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5 Reasons It’s So Hard Not To Help Donald Trump

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5 Reasons It’s So Hard Not To Help Donald Trump

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Kushner

You probably hate using the words “President Trump” as much as I do.

Even if you do not invest the office of the presidency with mystical properties, you still recognize its extraordinary power to do good, or to strand thousands of people who are in the process of becoming permanent residents of the United States in countries and airports around the world.

“I am the President of the United States, clothed with immense power!” Tony Kushner has Abraham Lincoln say in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

This comes at a moment in the slog to pass the 13th Amendment when Lincoln’s aspirations seem to face their greatest peril and the president’s bombast seems to be an attempt to convince himself of his own agency, even more than his audience — the shady “lobbyists” he has employed to secure the necessary votes.

And in that effort to end the great evil of slavery, Lincoln’s performance prevailed.

Everything about Donald Trump is about appearances and his fragile ego. Unlike Lincoln, his agenda shows no promise of elevating above anything but a childish need for self-validation and a tyrannical need for the accumulation of power.

Once when he was being deposed in a lawsuit in which he sued a journalist for questioning his “wealth,” Trump explained that his net worth “goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.”

America, despite our best efforts, is now in the Donald Trump’s “feelings” business, especially because he hasn’t divested from his own businesses.

Everything our chief executive does is chained to the massive insecurities of a man who can’t even admit that the “very small” million dollar loan from his father, which was still a massive gift in the mid 1970s, was actually closer to “$14 million dollars.”

Given his cartoonish faults, his relentless scapegoating and his petty vindictiveness, it’s easy to not take him seriously. And now we have to take him for at least four years and face the realization that he actually is engaging in a strategy that may offend you but was convincing to the 75,000 Americans in three key states he needed to secure his minority presidency. And in 2018, Democrats face a Senate map with 10 swing states, nine of which Trump won.

And we also have to face that we may still be helping him as we did in 2016 by not flooding Democratic blue wall states from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania with volunteers and resources, not taking the prospect that he could win dead seriously.

Here are five ways we may still be helping Donald Trump.

1. It’s hard to admit that nobody knows how to beat Donald Trump yet.
Some want to blame liberal sensitivity to language and “identity politics” for Trump’s win, as if he isn’t a walking open wound who appealed to “coded racism” in a way that no candidate has since George Wallace. But there are some ways smugness hurt the left in 2016. We believed the models that said Clinton had an 80 to 90 percent chance of winning. We discounted the effort of the Kochs to build a shadow GOP that may have helped the party keep the Senate and carry Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We ignored Trump’s engagement of Cambridge Analytica, the firm that used Facebook “psychometrics” to help win the Brexit vote for the “Leave” campaign. We also underestimated the impact of slowing GDP growth. Despite this all, absent FBI Director James Comey’s unprecedented intervention into the election, which has been rewarded with Trump’s nod to continue serving, Clinton likely would have won. Instead of focusing on the systemic and technical advantages the GOP has secured, the debate in the left often strays into repeating the trauma of the 2016 primary, which, despite representing substantive disagreements about the future of the party, often reinvigorate hurts that are mostly irrelevant given Hillary Clinton’s involuntarily retirement.
2. Our brains do not get his appeal and thus amplify it.
Here is something that you understand but I constantly have to remind myself: The things that make me despise Trump are what make his supporters, a minority of Americans, love him. This brings us back to George Lakoff, the brain scientist who told us how to turn Trump into a “loser.” A strong Washington Post piece summarizes the power of Trump’s language:

Many liberals, by contrast, base their notion of optimal family structure on the idea of a nurturing parent rather than a strict father. Trump’s language therefore strikes them as overly authoritarian.

By this theory, when Trump seems to flit from topic to topic, he’s not being incoherent, but rather is building a case that he will be the strict father who asserts his authority in all spheres, whether it’s protecting the nation by building the wall on the Mexican border, or by expanding the nuclear arsenal. “Trump is always selling and always making deals,” Lakoff said. “When he tweets ‘send in the Feds,’ he’s saying, ‘I want you to buy what I’m selling, which is me — I’m taking care of this, I’m in control,” Lakoff said.

3. It’s almost impossible not to take the bait.
Lakoff also has developed a taxonomy of Trump’s tweets that explains how the president uses rhetoric to his advantage:

It’s almost impossible to not use Trump’s frames and engage him on his distractions. And often there are so many distractions and so many awful things he’s doing, it’s impossible to suss out what he’s trying to identify or exactly which story he’s trying to distract from.
4. The liberal opposition to Trump is forming faster than the Tea Party.
Here’s a happy problem Democrats have. The opposition to this new president is unprecedented in American history. The Women’s March alone was probably larger than all Tea Party protests ever combined. And the thousands of Americans who showed up at airports to oppose the president’s immigration policy — which seems singularly obsessed with “the symbolic politics of bashing Islam over any actual security interest” — show how widespread and agile the resistance to Trump’s policies is. This massive movement raises questions for a party that hasn’t seen anything like this since the peak of the Iraq War, including: How can this energy best be channeled into effective limitations on Trump’s power and then victories at the polls? And can that be done without the left turning on itself? There are already signs that the base is “marching right past” its elected officials.
5. Trump’s contradictions help him disguise how he is enacting failed Republican policies.
It turns out one of the biggest mistakes of the 2016 election may have been not saddling Trump with the GOP’s extraordinarily unpopular policies — like defunding Planned Parenthood — in an effort to cast him beyond the pale of normal politics. This failed and now we’re getting Mike Pence’s policies with Donald Trump’s temperament. Over and over, we need to remind Americans that Trump is scapegoating the most vulnerable and dividing America in order to repeat George W. Bush’s fiscal policies, which will likely amount to the largest transfer of wealth to the richest in human history.

IMAGE: President Donald Trump, flanked by senior advisor Jared Kushner (standing, L-R), Vice President Mike Pence and staff secretary Rob Porter, welcomes reporters into the Oval Office as he signs first executive orders at the White House, January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 30, 2017

    The article, over and over to myself many others, points to what might safely be said are the death throes of a failed system of governance. Consider the phrase above “… in an effort to cast him beyond the pale of normal politics.” This expression presumes that there is such a thing as “normal politics”, when in fact there is NOTHING normal about a political system whose foundation is the false premise that there must be opposing sides to have a successful system of governance. The thought that in order to govern properly there must be adversary parties is a quaint and fatal notion peculiar to British and other European communities. No where else in the world, aside from former colonies of the nations in the aforementioned region, do we find systems based on an adversarial approach to governance. Instead, we find to a larger extent in the former colonized countries vestiges of a legacy and tradition based on counsels of elders, patriarchal or matriarchal, who come together to “consult” about issues in the community and reach “consensus” as to how to proceed. There was no such rubbish as Republicans/Democrats/Libertarians, Whigs/Tories, Socialist Democrats/Nationalists/Labor/Opposition—there was just the community seeking to resolve issues and disputes in order to maintain some sense of stability. Instead, the British model of adversity has proven wholly inadequate in a diverse and technological era needing to interact with all humanity and not just operate in a vacuum of isolation and jovial conviviality centered around a limited notion of unity.
    This is why America is particularly vulnerable to authoritarian figures who’ve been “groomed” since childhood to think that the way to govern and solve problems is by using fiery and colorful rhetoric, hubris, promises of more material stuff to accumulate, and a guaranteed supply of beer and a job if everyone is in agreement with the dominant political Party.

    This is a ludicrous and absurd model in today’s era as of 1863. A new embryonic model, still flexing its sinews and learning the finer points of consultation and decision-making is gaining in strength and sophistication in an organic manner, while an old and decaying model of governance is crumbling with each passing day, only to accelerate in its decline courtesy of a key narcissist named Donald J. Trump, who is just the perfect demolition expert who Providence has chosen to be the witless and unwitting “foreman” for the current phase of tearing down the Wall of Divisiveness plaguing American Society.

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly February 2, 2017

      Okay Aaron,

      It’s taken me a bit to get to this.

      But first, please head over to Danziger’s Crucified Trump cartoon and explain it to me.

      Politicians have complained about vote getting since there have been votes. George Washington complained about the cost of the liquor he handed out in running for the House of Burgesses in the 1750s.

      Politicians have promises to those voters since there have been votes. We can go back to Demosthenes in Greece, through the “Chicken in every pot” of Herbert Hoover, to “Putting America First”. Extravagant, ill defined, fuzz words.

      Consensus is a wonderful idea. How do you get there with 350 million Americans?

      What representative governments have ever existed without political parties? One, that I can think of, the Confederate States of America, and even then, you had pro and anti Jefferson Davis groups formed, if not actually taking the names of parties.

      How does one reach consensus with Libertarians who deny the very validity of the government?

      How does one reach consensus with Republicans who deny the validity of any positions not their own?

      How does one reach consensus with 350 million Americans?

  2. Dan S January 30, 2017

    Granted while Fake President Trump was elected to a 4 year term how many people actually believe he’ll be tolerated for that long ? We’re just over a week into his Presidency and we the people have mobilized against him. Whether he wants to admit it or not he has no mandate & the American people want a sane functional government back now

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker January 30, 2017

      He tweeted yesterday that he has no intentions of abiding by the rulings of two federal judges. What does that tell you? It tells me that even if anything he knows is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, he will put a “Scalia” on the Supreme Court and that appointee will force Trump’s will on the rest of the court.

      Face it. The U.S. is as close now to Nazi rule as it was in Nazi Germany.

      1. Independent1 January 30, 2017

        Yes, Trump is so mentally deranged that he truly believes he can always set his own rules. And sadly, I think it was his parents that gave him that notion by brainwashing him into believing he has super genes which always makes him the smartest person in the room.

    2. dbtheonly January 30, 2017

      Yes, but the Constitution is quite clear that Trump will be President for at least 4 years, barring specific events.

      So. Let’s not.

      Assume demographics will make it all work out in the end.
      Assert the American People demands mean anything outside elections.
      Dismiss voters as racist, bigoted, Corporate Whores, Tools of the Establishment or such.

      Or we can join Aaron and kiss goodbye to Constitutional Democracy.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 30, 2017

        Article III of the U.S. Constitution is also quite clear that treason is “adhering” or “giving aid or comfort” to the enemy. Russia is an enemy because they violated our elections with hacking.

        Do we now pretend it never happened? This isn’t at all about Hillary any more. It is about ending a rigged election process that Trump knew was hacked. How much more do Americans give in to a maniac?

        1. dbtheonly January 30, 2017

          You’d need to convince the House of Representatives and 2/3 of the Senate.

          And I recall that treason requires a declared war. That’s an important qualification that came into play during the Viet-Nam War.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker January 30, 2017

            Here is what Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states, “Treason against the United Sttes shall consist only in levying war gainst them OR in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witness to the same “Overt” act or on Confession in an open Court.

            Here is the list from Wikipedia: Philip Vigol and John Mitchell, convicted of treason and sentenced to hanging; pardoned by George Washington; see Whiskey Rebellion.

            John Fries, the leader of Fries’ Rebellion, convicted of treason in 1800 along with two accomplices, and pardoned that same year by John Adams.

            Governor Thomas Dorr 1844, convicted of treason against the state of Rhode Island; see Dorr Rebellion; released in 1845; civil rights restored in 1851; verdict annulled in 1854.

            John Brown, convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1859 and executed for attempting to organize armed resistance to slavery.

            Aaron Dwight Stevens, took part in John Brown’s raid and was executed in 1860 for treason against Virginia.

            William Bruce Mumford, convicted of treason and hanged in 1862 for tearing down a United States flag during the American Civil War.

            Walter Allen was convicted of treason on September 16, 1922 for taking part in the 1921 Miner’s March with the coal companies and the US Army on Blair Mountain, West Virginia. He was sentenced to 10 years and fined. During his appeal to the Supreme Court he disappeared while out on bail. United Mineworkers of America leader William Blizzard was acquitted of the charge of treason by the jury on May 25, 1922.[11]

            Herbert Hans Haupt, German-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was convicted of treason in 1942 and executed after being named as a German spy by fellow German spies defecting to the United States.

            Martin James Monti, United States Army Air Forces pilot, convicted of treason for defecting to the Waffen SS in 1944. He was paroled in 1960.

            Robert Henry Best, convicted of treason on April 16, 1948 and served a life sentence.

            Iva Toguri D’Aquino, who is frequently identified with “Tokyo Rose” convicted 1949. Subsequently, pardoned by President Gerald Ford.

            Mildred Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally”, convicted of treason on March 8, 1949; served 12 years of a 10- to 30-year prison sentence.

            Tomoya Kawakita, sentenced to death for treason in 1952, but eventually released by President John F. Kennedy to be deported to Japan.

      2. johninPCFL January 30, 2017

        Hmm…Louis XVI was king for life, right? Seems like his governing style got in his way…

        1. Independent1 January 30, 2017

          The HuffPost seems to think impeachment is imminent:

          The Inevitability Of Impeachment

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-inevitability-of-impeachment_us_588e8d52e4b0b065cbbcd09f

        2. dbtheonly January 30, 2017

          I had thought of illness, my personal bet. I’d thought of impeachment. I’d even thought of 25th Amendment disqualification.

          Hadn’t thought of a guillotine as a way to end the Trump Administration.

          1. johninPCFL January 30, 2017

            Careful…in TrumpsGreatAmerica that’ll get you arrested…

      3. Independent1 January 30, 2017

        Le’s hope the HuffPost is right about this one:

        The Inevitability Of Impeachment (of Donald Trump)

        Trump has been trying to govern by impulse, on whim, for personal
        retribution, for profit, by decree ― as if he had been elected dictator.
        It doesn’t work, and the wheels are coming off the bus. After a week!

        Impeachment is gaining ground because it is the only way to get him out, and because Republicans are already deserting this president in droves, and because the man is psychiatrically incapable of checking whether something is legal before he does it.

        Impeachment is gaining ground because it’s so horribly clear that Trump is unfit for office. The grownups around Trump, even the most slavishly loyal ones, spend half their time trying to rein him in, but it can’t be done.

        They spend the other half fielding frantic calls from Republican chieftains, business elites and foreign leaders. Trump did what? Poor Reince Priebus has finally attained the pinnacle of power, and it can’t be fun.

        It is one thing to live in your own reality when you are a candidate and it’s just words. You can fool enough of the people enough of the time maybe even to get elected. But when you try to govern that way, there is a reality to reality—and reality pushes back.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-inevitability-of-impeachment_us_588e8d52e4b0b065cbbcd09f

  3. ivory69690@yahoo.com January 30, 2017

    hard not to help DONNY DUMP ?? he needs all the help he can get (and mostly just from MEDS ) he has a deranged mental disorder period !! Jihadist groups hail Trump’s travel ban as a victory//as for the DUMPSTER weakening the fight against terror that could be a big yes . and at the same time he is adding more power to the terrorist . this is just what the terrorist need to recruit more people . the scary thing is he might be bring out so much hate from people for him that thy might do terrorist acts (and never done them before ) just for the hate thy have for the clown car driver . I do believe he will be doing a lot more harm then good while he is in the house . and he dose want the world’s record for a bankrupt . he is going for the USA bankrupt with the saying behind it I LOVE DEBT //and with DONNY DUMP the clown is only adding fuel to the fire giving these Jihadist groups more ammo to tell the Muslim’s all over the world (more so in the USA ) that it’s the president and all of America that hates the Muslim faith . any of that faith to believe Jihadist Islam bull will only make ones act on it . sad part is even only a few can bring the terror on the country . one that believes and acts on it is too many.

    Reply
  4. Eleanore Whitaker January 30, 2017

    Remember you read it here. Trump is a micro control freak. He tweeted yesterday that he and Putin discussed “stopping cyber attacks.” (Translation? “Hey Putzy, how else can I control Americans and the rest of the world for you?” Putzy says…Takeover the computer systems.” This from the guy who used Russian hackers.

    Dollar to a donut, his next executive order will be sanctions on the use of US computer systems and monitoring who is using social media he knows is his worst enemy.

    Think about this. If he and Putin work together to put our computer systems under their control, the ramifications are that they can hack into any system in the country they want, free to use that information against all of us. This is the EXACT thing the moron’s mentor, Roy Cohn, did during the McCarthy hearings…got hold of classified information with the excuse he needed it for the Communist investigations. He made as much an ass of himself as Trump is doing. Cohn managed to “get even” by labeling Lucille Ball a communist because she married a foreigner. Then, there was Cary Grant, an official from AT&T…and the list went on and on until two of Cohn’s victims committed suicide because they couldn’t stand anymore of him twisting facts and truth the same way Gowdy did to Hillary.

    Trump’s next executive order will give him world power no other president would dare to attempt. He is already flouting the rulings on immigration 2 federal judges are stating are “unconstitutional.” Pence is behind this religious BS. It has all the hick fundamentalist hatred for all other religion except their own Tent Revivalist religion. Too bad Trump’s only religion is Trump.

    Worse, he is already overriding the Republican Party whom he knows is not too pleased with his autonomy in making decisions without their input. They got what they rigged the election for.

    Isn’t it funny? They do the evil nasty work and now it boomeranged in their faces?

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly January 30, 2017

      Ms. E, perhaps you missed it. He’s floated the idea of getting the Facebook information on those applying for visas or immigration.

      Please forgive the vagueness. It was a passing story and I was otherwise distracted.

      But monitoring online postings. Getting there.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 30, 2017

        Yes..I actually did hear that yesterday and like you, I was distracted. Until I read his last tweet about his conversation with Putin. Why is he allowed ANY conversation with a man who authorized the hacking into our election system?

        In my fondest dream, I am running the wheels of my car over Trump’s head over and over and over until he resembles a pancake.

        I have never hated anyone in my life. Now, this lunatic has managed to inspire a kind of anger and hatred that frightens me.

        He tweeted that those 2 judges who ruled his deportation and immigration policies “unconstitutional” won’t stop him. Now, his idea is to plant another “Scalia” type judge he hopes will take over the court for him and rule everything he does, constitutional or not, legal.

        And he isn’t crazy?

        1. Dan S January 30, 2017

          I’d be more subtle and get him tickets to the Ford Theater. I’d even get him the same seat President Lincoln was sitting in on that fateful evening ????

  5. Zengo January 30, 2017

    Except the Tea Party wasn’t really a populist grass-roots movement…

    Reply
    1. johninPCFL January 30, 2017

      Correct – after a few initial protests, it was taken over, orchestrated, and led by Alinski-admirer Dick Armey.

      1. Zengo January 30, 2017

        What really bugs me is the willingness of people to adopt the popular, untrue, narrative. Remember that bullsh!t Tea Party express, Sarah Palin road tour? And how there were like 3 different versions of the Tea Party, all jockeying for power? Its like the competition for HD specification a few years back – nobody really cares to know the details now that HD tv’s have standardized and are in all of our homes.

  6. 1standlastword January 30, 2017

    I’m a firm believer that evil is never completely eradicated but it always seeks its own end!

    Trumps fate has been revealed in the words from his own mouth but due to his chronic mental illness his diseased mind fails to comprehend that his pledge to return the government to the People will happen when the People soundly REJECT HIM!

    Now doesn’t that seem to be happening–

    Reply
  7. leonardo311 January 30, 2017

    Want to stop helping (empowering) him STOP using his name I count 24 times you used his name in the above article. The man is vain, hit him hardest were it can hurt him the most, his vanity. If everyone in the “dishonest media” fought back against this vain egomaniac in this fashion he eventually implode. Imagine if you will, going 24 hours with out picking up a newspaper or turning on the TV and not seeing (or hearing) his name and his picture . . . then extend this until he finally does something so repaginate that even the Republicans can no longer ignore.

    Reply

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