Early Returns

White Nationalism, Leaks and Momentum

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. Raymond Fisman and Miriam Golden at the Monkey Cage on why sustaining the momentum of anti-Trump protests may be easier than one might think.

2. Also at the Monkey Cage: S. Erdem Aytac, Susan Stokes and Eli Rau on protesters voting.

3. Scott Lemieux on setting baselines for the 2016 election. I agree with most of this, although I still think there was a realistic possibility of a blowout loss for Donald Trump; I don't think the fact that, in the end, he retained almost all Republican voters tells us that those voters just can't be moved. But generally, it's certainly true that it takes a lot to move partisans in another direction. 

4. Dave Hopkins on what the latest White House leaks tell us.

5. William Howell on Trump's executive actions

6. Natalie Jackson on Trump and the polls

7. Susan Glasser talks to James Baker about the Trump White House -- and the Ronald Reagan White House. As one who has urged Trump to find his own Baker, I certainly recommend reading this one. 

8. Jamelle Bouie on white nationalism not as crass bigotry, but as an ideology. 

9. At the Upshot, Margot Sanger-Katz grades Obamacare.

10. Elizabeth Drew on Trump and Watergate. I think some of the details here aren't quite correct -- at each point where push really came to shove, Richard Nixon wound up backing down and obeying the courts. But only after coming right up to the line of flat-out refusing to do so, and thereby forcing everyone to imagine the possibility of an active confrontation between the White House and the rest of the government. 

11. And Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare with a theory that Trump may be deliberately tanking the court case on the travel ban. Yes, it's plausible. But then again, rank incompetence is quite possible, and I think it should be the default explanation for this and everything else. Look: The lawyers, political scientists, journalists, and other analysts and pundits who talk about politics all the time are, generally, quite clever people. And if clever people have a weakness, it's their ability to figure out clever explanations for why the actions of politicians and others are, in fact, clever, no matter how foolish they appear at first glance. But sometimes foolish-looking actions are just, well, foolish. Even when they have positive effects. So, for example, in the case of what's behind Trump's attacks on the judicial system over the travel ban, I'd start with: Trump frequently runs to Twitter to attack anyone who crosses him, and he always uses over-the-top ad hominem attacks, not reasoned arguments. So while it's always possible that there's something complicated going on, I rather doubt it. 

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