Disapproval of Trump, Democrats and Republicans over shutdown

It isn’t surprising to see disapproval of the US President and both parties over the current Government shutdown over the wall impasse – a fundamental part of governing should be to fund current services and employees.

CBS News poll: Trump, Democrats and GOP draw disapproval over shutdown

In a new CBS News/YouGov poll, President Donald Trump, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans all draw lackluster marks for their handling of the government shutdown, with Americans expressing net disapproval for all three.

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Trump’s overall job approval has also dipped to 53.9% disapprove, 41% approve – see FiveThirtyEight.

Partisan splits are locked in: More than eight in ten Republicans approve of the president’s handling of the shutdown, while seven in ten Democrats approve of congressional Democrats’ handling.

That’s not surprising. But overall Trump is seen as the chump.

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A majority see the border problem as a problem rather than a crisis…

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…and even 38% of Republicans don’t see it as a crisis.

Despite all this disapproval U.S. Government Shutdown Hits Record Length With No End Seen (Bloomberg):

The U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand for border wall funding became the longest in the modern era as it stretched into its 22nd day Saturday with no end in sight.

Negotiations are at a standstill and no more talks are scheduled for the weekend or early next week. The White House scuttled efforts to reach a deal on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Trump’s budget team is drawing up contingency plans for a shutdown that extends through the end of February, according to an administration official.

About 800,000 federal workers missed their pay for the first time Friday –at least some receiving pay stubs for $0.00 — as unions sued the government for requiring their members to work without pay. At least one airport planned to close a concourse as absences rose among security screeners who haven’t received their wages. Trump said Friday that he planned to sign a bill guaranteeing that federal employees will be given back pay once the government reopens.

Even if they are eventually paid back a month or two without pay will make things difficult for many employees, and air travel disruptions will annoy many more people.

Democrats and the president remain at loggerheads, with party leaders saying they won’t agree to fund any kind of wall or barrier and Trump insisting he won’t agree to reopen the government until the wall is funded.

I’m surprised the disapprovals aren’t greater – but if the impasse continues on then there is likely to be more against the political nonsense in Washington.

I’m astounded that budget related Government shutdowns are able to and are allowed to occur at all.

Pushback against Trump’s tariff proposals

Widespread concerns over Donald Trump’s steel and aluminium tariff proposals, and the threat of a trade war, are so far being dismissed by the White House.

Politico: Frustrated White House free traders mount campaign to weaken Trump tariffs

Since President Donald Trump announced plans last week to hit steel and aluminum imports with new tariffs, his trade adviser Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have been all over television celebrating their victory and rebutting suggestions that the move would incite a damaging trade war.

But economic adviser Gary Cohn and other free-trade advocates inside the White House and the Treasury Department are mounting a last-ditch effort to blunt the impact of Trump’s head-turning decision, even as the president insisted Monday that he wasn’t going to be convinced out of it.

Cohn and like-minded officials in the administration are hoping the parade of senior GOP lawmakers, donors, lobbyists and business groups loudly opposing the pending decision will convince Trump that his proposed tariffs will damage the U.S. economy. There was a growing sense among some administration officials that the best way to talk Trump out of the tariffs was to make sure he hears from people outside of the White House, since he’s ignoring advisers inside the building.

RNZ:  Republicans ‘extremely worried’ by Trump’s metal tariffs plan

US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that steel imports would face a 25 percent tariff and aluminium 10 percent.

US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he was “extremely worried” about the impact of a trade war, adding that it could undermine economic gains.

But Mr Trump pushed back during a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We’re not backing down,” he told reporters on Monday. “I don’t think you’re going to have a trade war.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday that Mr Trump was “very confident” the US would win any trade war.

Mr Trump’s Monday comments came an hour after Mr Ryan released a statement urging the White House to reconsider its plan.

“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” Mr Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.

“The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardise those gains.”

Many countries and trade groups have expressed concern, including the UK, EU, Canada, Australia (and New Zealand). And also the World Trade Organisation:

The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday also called on member states to “stop the fall of the first dominoes” of a trade war.

“Once we start down this path it will be very difficult to reverse direction,” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo told negotiators in Geneva on Monday. “An eye for an eye will leave us all blind and the world in a deep recession.”

There is also pushback from within the US:  Companies, industry groups target Congress to derail Trump tariffs

Automakers, business groups and farmers took their fight against U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum to Capitol Hill on Monday, betting that Republican lawmakers would stand up to the White House on their behalf.

By turning to Congress, lobbyists for industries that could lose in a trade war are making a bet that Republican lawmakers would stick to their traditional support for open trade, and potentially use legislative power to derail tariffs.

Trump and administration trade officials over the weekend said they are determined to go ahead with protective tariffs for steel and aluminum, despite the potential for retaliation by trading partners.

Industry groups opposed to the tariffs got support on Monday from House Speaker Paul Ryan and other senior Republicans. Some Democratic lawmakers from auto-producing states have praised Trump’s move, joining unions long skeptical of open trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA).

Automakers are reaching out to senators and governors and asking them to make the case against tariffs to the White House, officials said.

Manufacturers of metal-intensive products such as cars and airplanes already are wrestling with rising prices for steel and aluminum, in part because of tight production capacity.

Administration officials in TV interviews over the weekend downplayed the impact on automakers as adding only up to about $200 to the price of a vehicle — a fraction of the average $35,000 sales price. However, Goldman Sachs said in a research report on Sunday that the tariffs could depress General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co’s adjusted operating incomes by $1 billion each.

Groups representing auto dealers weighed in to support the manufacturers. In a flattening auto market, headlines about trade wars and tariffs could cause Americans to put off buying new vehicles, said Cody Lusk, president and chief executive of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.

“Everybody is reaching out to their allies on Capitol Hill just to make sure they are aware of what’s at stake,” Lusk said.

Farm groups representing producers of wheat, corn and soybeans, the top U.S. crop exports valued at nearly $37 billion last year, joined criticism of the proposed tariffs on Monday. Farm groups had been among Trump’s core support group during the 2016 election.

This may all fall on deaf ears. Trump often seems intent on being a tough decision maker and seems obsessed by ‘winning’, and has said it would be easy to win a trade war with the rest of the world.

But he is losing support.

The state of US politics

US politics appears to be overwhelmed by deep seated problems. That voters ended up with a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump revealed a lack of strong leadership. Both the Republican and the Democrat parties are floundering and potentially foundering, but there are no viable alternatives.

The party problems are in part a result of an entrenched two party system that has kept fresh talent and fresh ideas out of contention.

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Trump and GOP struggling

With a GOP majority in both the House and the Senate it was expected that President Donald Trump should be able to achieve a lot, but after 6 months in power both the White House and the Republicans are struggling for traction.

Politico: Senate Republicans still at impasse after late-night health care meeting

GOP senators engaged in talks late Wednesday night to try to revive their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare after Trump told senators they shouldn’t leave town without action.

NY Times: Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions

President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

That is sure to raise a few eyebrows, if they haven’t disappeared over the back of heads already.

Bloomberg: Trump’s Honeymoon With China Comes to an End

  • Economic talks end with no joint statement from two countries
  • Ross says trade imbalance not driven by market forces

Three months ago, President Donald Trump had warm words for his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping after the two leaders bonded at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Within weeks, the Trump administration was touting early wins in talks with China, including more access for U.S. beef and financial services as well as help in trying to rein in North Korea.

Now, the two sides can barely agree how to describe their disagreements.

High-level economic talks in Washington broke up Wednesday with the two superpowers unable to produce a joint statement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross scolded China over its trade imbalance with the U.S. in his opening remarks, and then both sides canceled a planned closing news conference.

It is not just the pressure on Trump to achieve results that’s growing, the pressure is also growing on him and his family.

Bloomberg: Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions

  • Special counsel examines dealings of Kushner, Manafort, Trump
  • Trump lawyer says this goes beyond Mueller’s mandate

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Reuters: Trump’s son, close associates to appear before Senate

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday that it had called Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Manafort to testify on July 26 at a hearing.

The president’s son released emails earlier this month that showed him eagerly agreeing to meet last year with a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The meeting was also attended by Manafort and Kushner, who is now a senior adviser at the White House.

Kushner is scheduled to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, July 24, behind closed doors.

Trump, who came into office in January, has been dogged by allegations that his campaign officials were connected to Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have accused of interfering in last year’s election. Trump has denied any collusion.

The current list of news links at Real Clear Politics paint a fairly grim picture, as does their rolling average of disapproval for Trump, dipping again recently to 39.7% approve, 55.5% disapprove.

And it’s not just Trump’s White House  that’s struggling.

RCP: GOP Divide Threatens 2018 Budget — and Tax Overhaul

The House Budget Committee passed its fiscal blueprint for next year Wednesday evening with unanimous GOP support, but intra-party divisions threaten to derail the measure in the full House, jeopardizing plans to pass an overhaul of the tax code, a key legislative priority of President Trump and congressional Republicans.

It’s a familiar position for the party: Hard-line conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are frustrated that the conference isn’t pushing further to curb spending; moderates are wary that they’re pushing too far; and those supportive of the budget are concerned that detractors are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Signs of a lack of strong or credible leadership, and also a lack of unity.

US Supreme Court nomination going ‘nuclear’

As predicted Senate Democrats blocked the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court  to fill a vacancy that wasn’t filled last year because Republicans blocked President Obama’s nomination.

So the Republicans are resorting to a rule change to override the need for a 60 vote majority, often referred to as ‘the nuclear option’ – a move enabled by Democrats in 2013 that allowed them to ram through lower court nominations.

I don’t know why the Democrats didn’t try going nuclear last year, perhaps they thought it would look too bad in election year.

But the Republicans don’t care how it looks now, they just want to win over the nomination.

The BBC covers this in ‘Nuclear’ showdown over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

Republicans have taken the historic step of changing US Senate rules in order to ram through confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

They invoked the “nuclear option” after Democrats used a tactic known as a filibuster for the first time in half a century to block the nominee.

Denver appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch is now set to be approved on Friday.

The move will leave Congress even more plagued by gridlock. Republican John McCain said: “Bad day for democracy.”

At stakes is ideological control of the nation’s highest court, which has the final say on some of the most controversial US legal issues, from gun control to abortion to election financing to workers’ and LGBT rights.

Given the sweeping power of the Supreme Court – it touches on every facet of American life – the stakes have become too high for little things like tradition and consensus-building to merit consideration.

Thursday was about the exercise of raw power. Republicans had the votes, and they wanted – they needed – their man on the high court to preserve their conservative majority.

The legislative manoeuvre – called the nuclear option because it is so extreme – enables Mr Gorsuch to be approved by a simple majority in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans control 52 seats.

After falling five votes short on Thursday of the 60 needed to confirm Mr Gorsuch, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell retaliated by voting 52-48 along party lines to rewrite the rules.

The legislative manoeuvre – called the nuclear option because it is so extreme – enables Mr Gorsuch to be approved by a simple majority in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans control 52 seats.

Given the sweeping power of the Supreme Court – it touches on every facet of American life – the stakes have become too high for little things like tradition and consensus-building to merit consideration.

Thursday was about the exercise of raw power. Republicans had the votes, and they wanted – they needed – their man on the high court to preserve their conservative majority.

So much for a non-partisan judiciary, but trying to slant the Supreme Court politically is nothing new in the US. Allowing politicians to select judges is doomed to be abused.

More from the BBC on this:

The ‘shining city upon a hill whose beaconlight guides freedom-loving people everywhere’ (Ronald Reagan) was already badly tarnished has found a way to set a worse example of democratic abuse.

How Republicans should behave

While some US Republicans see the Trump presidency along with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate as an opportunity to get major things done others have expressed concerns and sometimes outright opposition.

Curt Anderson (who served in the Reagan administration) at Fox News asks (and answers) How to behave in the age of Trump? Five essential lessons for Republicans:

How should we behave in the age of Donald Trump? Many politicians, clients, political operatives and staffers have asked me variations of this question over the past month. Being in somewhat uncharted territory, this is a legitimately challenging query.

What should we do when our president says something that we find offensive? What should we say when the press asks us to comment on tweets that we find less than presidential?

This is, of course, only a problem for Republicans.

Here are five principles for Republicans and conservatives to consider as we begin to navigate the Age of Trump.

His headline points:

1. Don’t help the Democrats

The last thing we need right now is rational and calm Republicans dissing our president, even if and when you think he deserves it.

2. Show Restraint

Don’t take potshots.

3. Give the Trump Presidency a Chance to Succeed.

Time will tell on this, but do not assume that he cannot succeed. Every Republican needs to accept this truth — you need him to succeed, for the good of the country, and the party.

There is some debate about ‘for the good of the country”.

4. Limit your dissent to serious policy matters

A healthy and robust exchange of policy views, sans ad hominem attacks, makes our party stronger.

5. Respect the president

We disagreed with the policies of President Obama, almost all of them in fact.  But it was, and is, incumbent on all of us to respect the president of the United States. We have no obligation to agree with him, but we do have an obligation to respect him.

Respect isn’t an automatic right – especially for presidents. They have to earn it.

The Swamp fights back

The Swamp – the Washington political establishment – or at least Republican members of Congress, have sprung a surprise by cutting the power of an independent ethics committee, despite opposition from Republican leaders. Donald Trump has criticised the move.

NY Times: With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office

House Republicans, overriding their top leaders, voted on Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.

The House Republicans’ move would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

There was no advance notice or debate on the measure.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader, spoke out during the meeting to oppose the measure, aides said on Monday night.

The surprising vote came on the eve of the start of a new session of Congress, where emboldened Republicans are ready to push an ambitious agenda on everything from health care to infrastructure, issues that will be the subject of intense lobbying from corporate interests.

@TomFitton (president of the conservative Judicial Watch):

Poor way to begin draining the swamp, .

Trump tweeted:

With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!

While that is fairly soft criticism #DTS refers to Drain The Swamp.

The NY Times says that this is “a public break by Mr. Trump with rank-and-file Republicans”.

A statement from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics:

“Undermining the independence of the House’s Office of Congressional Ethics would create a serious risk to members of Congress, who rely on OCE for fair, nonpartisan investigations, and to the American people, who expect their representatives to meet their legal and ethical obligations.

As CREW and others noted in a bipartisan letter a few weeks ago, OCE is one of the outstanding ethics accomplishments of the House of Representatives, and it has played a critical role in seeing that the congressional ethics process is no longer viewed as merely a means to sweep problems under the rug.

If the 115th Congress begins with rules amendments undermining OCE, it is setting itself up to be dogged by scandals and ethics issues for years and is returning the House to dark days when ethics violations were rampant and far too often tolerated.”

From Wikipedia:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-partisan legal watchdog group working to force our government officials to behave responsibly and ethically. CREW’s mission is to use the legal system to expose government officials who betray the public interest by serving special interests.”

The Trump campaign for the presidency threatened to tear the Republicans apart, but having ended up with more control (with Senate and House majorities plus a Republican president) it may be that some of them at least have already become intoxicated with that power, and want to cut oversight of their actions and ethics.

Trump may be challenged by these competing power bases of what should be allies.

This gutting of the the Office of Congressional Ethics is a bity of a smack in his face, if not in his credibility over his ‘Drain The Swamp’ catch cry.

Update – there seems to be a Republican back down:

NY Times: House Republicans Back Down on Bid to Gut Ethics Office

House Republicans, facing a storm of bipartisan criticism, including from President-elect Donald J. Trump, moved early Tuesday afternoon to reverse their plan to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics. It was an embarrassing turnabout on the first day of business for the new Congress, a day when party leaders were hoping for a show of force to reverse policies of the Obama administration.

The reversal came less than 24 hours after House Republicans, meeting in a secret session, voted, over the objections of Speaker Paul D. Ryan, to eliminate the independent ethics office.

The Swampists seems to have had their wings clipped.

How Americans feel about the election

An interesting indication of what Americans think of the presidential election result from Gallup, (via post by Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat).

  • Trump’s win surprises both Republicans and Democrats
  • 42% describe one of their reactions as “afraid”
  • Reactions are far different from those eight years ago
  • Sixty-six percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say they are “afraid,” compared with 11% of Republicans and leaners.
  • Sixty-three percent of Republicans and leaners are “excited,” compared with 13% of Democrats and leaners.
  • More than half of Americans aged 40 and younger (54%) say they are “afraid,” compared with only a fourth of those 60 and older (25%).
  • The situation reverses for those who say they are “relieved”: More than half of those aged 60 or older (57%) say they are “relieved,” while less than a fourth of those 40 or younger (22%) feel the same way.

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While indicative this wasn’t from a very big sample size:

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 9, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 511 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Lumley comments on this in What polls aren’t good for.

 

Gary Johnson for US president?

With a media obsession with Clinton versus Trump it’s easy to forget that there are two other candidates standing for US president – Libertarian leader Gary Johnson and Green leader Jill Stein.

With a virtual mainstream media blackout Johnson is polling at around 7-8% (Stein barely rates).

What the distorted media coverage keeps highlighting is the degree of dismay over Hillary Clinton and the degree of dread of having a President Trump.

This is in part reflected in ‘Direction of Country’ polls, which have been showing that about two thirds of voters think the US is on the wrong track. Recent polls from Real Clear Politics:

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It doesn’t show much confidence in the prospects of either a Clinton or a Trump presidency.

Shouldn’t the media, and US voters, give a bit more attention to a real alternative, especially Johnson? He offers a real alternative to the Clinton/establishment ticket, and surely he is a safer bet then Trump.

Johnson was the governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and is the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

New York Times gives him a shot at selling himself:

Gary Johnson: Take a Deep Breath, Voters. There Is a Third Way.

The America I know wasn’t on the television screen on Monday night. My America is about the freedom to make choices, pursue your dreams and use your skills as entrepreneurs. It is about having more choices than just red versus blue.

Americans want to be able to choose a president who is capable of reason, of learning from failures, and of telling them the truth, even when it hurts. Most of all, they want to choose a president who will adhere to the Constitution and will make government live within its means.

I’m offering that choice. I wasn’t part of the presidential debate on Monday, but as Americans listened in dismay to the so-called major parties’ candidates, Google searches for “Gary Johnson” skyrocketed.

I’m the third candidate — the leader of the Libertarian Party. My name will be on every ballot alongside that of my running mate, Bill Weld, who like me was a twice-elected Republican governor of a strongly Democratic state.

Our kids are better educated than ever before. Our technology enables entrepreneurship and transparency. Our military is second to none, as it should be.

But our two-party political system is an entirely different story. Hyper-partisanship may be entertaining, but it’s a terrible way to try to run a country.

The US political system – along with the media that feeds it – does look terrible.

We’re the alternative — and we’re the only ticket that offers Americans a chance to find common ground.

Johnson outlines his and his party’s policies and a positive approach.

Less than six weeks before Election Day, independents and, particularly, young voters are increasingly turning to Bill Weld and me as reasonable, rational and experienced candidates. We are the party that can break the partisan gridlock which for too long has kept real solutions out of reach.

The Democrats and the Republicans are symbols of a broken political system. Clinton is a part of a stale establishment, Trump represents a crazy high risk alternative.

If I was a US voter I’d be seriously looking at an alternative, and I think that the Gary Johnson option deserves serious consideration.

Trumped up campaign?

How many people thought that Trump was just deliberately being controversial and provocative to attract attention and once he actually started campaigning for president he would get serious to show he was capable of doing the job?

It hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look like happening.

But did he ever seriously want the job?

Michael Moore thinks that Trump Is Self-Sabotaging His Campaign Because He Never Really Wanted The Job In The First Place

Donald Trump never actually wanted to be president of the United States. I know this for a fact.

This has been suggested elsewhere.

Trump was unhappy with his deal as host and star of his hit NBC show, “The Apprentice” (and “The Celebrity Apprentice”). Simply put, he wanted more money. He had floated the idea before of possibly running for president in the hopes that the attention from that would make his negotiating position stronger. But he knew, as the self-proclaimed king of the dealmakers, that saying you’re going to do something is bupkus — DOING it is what makes the bastards sit up and pay attention.

Trump had begun talking to other networks about moving his show. This was another way to get leverage — the fear of losing him to someone else — and when he “quietly” met with the head of one of those networks, and word got around, his hand was strengthened. He knew then that it was time to play his Big Card.

He decided to run for president.

Moore describes how Trump was surprised by how much support he receioved and got caught up in the game. But now…

Many now are sensing the end game here because they know Trump seriously doesn’t want to do the actual job — and, most importantly, he cannot and WILL NOT suffer through being officially and legally declared a loser — LOSER! — on the night of November 8th.

Trust me, I’ve met the guy. Spent an afternoon with him. He would rather invite the Clintons AND the Obamas to his next wedding than have that scarlet letter (“L”) branded on his forehead seconds after the last polls have closed on that night, the evening of the final episode of the permanently cancelled Donald Trump Shit-Show.

Trump is trying something though. He has revamped his campaign team, again, after an awful couple of weeks where the polls have dumped him.

But he seems to be preparing for more of the same rather than softening or seriousifying his campaign.

NYT: Donald Trump Appoints Media Firebrand to Run Campaign

Donald J. Trump named as his new campaign chief on Wednesday a conservative media provocateur whose news organization regularly attacks the Republican Party establishment, savages Hillary Clinton and encourages Mr. Trump’s most pugilistic instincts.

Mr. Trump’s decision to make Stephen K. Bannon, chairman of the Breitbart News website, his campaign’s chief executive was a defiant rejection of efforts by longtime Republican hands to wean him from the bombast and racially charged speech that helped propel him to the nomination but now threaten his candidacy by alienating the moderate voters who typically decide the presidency.

It also formally completed a merger between the most strident elements of the conservative news media and Mr. Trump’s campaign, which was incubated and fostered in their boisterous coverage of his rise.

Mr. Bannon was appointed a day after the recently ousted Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, emerged in an advisory role with Mr. Trump. It was not lost on Republicans in Washington that two news executives whose outlets had fueled the anti-establishment rebellion that bedeviled congressional leaders and set the stage for Mr. Trump’s nomination were now directly guiding the party’s presidential message and strategy.

Party veterans responded Wednesday with a mix of anger about the damage they saw Mr. Trump doing to their party’s reputation and gallows humor about his apparent inability, or unwillingness, to run a credible presidential campaign in a year that once appeared promising.

So it looks like the Republicans will continue to rip themselves apart over Trump.

Ex-Fox Ailes and Breitbart involvement makes it look like media trying to take over the party thinking they can lurch the once grand old party rightward, which they may achieve, but they have already made a mess of it.

Nicky Hager may have done National a big favour warning them off Slater and Whale Oil before they could do too much damage.

In the US maybe overplaying their hand thinking their madness would be widely supported has warned Americans off a train wreck, and saved the world from a potential debacle.