Buyers’ Remorse: Americans think Trump is bad at almost Everything

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The vast majority of Americans in a new Quinnipiac opinion poll do not believe that Donald J. Trump is level-headed or shares their values. Of course, this is only one poll, and likely the plus or minus swing is 3 or 4 percent. But actually the findings are so decisive in most cases that that wouldn’t matter. Qunnipiac showed Trump beating Clinton last summer, so you can’t accuse them of being biased against him.

And only 38% think he is doing a good job in his first month, versus 55% who say no. In contrast, a strong majority trust the courts to do the right thing.

This finding has to be underlined. Only 33 percent of Americans (as projected from this poll) think Trump is level-headed.

So this is the guy with the nuclear codes. The guy with the power, as things evolved through the 20th century, unilaterally to declare war. The guy who presides over a trillion-dollar a year security and military complex. Who has several hundred thousand people spying on us all. The guy who issues executive orders, which now make up about 1/3 of all of our national legislation, and who does so by fiat.

And 63 percent of you think he isn’t level-headed? And, like, this wasn’t apparent to you all the way through 2016?

I mean, is this a joke? You put a flake (isn’t that what you mean by “not level-headed”?) in the most powerful office in the world? What, did you think it would be entertaining, sort of like one of those asteroid movies where in the end there is no way to stop it from destroying most of the earth? Did your mother drop you on your head?

And get this, only 37 percent think Trump shares their values. It would be scary, of course, if they really even believed what they told the pollsters. Do 118 million Americans really think it is all right to just start grabbing the person next to them in inappropriate ways? Or do they only talk like that in the locker room? Do 118 million Americans really think the 10% of the country that is first-generation immigrants are all criminals?

So my guess is that on mature reflection even the 37 percent might have some doubts.

But again, if 60 percent of you think this guy’s values are alien to you, why would you put him in the presidency? Just for a change of pace?

It goes down the line. You don’t think he is honest (55%). You don’t think he has good leadership skills (55%). You don’t even think he cares about the average Joe (55%). So you thought it might be a good idea to have a lying, incompetent elitist rat bastard as president?

The only positives for Trump here are that you think he is intelligent and a strong leader.

First of all, you have confused slyness with intelligence.

Second of all, you have confused mouthing off with being a strong leader. (I will remind you that you just said he has poor leadership skills; then how do you think he’s a strong leader?)

Then let’s take the issues, according to the Quinnipiac findings:

You think he is bad at handling foreign policy (56%). You think he’s bad on immigration (58%). You even think he is bad at counter-terrorism (49%). The only thing you think he is good at is running the economy (47% positive on that). And boy, do you have another think coming. Wait till he gets rid of Dodd Frank and deregulates even further the big banks and investment firms. The 2008 crash will look like a kindergarten field trip. And the environment is part of the economy. This is the guy who thinks it was much better when coal companies could release their toxic ash into our streams and rivers and when dirty oil pipelines could spill their poisonous sludge into our drinking water and fields. (So they can, again).

The vast majority of you think Trump’s Muslim ban went too far, and you are really against banning Syrian refugees, and you think in general the Federal government has taken this counter-terrorism thing way too far, chipping away at our civil liberties.

I saw on social media someone quoting a Trump supporter that they want us to give them a way to say they were wrong and made a mistake, without our telling these voters that they were bad people.

OK, you’re not bad people. You just made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes.

But there are things you have to do to make up for the mistake. You have to give Trump a Democratic Senate and even House in 2018 if you want those bad instincts you just identified to be restrained. The GOP is obviously going to let Trump exercise his bad judgment all he likes. Even so-called mavericks like Sen. John McCain have not voted against Trump even once.

And, you have in your own life to counter-act Trump. Help with or give some support to refugees already here. Join a Muslim-American civil rights organization like MPAC or an Arab-American one like the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination committee. And where you can afford it and it is practical, cut down on your carbon footprint. Use public transportation or drive an electric vehicle. Pressure your utility to give you more green energy. If you can, put up solar panels.

You made a mistake. Fix it.


Related video:

Wochit Politics:
Trump Approval Rating Historically Low

38 Responses

  1. 40% of registered voters didn’t vote. Of the 60% of registered voters who did vote Trump got a little better than 28% of the vote. Trumps 62million votes is 18% of America’s 340million people. Clearly Trump has no mandate.

    I feel for Professor Cole and in many ways connect with his frustration. This past presidential election season was destined to leave voters with buyers remorse no matter who won the election. Trump is doing it now on a host of things, and where some like me who bought hope (I didn’t vote for Trump) that Trump would improve relations with Russia that hope is now fading away as each day goes by. Hillary with a Republican Congress would have been doomed to forever investigations, Benghazi, email servers, who knows even pizza parlors….but Hillary would have possibly even by now have us on our way to war with Russia, Iran, etc.,. Who will ever know? Buyers remorse is becoming common place with our recent modern day presidential picks.

    Trump, Hillary, and no Bernie is a symptom of a country governed by the few who control a media narrative which obscures the many lies which policies are formed around. The people are helpless without the truth.

    What I am amazed at is how much the Deep State has revealed of itself in their zeal to either control, or delete Trump. I also don’t see Donald Trump prevailing over this crowd of no faces.

    Probably studying and getting familiar with VP Mike Pence wouldn’t be a bad idea, if you like studying future presidents.

    • “What I am amazed is how much the Deep State has revealed of itself in their zeal to either control, or delete Trump. I also don’t see Donald Trump prevailing over this crowd of no faces.”

      I believe that Trump’s much ballyhooed – and criticized- visit to CIA headquarters in Langley to address rank-and-file employees in the lobby was no gaffe or error of judgment of Trump, but rather a calculated message by rump that his sympathies were with the Agency – but not necessarily the Agency leadership.

      JFK and Jimmy Carter both sought reformation of the Deep State during their presidencies with mixed success. I suspect Trump may institute an invasive “restructuring” of the U.S. intelligence community to the extent that he perceives them to oppose his interests as the chief executive.

  2. Don’t hold back, Professor, tell us how you really feel.

    Unfortunately, we went through all of this 16 years ago. Bush’s supporters basically went through the Obama years vowing revenge, and then they carried it out by becoming Trump supporters. Their revenge is to refuse to learn, to double down on the crazy until reality breaks.

    Nothing changes until we are all punished severely enough to break our fantasies instead.

    • Also, what many Americans failed to learn about Bush Junior is what they failed to learn about speculative bubbles substituting for economic policy. God help us, many of us came through the 2009 crash believing everything but the truth. Some believed that it never happened, some that it was a false-flag attack by (Jewish?) enemies. Some even found a way to blame it on Blacks. But the real problem is that people refuse to accept that the highs from the credit bubble led inevitably to the lows of the crash. They can’t accept that more wealth can lead to less wealth, due to the slippery nature of value. They still want to crawl back to the fantasies of Say’s Law and classical economics, where recessions self-correct without human devastation. Maybe they still feel that they’ve been cheated out of the wealth that they were on track for 50 years ago (which is true in some ways) and that the feverish valuations of the bubble was that restoration, while the crash is another theft by their mysterious enemies working with the evil government.

      Which means Trump has an absolutely clear highway to do it all again.

      • My favorite is how often conservatives blamed the Community Reinvestment Act. Not only was that passed 30 years before the crash, making it the slowest acting legislation in history, it didn’t cover refinancing, loans by other than banks and had little teeth. I calculated that it only applied to no more than 10% of all loans made. And, of course, it had no relationship to credit default swaps.Yet they continued with that meme long after it was shown to be ridiculous.

  3. It’s fair to blame some of the voters but the blame lies with the “sainted” founding fathers who created an electoral college. Blame the constitution, not the majority of voters. the u.s. has a constitution that 40% of the time in this century has returned a minority president and which rewards political parties that disenfranchise voters and results in non-representative government.

    • I wouldn’t blame “the founders” so much as the 200+ years of their successors (including US) failing to amend this thing.

      I mean, come ON! We’ve amended the constitution to make “Senator” a popularly elected office, not an appointment by the state’s legislature. We now let people without real estate vote; also former slaves, native Americans, and even women. AND reduced the age at which they can vote. We’ve changed how the apportionment of Representatives to population works, when the newly-elected take office, set term limits on the presidency (and how’s that workin’ for us?)

      The same can – and should – be done for the electoral college, a sordid remnant of slavery. The blame is still with “the voters”.

      • Assuming it is will be possible, the Trump show might add energy to an amendment addressing the TRUE swamp draining so desperately needed:

        Campaign finance reform, term limits, gerrymander control, voter participation. Here’s a thought: any number of countries require voting, which kills the two birds of voter suppression and benign voter neglect with one stone. There could still be a big “none of the above” box if the choices totally sucked.

        The point, however, is that just stopping Trump/Bannon solves nothing. And had Hillary prevailed, we’d as a country still be twisting in the wind.

    • The United States was considerably different in 1787 than it is now. You need to view history in context. The Constitution was revolutionary at the time of its passage, but times change. The original Constitution also required the election of senators by state legislatures and after about 100 years it had become obvious that was not a good idea. The election of 1876 also made clear the problems of the electoral college. When the constitution was amended to have the direct election of senators, they also should have done away with the electoral college. The longer it remains, however, the more difficult it is to change. Jefferson thought the Constitution would require major revision every 20 years or so to adjust to changing times. The founders recognized it was an imperfect document and would require frequent change in the future. I think the problem was that future generations were too timid.

  4. Wow, only 33 days and people are finally beginning to see that the emperor has no clothes. The angry people who voted for this man, will now realize that they cut their noses to spite their faces, and now the nation is saddled with a crude, inexperienced, narcissistic, racist man. His talents lie in beauty pageants and reality shows, and a big mouth that he uses to insult and lie. Congratulations America, this is your gift to the nation and the world. What an embarrassment.

    • “……angry people who voted for this man, will now realize that they cut their noses to spite their faces, and now the nation is saddled with a crude, inexperienced, narcissistic, racist man………..”

      The latest CBS poll on public job approval for Trump shows an 82% approval rating by Republicans.

  5. Great post. We also need a movement to change the extremely dangerous way that allows Trump to launch nuclear weapons into cities around the world.

    This is an opportunity not only to keep us safe for the years that Trump is President but also to help us into the future. Let us seize this vital opportunity for our generation and for our children and generations into the future.

    Below is from link to

    Many would say that Donald Trump should be the last person authorized to launch US nuclear weapons. In fact, he is the only person that is.

    As shocking as it sounds, President Trump alone has the power to launch thousands of nuclear weapons — enough to end life on Earth as we know it. He does not have to consult anyone. He does not need the consent of military commanders, his Cabinet or Congress. He can pick up the phone and within 4 minutes send nuclear missiles flying across the world.

    Two members of Congress, Rep. Ted Lieu and Sen. Ed Markey, have proposed urgent legislation to prevent the President from starting a nuclear war. Just last week The New York Times endorsed the legislation in a major editorial, writing that it “sends a clear message to Mr. Trump that he should not be the first since World War II to use nuclear weapons.”

    Ploughshares Fund has partnered with Global Zero, Daily Kos, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Win Without War, Women’s Action for New Directions and several other groups on a new petition calling on Congress to support this important bill. We need your help now to make sure our voices are heard.

  6. And this is the rest of it from the link above…

    Sign the petition and call on Congress to keep us safe by making it illegal for President Trump, or any successor, to single-handedly start a nuclear war.

    The new law would require Congress to declare war before the president could authorize nuclear strikes — except in response to a nuclear attack. In other words, it would block President Trump’s ability to start nuclear war on a whim.

    It is mind-boggling to think that the current system allows for one individual to unleash the most destructive weapons ever created by humankind. It is irrational, immoral and utterly unconscionable. Help us change this now.

    Please, sign this important petition today.

  7. Bob Spencer

    Yesterday, I saw some poll showing that voters have an even lower opinion about Democrats. That’s the only way he was able to win.

    • “……..voters have an even lower opinion about Democrats….”


      The Democratic Party insiders that have controlled the Democratic National Committee and the local political machines that have dominated the major U.S. population centers in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Detroit – and other major urban areas – no longer are perceived represent the interests of the lower middle class white family, but rather cater to special interests such as labor union leadership, minority groups and the LGBT community.

      President Bill Clinton won election in 1992 and re-election 1996 largely with the enthusiastic endorsements of the UAW, Teamsters and other major labor unions despite the fact that his support of NAFTA cost Michigan workers hundreds of thousands of jobs. Donald Trump campaigned vigorously against companies who have laid off American workers to save costs and outsource work to foreign factories.

      There is a reason why the Democrats lost traditionally “blue” states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in the last presidential election to Donald Trump – and it largely centers around their inability to retain the confidence of the white working class family.

      The Republican leadership has been just as stunned by Trump’s popularity with this traditionally Democratic segment of American society almost as much as the Democratic Party leaders have.

  8. I think we all appreciate your putting this in bold.

    Still, let’s get realistic in terms of the danger, which I think, realistically, over the next four years, is unfathomable.

    Then, people need to engage that reality with all the creativity they have, given their particular position, access, or other means.

    And people need to then develop and exercise their various capabilities now, rather than wait for this guy to cross another red line that is t too far.

    His own capabilities and intentions are clear. To just take a pill, or nap, will be to permit a fait acompli (spelling, sic?).

  9. “I saw on social media someone quoting a Trump supporter that they want us to give them a way to say they were wrong and made a mistake, without our telling theses voters that they were bad people.”

    Well, they are “bad people.” Folks who at best voted thoughtlessly, without thinking it through, and folks who were drunk on the fake fact universe of the right wing and hopped up on rage and hatred. I don’t see why they need to get a pass; these people need to be discouraged from ever doing this again. I say, rub their noses in it. Miss no opportunity to remind them how they screwed up, how they let themselves be snookered, how they’re being ripped off. How the 21st Century Republican Party is a con job.

    • still, most republicans think he’s doing a great job. Until the Repub approval rating drops at least 20 points, it isn’t going to matter

      • registered Republicans are a minority of the electorate. It is his approval rating among independents (mostly unregistered Republicans, including Libertarians etc.) that matters.

  10. There may be some buyers remorse out there among those who voted for Trump because they believed he was the least flawed of two badly flawed candidates, as the fake news propaganda pitched it. Now, with the revelations of a massive, deliberate foreign/Russian disinformation campaign all but confirmed (and completely ignored by Congressional Republican leadership) some of these people are equivocating to pollsters. But a tiger cannot change its stripes. Character is durable. To motivate Trump supporters to support resisting Trump, you have to motivate them to act within their belief system, not out of guilt for electing him. Baby steps at first. Say, Equal Justice under the Law (immigration – Melanie Trump’s citizenship/visa issues, for example). Increasing the wealth disparity through so-called “tax reform”, health care and education as basic public services paid through taxation, available free to all. Issues of nearly universal appeal, all threatened by Trump and his enablers.

    • Justhnkn: You need to do some checking instead of buying into this canard** about Russian influence and thinking about it. The reason the Congressional Republicans haven’t done anything about it is because they don’t have any evidence to support it, and the reason they don’t have any evidence is because there is none.

      Robert Parry and others at Consortium News have written several articles disproving the allegations against Russia. Here is one:
      The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch Hunt
      February 18, 2017

      Exclusive: Democrats, liberals and media pundits – in their rush to take down President Trump – are pushing a New McCarthyism aimed at Americans who have talked to Russians, risking a new witch hunt, reports Robert Parry. – link to

      ** My first inclination to describe this piece of fake news was to use two certain and more pungent words, but they wouldn’t have passed the moderator.

  11. Fix it? I really don’t think this error can be ‘fixed.’ The Republicans control the levers that would be used to remove him from power; then they get Pence.

    Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, eh?

    I fully expect Trump to stay in power, until he’s done most of what the R’s in Congress want; then they’ll impeach him, or invoke the 25th amendment.

    The other ways of ‘fixing’ the problem would be worse. A coup d’etat by the military would destroy the Republic. A civil insurrection could provoke the establishment of a full on authoritarian state. Or civil war…

  12. Many Americans do not vote from a position of rationality, education or informed opinion. Rather, theirs is a reactionary, visceral decision reached and executed in the voting booth. Trump and Republicans in general understand this basic human dynamic. They trumpet simplistic slogans that fuel the instinctive lizard brain to act, in this case vote, overriding the rationality of the frontal lobes, on emotions of hate, anger, fear, sex, hunger, etc. Democrats keep trying to sell silk purses of rational governing policy to buyers/voters of sows ears – revenge, freedom from irrational fear, satiation of desire… time to learn from failure, don’t ya think?

  13. Juan, your analysis is spot on, but your frustration with people knowingly making a mistake is palpable. Given how much division there is, the finger pointing of ‘You made a mistake . . ‘ plays into the script of those who seek to rule by dividing us. Together, we must fix it. Thanks as always for showing me things I don’t already see.

  14. One of your best.
    Most trump voters I know had at least two motives: 1. greed. Even blue collar workers think they’re getting a raise or an old-style job opportunity, or at least eliminate the immigrant “competition,” etc.; top 1% greed obvious, and 2. belief, i.e., emotionally invested conclusions that compensate for unconscious and intolerable fears, e.g. of dying (‘it’s miserable here but heaven is waiting,’ we are not happy but at least we are superior in race, gender, etc.) and other survival-related fears.
    There is a third motivation, ‘let’s shake things up for just these 4 years, it can’t be worse than the democrat hegemony’. These latter, I think, are imminently persuadable and are reflected in the changing poll numbers you cite. Good, but not enough yet to pressure members of congress.
    Trump voters are our shortest route to getting him out or handcuffed. In that way, they are our best resource now.
    We’re not going to persuade people deeply hostaged by unrealistic and rigid beliefs by balling them out. Rather, ask, ‘what, specifically, do you expect to show up that will improve your life, and by when. What will be early signposts this is happening, or not happening’ Then measure and report, of which you do a great job.
    That’s the best score card that will matter, short of a Russia or corruption scandal combined with the one-two punch of ‘indivisible’ style (nonviolent, progressive) public communications coupled with the courts strong stand.
    The poll you cite is encouraging, thanks.

  15. But again, if 60 percent of you think this guy’s values are alien to you, why would you put him in the presidency? Just for a change of pace?


    1) Many considered the alternative, according to conventional wisdom to be worse.
    2) The vast majority of voters passed on a chance to vote “none of the above” in the form of a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson
    3) The undemocratic electoral college gave Trump the presidency, and
    4) A nation gets the kind of government it deserves.

  16. The most amazing thing to me in this poll is that 40% of the people actually think he is honest. He lies practically every time he opens his mouth. How could anyone think he’s honest? And 44% think he cares about average Americans. I doubt he has done a single altruistic thing in his life and is a billionaire who has appointed Wall St. executives and other billionaires to key positions. Boy, what planet have these people been living on? The con game still works on 40+% of the American people.

    • The big question is WHY do so many people (especially men) hate on Clinton?

      Just looking at Clinton’s very long record of accomplishments without putting her name on it, is very impressive. She really was the best qualified person to ever run for president.

      I don’t know you husband reasons, but most of it appears to boil down to pure sexism.

      All the garbage written about the Clintons has proven to be lies, so why should anyone believe them other than wanting an excuse to cover over their real extremely prejudiced reasons?

      BTW – every company on earth has a “private email server” run by computer professionals.

  17. He spent months telling the voters he was essentially insane, incompetent, ignorant and virtually promising corruption on a scale never before seen in this country. Nevertheless, many of them heard nothing but Benghazi and e-mail. And now some are becoming disillusioned?

  18. The republicans in congress will let him get away with stuff as long as he signs whatever they send his way. Get out the veto stamp instead of the pen, and his days might be numbered.

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