His knows his supporters want to be lied to and he loves giving them what they want
Here’s one lesson of 2016 that we can’t ignore: Just because you see through Donald Trump’s bullshit, you can’t assume it isn’t working.
Trump isn’t meant for you. In fact, you should just assume that the more upset he is making you, the more persuasive he is to his base. And his base may be enough for him to keep a House of Representatives gerrymandered for Republican pleasure. More than $400 million from the Koch network won’t hurt either.
To you, the memo the House Republicans press released on Friday changes nothing. If anything it vindicates that the Russian investigation started well before the FISA warrant issued a warrant in someone who had left the Trump campaign weeks before the election — something the FBI chose to keep us in the dark about as it revealed that it was looking into Hillary Clinton, again.
Republicans are stuck casting doubt on a FISA process that they just voted overwhelmingly to continue because it merely said Christopher Steele was working for a political party but didn’t name which one.
Nothing changes the key elements of our current crisis:
1. Russia interfered in our elections.
2. Trump campaign embraced that interference and, at least, implied it would reciprocate it.
3. Trump refuses to call out Russia’s interference or do anything to prevent its continued efforts to interfere in out elections. Instead, he’s rewarding Russia, most namely by refusing to enforce sanctions.
And nothing has changed the obvious reality is that Trump’s Saturday Night Massacre has already started. But it’s happening on weekdays because weekends are for collecting bribes.
You see that and more importantly, it seems the special counsel’s office see that. But just because the GOP’s whole argument here makes no sense, you shouldn’t assume it isn’t working:
In her excellent essay “Donald Trump, #MeToo, Facebook, And The Breakdown Of Institutional Power,” Buzzfeed’s Katherine Miller makes a point that’s too often ignored:
Donald Trump has an unusual kind of power: He reveals weakness.
Trump now has Democrats defending the FBI and Jim Comey, the one person who could be said to have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, while Republicans are raving about Obama, FBI and Jim Comey “fixing” an election that TRUMP WON.
Trump has a unique shamelessness. This makes him seem new and dangerous. But everything he’s doing — from scapegoating minorities to destroying faith in elections to make it harder to vote has been standard conservative skullduggery for generations.
What’s new is that Trump realized that a party made of up millions of people who “believe” Barack Obama faked his own birth don’t just tolerate lies. They love them. They want to be lied to. They want to believe six impossible things about their opponents before breakfast.
Okay, that isn’t exactly a new insight either — given the fringe industry to popped up around selling lies about Clinton in the 90s that became the basis for the Clinton impeachment. But Trump is “better” at it than Republicans of the past were because he’s willing to bring into the Oval Office. He realizes that smearing his opponents may hurt his image but his unfavorability is already pretty much set in concrete.
“When it comes to unfavorability, you don’t need to outrun the bear,” the Dilbert guy said. “You only need to outrun your camping buddy.”
Trump “won” with less of a share of the vote than Mitt Romney got when he was crushed by Obama in 2012. And now he’s effectively co-opted the entire Republican Party into a conspiracy to obstruct justice. And the disgust he generates in you is registered in many Americans as disgust for the process.
Trump’s power depends on his ability to get voters to stay home while keeping his opponents fragmented against him. And these just happen to be the exact things Russia wants, too.
You see that. But you may not see how effectively Trump is tarring the rule of law, opening up the FBI to become his Death Star of oppression as his base — which hates government when it doesn’t run it — cheers.
And he’s winning because he’s full-court press of corruption and incompetence from his blitzkrieg against consumer protections to his assault on our well being by hollowing out the CDC and public health happens almost entirely in the shadows, with almost zero oversight from Congress.
We can never forget what saved us from the criminality of Richard Nixon — a Democratic Congress.
If Trump keeps the House of Representatives in November, which is a real possibility, he will argue — possibly successfully — that it’s a vindication of his attacks. If any independent investigation of him still exists, it will be shuddered immediately.
To paraphrase William Gibson: Authoritarianism is here, it’s just not evenly distributed. The tactics ICE is taking to silence activists will only become more widespread if Trump keeps effectively mobilizing his base.
They got away with the nonsense Clinton impeachment, the Iraq War, the Great Recession… And we should never assume that they won’t get away with this.
So what should you do about it?
Mostly, we have to keep showing up at the polls and supporting our candidates any way we can. I don’t know for sure. No one has beaten Donald Trump yet. He’s a man who finds a way to profit off of bankrupting others.
But I do believe that if you’re talking about about what he wants to talk about, you’re helping him. We need to get out of the practice of repeating or retweeting him. Instead, our job is to reveal the damage he’s doing and explain how we fix it and American democracy so a Trump can never happen again.
[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]