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As Biden struggles, Trump skewers his favorite media and political targets

Orignally published on 2022-01-18 08:07:55 by

It might not sound like all that much: 47 percent of the country leaning toward the Republicans, 42 percent leaning toward the Democrats. 

But those Gallup numbers are actually a disaster for Joe Biden’s party.

In the first quarter of last year, the Dems actually enjoyed a 49-40 advantage. They control the White House, the House and (nominally) the Senate. So even though polls aren’t a perfect snapshot, that’s a 14-point decline in identification for the party in power. 

It makes you think that for all the media warnings about Republicans hijacking the 2024 election, they might just win it the old-fashioned way, fairly and squarely. Maybe Democrats are fighting the last war, so worried about Donald Trump’s constant unproven claims about a rigged election in 2020 that they forfeit the presidency next time. 

When you strip away all the distractions, Biden has done what almost every other modern president has done, which is misread his mandate and overreach on his agenda. Bill Clinton did it with such cultural issues as gays in the military. George W. Bush did it in his second term by trying to privatize Social Security. Donald Trump tried three times and failed to repeal ObamaCare. 


Had Biden set his sights lower–just passed pandemic relief and infrastructure–he’d still be battling Omicron and inflation but his standing would be higher. It was the progressive wish list he failed to get past two Democratic senators that made him look weak and ineffective. 

So what about Trump 2.0? 

He went after some of his MSNBC antagonists Monday in a Martin Luther King Day blast to reporters. First, there were his former friends, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski: 

“Will Morning Joe be canceled? He and Mika’s ratings are very low—they are having an extremely hard time finding an audience to listen to the Fake News they spurn.” (Guess he meant spew, not spurn.) 

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Scarborough reveled in the Trumpian attention, declaring, “He can’t quit us!” The program put up a banner saying “Morning Joe Thanks Faithful Viewer, Florida Retiree Sends Thoughts on Show.” (The former president had repeatedly declared he no longer watched Joe and Mika.)

Trump also went after MSNBC’s 7 p.m. host, saying “looks like Unjoy Reid, the racist commentator on MSDNC [MSNBC], is toast. Her stupidity is only surpassed by her absolute lack of television persona. She never had it, and never will.” He accused her of “spewing racist hate.” I’m not a Joy fan, but that’s pretty harsh.


It’s true that ratings are down from the Trump era, but that’s the case for almost all cable shows, and the drop has been more precipitous on CNN. It’s equally true that both channels focus fairly relentlessly on Trump, especially with the Jan. 6 investigation, in an attempt to recapture some of the old magic. 

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Trump is feuding with Ron DeSantis, privately peeved that the Florida government won’t say he’ll sit out the presidential race if his benefactor runs.  

Trump recently complained about “gutless” politicians who won’t say if they got a Covid booster, after DeSantis dodged the question on Fox. The governor, on a podcast, implicitly criticized Trump’s early handling of pandemic lockdowns, saying “knowing now what I know then, if that was a threat earlier, I would have been much louder.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in November 2021. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in November 2021. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

I bring up these little spats because Trump’s insults and jabs would have gotten far more attention if he still had a direct Twitter pipeline to 88 million followers. The ban by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has suppressed his exposure, especially with the delay in launching his own social media platform. But Dan Pfeiffer, once Barack Obama’s communications chief, thinks the ban inadvertently helps the 45th president:


“Trump’s inability to remind the world why they hate him was a gift. His statements attacking members of his own party for insufficient loyalty to the Big Lie received a fraction of the attention a tweet saying the exact same thing would elicit. The Twitter ban created a false impression of unity in the Republican Party.”

I think it may be a wash. But if Trump, as expected, runs to recapture his old job, his constant airing of grievances against the media and detractors in both parties will return to a white-hot spotlight. 

That will be good for clicks and ratings. Whether it helps or hurts Trump, if there’s a rematch against a weakened incumbent, is not entirely clear.  

Orignally published on 2022-01-18 08:07:55 by

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