AGI – The presidential campaign is taking off vertically: Donald Trump signed executive orders that bypass Congress on economic measures. After two weeks of empty negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, in the face of Chuck Schumer’s no and Nancy Pelosi’s sharp smiles, with Steve Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, with his morale under his heel after each meeting, Trump went straight and signed the provisions that were spinning in mid-air in the negotiation: unemployment benefits of $ 400 a week (with a $ 200 cut from the current amount, they were at $ 600); payroll tax postponed until the end of 2020 for those earning less than $ 100,000; postponement of university loan payments and zeroing of interest until the end of the year; extension of the moratorium on evictions. These are urgent anti-crisis measures, Congress should have taken them, but the Democrats’ game is to curb Republican efforts to keep Trump in the swamp of the coronavirus crisis as long as possible. Political battle.
The move of the horse and the Washington swamp
Trump responded with a cannon shot, “kangarooing” everyone, Congress, his Treasury Minister, the Republican delegation and the Democrats. The president’s move on the political level is a huge fact, because it gives Trump the opportunity to affirm – remember that there are less than 3 months to vote – that he is acting and the Washington establishment, “the swamp”, does political games against the interests of American citizens. His electoral narrative will pick up a strong piece of the 2016 campaign, the move of the horse on Congress gives Trump the opportunity to tell himself again as “the outsider”, a “maverick”, a maverick, a maverick. Will it work? We will see, what is certain is that in the next few hours the clash between the White House and the Democrats will reach very high temperatures.
Note of color, Trump spoke from Bedminster, in one of his golf clubs, the associates followed the president’s press conference and applauded. Trump at his home. Trump with the claque. Trump doing Trump.
Targets such as golf holes, the tough Chuck Schumer and the friend-enemy of all time, Nancy Pelosi, the sweet one of the pirate hand kiss and the clap clap overflowing with irony (speech on the State of the Union, 6 February 2019), that sandpaper of the intervention of the President blatantly torn in front of everyone (State of the Union address, February 4, 2020) Nancy and The Donald, a pair of opposites in American politics.
Let’s go back to the executive orders. The most delicate point concerns the request that the White House makes to the states to pay 25% of the costs of the new weekly subsidies, the 400 dollars are divided as follows: 300 dollars will be taken from the federal budget, 100 dollars will be borne by the states. The Republicans no longer wanted the $ 600 measure, the president cut the check to $ 400, but kept it and, as we have seen, it was not discounted (the $ 600 aid expired on July 31). Payment until December 6, a month after the vote for the presidency, opponents note, but remember that Trump will be in office until January 20, even in the event of a defeat, he will be the president of the transition until Inauguration Day.
The rationale for the cut of the allowance (there were those who wanted to abolish it altogether) for the Republicans is the following: the subsidy is too high, it is a disincentive to looking for work, it unreasonably widens the audience of members of the lists of unemployment who want to cash the check. True, but voting and canceling subsidies is not a pop move, which is why Trump has decided to stay at $ 400, even against a wing of his party.
The subsidy executive order will open the legal battle with local governments, especially with Democratic-led states who have already declared in advance that they don’t have the money to fund their share. Who will be the first to go to court? Most of the money will come from the Disaster Relief Fund, the fund that finances emergencies, currently has an endowment of 70 billion, to finance the new subsidies 44 billion will be needed.
The suspension of the Social Security Tax, a 6.2% levy on employee payrolls, will take effect from September 1 through December 31. On a legal level, the decision is fully compatible with the rules of the American tax code, there is a declaration of a state of emergency and the White House can suspend and defer the tax obligations of taxpayers.
The White House move for the Republicans and Democrats is a defeat, the American voters are very sensitive on this point: a country in serious trouble cannot come after the skirmishes between the parties. The episode confirms how deep the division of American politics is, shows the insecurities of the parties, we vote. It is on this point that Trump trusts and plays his cards. In his party there are those who applaud and those who disagree. Democrats speak of an “expropriation” of congressional budget prerogatives. Everyone has a piece of reason, but in the end, in the face of stalemate, Trump made the decision. And this will have a weight in the election campaign.
Biden first in the polls but Trump regains his share
Surveys? On August 2, a poll by The Hill / HarriX came out that gives Biden a 3-point lead over the national average (43 to 40); on the same day The Economist / YouGov poll sees the Democratic candidate leading the race by 9 points (49 to 40), on 29 July Rasmussen gives Biden 3 points above (48 to 45), also on that date Emerson presents Biden leads by 4 points (50 to 46). Biden in the last 4 polls is never above 50% and in the average of RealClearPolitics has an advantage of 6.4 points and is on the decline, while Trump regains altitude:
The Democratic candidate is still more than a favorite, but he is by no means in a “comfort zone”, Trump can close the gap, even win, with a strategy in key states that we have already seen in 2016. On August 9, 4 years ago, Hillary Clinton was up 7.6 points.
2020 is not 2016, we are facing a presidential campaign with the pandemic, but the past serves to temper Biden’s judgments of foregone victory, to introduce elements of prudence in a bumpy race like few in American history. Biden’s campaign strategists know this, so much so that they will spend $ 280 million on TV and online advertising in the coming weeks to give an acceleration that for now is not seen, its advantage is built on the coronavirus and Trump’s mistakes. may not be enough, he has to push his campaign to be able to win the challenge in Electoral College, what matters. The impact of a decision that is expected between today and tomorrow will be very important, the choice of the vice president. Biden needs to be accompanied quickly by a figure who can help him overcome the difficulties he encounters with the more progressive wing of his electorate. Who will he choose? We will see it soon.
Biden has so far held a wise low-key line, speaks little, let Trump be wrong, a conservative choice (criticized in the Wall Street Journal by Karl Rove, the intelligent electoral strategist of the Bush era: “Good tactics, bad strategy”) also dictated by the historical gaffes he is capable of. In 2008 he went on TV and in front of the nation he said, “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Delano Roosevelt went on television and …”. It was the year 1929, President Hoover was in the White House and TV had not yet been invented, it arrived ten years later, it was presented at the 1939 New York Universal Exposition. Rove also defines Biden this way on the WSJ: ” One-man gaffe machine “.
This seems like nothing compared to the daily reality show of an upside-down figure like Trump, but Biden remains a subject to watch so that he doesn’t get too badly done, as his strategists are doing. As for Trump, containing him is a mission impossible. If he wins, Trump wins, if he loses, The Donald loses.
The Big Tech Titans and the TikTok match
The presidential campaign has its effects felt on the entire American scenario. Trump’s decisions on China lead to a redesign of the Big Tech map, executive orders on two social networking titans TikTok and WeChat kicked off a Microsoft negotiation to buy TikTok, but according to Wall Street Journal is also Twitter on the track, there would have been some first talks between ByteDance (the company that controls the Chinese app) and the company founded by Jack Dorsey. Possible? The interview yes, but the rest of the story is a difficult undertaking. Compared to Microsoft, Twitter is a small company and doesn’t seem able to close a deal of this magnitude. An example to understand the orders of magnitude, let’s take a look at Wall Street: Twitter’s market capitalization is $ 29.3 billion, Microsoft’s is $ 1.6 billion. On this level, there is no match, so the company led by Satya Nadella remains by far the favorite for the acquisition. But we are in America, there is no shortage of surprises in Silicon Valley, everything is possible.
Npr today exclusively tells that Tik Tok is preparing a lawsuit – will arrive by next Tuesday – against Trump’s decision. The Chinese will say that the president’s action is unconstitutional, that it does not give the company any possibility of response and that the allegations of a threat to national security are unfounded. Legal action would most likely delay the divestiture, complicating Trump’s plans. While waiting for TikTok’s judicial Tuesday, we must not forget that on the other side of the Pacific, in Beijing, there is an actor who has his silent influence on the negotiations, Xi Jinping. We will know how it will end by September 15, the deadline set by the White House for closing the negotiations.
The acceleration of the presidential campaign is also curving Pentagon space. We will see many new facts in the defense sector, on the front. Mark Esper, the secretary of defense, said in an interview with Fox News that the United States will leave “fewer than 5,000 troops” in Afghanistan by the end of November (mark the date on the calendar, November 3 is voting). The United States currently has 8600 soldiers in the country, Trump interviewed by Axios a few days ago had spoken of a reduction of the military contingent to about 4,000 units. The time has come for an official announcement from the White House that American soldiers are returning home.
Trump plays the kangaroo, Twitter plays TikTok, Biden looks for a partner, the Pentagon backs out. It’s America 2020.