And we're not talking Ringling Brothers

Fernand Leger, The Big Parade, 1954
Fernand Leger, The Big Parade, 1954

| Ringling Brothers may be folding their tents after more than 100 years, but an even bigger circus is coming to Washington DC starring elephants, jesters, sycophants, and no-nothings. This new circus opens January 20 at noon.

The peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next is a hallmark of our democracy, since the very beginning of the country. But for this one, many members of Congress have decided not to attend the ceremony, and many people have decided not to even watch on TV.

Donald Trump won by a sizeable margin the Electoral College, which is the vote that counts. However, Hillary Clinton, the loser in the Electoral College won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. Hillary's supporters cite the interference by Russia on behalf of Donald Trump, concluded by all the intelligence services, and by FBI Director James Comey who gave Hillary a tongue lashing when he announced there would be no criminal charges, roiled the waters again with a late announcement of more emails, then once again just before the election said, Nothing to see here folks. It is unknown and probably unknowable whether these tipped the election to Donald Trump or not, but it certainly adds rancor to the political conversation.

Thus we find ourselves in a remarkable situation. The man who is about to take the oath of office is less popular today than when he was elected. Trump has continued his Twitter assaults on any thing and anybody, from actress Meryl Streep ("overrated") to civil rights icon John Lewis ("all talk, talk, talk"). It is not wearing well, as shown by his falling approval ratings — which Trump, naturally, says are "rigged."

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his presidential transition?

  Approve Disapprove No Opinion
Jan 12-15, 2017 40% 52% 8%
Nov 17-20, 2016 46% 45% 8%
For comparison, Barack Obama's approval ratings
Jan 12-15, 2009 84% 14% 2%
Dec 19-21, 2008 82% 15% 3%
Dec 1-2, 2008 79% 18% 3%
CNN Poll, Jan 12-15, 2017
Transition approval, Trump vs Obama
Note that Obama's approval among the opposition party was 6 times Trump's
Washington Post/ABC News poll, Jan 12-15, 2017

So it is with a measure of dread and foreboding that inauguration day approaches. It if weren't so dreadful it could be appreciated as the circus it is, elephants and all.

Ringling Bros elephants
Ringling Bros elephants, the removal of which from the circus doomed the circus
Trump and GOP elephants
GOP elephants, the reign of which in Washington one can only hope will doom that circus

Slideshow

Editorial cartoonists have been supplied by the Circus Trump with abundant raw materials.

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Last updated on Jan 20, 2017

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