that he is not, because there is no evidence that he is (just as it is self-evident that his campaign didn’t conspire with Russia to hack the election). His sin is that he has failed to express his outrage at the event in a particular way – or, more precisely, that he has expressed it in a way that doesn’t kowtow to the identity politics lobby."

Mr. Luskin points to a number of polls suggesting that the hysterical reaction to Mr. Trump is occurring within the media profession, not among the public at large. For example, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll finds that even a survey sample that gives Mr. Trump his standard lousy approval rating overwhelmingly agrees with the President that statues of Confederate leaders should not be torn down. Even a plurality of African-Americans agrees that the statues should remain in place as symbols of our history.

...Regardless, it is striking that after much of the media labored so hard this week to try to tie Mr. Trump to white supremacists, the public doesn’t seem to be buying it. In what was portrayed as perhaps his worst week in office, the RealClearPolitics average shows a slight improvement in his weak approval ratings. According to Mr. Luskin, this could be a buying opportunity for investors: "...we think Trump’s defiance of prevailing norms of identity politics has profound pro-growth implications. Whatever else it may bring along with it, its embrace by the electorate points to a generational 'turning' away from anti-business and risk aversion trends that have choked off growth in the Not So Great Expansion following the Great Recession. If this moment becomes a referendum on Trump, then it may also be referendum on that 'turning.' Our optimism that we are entering a new secular period of better growth and risk-tolerance has never come from Trump as a person, but rather from the cultural forces – the “animal spirits,” to use an almost pejorative term for them – that have welled up from the grass roots, choosing Trump as their best available representative."

Friday, August 18, 2017
Wall Street Journal