Issues & Insights

Why Trump’s Dishwasher Diatribe Matters

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


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75 comments

  • When Mr. Trump finishes his talk about dishwashers, he can expand to washing machines. Without enough water and agitators, they don’t get clothes clean, leave detergent marks on dark items, don’t rinse well, waste energy by taking a long time, and sometimes require a second wash or rinse. Energy efficiency is a joke.
    In my grandmother’s basement, wash water was emptied into a large basin and then reused for the subsequent washing. (Old-time water “efficiency” really worked.) The operator was in charge of the amount of water, soap, and time. Today’s machines are basically “on loan” from the vendor, as they eliminate the consumer’s control over their “own” laundry equipment.

    • If I had known how terrible my new “high efficiency” washing machine was going to be… I would have paid a repairman anything he wanted over the years to keep my old one going.

      • The reason the amount of detergent used is critical is directly because of how little water current high efficiency machines use. Modern machines are absolutely more efficient than older machines, but they are severely deficient in every other category that really matters to consumers. Reliability, wash performance, ease of use. We’ve sacrificed a whole lot on the alter of energy efficiency, and it’s not clear we’re actually better off because of it.

    • Washing machines are a constant problem. You are correct they do not fill properly and do no was as well as the ringer washer my mother had in the 50’s!
      Pres Trump also discussed low flush toilets a little while ago. The elites may not like him talking about these things. However, we the people certainly do because it matters to us!!!

      • Regarding low-flush toilets. Many cities around the nation are spending untold millions of dollars jetting sewer lines because they are designed for higher flows to drain properly.

    • So why don’t you just go back to washing your clothes and dishes by hand like Grandmother did instead of wasting money? A lot of people don’t even have dishwashers or clothes washers in their apartments. They always hand wash dishes and go to the laundromat to do their clothes.

    • He already touched on washing machines two years ago. They are included as are all appliances. I paid well over $2,000 for my washer 12 years ago, it barely needs detergent and actually cleans the cloths no spot treatment needed. That is what you USED to have to buy to have clean cloths it’s not the detergent trust me….now all appliances no matter how cheap will work like my $2,000 washer.

  • Excellent editorial. As an engineer I found it unbelievable that anyone would promulgate rules that reduced the effectiveness of the only function of an appliance. This is what makes President Trump popular – he makes politically incorrect true statements that no one else has had the guts to make.

  • Well, at least he knows what a dishwasher is. Based on recent comments by the Moron Queen of The Bronx, garbage disposals came from outer space.

      • Why bother with a garbage disposal? I never had one and never missed it. Take your kitchen scraps and compost them.

  • After that he can go on a tear about gas cans. It should not take 5 minutes to empty a 5 gallon gas can.

    • Holy cow, you’re right! If he takes on the gas cans we middle Americans have to use to fill our lawn mowers he’s going to move into landslide territory!

      • Lucky you to own a home and have a lawn to mow. If you don’t like mowing, move into an apartment. Problem solved.

      • Preach it, brother!
        I spill /way/ more gas for lack of a proper vent and flexible metal spout than could /ever/ be lost to fumes otherwise. Tempted to buy a military Jerry Can … they still have metal spouts available but that’s a lot of weight to control just to dispense a pint of gasoline.
        From a full can, the gas comes out of the spout before I can get it into the a gas tank … and don’t forget the size restrictions in a motor vehicle fill tube … you cannot insert the gas can spout in it … only aim it //at// it.

  • It’s not just dishwashers but many household appliances and fixtures. So now we have toilets that need to be flushed two and three times and fancy LED ceiling light fixtures that last two years and then you throw the entire thing in the garbage. Yeah it uses less energy but how about replacing just the guts of it and not the whole fixture? Infuriating!

  • Even worse are the “water saving” washing machines. What use to take 1/2 hour to do sheets and towels in a hot wash now takes nearly two hours and a hot cycle is a joke. Biggest mistake I made was not paying the $600 to get my old large agitator tank machine fixed. Other joke is ront end loaders. Door casket is a mold magnet if you don’t wipe it dry each time and keep door cracked open when not in use. Started with the hoaxster, Al Gore and his environmental concerns and been a disaster. Yeah, this may be a bit funny in a presidential campaign but it shows how stupid regulators are. Use 4 times the energy to do your wash. Don’t get me started on electric cars…everyone plugs their car in at night when the overburdened old grid is suppose to be recovering from day’s use to store for the next day. Now, with increasing plug in cars, grid can’t recover and brown outs are going to become the norm, most likely in a heat wave. Our national grid needs a complete overhaul as well as being hardened against EMP. Next on the agenda…hope so.

    • Your appliance problems have nothing to do with Al Gore. At least he didn’t destroy consumer protection agencies. Now stores can sell you any old made-in-China garbage.

      • Through several comments, you’ve yet to add anything positive to the conversation.
        Why not? What’s your reason for being such a Debbie Downer?

        The only reason someone lives in a house instead of a cardboard box is because they worked their tails off to buy one and were able to recover from the sometimes vicious bumps live throws at us at random.
        The phrase is “Live like no one else lives so you can live like no one else lives.” That is, show financial discipline and you’ll stand a very good chance of having personal wealth far beyond that of your peers.

        Suggest you listen and follow some of the personal finance radio shows … their advice is fairly simple, follows sound principles and has been proven effective. Look up Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman. Get your financial house in order.

        Don’t be a sourpuss … be a homeowner. And then you, too, can get a $250 bill from the city when your mower breaks and you can’t afford to replace it right away.
        As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed grass allergies, too. Thank God I’m disabled and retired so I can spend three days to mow my lawn on the hillside once.
        Hint, it’s too steep for a riding mower. Going downhill is dangerous and slippery. Going uphill is worse.

        You seem to think others have it better than you. Perhaps we do … but you don’t seem to have the whole picture. If the window breaks, it’s mine to repair. The ruts in the gravel driveway leading down to the street are also mine to fix. Guess who shovels the snow at my house or fixes the garage door or, or, or …

      • If you don’t want to buy the “Made in China garbage”, don’t. There is always an alternative — Made in America — product.

        It is those consumer protection agencies that priced American merchandise off the shelves but you can still buy the essentials if you are willing to reach a little deeper into your pocket to buy products that conform to our laws.

    • “at night when the overburdened old grid is suppose to be recovering from day’s use to store for the next day.”

      Please explain the recovery process and storage you are talking about.

    • The electric grid is not like a battery. Brownouts are caused by inadequate supply to meet demand. That’s the whole of it. For some enlightening reading on the topic, read “Utopia or Oblivion” by R. Buckminster Fuller. It will open your eyes to the larger problem.
      (Spoiler Alert)
      There is already more than enough electricity generated, but politics blocks its delivery.

  • Look what the government did to the gas can. Something else our betters don’t understand.

  • Trump is channeling then vice-President Richard Nixon who conducted an impromptu debate with Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev at an exhibit of a modern American kitchen in Moscow in 1959. Krushchev disputed whether Americans in 1959 really possessed (or could possess) the gadgetry on display.

    It looks like Krushchev had the last laugh.

    • On 16 September 1989, Yeltsin toured a medium-sized grocery store (Randall’s) in Texas.[55] Leon Aron, quoting a Yeltsin associate, wrote in his 2000 biography, Yeltsin, A Revolutionary Life (St. Martin’s Press): “For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he sat motionless, his head in his hands. ‘What have they done to our poor people?’ he said after a long silence.” He added, “On his return to Moscow, Yeltsin would confess the pain he had felt after the Houston excursion: the ‘pain for all of us, for our country so rich, so talented and so exhausted by incessant experiments’.” He wrote that Mr. Yeltsin added, “I think we have committed a crime against our people by making their standard of living so incomparably lower than that of the Americans.

  • Trump said they don’t work. The author corrected him, without admitting it, and said they take longer. Yes, they take longer, AND they work better, AND they are quieter. Trump’s statements make no sense.

    • My new dishwasher certainly does not wash better than my old one, and it takes 3 hours! It has options that are quicker than 3 hours, but in those cycles, it does not allow the washer to heat the water or do extended dry time. I tried to make mine last because I knew I would hate the “new improved” models after my Mom got one, but sadly my old, good dishwasher bit the dust.

    • If they worked as well they wouldn’t take so long. Your statement contradicts itself.

    • Do you actually own a modern dishwasher and washing machine? Are you old enough to remember how they used to work? There’s absolutely no comparison, and that’s not subjective.

      • No one is ever satisfied no matter what luxuries and modern conveniences they have. Trump uses stuff like that to his advantage. What does he care about dishwashers and such? I doubt he has ever washed a dish or piece of clothing in his life. He has servants to do the menial tasks.

    • No, they don’t work better than the old dishwashers. They don’t get hot enough to really get the dishes clean unless you go with sani-rinse or option to heat the water. That’s why you add the rinse aid is to help the water slide off the dishes. I remember back in the day, when Kitchen Aid was the best of the best. You could take the dishes off the table, load them up, and it had a grinder to get rid of the food that came off the plates. Then, it had a glowing red heat element to get them dry, no chemicals needed to be sprayed on them. Never forget the smell of what happens to a plastic spoon or lid that fell on the burning ring of heat.

      • Mine is 11 years old and works great. I should not have assumed that all are equal.
        Consumer Reports will tell you which ones work well.

    • If you want your dishes done in an hour — say, while preparing the next meal — they don’t work.
      Being quieter merely means that the noise is absorbed better. Nice, but unrelated to the basic function.
      So far as working “better” … there is only “clean” and “not clean”. If they aren’t clean and dried at the end of the first hour, forget “better” — the lasagna is done before the plates are — they don’t even work as well.

  • Dishwashers that you have to run several times are not water or energy efficient. Here in my small town an older gentleman collected all the old ones to refurbish. He now has a waiting list of women wanting to buy his 10 year old appliances. That would be dishwashers and clothes washers. Average folks have been complaining about this for years. Facebook has been hosting these discussions for years now. Enough. I’m so glad he mentioned it in his speech.

  • I’m sorry, but that is just silly.
    We are in one of the most important actions in our lifetime,and THIS what I read here?
    Did you see the Lev Parnas documents?

    • You mean the documents with no time line and no corroboration. Documents just like the irrefutable proof Schiff has from 2017 that has never been revealed. Witnesses that were not party to conversations they were testifying about. No i have not and have no need to see.

      • So sad that you admit to such selfishness. What importance is the Constitution or future of America to you compared to your pet peeves?

  • When we’re done talking about dishwashers and washing machines let’s talk about stoves. The regulation-happy Demo-freaks here in California are banning gas ranges to Save The Planet. Of course they’re not closing the ports to the import of goods from the world’s leading producer of CO2, China. China’s increase in CO2 has cancelled every single reduction made by civilized countries and at the disastrous Climate Conference in Madrid the Chinese and Indians flat out refused to even consider slowing the rate of increase. So these regs are being applied to us by our Prog masters out of pure spite. They hate the consumer lifestyle and want it to end. That’s what you are voting for when you vote for any Democrat for any office.

    • Your consumer lifestyle is going to end, anyway, as soon as the world runs out of fossil fuel if it doesn’t before that. It’s going to become impossibly expensive long before it runs out completely, because the less there is, the more difficult it is to get it out of the ground.

      • OK everybody! Stop whatever you are doing and change your lifestyle to what Robin has been demanding throughout this thread.

        Robin, you do realize that it is snobbish busybodies like you, who believe it is up to them to dictate how others live their lives, spouting off as you are that gave the victory to Trump in 2016, right? Please do keep it up to reinforce the reelection!

  • temp is president precisely because he notes topics like this and addresses them. for far too long the uniparty has been turning America into the nanny state ruling on all aspects of our lives.

  • When are the libs ever going to learn about how impeachment works. He has not been impeached. He has had articles of impeachment issued against him and sent to the Senate. Once the charges are dismissed he is not impeached.

      • True, if anyone cares any more than they care that Mr. Clinton was impeached. Also worth noting, Mr. Nixon was not impeached, he resigned before articles were voted on.

    • The question is if you ever going to learn how impeachment works. You have it backwards. Impeachment is like an indictment. The Senate has the trial. Try actually reading the Constitution. It’s not all that long. Just a few pages.

      • Having actually signed federal criminal indictments after being drafted onto a federal criminal grand jury for 70 sessions, I can tell you Robin Lillian is correct. Trump has been impeached, just like being indicted.

        It will never go away.

  • I hope Trump will morph over to “disposable” appliances that rely on a circuit board too expensive to replace, if it is available at all.
    The new thousand dollar washing machines are heading to the landfill after three years.

    • Why on earth would you spend that kind of money? They still sell much cheaper ones in the store. Serves you right for paying for all that gadgetry. The more complicated it is, the more there is to break.

  • We recently replaced our 35 year-old dishwasher. It was noisy but took only 27 minutes to run the cycle. Now, it takes an hour, 45 minutes and we need to pre-rinse the dishes to make sure they get cleaned. Further, at the end of the cycle, the dishes and inside of the unit are all wet (it doesn’t dry). I have to leave the door open for several hours to dry them. It is far quieter, but I want the old one back that washed and DRIED the dishes. (Manufacturer says I’m using the wrong detergent and finish but I’m using exactly what they specified exactly as they specified).

  • Along with dishwashers, lets look at dishwasher detergent. It used to contain TSP – a useful detergent and cleaning agent. Some chucklehead in the state of Washington decided that the phosphate “problem” in the Spokane River was due to dishwasher detergent containing TSP somehow entering the river. He/she/they raised this issue with the EPA – which then enjoined detergent makers to remove TSP as an ingredient. They complied and of-course dishwashers didn’t work as well. Oh, and the phosphate problem in the Spokane River didn’t go away either!

    • Thanks to this Trump rally, I know why my new dishwasher takes 2 hours 45 minutes to do the dishes. Like you said, there is no drying. All plastic stuff comes out dripping. All this time, I thought we bought the wrong brand – Bosch. The salesperson sold it to us saying it was the best in market. Before this, we lived in apartments where they don’t appliances for decades. The dishwasher took 50 minutes including drying.

      • The manufacturers have been lobbying to get the regulations loosened for years. Bosch is forced to meet unrealistic specs.

  • God bless President Trump for fearlessly calling attention to the obvious. When he spoke about ending the awful light bulb restrictions (and hilariously making fun of his “orange” complexion), I thought again, “this is my president”. By taking aim at the useless water restrictions that make using home appliances, toilets and showers ineffective and frustrating, he’s again proving that he pays attention to us, and reminding everyone of the smothering power of unaccountable centralized government.

  • Please let him talk about low-flow toilets. How it takes 3 flushes to eliminate waste. That will also resonate with voters.

  • Trump should also show how the EPA has removed phosphates from laundry and dish detergents which defeats their cleaning abilities and was based on phony data from environmental lobbies. If the data was accurate, why did the EPA ban apply only to household items and not restaurant, hospital and other business cleaning products?

  • The “low flow” toilets end up using more water that ne o;d ones in order to flush properly. But what is true of appliances is true for other things as well, Clothing that I bought at Target 15 years ago, and ghave washed many times, is still very wearable and holds a press. A dress I bought two summers ago is falling apart (where is the ILGWU??). The coating on my new coated pan is half the thickness of my 10-year-old pan coating.

  • Certain states, I’ll be nice and and not name them, let huge amounts of rainwater flow straight to the sea, and are in the process of dismantling their existing capture systems. One must wonder if ‘efficient use of resources’ shouldn’t extend to the capture, processing, and release of the resource as well as the actual application of the resource to a specific task.

  • Our President is absolutely positively correct! I have an old style dishwasher, and I have a brand new “energy star” dishwasher, and the new dishwasher is a piece of absolute garbage. My old dishwasher can do a full load of dishes, and they come out perfectly clean; the new one, I have to scrape, rinse, and then load… and then after the cycle, which is about three times longer than the old machine (?) I generally have to rinse, or scrub wash and rinse.

    Same with laundry washing machines… the new ones use two tablespoons of water, and they run for an hour and a half or two or more hours, then it plays a little song, and a little green light comes on to tell you your clothes are clean. Bugger!

  • It’s not just dishwashers and washing machines. My $1200 stove went out when the computer board went out after 3 years. My mother’s appliances lasted +20 years. Now, you are lucky to get 5 without needing a repair. I’ve fixed my washing machine twice, my dryer, my dishwasher and I am not handy. It is just so expensive to hire someone I have to do it myself.

  • Why do people waste so much time on trivia like Trump’s opinion of dishwashers? Someone probably wrote the bit for him, anyway. How stupid could you be to think he’s actually ever used one? That’s what servants are for. I doubt he has ever even boiled water.

    • It doesn’t matter if he’s used them or not. His words about them resonate with us because they are true.

  • Was pondering getting new appliances … ours are 20 years old and parts are expensive. I think I’ll wait for the new “new” appliances to hit the store. Then I will buy a washing machine and dryer, a dishwasher, and a matching refrigerator, small chest freezer and stove. The wife has never had a new major appliance and I am tired of fixing the old ones.

  • I’m looking at a 330$ dishwasher at a big-box store that 77% of 1,420 reviewers would recommend to people they don’t hate.

    And the unhappy people? Well, let’s just say it’s not always all about the machine. Sometimes it’s the delivery people. Sometimes it’s the installer. And sometimes it’s the user. Yeah the machine is loud. What did you expect at that price? And yeah, it won’t fix your hard water either.

    Our new dishwasher works just fine. We did a lot of research. Sifted through a lot of reviews. Opened and shut a lot of doors. Ran a lot of racks in and out.

    We ended up buying a mid-price American made machine that didn’t have all the whiz-bang features. It does have a stainless tub, and a little more sound proofing. 88% of 1,247 reviewers would recommend it to someone they don’t hate.

    It has five speed settings including quick and one hour. I haven’t actually timed it. I just set it to heavy, and let it churn away. We turn it on after dinner, and everything is clean the next morning when we need it.

    What it can’t do is deal with the really heavy water where we live.

    I’ve been using dishwashers for forty years. Of course you have to pre-rinse. Anybody that says you didn’t have to pre-rinse in the good old days is kidding you. I remember my mother pre-rinsing. If there was some golden moment in time when you didn’t have to pre-rinse I missed it.

    At our last house we had a little HE front-loading Frigidaire that cleaned our kids clothes like a champ for twenty years. It’s probably still working.

    I am suspicious of the washer that came with the house. It’s a top-loader without an agitator. So I use the soak feature and give it an extra rinse. So far so good. But I’ll get another front loader when this one dies. It’s a time tested design that has been around since Bendix invented the first automatic electric washer in 1937.

    We had a gas dryer installed. It’s hard to screw those up. I have all kinds of options on how hot I want it. I don’t know why the previous owner capped the line and installed an electric circuit. Electricity is expensive here.

    Yeah. It is frustrating when you get a lemon. And it must be really irritating to spend extra money on stupid features that break. The more features you buy the more points of failure. That’s why we buy refrigerators that don’t make ice. Who wants to buy a new refrigerator because the price of fixing the ice-maker is ridiculous?

    I’m not having any problems with light bulbs either. Choose your color preference and forget it for a few years. I don’t have any fond memories of buying light bulbs and changing them out all the freaking time. If you’re buying fixtures that don’t have a changeable bulb that’s on you.

    And I have to wonder about those of you having problems flushing toilets. But not too much. I mean . . . TMI.

    You know what irritates me? The really cheesy drawer sliders in refrigerators.

    Does the government need to regulate all those things? Well. Maybe those cheesy drawer slides. But no. It doesn’t need to regulate all those things. The price of water and power should be sufficient motivation.

    One problem with Federal rules is they change when the government does. And the government has been flipping back and forth on a pretty steady basis for quite a while now.

    Anyway. Do you want to organize a presidential campaign around the number of people that are mad about their dishwasher? It seems so.

  • What small-government even means? I like that Trump may want to have a look at the dishwasher issue and arrive at a solution between the old 1 hour duration and the current 3 hours duration.

    But there’s no such thing as “let consumer decide it” when it comes to limited electricity pools and water consumption. And with the the rise of cheap LED bulbs. Any ban on incandescent bulbs will not hurt consumers.

    This is just a common sense issue. Nothing to do with you silly religion by the prophet “Adam Smith”. This is a common sense conservative President. Libertarians don’t get elected to any office.

    I hope my comment will be published.

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