The Gaslighting Isn’t Working, but Trump Will Fire Mueller Anyway


The Gaslighting Isn’t Working

Gaslighting is

a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.[1][2]

Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gas Light and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations.

Gaslighting is a winning technique for Trump, but only with the hardest core of ignoramuses. To sum up,

— The reality is that public opinion is protecting the special counsel right now more than Republicans on Capitol Hill. “Mueller is largely seen as running a fair investigation, and confidence has held steady or even grown over recent months,” our in-house pollster Emily Guskin notes:

A Pew Research Center poll released last week found that 61 percent of Americans are very or somewhat confident that Mueller ‘will conduct a fair investigation,’ up six percentage points from … January, and from 56 percent in December. The rise is modest but statistically significant. … Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents fueled the rise in support … Just under half of Republicans, 46 percent, express confidence in Mueller’s probe this month, hardly changed from 45 percent two months ago.

A Marist poll last month found that 53 percent considered Mueller’s investigation to be fair, up five points from January, while 28 percent said it was not fair, and 20 percent had no opinion: “A 70 percent majority of Americans said Mueller should be allowed to finish the investigation, while 16 percent said he should be fired. Republicans, who largely approve of Trump’s performance, opposed firing Mueller by roughly 2 to 1, 55 percent to 27 percent.” [emphasis in original]

Let’s say it again. Despite the best efforts of Trump and Fox News, half of the Republicans have confidence in Mueller. And among the other half, who think Mueller is incompetent or corrupt, only half of them think it would be a good idea to shitcan him. (I suppose the rest want to see what he comes up with.)

So if Trump fires Mueller, all of Fox News, along with most gullible and easily misled 16 percent of the American public, will jump for joy.

But Trump Will Fire Mueller Anyway

As Jonathan Chait says, it’s a matter of character.

But more than that, it will be an act of desperation. When all your alternatives are really bad, you make the choice that seems the least desperate of all the desperate choices you have.

As the Geico ad says, that’s what you do.