After Mueller?

Once again, the anti-Trump factions have underestimated the man. Now, as anyone who’s followed my blog knows, I’m anything but a fan of the President, but his opponents are making the same mistakes that so many have made regarding Trump over the years. First, because Trump makes statements that seem stupid not only to his opponents, but statements that are factually inaccurate, they think Trump is stupid. Second, because they think he’s stupid, they underestimate him.

Trump is extremely dangerous because he ignores the “conventional” rules of politics. In general, conventional politicians either use correct facts in the general ballpark of “truth” or correct facts incorrectly… or they appeal to the beliefs and ideals of their constituents without directly invoking the facts.

Trump will use falsehoods and misstatements in a continuing flurry of tweets and public utterances without any regard for the truth. He doesn’t care in the slightest about the factual truth. He cares only about encouraging his supporters and continually reassuring them that he’s on their side. And because he has the “bully pulpit” of the Presidency [as Teddy Roosevelt once called it] and because the media covers that pulpit non-stop, he has effectively overwhelmed truth and accuracy in energizing his supporters.

He’s also used various powers to have others do the dirty work, as Michael Cohen’s testimony revealed, and, so far as anything disclosed so far has revealed, he’s been careful not to leave his own fingerprints on anything. He’s excellent at suggesting that others should do the dirty work, but he appears to do it in a fashion where he never directly orders them to do something he knows is against the law. It’s not against the law to buy silence from a porn star. It may well be against the law to do so with campaign funds, but Cohen bought off the porn star with his own funds, and then apparently was reimbursed from a non-campaign account.

He suggested that the Russians look into Hillary’s emails and other matters, but he apparently never met with Russian agents to discuss anything specific. Others may have, thinking that was what Trump wanted, but it’s doubtful that Trump ever ordered anything that specific.

In the meantime, with his continual barrage about immigration, more and more Americans are feeling that immigration is a huge problem. While immigration is not an urgent national emergency, one that a wall won’t solve, it is in fact a problem, because the U.S. hasn’t and likely won’t spend the money to deal with immigrants humanely and effectively, and that shortcoming will only increase the problem, especially if the Democrat-led House of Representatives doesn’t do something besides oppose the wall.

With Trump’s insistence that he did not collude with the Russians [and why would he have done so, when they were working on his behalf without any meetings] and the likely conclusion of the Mueller report that there’s no proof of such collusion, more and more Americans are going to believe that the Democrats have in fact been “witch-hunting,” and unless the prosecutors of the Southern District of New York come up with solid and undisputable evidence that Trump personally did something not only illegal, but significantly illegal, it’s very likely that Trump will run for and win a second term, because every minute of his presidency, he’s been selling himself to his base and their friends, while the Democrats are united only in their dislike and disdain for Trump… and still fail to understand exactly what he’s doing.

What he’s doing is the formula followed by every successful dictator. It’s very simple. Demonize and minimize your opponents while reassuring your base – emotionally, because facts count for little – that they’re special and that you’re the only one that they can trust… and that the “elites” have sold them down the river. And the Democrats also have the “small” problem that much of the “old” middle class has indeed been sold down the river, if not directly by elites, but indirectly through technology, computers, and automation. Protesting that “you” didn’t do it doesn’t address the fears and needs of Trump’s base.

Nor does it matter that Trump has rewarded the rich far more than his base, or that he seldom tells the factual truth. He’s selling “emotional truth,” what people want to believe… and he’s anything but stupid.

The stupid ones are those who think he is.

6 thoughts on “After Mueller?”

  1. R. Hamilton says:

    Immigration is indeed a serious problem, not because immigrants are foreigners to be feared, but because the numbers of people are beyond what we can handle without being damaged by them. One estimate based on surveys suggests there are as many as 42 million from south of the border alone (i.e. not counting the rest of the world) that would come here if they could. We don’t have jobs or infrastructure for all that want to come here, and most are woefully unprepared to become lawfully productive western capitalists (as anyone wanting to come here should be – domestic political groups should NOT be using immigration to drive “change and transformation” in their preferred direction – whichever that might be, but neither should they play ignorant that at a certain level, it will have an impact that may be detrimental to existing citizens, not as a point of fear mongering, but simply as a plausible outcome). At least a small percentage are dangerous criminals, and doubtless another small percentage at least are carriers of diseases we have little experience dealing with. The poor control we have exposes us to all those risks, and doubtless others as well.

    100.00% control of who comes here may indeed be impossible, but that’s no reason not to try to get a lot closer to it than we are. Open borders are a recipe for self-destruction, and while we don’t officially have open borders, the effect of what we have is entirely too close to that – almost worse, insofar as the continuing wink and nod undermines the rules of law.

    As far as Trump and truth goes, unless he’s explicitly or implicitly under oath, while I might prefer otherwise, I don’t see why he should be held to a standard that most politicians are rather casual about meeting in what for him are routine public utterances (or tweets). Obama: “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” – but that’s not how it worked out, not even how it could have been expected to work out. Sadly, lying is what politicians do of late, indeed always, just more blatantly of late.

  2. R. Hamilton says:

    “you know I am skeptical of those who hold power as an absolute right.” Hmm, who said that, even if via a character in a story? 🙂

    I very much doubt that could be said any less of many career politicians, than it could be said of a disruptive outsider, who is simply too old to outstay his last term (whichever that may be) in any event.

    Thus, for a time, I welcome some disruption, although neither this brand of right-wing populism nor disruption as a standard practice should become the norm in the long run; yet just perhaps, it’s the correction that’s needed having gone too far in the direction of massive institutionalism. As yet I haven’t seen anything that strikes me as an abuse sufficient to justify the extremity of opposition, although I don’t endorse Trump’s entire communication style or content by any means, esp. as it contributes to the opposition.

  3. Tom says:

    David Brooks
    We’ve All Just Made Fools of Ourselves — Again
    The awful corruption of scandal politics.
    NY Times 26 March 2019

    Brooks seems to agree with your opinion but rather than complimenting Trump he admonishes the politicians and electorate.

    As with Geobbels, “making America Great Again” is a tantalizing myth bobbing in the wind of self made “emergencies”. Even admitting a deficit of Trillions gets used as another ‘winning’ fact in the Presidential Actions documented by the White House. The short-termism that the Economist and the Atlantic bring up seem not to worry our Lemming like citizens.

    1. I’m not complimenting Trump; I’m just observing. And I agree with Brooks in admonishing both the politicians and the electorate, but especially the electorate… and the media, who, more than any other factor, have made Trump and others like him possible.

  4. Tim says:

    LEM: the danger with your statement is that you imply the electorate ‘got it wrong’. We have the same attitude here in the UK over BreXit. Those who voted to leave the EU were under-informed and wrong. But surely democracy means that a majority in favour means that is the result the others have to abide by. Or have I missed something?

    In the UK democracy is under severe strain at the moment.

    1. You’re suggesting an implication I didn’t make. People have every right to vote on either emotional or intellectual grounds. My point was that Trump will use anything to make that “emotional truth” case, and that to claim he’s stupid because of the way he makes that case is a form of stupidity in itself.

      My comment on the media and the electorate wasn’t about the election, but about the fact that the media and most people get hung up on sensationalism, rather than on basics, and that applies to both Democrats and Republicans. They just each get hung up on different sensational “emotional truths.” The Democrats often don’t recognize that, but that’s another story.

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