Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Have We Ever Been Forced To Pick Between Two Senile Old Men Before?


Oklahoma City isn't quite as red as the rest of the state. But the state is really red. The state PVI is R+20. Only one state, Wyoming, is worse. Every statewide position is filled by a hard-right Republican and 6 of the 7 members of the state's congressional delegation are Republicans and the 7th, freshman Blue Dog Kendra Horn is as right-wing as a typical Republican on most issues and will probably lose her seat in November if she survives a primary. The state's Senate consists of 9 Democrats and 39 Republicans while the House has 76 Republicans and 25 Democrats. The last time the state elected a freshman Democrat was in 1978 and in 2016 Trump beat Hillary 65.32% to 28.93%. Only Wyoming (21.63%), West Virginia (26.43%), North Dakota (27.23%) Utah (27.46) and Idaho (27.49) gave Hillary smaller proportions of their votes. So Trump felt the state would be a safe bet for a campaign kickoff. But, as you know by now, he left Tulsa Saturday night crestfallen and furious at his staff for the tiny turnout-- just 6,100 people in the 20,000 seat stadium. Within hours the Lincoln Project had an ad out laughing at his ideas of "big."

Monday morning by dawn he was up and tweeting out his desperation-- and his defining strategic penchant for projection. According to Wikipedia "Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target. It incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping... [and] is more commonly found in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder." There is no photo of Trump next to the definition, but there certainly could be.

Two years ago Psychology Today dubbed him The Projector In Chief. "Too often," wrote Dr. Paul Siegel, "Trump sounds like he is turning things inside (of him) out, engaging in the unconscious defense mechanism that Freud called projection: the attribution of one’s own forbidden-- and typically malevolent-- motives, impulses, or emotions to others. When people project, what is true about oneself instead becomes true of others. As with other defense mechanisms, people are unaware that they are projecting aspects of themselves in the moment in which they do it."
Compulsive projections pave the road to unconscious guilt. The cut-throat businessman who believes that everyone is trying to cheat him is found guilty of illegal business practices. A religious leader becomes famous preaching about the immorality of homosexuality, only to be found cavorting with male prostitutes. A prosecutor builds a career convincing juries to send sexual abusers to jail-- until we discover that he is sexually abusive himself.

If Trump’s tweets are projections, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s guilty of colluding with the Russian government-- only that he’s guilty of acts that involve Russia in some way (e.g., financial crimes, sexual improprieties, even treason).  It also means that behind his fury about the Mueller investigation, it’s his knowledge of his own guilt that is actually keeping him up tweeting at night. Each keystroke is directed at himself as much as at his followers on Twitter.

...Psychologists regard projection as a maladaptive defense mechanism. Whereas more adaptive defense mechanisms distort only what a person believes about himself, projection distorts external reality, so people who do it run the risk of reality eventually catching up with them. The only way to prevent this from happening is to convince enough people that their projection is real. That may be what Trump is trying to do... to keep distressing truths about himself at bay.
One would be nuts to read Trump tweeting that "foreign countries and others" will print mail-in ballots and not suspect that Trump is planning to do exactly that. In fact, his top henchman/hatchetman, Bill Barr, a Fox News Sunday guest this week said "A foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots. [It would) be very hard for us to detect which was the right and which was the wrong ballot. So, I think it can-- it can upset and undercut the confidence in the integrity of our elections. If anything, we should tighten them up right now."

Politico writer David Siders wrote how Trump has started his trench warfare reelection campaign. Trench warfare is a good description... but "a war of projection" would be too. "In Tulsa and in the days beforehand," wrote Siders, "Trump and his allies signaled the beginning of a scorched earth campaign. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. has posted memes portraying Biden-- baselessly-- as a pedophile. [Trump is.] Trump’s campaign released an ad on Friday depicting Biden as aged and confused [as is Trump], calling him “clearly diminished” [as is Trump] and lacking “mental fortitude.” [as does Trump]. On Saturday, he continued to suggest without evidence that Biden has health issues [as does Trump], saying ‘There’s something wrong with Biden” [as is clearly the case with Trump]. The no-boundaries approach is in keeping with Trump’s smashmouth style. Yet it’s also a necessity for an unpopular president facing an electoral landscape that’s tilted against him. Amid a pandemic that has ravaged the economy and killed about [more than] 120,000 Americans, Trump has fallen behind Biden by nearly 9 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics national polling average, and he lags behind the presumptive Democratic nominee in most swing states. The electoral map has become so treacherous for Trump that his campaign is spending on advertising in states that once appeared safely in his camp, such as Iowa and Ohio."
Trump’s advisers have long believed he could recover if he could drag Biden’s favorability ratings down. Confronting an opponent who is viewed more favorably than Hillary Clinton was in 2016, Trump is laboring not only to depict Biden as mentally unfit-- but as an addled tool of the Democratic Party’s most extreme fringe.

The effort to yoke a centrist Democrat to an “unhinged left” was road-tested in Oklahoma, where Trump mocked Biden as “a helpless puppet of the radical left.” Among the lessons of Tulsa, which will inform countless rallies in the months ahead, was that invoking lightning rod progressives such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez draws a more fervent response than criticizing Biden in isolation-- and that linking Biden to that wing of the party is Trump’s lodestar.

“He believes that he has to push Biden to the left, and I think that's correct strategically,” Frank Luntz, the veteran Republican consultant and pollster, said in an email. “If Biden is seen as a centrist, he'll have an advantage among swing voters who don't want to support an extremist. But if he's seen as left-wing ideologically or overtly partisan, swing voters will have a problem with him.”

Luckily for the inept and ineffective Democrats, they won't need to paint Trump as an extremist. He does that himself, And most voters-- by a very large and growing margin-- see him as dishonest and untrustworthy. "[T]here is disagreement among Democrats," continued Siders, "about how frequently Biden should appear in public, given both public health officials’ concerns about crowds during a pandemic-- and Trump’s penchant for self-inflicted wounds." And Biden's senility and penchant for shitting his pants in public-- so far just figuratively-- is something his team is petrified of. He's merely a figurehead for The Democrats and a placeholder for whatever comes next. Still... not as bad as Trump.
“Every day that’s not about Joe Biden is a day that Joe Biden wins,” said Pete Giangreco, a Democratic strategist who has worked on nine presidential campaigns. “That’s my view. Because if this thing’s a referendum on Trump, he’s going to lose.”

But Republicans-- and Trump himself-- will continue to goad him to draw him out. Trump’s campaign has been taunting Biden to make more public appearances, a strategy Republicans view as a win-win. If Biden begins to appear in less controlled settings, they are hopeful the events will produce narrative-changing gaffes. If he refuses, they can portray him as fragile and afraid.

“Finally, he’s getting out of his pajamas and getting into his suits and starting talking,” said Bob Jack, chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party. “I want Joe talking. I think that’s great. He can’t string five words together.”

In response to Trump’s taunts about Biden’s vigor, Andrew Bates, a Biden spokesman, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that “Trump just triumphantly announced on national TV that during a pandemic he's atrociously mismanaged, he ordered federal officials to slow testing to improve his personal optics at the expense of lives. So yes, let's please talk about mental acuity.”

What Campaign? by Nancy Ohanian

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At 5:44 AM, Blogger StoicJim said...

I'm not voting FOR Biden, I'm voting AGAINST Trump. I tell people I'm choosing the looters over the arsonists this election cycle but will be working against the looters thereafter. But, after more than a year pointing out how terrible a candidate/human being Biden is, I will not hold it against anyone if they choose to do otherwise...unless they vote for Trump, then fuck them.

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you still say that when President Kamala Harris or President Val Demmings allow the Wall St looters to take your home and throw you out into the streets?


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