“The Truth Will Set You Free But First It Will Piss You Off” -Gloria Steinem

When it comes to Trump, no one wants to piss him off. 

 

As Trump’s Policies Take a Toll on Americans Across the Country the Problem is- Will He Get the Truth If He Doesn’t Want to Hear it? 

California wine exports to China were down by 33% the first half of this year.  These merchants have not only lost orders, they have lost crucial relationships that cannot be rebuilt.  In New Jersey, residents are impacted by the tax reform bill that helped corporations but not the average American.  Many other parts of the country are also affected by the Trump tax bill that was supposed to pay for itself but did not.  State and local tax deductions that were eliminated by the tax bill are negatively affecting Americans across the country and making them angry.  Some time ago the Nebraska Farm Bureau wrote a letter to Trump complaining about the trade war and those farmers are still facing ruin. 

Trump has enacted policies that have benefited mainly the wealthy but not helped enough average Americans.  Not every corporation is doing well either.  Walmart is doing well.  But Macy’s is not.  If our country is impacted by a recession, Trump will get his share of the blame whether it is fair or not to hold him responsible for a global recession. He will be fairly blamed for the self-inflicted wound of an unnecessary trade war with China that will make the impact of a coming recession exponentially greater.  Even Americans who think that the economy is rumored to be working well are not convinced it is working for them personally.

The unhappiness Americans feel about this president is showing up in polling numbers where Trump is underwater in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan by about 30 points.  A Fox News poll gives Trump high marks for his handling of the economy at this point (49%), but a generic Democrat running against Trump wins 52% to 40%.  Once you put Biden into the picture, the negative view of Trump comes into greater relief with Biden beating Trump handily and all of the other Democrats winning against him as well.

Trump, Navarro, Mnuchin and Kudlow took to the Sunday talk shows to beat back talk about a coming recession.  But what if they are wrong about their predictions that there is nothing to worry about here because they are trying to paint an overly rosy picture to please Trump?  Is this administration ready with a fall back plan to handle the effects of a recession? 

Industrialized countries including Germany and China that used to be leaders are slowing down as well as many other countries.  When that happens, even a robust consumer driven American economy cannot avoid being impacted by global recession. We live in a highly inter-connected global trade world. Trump has already asked the Fed to cut interest rates to goose the economy.  He used that trick.  Because of that many experts think that there are not a lot of tricks left in the bag for the Fed to work magic that will protect our country when the predicted recession hits.

Against the backdrop of global trade unrest, the election season is beginning.

On the ground in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party is gearing up with early canvassing and far better organizing in the same states that Hillary utterly failed to organize for the 2016 election.  Democrats are already canvassing, knocking on the doors of so-called Independent voters or unaffiliated voters to find out how they are thinking about the country and this administration.  Some of the responses in areas that went for Trump in 2016 to get him his 77,000 vote Electoral College win, are warning signs of high levels of dissatisfaction with this administration. 

The biggest concern still seems to be health care, but a close second is immigration. The immigration concern is not that very bad people are coming to the southern border, but that our country is treating people coming to the southern border very badly.  The general response from these formerly unaffiliated voters is: “Things are awful.  We dislike Trump intensely.  We’re gonna vote and we are gonna get everyone we can to vote.”

Could Trump turn this around?  Could he change the way he is viewed by farmers, small business owners, minorities, women, and other groups that are expressing greater dissatisfaction?  Perhaps if he ended the trade war, stopped insulting minorities and stopped using cultural warfare to energize his base, helped to enact meaningful gun laws and shored up health care rather than trying to deconstruct the Affordable Care Act, and stopped tweeting, perhaps then a larger cohort of Americans might soften in their strong dislike of the president.  But if he did all that he would not be Donald Trump.

It would not be characteristic of Trump to pivot at this point.  He thinks fighting harder is the way to win.  He is unlikely to decide to end a trade war he believes in.  He is not likely to stop inciting culture wars because he thinks it will help him in 2020.  He was wrong about talking about caravans coming to the southern border being a great way to win in 2018.  The House flipped from red to blue and the Dems won bigger than expected in the midterms.  Who will tell him he is wrong?

At this point in his presidency those aides who have not been fired or let go by Trump are not able to tell him the truth so that he might realize how much he needs to change his rhetoric and policies.  Trump’s aides know they must be careful not to tell him bad news even if it is accurate news.  Instead, his aides try to tell him only good news that will make him feel happy and think he is doing everything just right.  The result is that Trump has said that he believes that the media is falsifying economic data. That is being echoed on Fox News as well.  If his aides tell him everything is fine, the economy is great, no worries and he trusts them, then it follows that Trump would believe that the media is being unfair when they report a coming recession that will be exacerbated by his trade war with China.  Trump has sealed himself off from the truth and that may well hurt his re-election chances.

There is a big problem whenever an administration does not rely on truthful data and information.  A case in point is the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia.  When the nuclear power plant had a catastrophic event and the Russians tried to hide it that resulted in more deaths in that country directly attributed to higher radiation levels.  (By-the-way, there seems to have been another nuclear event in Russia that they are not telling the truth about- this time involving a failed nuclear missile. A number of Russian testing stations that measure radiation have been silenced probably to keep the truth about high levels of radiation from coming out.)

If Trump does not get the truth, how can he tell Americans the truth?  And when Americans don’t get the truth, they can be led to think that everything Trump does is great. They will not understand the downside to Trump’s policies.  Many Americans who rely on Sinclair and Fox News for their information will come away from that news-feed thinking that what they are getting is fair and impartial when it is one sided at best.

The better way to digest news is time consuming.  It means getting multiple news feeds from both the right and left of the political spectrum so that you can be a better judge of the information.  The truth can be found, most often, somewhere in the middle, instead of the extremes.  And when you do find it it can set you free but it might piss you off in the process if it doesn’t align with your news-feed.