For the first time, Trump’s approval rating has increased for three weeks in a row

President Trump’s average weekly approval rating in Gallup polling has ticked one percentage point upward over the past four weeks. Thirty-five, then 36, then 37 and now 38 percent of the country thinks that Trump is doing a good job.

Political observers would be justified in wondering why. Is this, perhaps, the effect of John F. Kelly stepping in to serve as chief of staff in the West Wing? Or is it the effect of Stephen K. Bannon moving back to his old job at Breitbart? CONT.

Philip Bump, Washington Post

How the GOP Prompted the Decay of Political Norms

President Trump’s approach to governance is unlike that of his recent predecessors, but it is also not without antecedents. The groundwork for some of this dysfunction was laid in the decades before Trump’s emergence as a political figure. Nowhere is that more true than in the disappearance of the norms of American politics. …

Donald Trump is the Normless President, and his ascendancy threatens to inspire a new wave of norm-breaking.

This would be bad enough if he were entirely a one-off, an amoral figure who suddenly burst onto the scene and took advantage of widespread discontent and an electoral system that tilts outcomes in the direction of his politics. But Trumpism has long been in gestation. His own party, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, has been undercutting the norms of American politics for decades. As the traditionalist conservative Rod Dreher has written, “Trump didn’t come from nowhere. George W. Bush, the Republican Party, and movement conservatism bulldozed the field for Trump without even knowing what they were doing.” CONT.

E.J. Dionne Jr., Norm Ornstein & Thomas E. Mann, The Atlantic

These are the supporters Trump is losing

The focus on whether President Donald Trump’s political base is splintering may be missing an even more important crack in his foundation.

Even as Trump faces a geyser of discontent from conservative leaders over his recent legislative overtures toward Democrats, previously unpublished results from an array of recent public polls find doubts about his performance and priorities resurfacing among the better-educated and especially younger Republicans who initially resisted him most during last year’s GOP primaries. CONT.

Ronald Brownstein, CNN

Economic Confidence Up Slightly as Expectations Brighten

Americans were slightly more confident in the economy last week, largely related to their brightening expectations for economic growth. CONT.

Andrew Dugan, Gallup

Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (but Don’t Know It)

Psychologists at Yale recently asked hundreds of Americans these two questions:

For every $100 earned by an average white family, how much do you think is earned by an average black family?

For every $100 in wealth accumulated by an average white family, how much wealth has the average black family accumulated?

… Americans, and higher-income whites in particular, vastly overestimate progress toward economic equality between blacks and whites, the psychologists reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Americans believe that blacks and whites are more equal today than they truly are on measures of income, wealth, wages and health benefits. And they believe more historical progress has occurred than is the case, suggesting “a profound misperception of and unfounded optimism” regarding racial equality. CONT.

Emily Badger, New York Times

Views among college students regarding the First Amendment: Results from a new survey

… To explore the critical issue of the First Amendment on college campuses, during the second half of August I conducted a national survey of 1,500 current undergraduate students at U.S. four-year colleges and universities. The survey population was geographically diverse, with respondents from 49 states and the District of Columbia. …

The survey results establish with data what has been clear anecdotally to anyone who has been observing campus dynamics in recent years: Freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses. In fact, despite protestations to the contrary (often with statements like “we fully support the First Amendment, but…), freedom of expression is clearly not, in practice, available on many campuses, including many public campuses that have First Amendment obligations. CONT.

John Villasenor, Brookings Institution

Winner of the GOP’s Civil War? The Democrats

The Republican Party has been divided before. There was Robert A. Taft versus Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater versus the moderate establishment, evangelicals versus pro-business Republicans, and more recently the Tea Party/Club for Growth/Freedom Caucus versus the GOP establishment.

But the current divide in the Party of Lincoln looks deeper and filled with more animus than ever. CONT.

Stuart Rothenberg

Trump’s Popularity Has Dipped Most In Red States

There are no national elections for president in the United States. Democrats relearned that lesson the hard way in 2016, when President Trump won the Electoral College despite earning fewer votes nationally than Hillary Clinton. Of course, we still mostly talk about the president’s popularity nationwide in non-election years. It’s simpler, and job approval polls for all 50 states are harder to come by. But it’s worth checking in on Trump’s state-by-state strength when we can, and that’s now possible thanks to two polling firms, Gallup and SurveyMonkey, which recently released Trump’s state-by-state approval and disapproval ratings. CONT.

Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight

For those in the Party of Trump, the Republicans — not the president — are to blame

… Granville County has long been a Democratic stronghold, but it was one of six rural counties in North Carolina that flipped from voting twice for Barack Obama to voting for Trump last year. Local Democrats blame the flip on low turnout, especially among African Americans who make up a third of the county’s population. But local Republicans say it reflects how many in the county feel left behind by Democrats and are looking for a change. …

In interviews last week with nearly three dozen county residents who voted for Trump, nearly all said they vote for the person, not the party. With that emphasis — even if they would never dream of actually voting for a Democrat for president, especially Hillary Clinton — it’s little surprise that many feel more loyalty to Trump than the Republican Party.

Many of the church members gathered at Bojangles’ last week pointed to the president’s Christian faith, saying he brought the Bible and prayer back into the White House. CONT.

Jenna Johnson, Washington Post

What really happened in 2016, in 7 charts

If Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened, has taught us anything, it’s that the internet is not done relitigating the 2016 Democratic primary or the general election.

Underpinning it all is a sense that the outcome — President Donald Trump — is profoundly strange. …

But the interpretive debate often becomes unmoored from the hard facts. There really are some things we know for certain did happen. CONT.

Matthew Yglesias, Vox