On Sunday’s Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd offered a brief report on the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls showing President Trump’s approval rating remaining virtually unchanged despite a week of news focused on the conviction of Paul Manafort and guilty pleas from Michael Cohen. However, Todd revealed that the network was so skeptical of the results that it actually conducted a second survey to verify the numbers.
“So what effect did Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and Paul Manafort’s convictions have on President Trump’s approval rating?,” Todd rhetorically asked. He then disappointedly gave the answer: “Well, we have brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers, and the answer so far seems to be no.”
The poll was conducted jointly by Republican pollster McInturff and Democratic pollster Peter Hart. Todd cited Hart issuing a warning to his fellow Democrats: “For the 2018 Democratic strategy, the Manafort and Cohen convictions represent a fool’s gold opportunity, rather than a silver bullet solution.” In a write-up of the poll for NBCNews.com, Hart was amazed by Trump’s “remarkably stable” support.– READ MORE
First of all, it is possible that a lot of this news isn’t quite as horrific for Trump as it may first appear, or that it could have been. Manafort could have easily been convicted on all counts. A Cohen trial with actual public testimony from Pecker and Weisselberg, along with these salacious details having time to be fully absorbed, would have been far more politically dangerous to Trump than a super-quick plea deal that wasn’t even the dominant story of the hour it happened.
I am also not convinced, as many other very wise (but possibly compromised by “confirmation bias”) commentators are that the Pecker and Weisselbeg plea deals are as huge as a lot of people are hoping they are. If their immunity was limited, and they each “flipped” on just Cohen and not on Trump, then this may all be much ado about very little (AMI releasing the ex-Trump Tower worker from his NDA may be the best evidence that Pecker really has “flipped” on Trump).
Regardless, it is extremely important to remember that, because Trump is president, this is almost entirely about politics. Facts and the law simply have almost nothing to do with how long Trump will remain in the office.
So, with all of this in mind, here is a scenario which became significantly more likely because of this week’s events:
Democrats take the House in November. They are then forced to impeach Trump. The Senate totally rejects the impeachment as if it is illegitimate. Trump, seeing that the presidency is his greatest protection against legal ramifications, and not wanting to be a one-term “impeached” president, is then forced to run for reelection. Democrats, blinded by rage at Trump, end up nominating an unelectable candidate who plays right into Trump’s hands and he wins reelection. – READ MORE