Tribalism or Gaslighting? Logic, Advocacy, and the Blinding Insight of the Very Stable Genius


Trump’s Two Remaining Defenses

The Gaslighting Defense

Proposition One: Military aid to Ukraine was not dangled as a quid pro quo in exchange for their investigating Democrats. If you think you see evidence of a quid pro quo, then you are mistaken. If you think my coconspirators and I ever said there was a quid pro quo, then you’re wrong. And you did not hear me when I just admitted there was a quid pro quo.

The Pure Tribalism Defense

Proposition Two: Of course there was a quid pro quo, you fool. Get over it.

Logic—and the Logic of Advocacy

The gaslighting defense is factually indefensible.

The pure tribalism defense, however, is not factually indefensible at all.

On the contrary, it relies on the fact—proven beyond peradventureof doubt—that 29 percent of us have unleashed our inner assholes and will support Trump to the end, because he sneers at the people we love to sneer at.

Because the gaslighting defense is factually indefensible, but the pure tribalism defense rests not on facts, but on irresistible compulsion, the logic of advocacy would tell Trump and his minions to abandon gaslighting, go with pure tribalism, and just hope for the best.

The logic of advocacy would tell Trump to rely on pure tribalism to shield his retreat as he cuts and runs, negotiating the best exit deal he can negotiate.

That may yet happen. Who knows?

But interestingly, and somewhat counterintuitively, the Very Stable Genius seems to have had a blinding insight.

The Blinding Insight of the Very Stable Genius

It is that both gaslighting and pure tribalism will work just fine and dandy with his 29 percent hard core.

But pure tribal appeal will only work with about 29 percent. To get beyond that, he’s got to gaslight, gaslight, and then gaslight some more.

A competent defense counsel would tell him that dog won’t hunt.

A competent defense counsel would tell him that he’s using his shovel just to dig a deeper and deeper hole for himself.

And, by the way, a competent defense counsel would tell him it’s not a stroke of genius to withhold from the grand jury all the witnesses who might testify in your favor, while the hostile witnesses keep on trooping into the courthouse to give their testimony and to douse the gaslight.

But Trump is appearing pro se in his defense, thus denying himself the effective assistance of counsel.

And a Concluding Observation

No, ladies and germs, when the gaslighting collapses, as it inevitably will, probably most of the Republican senators will still vote too acquit. But by them, we will have established beyond argument that their votes are based on pure tribalism.

Well, rooty toot toot for them–if they hail from states where the 29 percent of the U.S. population make up 51 percent or more of the folks in their state.

But if the come from states where the hard core base is only say, 42 percent, then they are in a spot of bother.