The Slatest

Return of Impeach-O-Meter: Stocks Down, Approval Up, Outlook Hazy

The president's desk sits empty in the Oval Office.
This was the top photo result for “Donald Trump” in the Getty Images database Friday afternoon. What does it mean?
Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

It’s been too long without an Impeach-O-Meter, folks! First we had a two-day company meeting, then I was sick, then I just didn’t do it for a few more days. Anyway: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7 percent this week. Donald Trump’s aggregate approval rating, however, has nudged up to its highest point since May 2016, a robust 40.8 percent.

These would seem to be two trends that can’t both continue for long. Perhaps apropos to the question of which will end first is this story in the Washington Post about how Trump doesn’t ever read the intelligence briefing that’s prepared for him every morning:

Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings. 

Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The point of the Post story, aside from that it’s funny that the president doesn’t like to read, is that Trump is going to be unprepared if a global crisis happens that involves a subject that he or Fox News aren’t already obsessed with, i.e. any subject besides North Korea and the border wall. The Dow’s fall, while not particularly meaningful at the moment, is a reminder that 2017 actually involved, by historic presidential standards, relatively few non–self-inflicted crises. Right now, Trump’s approval rating is basically just a referendum on his personal style, with small recent news–induced swings. At some point, though, one would have to think his glib approach to governing will cause material problems in his current supporters’ lives that he can’t compensate for just by being loud and rude.

Today’s meter is thus unchanged despite the relatively high approval.

Impeach-O-Meter: 45 percent.