The Emperor Bears His Naked Soul, As the Flop Sweat Keeps Rolling Down

flop sweat

Further to the topic of the nakedness of Donald Trump’s soul, Jonathan Chait, addressing last evening’s edition of the Five O’clock Follies, writes,

Yesterday, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services published a study summarizing interviews with 323 hospitals. The study confirmed that hospitals are desperately short of personal protective equipment, and have been unable get coronavirus test results for patients. The details in the 40-page report are horrifying, though hardly unfamiliar to anybody who has followed news reports or the pleas of doctors and nurses on social media. Medical staff are unprotected and exposed to infected patients, shipments of gear from Washington have been haphazard, test results take seven days or more, and so on.

The purpose of such reports is to identify problems so that policy-makers can take corrective action. It is fair to say that President Trump did not take the report in the earnest problem-solving spirit in which it was intended. Several journalists asked Trump about the report at his briefing yesterday. His responses grew increasingly hostile and disconnected from reality.

After the first question, even before the reporter could finish summarizing the report, Trump interjected, “Did I hear the word inspector general? Really? It’s wrong.” When told the source came from his own government, Trump began fishing around for evidence the report’s author was biased: “Well, where did he come from, the inspector general. What’s his name?”

Fifteen minutes later, another reporter followed up with the answer. “Her name was Christi Grimm and it wasn’t so much her opinion, but they interviewed 323 different hospitals — ” began a second reporter. Trump interjected, “It still could be her opinion. When was she appointed? When was she appointed?” ABC’s Jon Karl replied, “She was appointed in January of this year to her current position as the principal deputy inspector.”

Another reporter followed up: “I know you don’t want to talk about the inspector general report, but testing is still a big issue in this country. When can hospitals expect to receive a quick turnaround of its test results?” Trump replied by asserting that hospitals and states, not the federal government, are responsible for testing — “Hospitals can do their own testing also. States can do their own testing.” — before complaining that the reporter was mean to ask the question:

We have a brand-new testing system that we developed very quickly and that’s your result. And you should say, congratulations. Great job. Instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question.

Wake Up and Smell the Flop Sweat

Trump in a corner

Eugene Robinson, Trump’s escalation of racism means one thing: He’s worried about reelection:

Some traumatized Democrats may have lost all faith in polls following the 2016 election, but Trump hasn’t. We know he pays close attention to the numbers. …

Indeed, the Fox News national poll of registered voters showed Trump losing to former vice president Joe Biden by 10 points, 49 percent to 39 percent. It also showed him losing to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by six points and edging the other top-tier Democratic candidates, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), by a single point each.

Another survey released last week must have made Trump break out in a cold sweat. A Quinnipiac poll of registered voters in Ohio — a state Trump won in 2016 and absolutely needs to win again — showed him trailing Biden by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent, and statistically tied with all the other leading Democratic contenders. Losing Ohio would almost surely mean a landslide electoral defeat.

The Robinson piece doesn’t discuss in any detail exactly why juicing up the racism might be linked to fear of losing. Instead, Mr. Robinson attributes Trump’s recent behavior to underlying temperament. And, surely, temperament is a big part of it. But here’s the other thing. Health care is important to the voters, and they have decided they now like Obamacare. Taxes are important, and the voters don’t much cotton to big tax cuts for the immensely wealthy.

Trump and his enablers fall back on fear and race-baiting because fear and race-baiting are all they’ve got.

Not genius. But not exactly clownishness, either. Just the only tactic a cornered animal has left to employ.

“No Longer Ratings Gold”: The Flop Sweat Begins to Show

My immediately preceding post addressed Trump’s adverse psychological effect on Americans.

You and I Are Only an Angry Mob, To Be Put Down

Susan Glasser, The Increasingly Menacing Message of Donald Trump’s Rallies, complements the prior post:

It’s the hate, and the sense of actual menace that the President is trying to convey to his supporters. Democrats aren’t just wrong in the manner of traditional partisan differences; they are scary, bad, evil, radical, dangerous. Trump and Trump alone stands between his audiences and disaster.

So Trump’s rhetoric is evolving in such a way as to make the majority of the population an angry mob, unfit to exercise the franchise. An unhinged mob who must be subjected to autocratic rule by their betters.

And, BTW, So Are Lots of Their Own Family Members

Another key feature in Trump’s evolution is an effort to divide men from women, and women who tolerate male abuse for the sake of tribal loyalty from women for whom abuse is intolerant.

Yet another is the recent effort to divide the elderly from the middle aged in regard to health care. (This won’t work either. Here at Happy Acres, where we all have our Medicare and our supplemental health insurance, I can tell you there are a lot of folks who are very concerned over descendants with preexisting conditions.)

The appeal to misogyny and the appeal to old people’s fears are fundamentally different from appeals to fear and hatred of African-Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, and so forth. The difference is that the new appeals to fear depend on driving wedges within families of Trump supporters.

Not Playing Well in Peoria

Indications are that this show is not playing well in Peoria: Trump, no longer ratings gold, loses his prime-time spot on Fox News.

It isn’t surprising, then, that Trump is Losing the Midwest.

May it be so.