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Donald Trump's World
“Negative Polls” and the Essence of Populism
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  • Suzy Dixon

    Polls are fake either way. Whether the methodology is all wrong, or they are just cooked up by partisans. 2016 proved polls are jokes, but so did 2014.
    In 2014, Congress had a 13% approval rating, yet 96% of them kept their jobs.

    • Tom

      That last isn’t complicated. People don’t mean that they hate THEIR congressman when they say they hate Congress–they hate all of the other ones.

      • Suzy Dixon

        Oh great, so everyone everywhere must feel that way if you’re correct. And the polls are totally useless due to fickle people.

    • WigWag

      I think that you are mostly right. Let’s not forget that the polls showed Hillary Clinton with somewhere between a 95% to 100% chance of winning the last presidential election.

  • Joseph DeMarzo

    I do not believe that “…the delegitimization of competing claims to representation” is limited to populism or Trump in particular. Is this not also a core element of the progressive approach to politics, i.e., the Alinskyism that Obama followed, the atmosphere on college campuses today, boycott movements, the personal destruction motif, e.g. Brendan Eich/Mozilla?

    Bannon/Trump have adopted and adopted these tactics to some degree, and the left is astonished that its tactics have been turned against it, and the Republicans continue to be shellshocked. Unsavory tactics by Trump, but, so far, effective.

    • Disappeared4x

      Do you really think ‘the left’ KNOWS Trump is throwing their tactics right back at them? I can not find pundits who understand that, hence “Trump’s thin-skinned personality” “manifestation of his own much-discussed need for validation and titanic ego”.

      Even Jason Willick, who almost gets what is really happening post-election, remains hostage to the false caricature framed by DNC campaign talking points..

      • Jim__L

        Trump isn’t much better than Obama, when it comes to demonizing critics. It’s sad.

        • Dale Fayda

          Except that Obama had pretty much the entire media establishment to help him do it, whereas all Trump has is pretty much just his Twitter account. Just on the sheer volume of “demonization” it’s not even a contest in Obama’s/Left’s favor. I find it remarkable what Trump has been able to accomplish with a few pithy Tweets.

        • Disappeared4x

          What Dale wrote, plus, helped me to better understand Trump last summer when I started reading Scott Adams’ blog. This is from Feb 5:
          http://blog.dilbert.com/post/156850873521/a-thought-experiment-about-republicans

          • Jim__L

            Scott Adams seems to be a remarkably clear-minded thinker these days.

  • CaliforniaStark

    Why the polls may not be “fake”, in the 2016 presidential election they were very clearly wrong. By contrast, Trump’s internal polling data appeared to be right, as he was campaigning in Midwest states that he ended up winning, and was scoffed at for doing so. There now are serious questions about whether current polling is credible; perhaps bias is a factor.

    • Arkeygeezer

      When the media uses a “push-poll” as the basis for a news story, its FAKE NEWS.

  • Arkeygeezer

    I noticed that during the election, the media sponsored polls such as CNN, NBC, ABC, etc. consistently rated President Trump as way behind in the race. The LA times daily poll and Rasmussen consistently had him either tied or ahead. Since the election, the media polls consistently give Trump low presidential approval ratings, while Rasmussen has consistently had him at a 52% to 55% approval rating.

    Deja Vue all over again.

    • Jim__L

      Rasmussen is about the only poll out there that reliably counts anyone who isn’t Leftist.

  • Beauceron

    The problem with all this is that the press, or what’s left of it, have given Trump and his supporters a tremendous amount of ammunition.

    Take for example the news last week that 40% of Americans want Trump impeached. This was widely reported and not one of those stories mentioned that the group that did the poll, the Public Policy Polling is a company strongly affiliated with the Democratic party, and that it has been widely criticized in the past for weighting polls.

    During the election the FiveThirty Eight blog– a left-leaning blog on polling and statistics, accused them of “putting their thumb on the scales.” They named PPP specifically, calling them out for “herding” or loading their polls with people favorable to the Democrats. Yet not one of these stories mentioned that.

    It’s becomes easy then to say “the polls are lies” because, well, a lot of the polls ARE lies.I would love to take the easy way out and just tell people to trust the news. But I can’t. The news has become deeply politicized.

    From the 538 blog on PPP:

    “A few pollsters are shameless about their herding. One of them is Public Policy Polling (PPP), a polling firm that conducts automated polls for both public consumption and for liberal and Democratic clients.

    Take a look at this exchange, for example, between The New York Times’ Nate Cohn13Cohn was then at The New Republic. and PPP’s Tom Jensen. Cohn discovered that in 2012, the racial composition of PPP’s polls was correlated in an unusual way with President Obama’s performance among white voters in their surveys. If Obama was performing especially poorly among whites in one PPP poll, it tended to have a higher share of nonwhite voters, which boosted Obama’s result. And if Obama was doing relatively well among whites, PPP projected less nonwhite turnout, keeping his lead in check. As a result, PPP’s polls tended to show an unusually steady race between Obama and Mitt Romney.

    I’m picking on PPP for a reason: They’re the biggest herders in the business. Here’s the chart I showed you before, but with only PPP’s polls highlighted. On average, in states with at least three other recent polls, their polls deviated from the polling average by only 1.6 percentage points. The evidence for herding is extremely clear visually and statistically.14In a regression model where the dependent variable is how much a poll deviated from the polling average and the explanatory variable is whether the poll was conducted by PPP, the PPP variable was significant at the 99.9 percent confidence level. (The regression model, like the charts, considered cases where at least three other polls of the state had been conducted during the prior 21 days.)

    Note, however, that PPP polls can deviate wildly from the actual results when they have few other polls to anchor themselves to. In mid-October, PPP published an Idaho poll — just the second poll of the state since Labor Day — showing Republican incumbent Jim Risch ahead by 18 points against Democrat Nels Mitchell. Risch won by nearly 31 points.”
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/heres-proof-some-pollsters-are-putting-a-thumb-on-the-scale/

  • seattleoutcast

    It’s not a “delegitimization of competing claims to representation” nor fantasy logic when Trump was correct during the primary and during the election. When the NYT and Washington Post give him almost impossible odds of winning, and he wins, that is simply proof that he knows more than they do.

    I really wish the anti-Trump media would quit its hand waving, self-induced smoke screens and self-righteous criticism and instead learn why they were so wrong. When they do, maybe their circulation will increase.

  • Andrew Allison

    Earth to Willick: 156% of Clinton’s popular vote came from California (and ex. NY, it was he who had the 2.8 million vote plurality. Get over it.

    • Jim__L

      Clinton led NY by 1.5M, didn’t she?

      • Beauceron

        Yes, and probably around 85% of that was New York City. Exclude the city and HRC loses NY. People forget that the city, because of its massive size, is able to dominate a very large state. Most of the geography of NY is red.

        http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president/new-york/

      • Andrew Allison

        If you subtract the 4.3 million CA plurality and 1.5 million NY plurality from the 2.8 million nationwide total, you get a 3 million vote plurality for President Trump. What the elites and would-be elites still don’t get is that the election was a yuuuge [grin] repudiation of the Democratic party. As I’ve written before, when the leaders of the CA Assembly and Senate announced that the rest of the country doesn’t share CA’s values they were absolutely right. Thank goodness for the Elector College.

      • Andrew Allison

        Weird. I replied to this a couple of days ago. As best I recall, I wrote that yes, Clinton had a 1.5 million vote plurality in NY which, together with the 4.3 million (156% of the nationwide plurality) in our home state means that, ex. CA and NY, Trump had a 3 million vote plurality, and thank goodness for the Electoral College! What the elites, including I’m afraid TAI, can’t grasp is that the election result represents a yuuuge [grin] repudiation of not just Democratic Party policies and the candidate, but of California “values” by the rest of the country..

  • FriendlyGoat

    “But there is no question that Trump has taken this make-believe approach into new and more explicit territory, and that this represents a real threat to the existence of a pluralistic democratic system where competing interests are accommodated rather than steamrolled”.

    In actual governance during the near future, it is going to be almost all “steamroll”. Thing is, so many of the fans of “populism” who enabled this do not know that the roller is rolling over THEM in several flattening ways. They will find out from Trump, from Congress and from the Supreme Court how this really works. The “lesson” will go on for years.

    • Arkeygeezer

      Of course when the Progressive Socialists were doing the steamrolling after the 2008 election, it was called “Yes, we can!”

      • FriendlyGoat

        The difference is that plenty of lower-end conservatives actually benefitted from the initiatives of “Yes, we can”. They don’t know it, of course, but they will notice, I think, as America’s richest pull further and further away from them and they are left with the down-the-nose messaging at them of , “Well, your life wouldn’t be so hard if you weren’t a bum”.

        • Beauceron

          That is simply mythology.

          Under Obama the wealth gap increased at as fast a pace as under Bush. The only people who did well under Obama were the richest 10%, who did quite well. There were more poor in the US when Obama Left office than when he entered it.

          It’s hilarious that you write things like “Thing is, so many of the fans of “populism” who enabled this do not know that the roller is rolling over THEM.” I admit, they may be duped by Trump. But at this point, their duping is prospective. You have already been duped.

          http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

          http://thefreethoughtproject.com/barack-obama-successfully-rich-richer/

          • FriendlyGoat

            Glad you’re admitting “they may be duped by Trump”. This is a sign you’re not as stupid as you would pretend to be just for the purpose of arguing with me. Wealth and power are headed straight upward.
            Nothing else is even possible with this alignment in Washington.

          • Tom

            Which would have been different from the one you backed…how?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Most of the GOP agenda would have been (correctly) blocked by sensible checks and balances, of course.

          • Tom

            And the award for hyperpartisan blinders goes to you.

          • Jim__L

            Most of Obama’s agenda would have been blocked by checks and balances, as is always true of the Left.

            The fact that Trump is rolling it back is a relief to anyone who likes government to be properly checked. If anything, he is not going far enough.

          • Jim__L

            FG, have you ever considered that we’re in no way stupid? Or is your partisan brainwashing so complete that the thought never entered your head?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Depends on who all you are including in “we”. Beauceron admitted that some of the those on the lower economic end of conservatism may have been duped by Trump. So, in that statement, he is not being stupid. As for the exchanges I have with you, the question is not about any kind of stupidity, the question is about what voices you follow.

          • Jim__L

            FG, I think Beauceron means there’s a non-zero chance that a non-zero number of people are “duped” by Trump. He’s being polite to you, nothing more.

        • Angel Martin

          “Well, your life wouldn’t be so hard if you weren’t a bum”.

          Funny, that’s the main messaging directed to non-college whites from the coastal liberal elite. For example:

          http://www.salon.com/2016/11/20/real-americans-vs-coastal-elites-what-right-wing-sneers-at-city-dwellers-really-mean/

          (check the comments as well)

          • FriendlyGoat

            So, the real Americans from the rural areas got mad and voted to further line the pockets of the already-richest people in America (many on the coasts)—–beyond even the wildest dreams of those rich people on the coasts. You do know that’s what happened, don’t you? If not, I’d suggest you pay close attention to the next 12-24 months.

        • Jim__L

          Er, no, lower-end conservatives did not actually benefit from “yes we can”. You’re a partisan-blinded fool for thinking so.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You would have me believe that low-end liberals somehow got goodies from the bad big-government Obama administration and low-end conservatives didn’t get any?

          • Jim__L

            One look at what has happened to the black family in the United States over the last several decades of government “goodies” and that’s all you need to question the “benefits” of government.

            No Thank You. If Trump’s election helps send Leftism to hell, it will be a pleasure to watch.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There are a lot of Trump voters in Kentucky who like KYnect fine and who didn’t even know it’s Obamacare. Trump’s election is flirting with hell on several levels, but sending the entirety of Leftism there is not one of them. Stay tuned, to them, not to me.

    • seattleoutcast

      In other words, Trump voters are so stupid because they don’t see the inherent fascism in the republican party and with Trump.

      We are already seeing the signs: burning buildings in Berkeley, riots in New York and Washington, DC. We see signs of assassinations and Twitter storms that cry out for murder.

      Oh wait, that’s your side.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, your first sentence is a pretty good one.

    • Jim__L

      I think this is known as “immanentizing the eschaton”.

      So when is the world really going to end, FG? When is Trump finally going to show is fascist stripes?

      The “near future” has been here for weeks now, FG. All of the complaints I have seen from the Left — from Leftist media itself! — have been hyperventilation, plain and simple.

      • FriendlyGoat

        The near future is well-described as the next five-ten years—–after some Trumpian policies and judges are actually in place and the consequences of them are seen. OF COURSE it’s not two or three weeks. The hyperventilating is about what they are going to do, not what they have done. They haven’t DONE anything yet.

        • Jim__L

          We’re seeing hyperventilating already, and lots of it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re going to see more—–and sooner or later people are going to catch up to WHO elected the parade of meanness which will be emanating from Republican government for years forward. Because of the total arrogance of you and one or two others here who represent the church and support this stuff both vigorously and disingenuously, I have decided you ARE the evangelical church in general and the evangelical church is you in general. Politically, the only story worth telling is WHO wanted with all their hearts the damage now commencing to both the United States as a country and most of its poorer citizens. It was you guys .

          • Tom

            Right. Because if you’re not a communist, you’re a fascist. Get a grip.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Communist and Fascist are not words I mention much. Funny you should bring them up here. I’m just saying the church, by its votes, asked for both power and wealth to be shifted dramatically upward, for sense to be nationally trashed from The White House Twitter account, for citizens to be diminished on everything from their jobs to their civil rights to their voting rights to public education to their health insurance to their consumer protections to the environment.

            All of that will start happening in 2017 and citizens should know WHO swung that pendulum against them. It is THE political story.

          • Tom

            As to your first paragraph, as mentioned above, had the church done as you wanted and backed Clinton, they would have been asking for the exact same thing. I realize you jumped in the tank for her, but that’s your problem. Menawhile, when none of your catastrophic predictions actually happens, I won’t bother waiting for you to admit you’re wrong. It would be a waste of at least a decade of my life.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You should not spend your life wondering whether I am wrong or waiting for me to make a statement about anything. You should spend your time wondering what spirits and messaging you personally find attractive and wish to align yourself with. As I have told you before, “stay tuned” to them, not to me.

          • Tom

            The answer is, as it happens, not the ones you want me to. Or the ones Trump wants me to.

          • Jim__L

            FG, not everyone votes based on materialism, although I think that for regular working-class Americans Trump will at least try to stop the bleeding that your favorite technocrats have caused. As for civil rights, I’m not convinced that Trump is a threat to that in any way, shape, or form. Quite the contrary, again.

            Looking at what Trump’s executive order on immigration policy actually says, compared to what the Left says about it, gives me the idea that Trump is nowhere near so extreme as you claim.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There is so far no indication of Trump doing anything for the benefit of working-class Americans. Even if he wanted to, Republican “principles” stand in the way on any issue.

          • Jim__L

            Is your tendency to radically stereotype anyone who disagrees with you something that bothers you?

            Is your inability to dissociate a person (including yourself) from an organization and that organization’s platform anything that ever gives you a moment of pause?

          • ——————————

            “and sooner or later people are going to catch up to WHO elected the parade of meanness which will be emanating from Republican government for years forward.”

            Meanness?? The pussified crap from the left over the years has created meanness where there is none. And that, coupled with our technology, we now consider everything as meanness.

            You should thank the good lord that those who are like me are not president or you would know meanness….

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’ll make a point of thanking Him today that you are not president, on your advice about your own wishes.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Populism is defined by Google as “support for the concerns of ordinary people”. I do not think that that has a negative connotation, although the Socialist Progressives are trying to spin it that way. I like a President that has concerns for ordinary people.

    • Jim__L

      What sort of connotation “populism” has, depends on whether you’re asking elitists.

      Or, as they prefer, “meritocratic, well-credentialed technocrats”.

  • QET

    To enlarge a bit on Suzy Dixon’s point–Mueller’s analysis, and therefore Willick’s, assumes the existence and the truth of something called “the empirical people.” But this is a mere construct. If the “symbolic people” is unfalsifiable, the “empirical people” is continually being falsified, because the content of this so-called people is regularly demonstrated to be different, contradictory things. The problem of representation is at the core of modern political theory and has been for 3 centuries. Whether an individual can “represent” an entire people is a perennial question that Mueller’s schema does little to illuminate. In our system the President is both head of State and head of government, and it is in the former capacity only that the “symbolic people” has any meaning. In parliamentary systems the actual power of the head of State to act in representing the “symbolic people” is usually severely circumscribed, with the head of government being a primus inter pares of a larger number of elected representatives who collectively can legitimately claim to represent the “empirical people” (because in the contest between elections and opinion surveys, it is clear which one is the legitimate measure).

    Willick gives too-short shrift to the “populism” of Trump’s predecessor. What Mueller and Willick are really objecting to is the President as Political Theorist-in-Chief of the nation. Trump’s claim is being derided as theoretically suspect, which it certainly is. But it is, or at least the first part of it is, empirically sound: it has been demonstrated over and over again that the “opinion polls” Mueller and Willick would have us accept as evidence of the “empirical people” are fictions, crafted with no less attention to the desired conclusion than are the works of novelists. But Obama’s claims as Political Theorist-in-Chief were accepted as revealed truth, or at least as not self-evidently suspect, because Obama was considered by the Muellers and, perhaps, the Willicks of the world as an Enlightened Being. All of the intellectual work being done to discredit Trump has the distinct odor of bad faith about it, because it becomes evident immediately on scrutinizing the attempts that they are simply attempts to rationalize an affective regard for Obama as a transcendent Being, a superior Being, and for Trump is a too-flawed, inferior Being. Their evaluations precede their analyses which are constructed to prove the evaluations.

    • Jim__L

      Trump won The Poll That Counts.

      (So did Prop 8 though, so the Leftists keep trying to do their thing.)

  • Anthony

    “Populist claim their authority comes from ‘the people’, and the will of the people supercedes established norms, or even laws. But ‘the people’ are really just some of the people (as 73,000,000 voters casts ballots for some other presidential candidate). Still populism, as a political force, relies on excluding and fighting against other elements of society. These can be powerless undesirables, such as recent immigrants, or an entrenched establishment. Trump’s populism is cultural – Trumpian populists feel disrespected by cultural elites.” So, the real challenge is not the simplicity that populism offers (affords) but an honest reckoning as to what is America – a reckoning studiously avoided by…

    • Anthony

      Jan-Werner Muller, in his study of populism, identifies the distinguishing feature of populism as the claim that “they, and only they, represent the people” – an ideology that divides the people into the real people and the others. (Jan-Werner Muller, What Is Populism)

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “But there is no question that Trump has taken this make-believe approach into new and more explicit territory, and that this represents a real threat to the existence of a pluralistic democratic system where competing interests are accommodated rather than steamrolled.”

    I fail to see how “Steamrolling” Obamacare through congress without a single Republican Vote was Democratic, or the “Reid rule” aka “going Nuclear”.
    Your Hysteria is refuted by the 45th Peaceful transfer of power, as the Americans regained control of their country, and will now seek to make it Great again.
    The Democrats have spent the last 8 years weaponizing the Government, they are rightly afraid of all that power now in American hands.
    Maybe if they’re so afraid of a Big Intrusive Government, they shouldn’t spend all their effort to make it even bigger.

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