Don't Look Now, but Trump's Star is Fading
And: How many people has Fox News killed with vaccine misinformation?
Happy Friday my beautiful babies. Last week, the Jackal was so long I had to cut it down to make sure it fit in one email. There’s even more to cover this week, so the intro is short. We are talking about:
Donald Trump losing his mojo.
A good example of how misinformation can get people killed.
The jobs report.
I should start off with a disclaimer before I get into the first part of this Jackal: Pretty much everyone has written about Trump’s impending downfall, only to see him come back. From saying John McCain wasn’t a war hero in 2015, to his first (or even second) impeachment, the dude is truly the turd that won’t flush. But hope springs eternal, and the buds are starting to show.
Trump is basically in trouble in two ways:
The GOP is souring on him, slightly.
Trump goin’ jail.
This New York Times piece highlights Trump’s struggles with MAGA media, who are starting to pull away from him. Money quote:
Gavin Wax, an outspoken pro-Trump activist and president of the New York Young Republican Club, who criticized [Trump’s] endorsements, said the political environment now made it possible to air such grievances. “It’s a lot easier to have these divisions begin to brew when he’s out of office,” Mr. Wax said of Mr. Trump. “He still remains the top dog by a long shot, but who knows,” Mr. Wax said. “It’s one of those things where, a million cuts — it will eventually start to do damage” (my emphasis).
And it’s not just in media: The GOP itself is slowly becoming more and more ready to move on from Trumpy.
Those numbers are showing a pretty significant shift. What’s interesting to me is that the GOP’s most reliable voting block, seniors, appear to be the most ready to move on, with only 32% of them describing themselves as Trump supporters as opposed to GOP supporters. That’s a drop of 33 points since October 2020.
There is a good discussion on the GOP’s potential breakup with Trump here, where the nerds at FiveThirtyEight go into Ron DeSantis as a possible successor to Trump. But they also highlight a major “success” story: Glenn Youngkin, who won Virginia by distancing himself from Trump. This formula could mean that the GOP’s already very likely success in the midterms could be multiplied a few times over.
Also, it’s clear to me this shows that Facebook and Twitter made the right call by banning Trump from their platforms. These companies make a lot of mistakes, but overall this one has been great for America and even better for the GOP. Nearly every smart Republican I talk to is hoping that Trump doesn’t run in 2024, because they know it will be almost impossible for him to win. With Trump out of the spotlight and unable to tweet his grievances every day, it is getting easier for Republicans to forget about him and focus on DeSantis (who also sucks).
The other problem with Trump is that he is facing criminal and civil investigations everywhere he turns. Just to go over everything:
There is a civil investigation in New York which is supposedly arguing that he defrauded the State by lying about his assets and the value(s) of his properties.
There is a criminal investigation in New York that is working with the civil investigation. That investigation has already produced an indictment of the Trump Organization.
A grand jury is impaneled in Georgia that is looking at Trump’s attempts to interfere in the election there.
The January 6th Committee is being more and more open about its intent, which is to potentially provide evidence to the Justice Department that Trump - much like the Oathkeepers - is a seditionist.
Points 2 and 3 are pretty serious legal issues for Trump, while point 4 looks like the primary damage will be political. Point 1 is sort of there just for fun.
Put all of this into your 2024 prediction algorithm and ask yourself if this makes sense: The guy who is going to lead the GOP ticket is a dude who lost once already, is 78, and is facing multiple criminal investigations both related to his conduct as President and his conduct as a private citizen. Ron DeSeantis just sounds a lot better, and GOP voters are starting to realize it.
I have been kept up by this story for a few nights: Robert LaMay was a “celebrity” on Fox News in late 2021 because he defied Washington State’s vaccine mandate and, in result, lost his job as a State trooper. He was on multiple shows, including Laura Ingram’s, who said LaMay had a bright future as a new conservative celebrity. She called him a “sleeping giant,” who was presumably awakened by “draconian” mandates that are repeatedly attacked on Fox News.
LaMay died of COVID-19 a week ago and Fox News hasn’t mentioned him since. It is a pretty stark example of how a network whose TV hosts are all vaccinated, and who are likely broadcasting their shows from remote studios in their giant Long Island mansions, are happy to prop up their unvaccinated viewers as potential human sacrifices. Instead of doing a piece on LaMay, Fox instead moved on other anti-mandate vaccine heroes. It is sick, it is ghoulish, and it is evidence that the network is a bigger public health menace than Joe Rogan will ever be.
If you want to donate to Officer LaMay’s family - he leaves behind his wife and four children - a GoFundMe page is here.
So, we got a jobs report today and it was nuts. It was bonkers, in fact: We created 467K jobs in January, which beat expectations. Moreover, the upwards revisions of November and December’s numbers were massive: The economy actually created 709K more jobs than we originally thought. The funniest part: Biden’s “weak” jobs report of 199K in December was shifted all the way up to 510K. This has made old tweets pretty funny:
However, there was another a tweet from this morning that I thought was funny:
A lot of liberals seem to think that the reason Biden’s approval rating is down so much is because the media is being tough on him. I think there is some truth to that, but the real explanation is a lot simpler. All you really have to do is look at Phil Scott’s approval rating to know why Biden’s is down.
Seriously. Phil Scott is the governor of Vermont and was the most popular governor in the country in late 2021, with an approval rating of 79% in November. In polling terms, that is sky-high; it is generally hard to get that many Americans to agree that the sun is hot.
Scott’s approval rating in January was down to 60%. That is still pretty high (though it’s in the general realm for governors, who tend to get higher approval ratings than the President), but it’s a drop of 19 points in only two months! To put it simply: Americans are upset with everyone right now, not just Biden.
Sit down, get a cup of coffee and read George Packer’s piece on Afghanistan. It’s a brutal indictment of not only the Biden Administration, but every Administration post-9/11.
This is more of must-see than a should-read:
Here is a counter to my argument that Trump is fading.
Alan Abramowitz has a good piece on why voter suppression bills tend to have the opposite effect.
I am not writing about the blowup surrounding Jeff Zucker leaving CNN because I think there is more to the story. Almost everyone in media knew he had a relationship with Allison Gollust, so it didn’t add up that he was stepping down for that. We are starting to get more info:
See you all next week, or possibly sooner if I get angry enough about something.