The left had another apoplectic fit when President Donald Trump started talking about dishwashers at his Milwaukee rally this week. How dare he focus on something so trivial when House Democrats are busy trying to remove him from office.
But Trump is on to something, and the fact that the liberal elites can’t understand what it is says more about them than it does about Trump.
“Anybody have a new dishwasher?” Trump asked the audience on Tuesday. “I’m sorry for that, it’s worthless. They give you so little water. … So what happens? You end up using it 10 times … then you take them out and do them the old fashioned way, right?”
Trump said that he’s “approving new dishwashers that give you more water so you can actually wash and rinse your dishes without having to do it 10 times.”
“It’s inelegant to talk about it, right? Right? Isn’t it inelegant? I’m talking about dishwashers.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has brought up the impact government energy efficiency mandates have had on dishwashers. But this time, the pundit class responded as if he’d just committed another impeachable offense.
“Donald Trump zeroed in on one of the great issues of our times: dry dishwashers,” says one. “Trump was impeached, but dishwashers that go ‘boom’ are on his mind,” says another.
Vox.com “explanatory” journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted that Trump’s dishwasher complaints “are nuts and suggest he’s never used one in his life.”
But the exuberant cheers at the rally suggest this issue resonates with those who do use this appliance every day. And for good reason.
Despite the sniffing of the left, dishwashers today don’t work well, making them a source of constant frustration for middle-class families who probably don’t know why they take hours to do a fairly poor job of washing dishes.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute compiled data on dishwasher cycle times since 1983, using numbers from Consumer Reports product tests. Back then, the average cycle time was a little more than one hour. By 2018, the average was close to three hours.
The chart CEI produced shows that with every new federal efficiency mandate since 1983, cycle times jumped. Why? Because the mandates increasingly limit how much water and electricity dishwashers can use, so manufacturers have had to make them run longer “to help compensate for the negative impact on cleaning performance associated with decreasing water use and water temperature,” according to a 2016 Department of Energy report.
CEI petitioned the DOE for relief from this madness, and in November the agency said it is working on a new rule that would let manufacturers make faster-cleaning dishwashers that don’t have to comply with the pile of federal mandates.
Imagine that. Consumers will then get to decide whether they value quality and convenience over relatively minor energy savings
Still, why does this matter to Trump?
Politically, it matters because it’s a way for Trump to connect with middle-class families. He comes across as a regular guy. Philosophically, it matters because it lets him expose what the out-of-control federal regulatory state is doing to the country in a way that directly connects with families. That’s why Trump touts his blocking of a federal ban on low-cost incandescent light bulbs, and why he attacks low-flow shower heads and toilets. (It’s worth noting that attorneys general from every deep blue state oppose Trump’s dishwasher rule.)
Not everybody understands that these annoyances are the result of mandates handed down by a few unelected bureaucrats sitting in cubicles in Washington, D.C. By exposing the link, Trump has a better chance of creating legions of small-government advocates than he would by lecturing audiences about Adam Smith.
Just as important, Trump’s dishwasher diatribe exposes just how out of touch today’s liberal elites are with middle America. The more they sneer about how nuts Trump is to bring dishwashers and lightbulbs up, the better Trump looks to the voters who will determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
Written by John Merline. This article first appeared at Issues and Insights (https://issuesinsights.com)