Just about everything has gone wrong for Donald Trump so far, and let’s face it, he has “stepped in it,” many times. That has led to his being the butt of jokes, and, well, a laughing stock around the world. But maybe we’re beginning to see the “pivot” we’ve been watching for these many months.
A lot has been made of Trump’s deal with Nancy Pelosi on the debt ceiling–taking just about everyone by surprise. Going into the meeting, Paul Ryan called the idea stupid. Even more surprising, Trump has made a deal with Chuck Schumer to eliminate the debt ceiling.
President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested he is open to getting rid of the nation’s debt ceiling altogether.
“It could be discussed,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “There are a lot of good reasons to do that.”
A day after Trump agreed with Democrat to suspend the debt ceiling for three months, a shorter time period than Republican leaders wanted, reports said Trump also told Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that he was willing to work with them on legislation to eliminate the ceiling permanently. . .
The idea drew immediate pushback from Republican leaders, who view the debt ceiling as an important tool to extract spending cuts and fight for fiscal reforms.
“There’s a legitimate rule for the power of the purse in Article 1 powers, and that’s something we defend here in Congress,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.
The debt ceiling has been a tool for budget hawks. Eliminating that tool will not sit well with Trump’s base. And it follows another deal with Democrats—on DACA, the program that allows immigrants who were brought here when they were young, to stay. And the “Great Negotiator” didn’t feel he should use DACA as a bargaining chip to get his “wall,” according to the Washington Examiner.
The White House hailed a “constructive working dinner” Wednesday night between President Trump and top Democratic congressional leaders, who claimed afterward they agreed to exclude the border wall from a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. . .
“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement. “The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”
FiveThirtyEight has an article giving four possible reasons why Trump has started working with Pelosi and Schumer.
Even without a DACA deal, Trump meeting alone with the Democrats is unusual. What is he doing? The president largely shunned Democrats and governed solely with the GOP for the first eight months of his presidency. Here are four theories about what’s going on:
1. He is mad at McConnell and Ryan. . . this theory is that Trump — having watched congressional Republicans unsuccessfully try to pass the Obamacare repeal — doesn’t think McConnell and Ryan are up to the job of getting major legislation done. . .
2. He doesn’t care about caving to the Democrats on DACA or the debt ceiling. . . So, Trump may not care about these issues that much. And he may have a higher priority ….
3. Trump may be trying to focus his party and Congress on tax reform. Trump and his staff seemed at times disengaged from the Obamacare repeal process. But the president has given speeches in Missouri and North Dakota to tout tax reform in the last few weeks. He tweets about it often.
4. Trump is now governing from the center. This is the most radical theory: Trump, after a dismal seven months that left him as the most unpopular first-year president in modern history, has decided to change course. He’s looking to cut deals and govern in a bipartisan manner or at least act in a way that will get him good press and approval from Washington elites.
Trump is known as being thin-skinned, so he hates criticism, and even though he has used attacks on the media to his advantage, it seems that, deep down, it hurts him to be criticized. Look at the way he gushed about the media response to his “working with the opposition.”
And maybe he has finally looked at the numbers. There are “groupies” who will follow him anywhere, totally enamored with his rock-star status from TV. When you ask such people about things Trump is doing that attack their own best interests, these people come up with excuses for him. They’re not going anywhere.
Then, there are the “true conservatives,” such as Ann Coulter, who are very picky about what he does. Perhaps Trump has decided that there’s no way to really please people like that, so why try?
Of course, as the FiveThirtyEight story suggests, reaching across the aisle may just be a matter of choosing his battles. As the saying goes, “discretion is the better part of valor.” In other words, you’re not a hero if you lose. That is precisely what made Bill Clinton so popular with the public—and so hated by the right. He would take credit for things he couldn’t defeat, which made conservatives froth at the mouth.
Those are the “fundamentals.” But then, there are also technical factors. This writer has studied the market theory and technical analysis. Because of that, he has bet on Trump’s favorability all year, on the betting site, PredictIt, winning almost every time. Regardless of how YOU feel about Trump, the general public will have mood swings. And those mood swings can be seen in charts.
Here is a chart of RealClearPolitics averages of Trumps recent polls. Note that they were in the mid-to-low 30s just a few weeks ago. Now, they’re right at 40. That’s high for Trump.
That’s impressive, but look at the chart on the same page.
As you can see, there’s a slight uptick in Trump’s favorability. But now, look at the same chart, with green “trend lines” that we’ve drawn.
Trump’s popularity has been “trading” within a “trading range.” When his approval hit the “resistance” line it would drop; when it hit the “support” line, he’d rise. But the trend was solidly downward, and smart traders bet on the trend.
As you can see from the green “trend lines,” Trump has solidly broken through “resistance,” and the trend may very well be upward now.
The thing about markets is that they gauge psychology, and psychology takes time to change. Thus a trend will stay in effect until there’s a change in mood.
The amazing thing is that it often foretells events. Why would Trump’s favorability rise at this point? Maybe it’s his reaching across the aisle. Maybe his UN speech will impress people. Maybe he’ll come up with a solution to the North Korean problem, or—dare we say—the Palestinian problem. After all, Hamas and the PLO seem to be working out their problems, which would then give Palestine a united front from which to negotiate any possible agreements with Israel. Who knows?
But if you’re a betting person. It looks like the market has given us a “buy” signal for Trump.