It’s difficult to say exactly why Obama’s approval has risen, but a plausible theory is that Americans are frustrated — even horrified — with their options for his successor.
We think that Walsh’s attempt at humor explains much about the American electorate but we have a very different take on exactly what it means. It seems we are down to the final four where we have three Obama wannabees: The Donald, The Bernie, and Herself with one anti-Obama: Cruz. The WSJ:
The nature of Mr. Trump’s appeal can be explained by Mr. Obama’s own rule-by-regulation governing methods and polarizing political style.
We generally concur. We would put it that Obama is the first post-constitutional president. The WSJ is right that The Donald would like to be Obama 2.0. As they say about the current president: “He doesn’t do persuasion and compromise. Some policies were intended to sow division ….” The Bernie and Herself are disciples although The Donald is the primary disciple. Cruz is way different as he is supportive of the constitution. He is also the underdog.
So what accounts for Obama having such popularity after his disaster of a presidency and how does it relate to the likely nominees? It is the nature of our low-information electorate. The Donald, (democratic) socialism, and Herselfism are all variants of the politics of envy that Obama practices. Many folks are much happier with scapegoats (deniers, big banks, elites, etc.) than real progress. And, in fact, real progress is difficult and affected by exogenous events so it is hard to claim it. So, instead we choose to punish. Impoverishing the country is OK as long as the right goats get their comeuppance. Bankrupting Social Security is OK because people are upset that FDR and all those who followed have misled them about the nature of the agreement. Throwing poor people out of work by raising the minimum wage is OK as long as it has a benefit for some union contracts. Some of the truly foolish might think that raising the minimum wage is good for minimum wage workers. Really. Nonsense is rampant and the “angry” electorate seems happy with it. Thus, Obama, The Donald, The Bernie, and Herself supported by substantial parts of the electorate.