Friday, August 17, 2018

A Delusional Trump Wants The Midterms To Be All About Him-- Democrats Can't Believe Their Luck


Yesterday, a delusional Señor Trumpanzee gave Peter Nicholas of Wall Street Journal an impromptu 20 minute interview in the Oval office and told him that he expects Republicans to do "great" in the midterms and that he’ll be a difference-maker this fall by campaigning for candidates. "As long as I can get out and campaign, I think they’re going to win, I really do. It’s a lot of work for me. I have to make 50 stops, it’s a lot. So, there aren’t a lot of people that can do that, physically. Fortunately, I have no problem with that."

When Nicholas asked him if his campaign appearances might also mobilize Democratic voters, Señor T said: "It may. But it energizes my people much more than it energizes them. I think the Democrats give up when I turn out. If you want to know the truth, I don’t think it energizes them. I think it de-energizes them. I think they give up when I turn out." Completely delusional. GOP participation has been sagging and Democratic participation is sky-high. Look at what happened in Wisconsin and Minnesota Tuesday, two states Trump visited. Both statewide and in every single contested congressional district, more Democrats and pro-Democrat independents voted than Republicans and pro-Republican independents. (Same happened in Connecticut and Vermont, where Trump didn't do an rallies recently-- but they have TV up there.) Trump wants the elections to be all about him? So do the Democrats.

Earlier this week, Alex Wagner did perceptive piece for Politico on the Church of Trumpanzee. The Trump fans-- or as he puts it, "his devotees" (as well as Trump himself) "find the relief of belonging," a relief for those with small, ugly, empty lives. "As Americans have left organized religion," wrote Peter Beinart in April 2017, "they haven’t stopped viewing politics as a struggle between 'us' and 'them.' Many have come to define us and them in even more primal and irreconcilable ways.
This tribalism has infected both the right and the left-- but in particular, Beinart cited the work of W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who has concluded that “rates of religious attendance have fallen more than twice as much among whites without a college degree as among those who graduated college.”

Non-college-educated whites are the Trump base, now set adrift:
Establishing causation is difficult, but we know that culturally conservative white Americans who are disengaged from church experience less economic success and more family breakdown than those who remain connected, and they grow more pessimistic and resentful.
You could draw a straight line from a disenfranchised, pessimistic, resentful audience to Trump’s brand of fear-driven, divisive politics, but this would leave out an equally important part of the Trump phenomenon, and something critical to its success: the elation. Go to a Trump rally, speak to Trump supporters, and the devotion is nearly evangelical. Their party line is less a talking point than a sermon: His voters have talked to me about the “bad deal” with Iran, the “drug mules” crossing the border, the Mueller “witch hunt.” The language is uniform, as they quote chapter and verse. Here are the true believers: It is no surprise that Trump’s numbers won’t move.

In his research, Wilcox noted the particular isolation of the white working class in the institutional church:
Moderately educated Americans may feel less attracted to churches that uphold the bourgeois virtues-- delayed gratification, a focus on education, self-control, etc.-- that undergird this lifestyle. As importantly, working class whites may also feel uncomfortable socializing with the middle and upper class whites who have increasingly come to dominate the life of religious congregations in the U.S. since the 1970s, especially as they see their own economic fortunes fall.

The declining economic position of white working class Americans may have made the bourgeois moral logic embodied in many churches both less attractive and attainable.
Trumpism proposes a system of worship formed in direct opposition to bourgeois moral logic, with values that are anti-intellectual and anti–politically correct. If mainline Protestantism is a bastion of the educated, upper-middle class, the Church of Trump is a gathering place for its castoffs. Trump’s rhetoric about the “silent majority” is indeed a racial dog whistle, but it is also a call to his supporters to unmask themselves. He offers a public embrace of a worldview that has been, at least until this point, a mark of shame. There is belonging in this-- but there is also relief.

That part of the Trump phenomenon remains mostly unnoticed, except by those who have witnessed it firsthand. Reporting from a rally in South Carolina in 2015, Molly Ball observed:
Despite all the negativity and fear, the energy in this room does not feel dark and aggressive and threatening. It doesn’t feel like a powder keg about to blow, a lynch mob about to rampage. It feels joyous.

“There is so much love in every room I go to,” Trump says, near the end of nearly an hour and a half of free-associative bombast, silly and sometimes offensive impressions, and insane pronouncements. “We want our country to be great again, and we know it can be done!”
At a rally in South Bend, Indiana, that I attended earlier this year, there were offensive T-shirts (hillary sucks … but not like monica) and angry chants, but there were also goofy costumes and free sandwiches. There was name calling, but there were also group selfies.

I spoke to Wilcox about this aspect of Trumpism-- the strange joy inherent in the shouts of self-designated “deplorable” status-- and whether that might signal a substitute for the rapture of the church. “The Trump rallies have collective effervescence,” Wilcox said. “Émile Durkheim wrote about the power of collective effervescence-- of engaging in common rituals that give them meaning and power and strength. And those things can be wonderful, or they can be dangerous.”

Durkheim’s theory-- that a gathering of the tribe can create a certain energy that renders particular people or objects sacred-- goes a long way toward explaining Trump’s infallibility among his supporters. But it also brings to the fore something that Trump critics have missed so far when focusing on his (not insignificant) negatives: Trumpism, like many forms of non-secular worship, makes its believers feel good.

“Among the poor and the working class,” Wilcox told me,“when it comes to both marriage and religion, there has been a real erosion. And that has hit them harder than the upper classes.”

He continued: “These two important sources of solidarity and meaning are now much less a part of working-class American’s lives-- and leaves them that much more disenchanted and disenfranchised.”

If Trumpism is endowing certain Americans with a sense of solidarity and support that were once found in institutions like the church (or marriage), the implications for the Republican Party-- to say nothing of American society writ large-- are consequential. At its core, the Church of Trump is irreconcilable with a society that values equal protection, free speech, and the separation of powers. And yet strident efforts to convince the faithful of a prophet’s fallacy may backfire, producing redoubled faith. To deconstruct the complicated and visceral relationship between Trump and his supporters, those on the outside must begin to grapple with the oddness of the proposition itself: Trump, in all his baseness, offers his believers something that is, strangely, spiritually elevated.
The latest national poll, released by CNN Wednesday, tried to get at what are the main factors that will determine people's votes in November. The top issue was, again, healthcare, which is very bad news for vulnerable Republicans-- like Bruce Poliquin-- who voted to take away healthcare from people. But the metric that caught my eye was the relative importance between Trump and Pelosi was factors. Short answer: Trump is a HUGE factor; Pelosi isn't (despite clownish and consistent GOP efforts to make her an effort). Trump is a gigantic albatross around the necks of every Republican candidate. It's why Ted Lieu has been tweeting challenges to Trump like this: "I sincerely hope Trump shows up in California to campaign for Republican congressional candidates here. The DCCC is going to spend a lot of money tying Trump to these candidates, and this would make the job that much easier. I would gladly pay the permit fee for Trump to show up in California to do one of his toxic rallies. It would be super awesome for Democrats if Californians can see Trump unleashed." and this: "I would pay the permit fees for Donald Trump to come to California and do one of his toxic rallies. Can't wait for him to explain how the GOP tax scam increases taxes on millions of Californians; the random Trump tariffs hurt Californian farmers: and the rollbacks to environmental laws hurt our air and water. Trump's presence in California would help all Democratic candidates."

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At 5:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trumpism is the newest delusional religion for stupid racist crackers. That's the conclusion here.

To which I must say... DUH!!!

Show of hands: how many of you already knew instinctively that profoundly stupid, virulently racist white crackers who were adrift now cleave to that which gives them community?

Gawd humans are fucking morons!

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

When Nicholas asked him if his campaign appearances might also mobilize Democratic voters, Señor T said: "It may. But it energizes my people much more than it energizes them. I think the Democrats give up when I turn out. If you want to know the truth, I don’t think it energizes them. I think it de-energizes them. I think they give up when I turn out."

He's setting the stage for an epic battle between truthiness and the 'liberal bias of the reality based world.'

At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can add is a former coworker who is a hard-core Republican and lives in Yorba Linda near the Nixon Library. He has no use for Trump, and doesn't hold back when he's got something to say about the latest Trump outrage. Trump wouldn't enjoy it very much.

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... to explain a political rally as a celebration of peoples belief systems is basically explaining the obvious. Is a Trump rally any different than an Obama rally or a Kennedy rally? Politicians are defined by their ability to make people feel good about visions of solidarity. Bernie does the same thing. Hillary lacked this ability and the DCCC is too confused to understand the utility of this.

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of wonder why no mention of having to pay trump audiences to fill a small venue.

Bernie, AOC, Warren can fill much larger venues without paying idiots to show up. Trump holds a lot of his in quite small venues and often with paid or captive audiences (like military bases).

The DCCC does not understand anything except what their donors tell them. If 2016 told us anything (those of us who are listening, that is), it is that they'd gleefully lose big elections rather than have someone win that the money cannot abide.

The money MAY tolerate a controlled anti-red wave because trump is such a shit show. But that does NOT mean they'll tolerate any lasting AOC insurgency. The DCCC understands THAT! Voters don't understand any of this.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the midterms ARE all about trump. The only Nazi voters who are going to reliably show up are the ones most animated by ignorance and hate. The ones whose single issue is greed are not nearly as animated this cycle.

Also, the voters on the left are highly motivated to elect democraps because of their delusion that the 'craps are going to do anything at all to impede more and worse trumpism. That's not how the 'craps roll... proven by history. But facts, data and history don't matter when you have the religious faith that 'crap voters have.

So... this anti-red is really anti-trump... and that makes it all about trump. he has what he dreams about.


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