In the loop = August 23, 2019

AP-NORC poll: 62% disapprove of how Trump’s handling his job

Just 36% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president; 62% disapprove.

The numbers may be ugly for a first-term president facing reelection in 14 months, but they are remarkably consistent. Trump’s approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% in AP-NORC polls since he took office.

Trump has remade GOP, but poll finds it's at a price: LAT reports, Trump has remade the Republican Party in his populist image, but at a price that puts his reelection in jeopardy, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds. Asked whether the party should “become more populist, stressing issues like strong borders, protecting jobs from foreign competition and standing tough against crime and social disorder” or should “become more traditionally conservative, stressing fiscal responsibility, defense, and pro-business policies,” more than 4 in 10 Republicans supported the populist side.

Can Trump prevent a US recession in election year? DW reports, Trump is pressuring the Fed to stave off a sharp economic downturn as he seeks reelection in 2020. The feelgood effects of his $1.5 billion program of tax cuts are due to run out soon, so what can he do?

Trump campaign seeks to mobilize women in 2020 battleground states: Reuters reports, Trump’s re-election campaign is hosting events in 2020 battleground states on Thursday to mobilize and train suburban women, an important voting bloc that defected from Republicans during last year’s congressional contests.

Justin Webb: Donald Trump faces challenge from the enemy within: A Tea Party conservative is set to embarrass the Republicans by fighting the president for the party’s 2020 nomination.

Mark Sanford, the Republican former governor of South Carolina, briefly touted as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, has been seriously considering a run against President Trump for the party’s nomination in 2020.

US factory activity shrinks for first time since 2009: FT reports. survey of industry executives points to further weakness in American industry.

The federal government will rack up $12.2T in deficits through 2029, according to a new projection from the Congressional Budget Office.

The surprising surge of Andrew Yang: Politico reports, turns out delivering a message of economic doom with a little self-deprecating humor can win over some people. Even a few disenchanted Trump voters.

Joe Biden’s poll numbers mask an enthusiasm problem: NYT reports, there are signs of a disconnect between support for Biden in polls and excitement for his campaign on the ground in Iowa.

James Freeman: Biden gets better: Now imagine what he could do with a moderate policy agenda.

@realDonaldTrump: Just heard that Sean Spicer will be on “Dancing with the Stars.” He will do great. A terrific person who loves our Country dearly!


HP Chief Executive Dion Weisler is stepping down as the leader of one of the world’s largest PC makers later this year for family health reasons.

Volkswagen wants name hidden for far-right AfD meeting: DW reports, German carmaker Volkswagen has said it wants a hall named after the company to be rechristened for a party conference by the far-right Alternative for Germany party. It also wants its company logo to be covered up.

Boeing’s troubles cost the aerospace industry $4bn a quarter.

SiriusXM launches a $4/month student subscription to try snagging young ears from Spotify.

Goldman Sachs plans to hire more than 100 engineers for trading floor tech roles and wants to go after its rivals in the tech and finance industries to do so.

JPMorgan plans to shut down its Chase Pay smartphone app in another reversal of its digital strategy.

Amazon has opened its largest campus yet in Hyderabad, India.

How aggressively cute toys for adults became a $686 million business: 8,000-plus characters, 29 Conan O’Brien dolls alone: inside the Funko Pop Vinyl phenomenon.

Facebook has coffee shops now. It’s only the beginning of the branded city of the future: Fast Company reports, free coffee, loaner bikes, and public events: These are some of the amenities that tech brands and banks offer at a new generation of retail spaces.

Facebook has announced plans to open a series of five “Facebook Cafes” across the UK by early September.

In the loop = August 22, 2019

Ransomware attacks cripple cities across America: NYT reports, as hackers lock networks that power police forces and utilities, officials must operate with hobbled computers, and decide whether to pay ransoms. More than 40 US municipalities have been the victims of cyberattacks this year.

WSJ - Editorial: The impeachment charade: Democrats claim to want Trump gone but refuse to vote on it.

Karl Rove: Impeachment bumbles on: Somebody tell Jerry Nadler he’s setting up his fellow Democrats for disappointment.

Economic anxiety in the US is a sign of vulnerability for Trump: NYT reports, polling suggests that pervasive worries about the health of the economy cross party lines.

Reuters: Trade war sinks North Dakota soybean farmers

The Times: US faces persistent headwind from China trade war, Fed warns

White House contenders tweak economic messages: Reuters reports, Trump is test-driving a new message on the economy: Any chance of a recession is not his fault. But Democrats seem to be saying "not so fast."

WP - Editorial: Trump can’t soothe markets by blaming his Fed chair: Incoherence from Trump is not a new phenomenon. But the messages emanating from the White House on the economy have become remarkably dissonant.

Update: 2020 presidential candidates by tier - click here.

Jay Inslee is ending his 2020 presidential bid.

NYT: A former Congressman and Tea Party Republican considers a challenge to Trump

"Joe Walsh, a conservative radio show host and former Republican congressman from Illinois, is expected to announce he is running for president as early as this weekend, presenting President Trump with a challenger from the right his critics hope will weaken the president in the 2020 election."

CO-SEN: Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he’s running for Senate.

William A. Galston: Road to the White House comes into view: Trump is vulnerable, but he’ll go on offense while Democrats fight it out with each other.

"According to a Pew survey released Friday, 25% of Democratic voters have yet to form any preference. Of those who have, almost two-thirds—including 80% of Elizabeth Warren ’s supporters and 78% of Kamala Harris’s— report that they are excited by more than one candidate. By contrast, almost half of Joe Biden ’s supporters and 51% of Bernie Sanders ’s say that they are excited only by their top choice."

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.: CEOs for president Warren: The Business Roundtable throws shareholders under the bus, even if just for show.

Rana Foroohar: The trouble with American tourism: With locals too broke to take a break and trade tensions deterring foreign visitors, the economic effects could be dire.

According to a recent survey by insurance group Allianz, only 42 percent of Americans say they’ll be taking a summer holiday this year, the lowest since 2013.

Financial concerns are the main reason: of those not going away this summer, 44 percent said they did not have the money.

Phil Gramm and John F. Early: Americans are richer than we think: Our flawed measures of inflation understate wealth and improvements in consumer well-being.

Trump considers tax cuts to stimulate economy: FT reports, US president says his options include reductions in capital gains and payroll taxes.

Jonathan Bernstein: Trump’s economic message doesn’t reassure anyone: Isn’t the president supposed to be easing our fears that a recession is imminent?

Moscow station: Trump is expected to nominate Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to serve as the next US ambassador to Russia.

Here is the latest Morning Consult Political Intelligence report for the 2020 Democratic primary: Here are some takeaways from the report:

Warren steadily building support with “very liberal” voters
Biden’s favorability waning
O’Rourke sees no movement in the wake of El Paso shooting
Steyer remains strong in early primary states

Trump critics eye GOP primary race, even if defeating him seems ‘preposterous’: WP reports, Joe Walsh and Mark Sanford are leaning toward a presidential bid, while Jeff Flake is taking recruitment calls and John Kasich plans a visit to New Hampshire.

Ohio newspaper that battled injustice for 150 years to shut down: 'Scary for democracy': Guardian reports, The Vindicator’s closure means Youngstown will be the largest US city without a major paper, and is the latest blow to an ailing American news industry.

In the loop = August 20, 2019

Susan B. Glasser + The New Yorker: Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of Trump: How he became a heartland evangelical—and the President’s most loyal soldier.

Student debt: Almost two-thirds of business economists surveyed by Bloomberg believe that canceling student debt would negatively impact the U.S. economy. Said cancellation is a key campaign point for Democratic candidates such as Elizabeth Warren. The US student debt level now comes to $1.6 trillion, and many people will die before they have completely paid off their loans.

States to launch antitrust probe of Big Tech firms: WSJ reports, a group of state attorneys general is preparing to move forward with a joint antitrust investigation of big technology companies, adding another layer of scrutiny to an industry already under a federal spotlight.

FTC chief says breaking up Facebook would be hard to do: FT reports, Instagram and WhatsApp integration could stymie antitrust action, US trade commission head says.

WP: Trump again signals a retreat on gun control, reverting to remarks that mirror NRA views

WSJ - Editorial: The ‘stakeholder’ CEOs: Today’s corporate CEO is a politician as much as a business leader, and for proof look no further than the statement Monday from the Business Roundtable ostentatiously redefining its mission to serve “stakeholders” in addition to the shareholders who own the company. A close reading shows there’s less substance here than meets the media spin, but it’s still notable that the CEOs for America’s biggest companies feel the need to distance themselves from their owners.

Today: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis will arrive at the White House

Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM): The fourth-ranking Democrat in leadership is now in favor of an impeachment inquiry.

"59% of Republicans now say colleges and universities are having a negative effect, up from 37% in 2015." -- Pew Research Its traffic has doubled since 2015 and is now at more than 100 million unique visitors per month.

WP: Trump pressured Mnuchin to label China ‘currency manipulator,’ a move he had previously resisted

Boston Globe: Trump trade war is 'nerve-racking' for Massachusetts manufacturers

Reuters: US Steel plans to lay off hundreds of workers in Michigan

NYT: Economic trouble signs hang over Trump’s trade war

AP: White House insists ‘fundamentals’ of US economy are strong

Fearing recession, White House drafts plans to bolster economy
: NYT reports, the White House continues to insist that the economy is strong, but advisers are looking at a potential payroll-tax reduction if things worsen.

White House officials eyeing payroll tax cut in effort to reverse weakening economy: WP reports, the discussions of a temporary cut reveal growing concerns about the economy among President Trump’s top aides.

HBD: Larry Kudlow is 72

Bloomberg: Yes, Trump can win re-election. But he’s right to worry

Presidential approval and economy tend to predict elections

Trump shows signs of nervousness about the faltering economy

Catherine Rampell: Move over, Illuminati. The conspiracy against Trump’s economy is massive. When Barack Obama was president and the economic statistics were good, then-candidate Donald Trump said they were fake. When Trump became president and inherited the exact same stats, they suddenly became real. Now that they’re turning south, they’re apparently fake once more.

Anthony Scaramucci OpEd: I was wrong about Trump. Here’s why.

The Times: Elizabeth Warren: I’m the only person who can beat Donald Trump in 2020 presidential election

@PpollingNumbers: National Democratic Primary:

Biden 27%
Sanders 17%
Warren 9%
Harris 8%
O'Rourke 4%
Buttigieg 3%
Booker 3%
Yang 2%
Castro 1%
Klobuchar 1%
Gillibrand 1%
Gabbard 1%
Inslee 1%
Williamson 1%
Bullock 1%
de Blasio 1%
Sestak 1%
Steyer 1%

Harris X/ Scott Rasmussen Tracking Poll

In the loop = August 19, 2019

Fed caught between slowing economy and angry president: WSJ reports, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell faces scrutiny from markets and the White House over his stewardship of interest rates in an economy unsettled by a trade dispute with China and fears of recession.

The number of news stories that include the word "recession" hit a new high.

Investors position for fresh wave of economic stimulus: FT reports, billions flood into government debt on signs of global slowdown.

The US Treasury is once again exploring the sale of 50- and 100-year bonds.

CNBC: US consumer sentiment for August comes in well below estimates

US consumer sentiment falls to 92.1 in August, the lowest indicator readout since the start of 2019, according to data released Friday.

Bloomberg: Economic concerns send US consumer mood to seven-month low

Detroit News: In warning sign for Trump, independents lose confidence in economy

“What I’d keep my eye on is the independents because whoever wins the majority of independents will win the presidency,” Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan survey, said on a conference call with reporters.

Bloomberg - Editorial: Steel yourself for the Trump slump: It’s getting harder to ignore the threat this president poses to the U.S. and world economies.

In economic warning signals, Trump sees signs of a conspiracy: WSJ reports, Trump has accused his own Federal Reserve chair, other nations and the news media of working against him to derail the economy. The claims provide a ready target to help Mr. Trump deflect blame if the economy does tip into recession.

Trump spoke with bank CEOs amid market turmoil: FT reports, leaders of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America briefed president on economy.

Business Roundtable steps back from Milton Friedman theory: WSJ reports, CEO group urges firms to remember obligation to society, widening focus beyond shareholder value. The Business Roundtable said Monday that it is changing its statement of “the purpose of a corporation.” No longer should decisions be based solely on whether they will yield higher profits for shareholders, the group said. Rather, corporate leaders should take into account “all stakeholders”—that is, employees, customers and society writ large.

Group of US corporate leaders ditches shareholder-first mantra: FT reports, the Business Roundtable urges companies to consider the environment and workers as well as the pursuit of profit.

CEO lobbying group rethinks view that shareholder interest should come above all else: WP reports, the Business Roundtable — whose members are CEOs of America’s largest companies — says corporations must balance profits with the needs of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Elizabeth Warren closes gap in search for a new Democrat champion: The Times reports, according to an Economist/YouGov poll that suggests that Warren has convinced 57 per cent of Democratic voters that she would “probably beat Donald Trump”. That is a 14 point jump since June and, although she still trails Biden, who is on 65 per cent, the momentum is behind her.

Warren works to overcome hurdles with black voters in South Carolina: WP reports, other Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, also tried to expand their appeal among nonwhite voters as they campaigned in South Carolina and Georgia.

Trump said on Sunday he would keep Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate when he seeks re-election in November 2020.

For Trump, appeals to white fears about race may be a tougher sell in 2020: poll: Reuters reports, Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on the grievances of white voters helped him win the 2016 election. But his brand of white identity politics may be less effective in 2020.

Adam Gabbattin: John Delaney draws 11 people to 2020 event – does he truly think he can win? The former congressman has put $24m of his own cash into an increasingly quixotic presidential run – and he’s ploughing on despite a near total lack of support.