Keeping It Real

As I argued below, being in the minority is difficult. You have no power. Fights take a long time. The worst thing Democrats can do is fall into the old pattern of garment-rending and self-flagellation. But let’s look at a poll result just released about who gets the blame. It’s highly revealing on a number of levels.

The new poll is from NBC/Survey Monkey and the headline is: “Poll: Democrats, Trump to blame for government shutdown.” That is in line with the conventional wisdom emerging over the last 36 hours that Democrats ended up getting blamed and had to beat a hasty retreat. The headline is actually quite misleading.

Here are the broken out results …

Obviously there are many ways to slice and dice numbers. But I would argue that what this really says is 39% blame Democrats, 56% blame Trump and the Republicans. Later in the NBC post the authors concede that “slight majority of Americans — 56 percent — blame the president and his party.”

Elections are zero sum affairs. In electoral and political purposes, certain in regards to the 2018 midterms, Trump and the GOP are functionally identical. They’re getting most of the blame. The fact that Trump is 38% and the GOP 18% is, I suspect, simply a function of Trump’s so much greater public profile. The headline suggests the blame is being split equally. It’s not. Not even really close.

Now, I’m not saying this is awesome for the Democrats. As I noted earlier, it’s a deflating end to the stand-off … for now. I flag this result to keep us focused on the reality of the situation, which is that Republicans took the lion’s share of the blame for what happened. In many ways, the result simply mirrors current national divisions – pro-Trump vs anti-Trump, which the former groups are, at present, decisively losing. The big picture is that this is one skirmish in what will be a long drawn out battle because the Democrats have little power at least until the result of the next election.

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