Trump’s Reelection—or not: a Fuller Exposition

ruver in Egypt

Ronald Brownstein, The Biggest Obstacle to Trump’s Victory in 2020: There may be an unprecedented level of discontent with the president among voters satisfied with the economy.

A much more detailed explanation of the point I made about electability in the immediately preceding post. By Ron Brownstein, a highly acute political analyst.

Please read it for yourself. But here’s a short summary, in my own words.

Remember the kerfuffle over the crowd size at the inaugural? Trump can’t count. When his core delusions are involved, he loses the ability to enumerate. On Inauguration Day, his grandiosity literally blinded him to the crowd size.

Now, as Brownstein lays out, Trump thinks he’s going to win the election by emphasizing our tribal divisions. In fact, there are not enough hard core members of his racist tribe to push him to victory. But in his delusional mind, his folks are the majority, not a large minority.  Unless he finds a way out of his delusion, he will continue on with a fundamentally flawed reelection strategy. And the fundamental flaw in his strategy will be his electoral downfall.

The Voter Fraud Investigation that Didn’t Bark in the Night

curious-incident

Trump claimed last week, over and over, that he didn’t lose the popular vote, but instead that he actually won it, when you deduct the millions of illegal votes garnered by Hillary. When challenged on this delusional claim, he promised a vigorous and thorough investigation to prove its truth.

Now Truimplethinskin has “moved on”; there is to be no investigation of this massive blot on American democracy. Ho, hum, let’s talk about Schwarzenegger’s ratings instead.

What can we learn from this?

Commentators expressed three views about the delusional claim and the proposed investigation:

Theory 1: it was part of a Machiavellian plot to gin up a bogus “investigation” which would then form the purported predicate for a massive effort to further disenfranchise black people.

Theory 2: Trump is delusional, at least as to many important beliefs.

Theory 3: Trump is not delusional, but cynically spread his voter fraud claim horse manure knowing that his base would believe it.

Many in the commentariat strongly supported Theory 1. But the abandonment of the “investigation” is strong evidence against it.

A perennial mistake in human affairs is trying to discover the rational motivation behind a crazy person’s behavior. That, I believe, is the error committed by the proponents of Theory 1. Sometimes a pencil is only a pencil. Sometimes a crazy person is only a crazy person.

As of today, both Theory 2 and Theory 3 remain viable explanations of the known facts.

Aardvark liked Theory 2 from the beginning, and continues to adhere to it. I think Trump  backed off from the “investigation” because someone convinced him that it would distract from his agenda.

I think he still believes that Obama was born in Kenya, that five million illegal votes were cast for Hillary, and a lot of other crazy stuff.

It’s a Snowy Day in Hell: Jonathan Chait is Wrong, Jennifer Rubin is Right

guts

A Delusional Goofball, Not a Koch Brothers/Paul Ryan Sock Puppet

Aardvark enjoys reading Jonathan Chait, benefits from his insight, and stands in awe of his erudition and progressive fervor. Occasionally, however, Atlas shrugs. Yesterday Chait advised us that The Fight for the Soul of the Reopublican Party Has Been Canceled. After a meandering discussion of Trump’s singular inaugural speech, the role of Andrew Jackson in American history, and other topics, Chait concluded, “Far from being at odds with the agenda of a party allied with entrenched wealth, that populist style [of McCarthy, Wallace, Palin, and Trump] is the best way to lend that agenda mass appeal. We should stop seeing Trumpism as a challenge to the GOP and instead understand it as the party’s natural historical evolution.”

But today Jennifer Rubin—she of the burning passion for Mitt Romney—lets us in on the secret that Trump isn’t opn the same page as Ryan. He’s not even in the same library. Rubin writes,

Ryan may be heartened by hearing, The President wants tax reform. That means nothing. One cannot tell if Congress and Trump are on the same page until Trump knows what he wants, and Ryan will never get a definitive answer until Trump either supports what Congress produces or declares it “stupid” or a “loser.” Trump wants crowds, “wins,” acclaim, respect and adulation; what legislative product he gets matters only insofar as it provides him with emotional sustenance. …

To state the obvious, Ryan’s agenda is not Trump’s agenda. The things that motivate Trump are the wall, massive voter fraud and other shiny objects that his low-information base delights in. Trump devotes time to the things that matter to him, and this week demonstrates amply that trivial, fictional and personal issues matter. If he waves his hand and tells Ryan, Whatever you guys have is good, that’s no sign of agreement, or even interest. Lawmakers should understand that they really have no idea where Trump is on the details that matter.

They will spend months working on issues as Trump heckles from the sidelines, never supporting them when the heat rises. The sooner lawmakers grasp this, the more intelligent choices they can make about prioritizing objectives.

Meanwhile, at the Washington Monthly, Nancy LeTourneau asks, Are Republicans Starting to Recognize Trump’s Mental Instability? Good question.

And Martrin Longman, channeling Aardvark—or, more likely, it’s the other way around—laments,

Whatever this is, it’s not sanity. This isn’t some crazy like a fox cunning aimed at distracting us while Trump steals our lunch. It’s out-and-out racist-drunk-at-the-end-of-the-bar insanity. In fact, Cliff Clavin look reliable in comparison.

The media is treating this with appropriate astonishment. They’re really not sugarcoating it except that they’re not willing, like me, to come out and call this man exactly what he is, which is critically, urgently, unfit for office.

He must go soon.

***

Aardvark has checked his WordPress stats and welcomes back his Russian readers. Are you suffering buyers’ remorse yet?

Why Progressives Should Support an Investigation of Trump’s Bogus Voter Claims

reality

Aardvark has claimed that Trump was born in Belarus, but does not support an investigation of the tremendous controversy surrounding that claim.

But there are three reasons why progressives should support an investigation of Minority President Trump’s delusional claim concerning the five million illegal Hillary voters—and then do all they can to ensure that the investigation is fair and objective.

One of those reasons is not that investigation will prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was wrong. That will not happen.

1. Opposing an investigation makes it look like you’re hiding something.

It will tend to reinforce delusions about illegal voting shared by a good slice of Trump’s base.

2. Supporting an investigation will show that you have nothing to fear, and may give an opportunity to ensure that it is fair.

3. Fear of new voter suppression does not justify opposition to an investigation.

On the voter suppression issue, progressives are paranoids who have actual enemies, so the paranoia is understandable. That said, you need to be as reasonable as you can be about your fears.

Trump’s bogus claim about the five million illegal voters is certainly a valid reason to fear that evil may be afoot. But Trump didn’t stop there. He also called for an investigation.

Think it through. Either there will be an investigation of there won’t be. If there is no investigation, then we have a talking point about how the lying bastard was afraid to seek the true facts.

If, on the other hand, there is an investigation, then either (a) it will show the claim to be bogus or (b) it will be a ridiculous flight of fantasy, such a put up job that everyone except those of the meanest intelligence will see through it.

I don’t think we have anything to lose.

Does Trump Say Things He Knows to be False? Sí, se puede

heart

In his Phoenix speech on immigration promised to kill Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program that protects “Dreamers.” He called Obama’s executive order “illegal.”*

Now that he’s in office, we learn that he has a “big heart”—yes, it’s always about The Donald, it’s about whether he has a big heart, not whether America has a big heart. And we learn that the Dreamers have little to worry about.

A myriad of things could be said on this topic, but this is my blog post, and I want to focus on one point: this is proof positive, conclusive, beyond peradventure of doubt, that The Donald sometimes tells lies consciously, and with malice aforethought, in an effort to get people to vote for him.

That is, by the way, another form of voter fraud. But politicians have a constitutional right to lie.*

But to return to the main point, we must ask this question: Does proof that Trump sometimes consciously lie demonstrate that whenever he lies, he is doing so in a conscious, rational way?

No, it does not.

When Aardvark dined last evening here at Happy Acres, he had dessert. Does that fact demonstrate that whenever Aardvark dines at Happy Acres, he always has dessert? Fortunaty, no, it does not.

Take Trump’s delulsional belief in the five million illegal voters and the subsequent call for a full investigation to find them. I submit that it is not possible to postulate any conceivable Machiavellian scheme that would be furthered by these utterances. The only reason to call for an investigation is because he sincerely believes that the investigation will disclose the existence of the phantom voters he has conjured up in his fevered mind.

How long will it be before he starts hearing voices?

*See transcript of Phoenix immigration policy speech.

** So held in Eastern R. Conference v. Noerr Motors, 365 U.S. 127 (1961).

“What’s the Method in Trump’s Madness?”

pants-on-fire

E.J. Dionne asks the question, but does not answer it in any definitive or persuasive way. Reminds me of the headlines I always read in Popular Photographer when I was a wee lad. They were forever asking questions like, Is the New Canon AAA the Best Camera Ever? They never answered the question.

Later on, as a litigitator, Aardvark always acted on the working assumption that his adversaries were acting in their own rational best interest, and tried to reverse engineer their strategy based on that working hypothesis. Sometimes that worked, but sometimes it was a lost cause: no rational thinking explained your adversary’s actions and positions.

Like Aardvark, Jennifer Rubin, who used to swoon over Romney, has just bloody well given up:

The supposition among pundits, elected officials and political insiders is that Trump, like his argument over the inaugural crowd size, “lies” to make himself feel better. His staff salutes, repeats his lies and then gets bashed. What if, however, he thoroughly, “honestly” believes his crazy, unsubstantiated claims? When he denies saying something, what if he honestly does not, cannot recall statements that now come back to haunt him?

He seemed awfully sincere about his reprehensible birther conspiracy theories until it became inconvenient to say so. Before reverting to sycophantic form after his primary defeat, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), incensed about Trump’s assertion that Cruz’s father participated in the JFK assassination, called Trump a “pathological liar.” He said, “He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And he had a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook. His response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”

Today, Dionne and many others are asking whether the great 5 Million Illegal Voters lie is part of a rational (though evil) scheme to further restrict voting rights. It certainly could be. But if that was your goal, wouldn’t you tell a more plausible lie? Wouldn’t a rational person grasp that a lie this big would be likely to undercut, not support, your wicked scheme to restrict voting rights? And if that is the case, what plausible hypothesis is left other than that he really believes his alternative reality?

Ms. Rubin says she isn’t yet—emphasizing “yet”—canning for the invocation of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment (the part of the Constitution that could let the country get rid of a loonytunes President.)

Keith Olbermann, however, has had enough and says it’s time for The Donald to resign on grounds of insanity.