Monday, November 21, 2016

Trump's Popularity Surges After Election

By Leah Barkoukis
It’s been nearly two weeks since the election and Donald Trump has already become more popular.
According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll of registered voters, Trump’s favorability has climbed 9 points since the same poll was taken right before the election, from 37 percent to 46 percent, while his unfavorability rating dropped by double digits, from 61 percent to 46 percent—a 15-point difference.
Trump is also getting high marks for his transition effort. Nineteen percent of those polled believe it is more organized than past efforts and another 34 percent believe the transition is about the same, according to the poll that Morning Consult conducted Nov. 16-18.
"Trump’s favorability among voters has reached new highs since he became president-elect,” said Morning Consult cofounder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. "This honeymoon phase in common for new presidents. For example, Obama saw about a 20 point swing in his favor following the 2008 election." 


Analysis: Pence's Reaction to Getting Booed at 'Hamilton' Was Perfect

By Guy Benson
America's culture war flared up again on Friday night, when Vice President-elect Mike Pence faced a hostile reception at a performance of 'Hamilton' on Broadway. Upon entering the theater and finding his seat, Pence heard a mixture of boos and some applause, followed by several mid-show bouts of jeering and heckling, and capped off with a lecture delivered atcurtain call by one of the leading actors on behalf of the cast.
President-elect Donald Trump blasted the move, calling the actors' behavior rude and out of place, and demanding an apology:


  Donald J. Trump


Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!


  Donald J. Trump

The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

As Matt wrote yesterday, Pence's reaction was far more subdued. He graciously shrugged off the incident during a Fox News Sunday conversation with Chris Wallace. Bravo!
Here, Pence traverses the high road by praising the show, addressing the cast's concerns, and declining to escalate the controversy. An impressive showing.

As someone who is a fan of both Mike Pence (despite holding serious disagreements on some issues) and 'Hamilton' (regardless of the performers' apparent political views), this whole episode attracted my attention as reports of the confrontation spilled onto social media. My initial (and still overall) reaction was similar to Pence's: A virtual shrug.  After all, booing is a grand New York tradition:

In other words, the pre-show boo birds and even the players' special post-show commentary weren't especially objectionable. Even if you're inclined to believe that both were out of place, I don't think they crossed any bright

But audience members disrupting the performance and forcing stoppages during musical numbers in order to vent fury over an election result is appalling conduct, especially for reasons noted in the tweet embedded immediately above. 

Many of the rich, liberal New Yorkers in that theater no doubt relished the opportunity to experience political catharsis and "speak truth to power," as they'd self-congratulatingly frame it. But other theatergoers were Trump/Pence supporters, or  merely ambivalent observers just trying to enjoy the hottest show on the planet. 

It's a shame that they had their experience marred by these selfish partisans.

Some will argue 'but Pence deserved it!' My retort to that line of thinking is here. 

Others will argue that it was totally out of line for the cast to deliver a political message to Pence at the end of the production, given the circumstances and context.

How many of these same critics cheered Dr. Ben Carson's famous in-person admonishment of President Obama from the rostrum of the National Prayer Breakfast a few years back? 

Finally, I've seen some conservatives calling for boycotts of 'Hamilton' as a result of this whole kerfuffle.  This is deeply misguided, in my view. 

Not only do I disdain the politicized life in general, Americans who respect our nation's founding should celebrate this musical.  It is both a spectacular work of artistic genius and an inspiring, moving tribute to the courageous men who launched the American experiment.  It is an unabashedly pro-America show that has made a bunch of dead guys suddenly relevant and cool again. 

Students are learning about the statesmanship and sacrifice of towering historical American figures.  They're discovering the contours of the cabinet battles that shaped the direction of our fledgling republic from its earliest days.  They're memorizing lengthy passages of Washington's farewell address, and laughing at tyranny in the form of King George III's snotty, effete character. 

People are understandably riled up by what happened on Friday night (bulletin: Manhattanites and musical theater performers aren't necessarily big Republicans).

But it would be a mistake to reject this beacon of culturally-accessible gratitude for our founders because of a fleeting partisan controversy.