NYT rates 20 events of the Trump presidency on two axes: 70% are both important and abnormal

February 28, 2017 • 2:30 pm

This figure (at the bottom of the post) was in today’s New York Times‘ “The Upshot” section, and rates 20 events of the Trump presidency on two axes: “normal —> abnormal” and “not important” —> “important.” The rankings were determined by polling “experts across the ideological spectrum”, with “experts” being either in government or having studied government. Click on the graph to enlarge it

Note that 14 of the 20, or 70%, fall within the “abnormal and important” quadrant (one, alienating Australia is “abnormal” but borderline in importance), only four “normal and important”, and only one each in “normal and not important” (firing Sally Yates; I suppose “normal” means “that’s what a President would do when someone doesn’t follow his orders), and “abnormal and not important” (Kellyanne Conway’s touting of Ivanka Trump’s brand). Of course the Times doesn’t have to actually define these categories, which makes them a bit dubious: all it did was just ask experts, each of which may have their own definition. Some, for example, would call Conway’s promotion “important”.

Here’s one example of each category; the gray dots are presumably the spread of answers among the experts, with the average being represented in the bottom overall figure.

Abnormal and important:


Normal and important:


Abnormal and Unimportant:


Normal and unimportant:


I’ll add this one because it had the biggest spread among the experts, with many seeing it relatively unimportant and 7 either normal or borderline normal.


You can read about each event at the link at the top.


25 thoughts on “NYT rates 20 events of the Trump presidency on two axes: 70% are both important and abnormal

    1. I keep a sleeve of solo cups on the table next to my chair in the room with the big screen, so that, every time he shows his creepy orange face, I can rifle one at the tube, like Tom Brady tossing an under-inflated football.

      1. Might have to give that a try, even though I do tend to “throw like a girl.” (used to be not half-bad with a aquash racquet, though.)

  1. Here is some not so normal but also not surprising things he is going to do today. Go on TV and do some major BSing to congress and the people. Increase the hell out of military spending and decreasing whole govt. programs such as EPA, Education and so forth. Then lie to everyone by saying he won’t increase the debt. Reduce taxes, spend on stuff we don’t need and not increase the debt. It’s all magic and BS.

    1. His Republican toadies are parroting the line that economic growth will take care of it. However, most economists will tell you that the level of economic growth required to take care of it is impossible. It’s a matter of demographics, not economic conditions, so it’s not something Trump can change unless he’s going to create a huge increase in the immigration of working age people.

  2. The only one I’d take issue with is the firing of Sally Yates. It may not rank as “important,” in that she was only acting AG, but it was “abnormal,” in that its only precedent was Nixon’s Saturday night showdown with Richardson and Ruckelshaus.

  3. There is nothing normal about having nominated Gorsuch. If the man had any dignity (he apparently does not), he would decline the offer and tell Trump that the seat belongs to Merrick Garland.

      1. Indeed, he’s still young, and several SCOTUS posts will become vacant in the not so far future. He could easily have suggested to Trump that nominating Garland -not a ‘leftist’ by any measure- might take a lot of steam out of his more moderate opponents…
        If Trump had nominated Garland, I would even consider the possibility he is not completely in the pocket of the Bannon, de Vos, the less savoury republican nut-case crew.

    1. While I agree with the sentiment, I understand the categorization. Nominating a SCOTUS member is important and it is something a president should do. It doesn’t speak to the quality of the candidate.
      I do find it disturbing that 75% of his actions are, by presidential standards, abnormal.

      1. “I do find it disturbing that 75% of his actions are, by presidential standards, abnormal.”

        I agree. Unfortunately that is precisely what Trump supporters were expecting / hoping to see. It is exactly what he ran on, being abnormal, an outsider, gonna turn things upside down.

        In a very general way I can sympathize with the desire for a president that does things very differently than what we’ve seen from presidents over the past 20 to 30 years. But not Trump! How such a hypothetical president is different and what they are doing that is different matter.

  4. I think he takes pride in not being ‘normal’, I’m sure he sees it as ‘unconventional’. That was and is an important part of his image.
    I’m sad this translated to a sell out to the reactionary tea-baggers and would be theocrats and co.

  5. I’m in news, I’m all for freedom of the press, and I wouldn’t say that the TPP was less important than Trump’s constant references to “fake news”.

    The TPP would have had massive consequences for American workers and America’s ability to legislate.

    It should be higher on the scale for importance – probably up with the immigration ban considering it isn’t something Trump has said, it is something he has done.

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