Wednesday, September 2, 2015

more Trump talk

Republicans are becoming skeptical of Ronald Reagan's No. 1 economic policy

A few thoughts:
1.) Some policies Donald Trump is talking about are clearly contrary to what most Republicans
think of as “supply-side economics.” Raising trade barriers and investment taxes are two that most immediately come to mind. I mean, classic, 1980s-style supply-siders blame the Great Depression on 1930s protectionism, after all. But we’ll see if Trump’s tax plan more or less adheres to the idea that lowering marginal tax rates is the single most powerful economic level at the disposal of policymakers. I am guessing it will be a big tax cut for pretty much everybody. There are three things I am really looking forward to right now: autumn, “The Force Awakens,” and the Trump tax plan. And not necessarily in that order.
2.) As for the popularity of supply-side economics, I’ve written a bit about polls suggesting the public is deeply skeptical of the idea that lower tax rates on business and the wealthy will help everyone else.
3.) As far Republicans go, Tea Party types seem to be more concerned about small government generally than low taxes specifically. At least that’s my impression. And there also seems to be skepticism about wealth created by bankers benefiting from Too Big To Fail. On the hand, entrepreneurs still seem greatly admired, and I would guess most Republicans think low taxes are helpful in encouraging high-impact startups. It is also worth mentioning that politically successful Republican tax plans have typically combined high-end and middle-class tax cuts, rather than being exercises in ideological purity. Tax cuts for everybody. One might argue that the revealed GOP preference on taxes has been broader than what one might read in “The Way the World Works.” If you think about 1980s supply-side economics as low taxes, tight money, and free trade, certainly the first two seem like they are still core GOP issues given hostility to the Fed’s bond buying and the popularity of low-rate tax plans like the flat tax or fair tax. At the same time, there is growing interest in issues such that are not part of the traditional supply-side portfolio, such as higher education and healthcare. Which is great.

Here's what Donald Trump supporters really believe

Donald Trump is still dominating his Republican rivals.
A new Public Policy Polling poll released on Tuesday shows Trump leading his GOP opponents by a familiar wide margin — 29% of likely GOP primary voters nationwide support the real-estate magnate.
Trailing him is the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with 15% of the Republican vote. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida comes in third with 9%.
But the new PPP poll also reveals some of the sentiments behind Trump supporters, including their desire to raise the minimum wage and skepticism of President Barack Obama's religion and birthplace.

Here are the main points from PPP:
  • 66% of respondents who support Trump believe that Obama is Muslim, while only 12% believe that Obama is Christian. That's a higher number than the still stunning 54% of Republican respondents overall who believe that Obama is Muslim.

  • Trump still enjoys support among "birthers" — 61% of supporters believe that Obama was not born in the United States. Just 21% of his supporters believe that Obama was born in the United States. Trump, once the most vocal advocate calling on Obama to release his birth certificate, has said he will no longer comment on the issue. But he has said he doesn't know whether Obama was born in the US.
  • 63% of Trump voters would support changing the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, the policy that automatically grants US citizenship to anyone born in the country. Twenty percent of Trump backers would not.
  • Trump supporters really like Carson, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Fifty-four percent said they held a favorable view of Carson, and 49% said they had a favorable opinion of both Cruz and Fiorina. Only 22% of Trump supporters held a favorable opinion of Bush.

  • Most Trump backers support raising the minimum wage. Fifty-four percent responded that they favored raising the minimum wage, though the vast majority only supported an increase to $10 an hour.
  • Trump supporters don't like Fox News host Megyn Kelly. Only 20% hold a favorable view of Kelly, though that is somewhat unsurprising considering Trump's ongoing beef with Kelly and her network. Trump supporters also overwhelmingly trust Trump over Fox News in general, while supporters of virtually every other candidate trust the network far more.
  • Supporters are split over whether they value a conservative candidate or an electable candidate more. Trump backers were split almost straight down the middle on the question of whether it was more important to have a conservative nominee or a nominee who had a shot of winning in the general election.

  • The polling data backs up what some have observed anecdotally about Trump supporters over the past few months.
    Business Insider attended a focus group of Trump supporters conducted by pollster Frank Luntz last week, and respondents overwhelmingly accused Republican leadership in Congress of acting like Democrats. The panel also fixated on media bias.
    "The media and the establishment are deathly afraid of Trump," a member of the focus group said. "That's why I particularly love him. Because the media has become de facto the power behind the throne in this country."
    Another panelist said: "Every time the media thinks it's got a 'gotcha,' he turns it around on them."

    A top GOP pollster tried to find out why people love Donald Trump — and left with his legs 'shaking'

    When Donald Trump insulted John McCain and questioned his status as a "war hero," some analysts dubbed it the turning point of the Trump campaign.
    But some of his most ardent supporters have proven why, more than a month later, Trump continues to surge in polls
    "I don’t think he was necessarily trying to insult him," one voter who described herself as being a Trump supporter said Monday night, as part of a focus group conducted by pollster Frank Luntz

    Luntz presided over the focus group Monday night in Virginia; it featured 29 people who either support Trump or have at some point during the campaign expressed support for him.
    Their unfettered support has fueled Trump's rise in Republican primary polls and kept him in the top spot for months. No controversy appears to faze them out of the many Trump has endured — from controversial comments over immigration, to the McCain comments, to a bitter, lingering feud with Fox News and host Megyn Kelly.

    The focus group should not be considered representative of the Republican Party as a whole, or of the electorate in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. But their unwavering support indicates that there may be nothing that can take down Trump.
    "This is a different cat. This is a different phenomenon," Luntz told reporters after conducting the focus group. 
    "This is real. I'm having trouble processing it. Like, my legs are shaking," he added.
    "I want to put the Republican leadership behind this mirror and let them see. They need to wake up. They don't realize how the grassroots have abandoned them. Donald Trump is punishment to a Republican elite that wasn’t listening to their grassroots."

    No controversy appeared to dim their level of support for Trump.
    On Trump's feud with television personality Rosie O'Donnell, one panelist said she "attacked him first." A majority of respondents reacted negatively to his comments on McCain, but Luntz said Tuesday night that Trump was the only candidate this cycle to score a perfect 100 from respondents when they viewed his comments on veterans.
    Even his history of more liberal positions on certain issues didn't appear to faze voters. One panelist asked the others in the room "how many" of them had not changed their positions on anything over the past 15 years.
    The group was "prepped to dismiss every negative," Luntz said. "His base cannot be broken."

    It certainly won't be broken by controversies that resonate in the press. Panelists appeared particularly disdainful of most mainstream media outlets, claiming that "the media" is collectively seeking to discredit Trump.
    Almost everyone in the room agreed when Luntz asked if the media was "more about inciting than informing," and all but one panel member agreed or did not respond when asked about whether they are inclined to automatically support Trump when he is attacked by media outlets.
    "The media and the establishment are deathly afraid of Trump," a panel member said.
    "That's why I particularly love him. Because the media has become de facto the power behind the throne in this country."
    "Every time the media thinks it's got a 'gotcha,' he turns it around on them," another panelist said.
    And at the end of the session, when reporters from The Washington Post and The Associated Press came into the room to ask questions, several outspoken panel members made snide comments.
    "They need to start reporting again," a panelist said after Washington Post reporter Robert Costa left the room.


    1. Here is a new take on the Trump vs Bush race: