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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Word salad strategery

by digby

That one-page list of tax cut talking points may not have been too well thought out:
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin today told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that he couldn’t say how Donald Trump's sweeping tax overhaul plan would affect the president personally, while also declining to guarantee that middle-class families wouldn't pay more under the proposal.

"I can't make any guarantees until this thing is done and it’s on the president's desk. But I can tell you, that’s our number one objective in this," Mnuchin said on "Good Morning America."
It's hard to know what he to meant by that but let's just say that it's inevitable that "middle class families" will end up paying more so that the wealthy can pay less. We already know that they want to stick it to middle class people who have to buy health insurance in the private market. And somebody's got to pay for that massive military build up.

Still, it's interesting that they decided it was a good idea to put out a sheet of paper with a vague blueprint laying out tax cuts for Donald Trump and his family that makes it clear they didn't give a second thought to the question of how it would affect the average working family. I assume they thought this would be popular.

And it undoubtedly will be popular with Trump's base once the right wing media tells them to believe him or believe their eyes. Greg Sargent reported today:

With the White House visibly agitated by the possibility of brutally negative coverage of President Trump’s tenure thus far, he has insisted that the press is misrepresenting his record, while also vastly inflating it himself — thus preparing his voters to dismiss everything they are being told about his historic lack of accomplishments.

A new Post-ABC News poll suggests that this may be working for Trump. It finds that enormous majorities of his voters believe the news media regularly publishes false stories. Even bigger majorities of them believe the news media’s falsehoods are a bigger problem than Trump’s falsehoods are, while only small fractions think Trump tells falsehoods or that his lies are the greater problem. Just look at these findings, which I pulled from the crosstabs:

80 percent of Trump voters think it’s a bigger problem that news organizations produce false stories, while only 3 percent of them think it’s a bigger problem that Trump makes false claims. (Among Republicans overall, this is 69-14.)
Only 17 percent of Trump voters think Trump regularly makes false claims, while 76 percent of Trump voters think he doesn’t. (Among Republicans overall, this is 31-65.) 
By contrast, 78 percent of Trump voters think that news organizations regularly produce false claims, while only 19 percent of them think otherwise. (Among Republicans overall, this is 70-27.) 
Meanwhile, 84 percent of Trump voters think he’s keeping most of his major campaign promises, while only 4 percent think he isn’t, and 89 percent of them think he’s honest and trustworthy.

The question is whether those things are related: Amid increased press scrutiny of Trump’s falsehoods and failings, do Trump’s assaults on the media — and the related widespread belief among Trump voters that the media regularly produces false stories — further bond them to Trump and make them more likely to believe he’s succeeding?

It’s possible. Note this finding from another new poll of Trump voters, this one from the University of Virginia Center for Politics Poll:
Nearly nine in 10 respondents (88%) said that media criticism of Trump reinforces that the president is on the right track, and the same percentage agreed with Trump’s assertion that the press is “the enemy of the American people.” 
The lies that tumble from Trump himself are unprecedented in scope, audacity and frequency. The Post fact-checking team had documented more than 400 false or misleading statements as of Day 91 of his presidency. Other administration members have taken their cues from this, particularly press secretary Sean Spicer, who set the tone early on by lying about Trump’s inaugural crowd sizes and accusing the press of falsely diminishing them. Yet to Trump voters, not only does this reality not exist at all; such critical media scrutiny of him and his administration is a sign that he’s doing something right — that he’s on their side, and the news media is the enemy.

Trump has understood this better than anyone from the beginning: