26 votes

Trump abruptly scraps stimulus talks, punting on economic relief until after Election Day

33 comments

  1. [18]
    tempestoftruth
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm guessing he wants to capitalize on the confusion after Election Day results are inconclusive. While states are counting mail-in ballots, which will disproportionately be votes for Biden, he...
    • Exemplary

    I'm guessing he wants to capitalize on the confusion after Election Day results are inconclusive. While states are counting mail-in ballots, which will disproportionately be votes for Biden, he will go on and on about how the numbers changing after Election Day is fraud. Passing a stimulus bill in the time period between November 3 and January 20 makes him look more legitimate during this period of uncertainty, since people will see the money in their accounts while he is still technically the president. How Republicans do in the Senate and the House doesn't even affect the success of this strategy, since even if both chambers turn blue, and he can no longer pass the bill unilaterally, how can the Democrats deny him the positive coverage of the stimulus bill? The only option would be to not pass the stimulus, which would be politically devastating for Democrats, and by extension, Biden.

    You might say whether or not Trump looks good after Election Day shouldn't matter, because the votes have already been cast, but Trump understands that who wins the election has nothing to do with the amount of votes the candidates receive, and everything to do with perceived legitimacy and how unwilling people are to buck the status quo. He could receive far fewer votes than Biden, but he can use this stimulus bill to make himself look good, or to make Democrats look bad, which may be enough, along with all the other planks of his strategy (Republican-dominated state legislatures, conservative Supreme Court Justices, incumbent advantage, etc.), to remain in office. My personal opinion is that all these advantage together seem like enough to guarantee he'll stay in office regardless of the results (this is distinct from "winning" the election, which you do not need to win in order to remain president, and I don't mean the electoral college here either). If you can keep the uncertainty going on long enough, eventually the state apparatus (read: Supreme Court) will have to decide who the president will be, because uncertainty is bad for political stability (and for business), and that's where perceptions and legitimacy come in. What the media is saying now (Trump blocked stimulus) doesn't matter. What the media is saying during the crucial three-month period where nobody knows who won the election (Trump passed stimulus) is what matters.

    Democrats need to capitalize on this failure to provide Americans with the stimulus money they desperately need. Biden needs to push this over and over, make campaign television ads talking about how Trump refused to make the stimulus happen, and all the other ways in which he is denying people access to resources they need. If they don't, and they let Republicans control the narrative, Trump gets to make this play without getting punished.

    edit: clarification, additional context

    21 votes
    1. [2]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      It won’t matter. Anyone who wins won’t be sworn in until January so he’ll have all of November and December to pass whatever relief he wants, as long as he can get all the Republicans to fall in...

      How Republicans do in the Senate and the House doesn't even affect the success of this strategy, since even if both chambers turn blue, and he can no longer pass the bill unilaterally, how can the Democrats deny him the positive coverage of the stimulus bill?

      It won’t matter. Anyone who wins won’t be sworn in until January so he’ll have all of November and December to pass whatever relief he wants, as long as he can get all the Republicans to fall in line.

      Democrats need to capitalize on this failure to provide Americans with the stimulus money they desperately need. Biden needs to push this over and over, make campaign television ads talking about how Trump refused to make the stimulus happen [...]

      He needs to hammer this home non-stop at the debate. No matter the question, always bring it back to how Donald Trump walked away from trying to help Americans desperately in need. He threw a tantrum and said, “my way or the highway” and basically told the American people outright that he would do nothing to help them.

      17 votes
      1. tempestoftruth
        Link Parent
        Ah good point. Thank you for the correction!

        Ah good point. Thank you for the correction!

        5 votes
    2. [4]
      psi
      Link Parent
      I think you're giving Trump too much credit. This entire Presidency is a case study in minimum effort government. Trump has no master plan for a stimulus package; in fact, I doubt he has any plan...

      I think you're giving Trump too much credit. This entire Presidency is a case study in minimum effort government. Trump has no master plan for a stimulus package; in fact, I doubt he has any plan at all.

      I mean, can you imagine these negotiations? Schumer and Pelosi arrive with a Democratic wishlist (stimulus checks for $x/mo for y months, government-covered COVID-19 treatment, whatever) and Trump counters with... a single stimulus check for half the amount? And with a stipulation that employees have to relinquish their right to sue their employer for failing to protect them?

      Of course Trump's not going to negotiate with the Democrats – there's no way he could win the messaging war. His best move is to refuse to play, which conveniently is also the move that requires the least amount of effort.

      15 votes
      1. [3]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        "He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them." Sun Tzu, The Art of War

        "He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them."

        • Sun Tzu, The Art of War
        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Good_Apollo
          Link Parent
          Yeah but you know Trump is operating on the audiobook version of Zapp Brannigan’s Big Book of War.

          Yeah but you know Trump is operating on the audiobook version of Zapp Brannigan’s Big Book of War.

          10 votes
          1. arp242
            Link Parent
            The GOP is more than just Trump though, and the problem extends beyond just Trump too.

            The GOP is more than just Trump though, and the problem extends beyond just Trump too.

            5 votes
    3. SantalBlush
      Link Parent
      You're talking about a guy who caught COVID by hanging out indoors and letting people spray germs in his face for the past 6 months. If there really is any master plan, it's not going to be this...

      You're talking about a guy who caught COVID by hanging out indoors and letting people spray germs in his face for the past 6 months. If there really is any master plan, it's not going to be this elaborate.

      10 votes
    4. [2]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      Be ready for a general strike and possibly more. And I don't mean be ready to suffer through it while others do the striking. Be ready to strike. If he does not accept being voted out or if the...

      Be ready for a general strike and possibly more. And I don't mean be ready to suffer through it while others do the striking. Be ready to strike. If he does not accept being voted out or if the supreme court pulls some undemocratic bullshit, you guys need to act. I would hate to see the US turn into a dictatorship.

      9 votes
      1. Good_Apollo
        Link Parent
        I surely believe Trump has the machinations to be a dictator but I don’t believe the mechanisms in place would support such a move. The country is huge and enough people wouldn’t stand for it, and...

        I surely believe Trump has the machinations to be a dictator but I don’t believe the mechanisms in place would support such a move. The country is huge and enough people wouldn’t stand for it, and that’s not even going into the idea that he could actually control the massive amount of state and even federal officials and the military. He just doesn’t have the support outside of his political party (and even that isn’t 100% solid) and his cultish minority supporters.

        The country is realistically too big and diverse for a dictatorship take hold like you see in some countries, I think.

        Trump will be out, whether he likes it or not either by this election or the next. Life in the US will go on, for better or (more likely) worse.

        Where you might see some scary radical change in the US is when climate change really hits the fan and whatever other major global disasters will befall us in the future. All empires fall eventually, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

        5 votes
    5. [8]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      If the election is still in dispute, it seems unlikely that Congress will pass anything significant after the election?

      If the election is still in dispute, it seems unlikely that Congress will pass anything significant after the election?

      3 votes
      1. [7]
        JXM
        Link Parent
        Why not? Republicans would still control the Senate and the Presidency until January. We’ve seen in the past few weeks that they’ll just ram through anything they can as long as it benefits their...

        Why not? Republicans would still control the Senate and the Presidency until January. We’ve seen in the past few weeks that they’ll just ram through anything they can as long as it benefits their agenda.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          And the Democrats would still control the House. Do you really think they can do a deal when everyone is distracted?

          And the Democrats would still control the House. Do you really think they can do a deal when everyone is distracted?

          3 votes
          1. JXM
            Link Parent
            I’m more worried about them speeding judicial nominations through. They don’t need the house for that. (See my other comment).

            I’m more worried about them speeding judicial nominations through. They don’t need the house for that. (See my other comment).

            6 votes
        2. [4]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          With the senate and presidency they can't pass anything though

          With the senate and presidency they can't pass anything though

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            JXM
            Link Parent
            This article from the New York Times actually breaks it down pretty well. They can still quickly approve any outstanding nominations that are left. If there are any judicial nominations...

            This article from the New York Times actually breaks it down pretty well. They can still quickly approve any outstanding nominations that are left. If there are any judicial nominations outstanding or that come up, they can be filled.

            Those types of things can have an even longer lasting impact than any bill could. They’ve been nominating young, conservative judges that could serve for 40 or 50 years.

            6 votes
            1. [2]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              Certainly they can get a judge through and lest the senate members have their majority taken away by covid induced absences there's nothing stopping them. But the "pass stimulus while contending...

              Certainly they can get a judge through and lest the senate members have their majority taken away by covid induced absences there's nothing stopping them.

              But the "pass stimulus while contending power" thing ain't going to work. Dems can just refuse to pass anything with the justification of "what the fuck are you doing"

              2 votes
              1. JXM
                Link Parent
                Oh, they won’t get anything like another stimulus bill through. But the judges and other things they can handle without the House will have a lasting, long term impact on the country for decades....

                Oh, they won’t get anything like another stimulus bill through. But the judges and other things they can handle without the House will have a lasting, long term impact on the country for decades. These are the judges that will be ruling on the laws that the next set of Senators and Representatives pass.

                3 votes
  2. [9]
    stu2b50
    Link
    This seems like an absolutely bizarre move. The stimulus was actually a bit of a tricky situation for the democrats, but Trump just bulldozed all that and clearly takes the blame for stimulus...

    This seems like an absolutely bizarre move. The stimulus was actually a bit of a tricky situation for the democrats, but Trump just bulldozed all that and clearly takes the blame for stimulus walling. Stimulus is very popular with Americans; 72% approved of a $2 trillion stimulus plan in polls.

    Additionally, economics, and specifically the stock market, were always bulwarks of Trump's reelection bid. And he just torpedos it out of nowhere.

    Of course, aside from politics, this is also a very sad result for the many Americans who need assistance now, and even for those who don't, the economic affects will likely slow the recovery and perhaps even cause more job hits.

    18 votes
    1. [5]
      kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Back when we received the $1,200 stimulus checks six months ago, Trump ensured his name was on them for anyone not getting direct deposits. I remember being frustrated at the time because I felt...

      Back when we received the $1,200 stimulus checks six months ago, Trump ensured his name was on them for anyone not getting direct deposits. I remember being frustrated at the time because I felt that he was taking credit for something he didn't deserve. It wasn't him who got us that money, and part of the reason we needed the money so badly was because of how much he had mishandled the pandemic. Slapping his name on the check felt like a technique to outright buy affinity that he hadn't earned.

      I felt the same way even earlier, when I received his branded Coronavirus Guidelines for America mailer that recommended precautions he himself was simultaneously speaking out against. He featured his name on a "plan" that got mailed to millions of homes, which is great optics, but he was openly opposing that plan at the time (and long after)! It, too, felt like a blatant attempt at fishing for undeserved credit. Quick aside: in searching for an article on the mailer, I learned that the USPS still has not been paid the $28 million it's owed for that mailing.

      I think what makes it so surprising that he's stopping a new stimulus is that it's the exact opposite of what I was expecting. I honestly thought that they were waiting to push through a stimulus until right before the election as a way of cashing in on the goodwill it would generate. It gives Trump the perfect opportunity to take credit, boost the economy, and win over voters: Trump saves America!

      Of course, he'd be "saving" us from the mess he has had a significant hand in creating, but I think enough people are hurting right now that "any port in a storm" logic has very strong sway. What makes this so interesting is that it appears this is exactly what he's trying to do, only he's trying to use the stimulus as extortion rather than bribery. Rather than "vote for me because I got you money", it's instead "I won't give you money unless you vote for me". Neither are great, but the one that involves a latent threat and the further withholding of relief is the less defensible of the two.

      12 votes
      1. [2]
        JXM
        Link Parent
        He does have a history of not paying for things, so no surprise there...

        Quick aside: in searching for an article on the mailer, I learned that the USPS still has not been paid the $28 million it's owed for that mailing.

        He does have a history of not paying for things, so no surprise there...

        9 votes
        1. Good_Apollo
          Link Parent
          Plus the Republican strategy is to starve the USPS, for whatever reason.

          Plus the Republican strategy is to starve the USPS, for whatever reason.

          6 votes
      2. mono
        Link Parent
        He tweeted this literally three days ago:

        He tweeted this literally three days ago:

        OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!

        6 votes
      3. Eabryt
        Link Parent
        Don't worry, I did have direct deposit and instead got a letter in the mail about it, about 3 months after receiving the money.

        Trump ensured his name was on them for anyone not getting direct deposits.

        Don't worry, I did have direct deposit and instead got a letter in the mail about it, about 3 months after receiving the money.

        1 vote
    2. [3]
      spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      McConnell vows Senate will 'continue to operate' on Barrett confirmation despite COVID outbreak (apologies for the Fox News link, but I think it's important to know how the state-sponsored...

      McConnell vows Senate will 'continue to operate' on Barrett confirmation despite COVID outbreak

      (apologies for the Fox News link, but I think it's important to know how the state-sponsored propaganda arm is spinning this)

      “We've been dealing with this since May. All of a sudden, it's become disabling?” he asked. “This is just another effort to try to delay the process on this outstanding Supreme Court nominee that the president has sent up to the Senate.”

      McConnell added that there’s “nothing" he can see preventing Barrett’s confirmation before the election.

      This is the real reason. They realistically don't have time before the election to do both a stimulus bill and a SCOTUS nomination, so they're picking the one that matters more to them.

      Especially since, as @tempestoftruth said, the optics of passing a stimulus during the lame duck session are pretty good, while the optics of confirming Amy Coney Barrett during the lame duck would be very bad (especially if Trump loses and Republicans lose seats in the Senate).

      I think they see the writing on the wall that Trump is very likely to lose, and passing a last-minute stimulus bill wouldn't help his chances in a significant enough way. So they're going to press forward with the SCOTUS confirmation as their last-ditch power grab before getting voted out of office.

      10 votes
      1. Whom
        Link Parent
        But why would Trump himself go along with that and even volunteer to be the face of the talks falling apart? Like, I get what you're talking about if we're speculating about the party as a whole,...

        But why would Trump himself go along with that and even volunteer to be the face of the talks falling apart?

        Like, I get what you're talking about if we're speculating about the party as a whole, but nothing we've seen in the past 4 years makes me think Trump would go "You know what, I'm probably not going to win this. Better do what's best for the party and not worry about winning!"

        6 votes
      2. arp242
        Link Parent
        The comments on that Fox News article are depressing for many reasons, not the least of which is the many people calling for skipping any confirmation hearings and just appointing her.

        The comments on that Fox News article are depressing for many reasons, not the least of which is the many people calling for skipping any confirmation hearings and just appointing her.

        3 votes
  3. [3]
    UniquelyGeneric
    (edited )
    Link
    In a bizarre, yet unsurprising move, Trump has done a complete 180 and is now seemingly demanding to have a stimulus bill to sign. He is clearly grasping for straws at what to do. The blowback...

    In a bizarre, yet unsurprising move, Trump has done a complete 180 and is now seemingly demanding to have a stimulus bill to sign.

    He is clearly grasping for straws at what to do. The blowback from suggesting postponing stimulus funding must have been enough for him to abandon his plans at protecting the SCOTUS nom.

    I’d like to think he’s so afraid at losing the election that he’s willing to disagree with the Republican Party for the sake of his own survival.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      Good_Apollo
      Link Parent
      He’s certainly been acting more manic and unpredictable lately. Like a wounded animal backed into the corner, eying that early poll info with a look of pure deer-in-the-headlights terror.

      He’s certainly been acting more manic and unpredictable lately. Like a wounded animal backed into the corner, eying that early poll info with a look of pure deer-in-the-headlights terror.

      8 votes
      1. UniquelyGeneric
        Link Parent
        I’m sure the steroids they have him on are also fueling his mania. I don’t mind watching the train wreck fall apart, but I hope there’s no lasting collateral damage he takes down with him.

        I’m sure the steroids they have him on are also fueling his mania. I don’t mind watching the train wreck fall apart, but I hope there’s no lasting collateral damage he takes down with him.

        1 vote
  4. Omnicrola
    Link
    At first I was astonished, and confused. The more I think about it, the more it does fit his MO though. Trump loves strong arm negotiating. If he thinks he's got the higher ground, he would...

    At first I was astonished, and confused. The more I think about it, the more it does fit his MO though.

    Trump loves strong arm negotiating. If he thinks he's got the higher ground, he would absolutely blow up a negotiation and walk away. He thinks it gives him the advantage, because the other party is forced to come crawling over and make another pitch.

    Of course, there are a ton of other considerations to be had here, but most of them are irrelevant to Trump's narcissistic world view.

    Not to mention he's probably not feeling great and is taking medications with who knows what side effects that could affect his normally keen negotiating instincts. /s

    4 votes
  5. [2]
    MonkeyPants
    Link
    Muted reaction from the futures market. Strange.

    Muted reaction from the futures market. Strange.

    1. MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      Ah, the futures market are smarter than I thought. Trump did a quick 180.

      Ah, the futures market are smarter than I thought. Trump did a quick 180.

      5 votes