How Should We View Trump’s Tweetstorms?

President Trump has been tweeting up a storm since Sunday, raising a question. Should we view his Tweets as the rantings of a cranky old man, or as something more serious?

Hardly a day goes by when President Trump’s Twitter feed doesn’t end up driving the news cycle for some reason or another. In many cases, the Tweeter In Chief gets attention because he’s lashing out whatever perceived enemy he may see out there, which can be anything from the news media, meaning anything other than Fox News Channel, the Mueller investigation, celebrities who criticize him, or reporters and pundits who report “Fake News,” which Trump has recently made clear means anything negative about him whether it’s true or not. Other times, he uses it to lavish praise, usually on himself but also on supporters such as Sean Hannity and other Fox News talking heads who spend their airtime obsequiously praising the President and pushing the agenda of the White House. Sometimes, such as in the case of last summer’s announcement regarding the effort to change policy regarding transgender members of the military, it has been used to make policy announcements even before the White House staff or the relevant Federal Government agencies are even aware that policy would be changing. More often than not, though, he’d use his Twitter feed in such a way that it steps all over whatever message the White House Communications Office was hoping would dominate the news coverage in a given week. The most famous example of this, of course, is the fact that the White House has declared a so-called “Infrastructure Week” that would concentrate on the Administration’s long-anticipated but still not delivered infrastructure program only to see that effort derailed by something the President said on Twitter.

It’s hard to deny the influence that the President can have just by tweeting something. For one thing, the White House has said repeatedly that what the President tweets represents official Administration policy, so it would be irresponsible for the media to ignore what the President is saying. For another, these tweets arguably provide us with a glimpse into the mind of the President of the United States in a way we’ve never had before. In Trump’s case, of course, that glimpse is a rather terrifying one since his tweets paint the picture of a vain, narcissistic, xenophobe who is obsessed with his attacking those who are critical of him and who displays a level of paranoia unseen since the days of Richard Nixon. It also shows us the extent to which his thinking is motivated primarily by whatever he happens to see on television. For example, much of Trump’s regular morning tweeting can be correlated with things that are covered on Fox & Friends, which is apparently is morning viewing of choice although he does sometimes go on Twitter rants that correlate to things that are said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe or CNN’s New Day. 

At FiveThirtyEight, though, Percy Bacon Jr. and Dhrumil Mehta note that very few voters actually read the President’s tweets:

President Trump’s tweets often dominate news coverage, particularly on cable news. But let’s be honest: We here at FiveThirtyEight have occasionally written about them too. What is more, well, newsworthy than the words of the chief executive of one of the world’s most powerful nations? And since politicians are known for boring, repetitive, long-winded speeches, what could be a better political platform than one that literally forbids using more than 280 characters at a time? Twitter seems good for Trump, too: As his allies often say, it gives the president a way to speak directly to the American electorate, getting around the media’s filter. Trump’s Twitter account is followed by 52 million people, not that far off from the nearly 63 million who voted for him in 2016.

But some data released this week should give Trump and his supporters pause about the power of his Twitter account in directly reaching American voters — and push the media to think carefully about its coverage of Trump’s tweets. Only 8 percent of U.S. adults say they follow Trump’s Twitter account (@realDonaldTrump), and only 4 percent say they follow his account and regularly read the president’s tweets, according to a new Gallup poll. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 250 million Americans are age 18 or older. So Trump’s Twitter followers, based on the Gallup data, are about 20 million Americans of voting age. And the real consumers of his tweets are about 10 million.

Twenty million people isn’t nothing. Neither is 10 million. It’s more people than read FiveThirtyEight most days or watch any of the network news programs. But it’s nowhere close to the 52 million followers Twitter says he has. And it’s a small share of the roughly 325 million people who live in the U.S. or even the more than 137 million people who voted in the 2016 presidential election.

(…)

Twitter estimates that it has more than 69 million total users in the U.S., but we know that many Twitter accounts, particularly those who follow celebrities like Trump, are bots or otherwise fake. Also, remember that people of all ages and people outside of the U.S. can use Twitter. So Trump’s 52 million followers surely include some American teenagers, as well as, say, Brazilian or Japanese citizens who care about his decisions. Third, Gallup’s estimate that 26 percent of American adults have Twitter accounts is fairly close to the results of a 2016 Pew Research Center poll that found 21 percent of U.S. adults were Twitter users.

This leads the authors to reach this conclusion:

The Gallup report makes me think that Trump’s tweets should be covered more — not less — carefully by the press. If Trump’s tweets were just appeals to his political base, one that we know is susceptible to believing falsehoods like the claim that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., that might argue that the tweets should be taken, well, seriously but not literally. If, on the other hand, these tweets are reaching a fairly small actual audience but are heavily influencing media coverage, that would suggest the actual messages in the tweets matter more. When I covered Obama as a White House reporter for The Washington Post, I was more interested in what he told small, elite audiences (Democratic congressional leaders, for example) than what he told crowds at rallies, as he was usually more candid and described his political strategy in more detail in the former settings.

It’s worth considering whether we think of Twitter as Trump’s megaphone and bully pulpit but it’s really his inside voice — Trump’s version of the off-record meetings with influential journalists that past presidents used to shape the views of other insiders.

It’s certainly true that the media ought to be more critical when it comes to reporting on the things that the President tweets about, especially when they clearly aren’t based on anything resembling reality. Just yesterday, for example, the President unloaded a tweetstorm regarding the Mueller investigation and the F.B.I. that contained at least 11 statements that were completely untrue. None of this is surprising, of course. This is a President who, as of earlier this month, had told more than 3,000 lies over the course of fewer than 450 days in office. Any journalist who takes what he says at face value isn’t doing their job, and any American who does is either willfully blind or simply ignorant. Of course, the reality is that for many people Trump’s dishonesty is already baked into their opinion about the man, and many of his supporters quite obviously don’t care about the fact that he lies as long as he continues to reinforce what they believe. Additionally, Trump’s continued attacks on so-called “Fake News,” which we now know to be anything negative about him Those attacks, though, play perfectly with the “media bias” argument that has been popular among conservatives for at least the past twenty years or so. This, of course, means that any effort to fact-check Trump is largely doomed since his supporters aren’t going to believe it anyway.

So, yes, we need to keep in mind that the actual audience for Trump’s tweets is rather limited, and that most people end up hearing about what he says on Twitter via the news coverage that it gets. At the same time, though, Trump is the President of the United States, and these tweets provide a unique, often horrifying, glimpse inside his mind. For that reason alone, they ought to be paid attention to and called out when, as they often do, they push ideas that are false or misleading, or when he uses that platform to launch attacks on individuals, on the media, or on the Justice Department and F.B.I. as he did on Sunday.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Media, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Should we view his Tweets as the rantings of a cranky old man, or as something more serious?

    Yes.




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  2. Gustopher says:

    The surprisingly impotent rage of a small, weak man who has ideas about how the world should be, the power to make some changes in the world, but no idea what changes will make the world the way he wants it? The incoherent rage of a frustrated man?

    Honestly, he sounds like one of those Incel freaks who can’t get women to like him and blames the women rather than his inherent ugliness inside. Except it isn’t women, it’s the entire world. And if he snaps he has nuclear weapons.




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  3. MBunge says:

    So…you can’t find ANYTHING to say about the most recent revelations regarding FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign but you can find time to post about this? I mean, you don’t have to agree with people like Andrew McCarthy and Glenn Greenwald about that stuff but to ignore it?

    If this place is only about soothing the collective butt hurt you and the peanut gallery still have over Trump winning the election, I suppose that’s fine. If you think you are actually contributing anything legitimately useful to the public discourse, you may want to reconsider that belief.

    Mike




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  4. MBunge says:

    @Gustopher: The surprisingly impotent rage of a small, weak man

    Who is exponentially more successful and significant than you in almost every material way Mankind has found it possible to measure.

    Mike




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  5. Todd says:

    Trump is a cranky old troll … who somehow got elected to the most powerful job in the world. His tweets are important, because of the office he holds. But we should never lose sight of the fact that the man behind those tweets is not much more than a typical fox “news” brainwashed ignoramus.

    How those tweets are covered by the media is kind of a catch-22. On the one hand, those who do not follow things closely probably do need to be aware of just how dangerous this situation is. But on the flip side, every time rational people (aka “libtards”) express their horror about the actions of the man in the White House, his supporters are giving each other high fives … because the main reason (even more so than any policies) many of them voted for Donald Trump was to “drive the liberals crazy” … and on that mission his presidency has so far been a resounding success.




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  6. Todd says:

    @MBunge: S

    o…you can’t find ANYTHING to say about the most recent revelations regarding FBI surveillance

    The FBI surveillance “scandal” is pretty much just like Benghazi, and Fast and Furious and the IRS “targeting” and all the other things conservatives got worked up about during the Obama administration. It’s easy to frame in such as way that those who have been thoroughly brainwashed for twenty years can’t imagine how anyone else can’t see what’s right in front of our eyes. But when examined by sane, rational people who understand the laws, the reality is that yet again, there’s almost certainly no “there” there.




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  7. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Very Vorlon of you 🙂




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  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Very Vorlon of you

    Kathy, you are just killing it in the “obscure but apt science fiction references” department.




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  9. MarkedMan says:

    OK Doug, did you and James have some kind of bet on how quickly you could get Pearce to respond? Because this post seems tailored to push every single one of his buttons…




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  10. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’ve got all the B5 DVDs on my shelf.

    On this topic, my favorite is:

    Kosh: They’re a dying people. We should let them pass.
    Sinclair: Who? The Narn or the Centauri?
    Kosh: Yes.




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  11. Kathy says:

    I don’t really “get” Twitter. As best as I can make out, it’s like a limited version of Facebook. I don’t even have it in my phones, just in my tablet. So until they became international news for some reason, the Orange Twit’s ravings there might as well not have existed as far as I’m concerned. And how I wish things had remained that way.




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  12. teve tory says:

    @Kathy: Nice.




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  13. de stijl says:

    I haven’t read Doug’s piece, or the comments yet. Just saw the headline…

    How Should We View Trump’s Tweetstorms?

    and my immediate response is that they are dispatches from the part of his id that he is comfortable with sharing with the world.

    And what he does share is shallow, self-serving (duh), venal, petty, and vindictive. His tweets really do illuminate his thought processes; and those thought processes are “How can I best elevate me right now and how can I best belittle my “enemies” right now. I’ll tweet that.”

    He thinks that this is 1987 and Twitter is his own personal hot-line to the Page Six editor, and he’ll get a positive write-up tomorrow. His psyche got damaged badly when he was dismissed and laughed at by the Manhattan gatekeepers back then, and that made him who he is.

    From him, the fact that his tweets are narcissistic and inordinately unhinged is normal and expected, but he also is our President – and for someone who is POTUS it is shocking and disconcerting. His candor is more than I want from a President. I prefer Presidents who are cool in temperament – less drama is good in my book.




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  14. Kathy says:

    BTW, has anyone heard Mark Hamill read a few of the Twit’s Tweets in the Joker’s voice?

    I swear I’d no idea I’d ever hear the Joker sound more insane than he did in the Batman animated series in the 90s.




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  15. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: Trump can’t even control himself. He’s a toddler in a old man’s body. And we’re supposed to be in awe of this man?

    What it boils down to is a bunch of obsequious courtiers hovering around Trump, terrified of his rages and hoping to get some gifts out of him.

    No wonder this place reminds me of the last days of the Spanish Habsburgs.




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  16. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Still haven’t read the OP or the comments…

    I just don’t want our President to conduct himself like he was in a Lil Tay / Bhad Barbie / Woah Vickie beef.




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  17. CSK says:

    The Boston Globe reported today that The Atlantic has developed an algorithm to determine which of Trump’s Tweets are actually written by him. Turns out a fair number are written by staff, who are careful to incorporate grammar and spelling errors so to sound authentic.

    The belief is that the fact that Trump is illiterate makes him relatable.”




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  18. CSK says:

    @MBunge:

    Mike, you have no idea how successful people here are or not.

    In any case, Trump is a crook who inherited a pile from his father, also a crook. Not everyone wants to be that.




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  19. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge:

    [Trump] is exponentially more successful and significant than you in almost every material way Mankind has found it possible to measure.

    He doesn’t seem like a happy man. Has anyone recorded him laughing? Actually laughing, and not at someone else’s expense?




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  20. de stijl says:

    BTW, Lil Tay is nine years old.

    Am I asking too much to want that our President should behave better than a nine year old child and the “Cash me outside” person about a manufactured beef about something that went down at Coachella?

    And now they’ve roped in Jake Paul and Swaggy Wolfdog.

    Swaggy Wolfdog is not a person, but an actual dog. He has millions of followers. He wears chic sunglasses in glam settings – that’s his thing.

    Our President is a social media influencer who manufactures beefs to inflate his followers and pagecounts.




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  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’ve been thinking about a rewatch. The first and only time was nearly 18 years ago when a coworker handed me VHS tapes recorded at low resolution off broadcast TV. I thought it was fairly interesting until I realized that two characters who had been presented as just shy of comic relief had tragic and interesting backstories. Then I was hooked.




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  22. Mikey says:

    @MBunge:

    in almost every material way

    “…in almost every material way…” Because that’s all that matters to you, apparently.

    It’s true–assuming Trump is reasonably truthful about his wealth, which is a big if, but accepting it for the sake of argument–Trump is materially more successful than I.

    But I’ll tell you what: I’d rather be stuck here in the upper middle class and be the person I am than be as wealthy as Trump if that meant also being the incredibly terrible person Trump is.




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  23. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Turns out a fair number are written by staff, who are careful to incorporate grammar and spelling errors so to sound authentic.

    That actually helps solve a mystery from a couple of weeks ago: a series of Trump tweets about the Stormy Daniels payment that seemed to be written in pure legalese, almost certainly indicating somebody else had written them: yet it contained the memorable line: “Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.”

    The belief is that the fact that Trump is illiterate makes him relatable.

    I don’t think it’s about making him relatable, I think it’s just a lame attempt to cover up the fact that they were ghostwritten.




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  24. Scott says:

    @Kathy: Made me laugh. Just so happens I streamed the entire series this winter again. B5 has held up remarkably well.




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  25. teve tory says:

    It baffles me that anyone looks at trump and thinks Success. When I think monetary success, I think of Warren Buffett starting with 100k and winding up with nearly a million times that. Or Jeff Bezos getting 300k from his family (and, to be fair, having wall street connections) and winding up with $100 billion. Or James Simons who started from modest means, became a math professor, started one of the earliest and most successful ever quant funds, and takes home a billion a year.

    I don’t think of a narcissistic liar, who is well-documented to’ve lied about his wealth, who inherited ~$250 million and a fully-formed cash-flow producing business from his racist crook dad, declared bankruptcy 6 times, lies about being worth $10 billion, and hides his tax returns from everyone. Trump bankrupted casinos FFS. How do you even do that?

    And that’s if we only look at money. As a human being it’s hard to think of a bigger failure than Trump.




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  26. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Oh, you should re-watch. I hear it will be on Amazon Prime Video (or whatever it’s called) soon. I got all five DVDs plus the additional movies(*) for a very low price about two-three years ago (from Amazon, natch).

    I thought the story holds up rather well, even if the Sinclair character seems a bit more like wasted development on the second go round (spoiler alert!). The visuals don’t hold up nearly as well, but consider it was pioneering work in CGI and better than anything else on TV at that time.

    (*) The movies include the prequel “In The Beginning,” the reworked pilot “The Gathering” with the spoiler in Leta’s big scene with Kosh in med-lab, the Crusade set up movie, and the take-it-or-leave-it “River of Souls” and “Thirdspace.” it does not include “Legend of the Rangers”

    IMO, the prequel is good enough, and it’s worth watching if nothing else for Londo’s line “Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package! How efficient of you.”

    Bonus joke (my own): Sign at the Vorlon Tourist Office: “We Have Never Been Here.”




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  27. teve tory says:

    When it came out that Trump often refused to pay small businesses because they wouldn’t have the money to sue him for it, then if they did, he’d offer them pennies on the dollar to settle bc legal fees, he should have been ineligible for the presidency right then and there, and that was Before 99% of his garbage came out.

    But it doesn’t matter to his Deplorables.




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  28. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    One of the staff members cited said that, about Trump being “relatable” because he’s not a master of grammatical English. It’s not my speculation. And I believe it. Remember Sarah Palin? Her cult members loved her word salad because it made her a”real” person who spoke just like them.




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  29. teve tory says:

    I thought the story holds up rather well, even if the Sinclair character seems a bit more like wasted development on the second go round (spoiler alert!).

    You probably know this, but the actor who played Sinclair started having some kind of delusional schizophrenia during season 1, and by season 2 was basically permanently disabled with serious mental illness. They had to really rework that show like crazy to deal with that.




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  30. reid says:

    @Mikey: Amen. I was thinking of a similar reply myself. To some, money is the only measure of a man, or it forgives all other sins. Sad.




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  31. Scott says:

    @Kathy: You can stream it for free on go90.com, a streaming service owned by Verizon. Specializes in 90s TV shows. And if you’re really geeky, go to midwinter.com for recaps and analysis of every episode.




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  32. An Interested Party says:

    Who is exponentially more successful and significant than you in almost every material way Mankind has found it possible to measure.

    Wow…that’s incredibly pathetic…you really must have a nasty case of lockjaw at this point…




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  33. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    There oughta be a law: no one who ever goes bankrupt RUNNING a casino is ever allowed to call themselves a successful businessman, ever again.

    And someone who drives multiple casinos to bankruptcy should be prohibited from owning a business period, because they are obviously a moron.

    The concept that Trump is a successful businessman is the biggest con of them all.




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  34. Kathy says:

    @teve tory:

    I was aware of Michael O’Hare’s problems. He also passed away recently.

    A lot of actors on that show died rather young. Richard Biggs, Jerry Doyle, Andreas Katsulas, and Jeff Conaway.

    Straczynski claimed he had a trap-door for all characters. If that be so, he began to do it after O’Hare left the show.




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  35. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    midwinter.com was the geeky thing to do in the 90s. Today you find a re-watch podcast and follow along 🙂

    Trivia: the domain for the site of the Lurker’s Guide, now midwinter.com, used to be hyperion.com. An Earth warship in Season 1 was named Hyperion in a nod to the fans who run the site.




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  36. Kathy says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    I know a bit about casino economics, from friends who develop casino games, and/or watch the industry (I travel to Vegas often). There is a great deal of overhead and expenses, especially in Vegas and Atlantic City casinos which are part of large, elaborate, sometimes luxurious, hotels.

    Vegas pretty much has consolidated in two big groups, Caesars Entertainment, and MGM. There are a few other players, but they remain small(ish) and troubled for various reasons. One reason is the high cost of building a new hotel, together with restaurants, clubs, shopping space, etc. (attractions seem to be out of favor now). The Great recession also hit casinos pretty hard.

    But bankrupting several casinos in a market like Atlantic City, which gets plenty of traffic from nearby areas (before casinos sprouted in every other state, BTW), does take a special kind of stupid.




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  37. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    He doesn’t seem like a happy man.

    I noticed that when he pulled out of the JCPOA. I expected him to be grinning like a moron who has no idea how stupid he is. Instead, as he presented his signature to the cameras, he looked both pissed and constipated. As if he’d rather be anywhere else, not like a man presenting a “win” to his fan base.

    Damn, I’ve been posting a lot on this thread….




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  38. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    I’ll bet you $1000 that my net worth is higher than Trump’s.

    Assets minus debts? Yeah, I strongly suspect that I – a midlist kid’s book writer plus my wife, a more literary kid’s book writer – are more in the black than Trump is. In fact, I think he’s got a negative net worth. All you have to do to collect, Mike, is get your Living Godhead to release his tax returns and financials. See, banks don’t refuse to lend me money, like they do Trump. I have an excellent credit score, and Trump? He’s poison to banks. I don’t need Russian money, while Trump clearly does. If I had a mistress I needed to pay off, I could write a check for 130k without having to borrow it or pay it back to my lawyer on the installment plan.

    I think your boy is worth $0.00. I don’t think he has a penny to his name, net. I think he’s under water.

    As for his accomplishments, well, he certainly has me beat in bankruptcies: 6 vs. 0. He has me beat in admissions of money-laundering: 1 vs. 0. Number of affairs: >1 vs. 0. Number of divorces: 2 vs. 0. Number of accusations of sexual predation? >10 vs. 0. And not only do I actually love my wife, she, poor fool, loves me back and that is manifestly not the case for L. Ron, er, Donald. Or is it David? I’m even a better criminal than Trump, I walked away with a clean record and I rather doubt that’ll be the case for Dennison.

    So take my bet, Mike. We’ll get James or Doug to hold the stakes, I’ll share my financials and when we finally get your Sacred Love Object to reveal what every other president in recent memory has done and show us his tax returns, and let them decide who’s right. Do we have a deal?

    How about you, @Guarneri? You want to take the bet? I doubt @Bung has the G to risk, but you do, being a great Captain of Finance. @TM1? Anyone? Put your money where your mouth is and let Trump open his books and make you a cool grand. What an opportunity!




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  39. de stijl says:

    (So off topic, it can’t see the OP in the rear-view mirror anymore)

    I saw the most insane thing today.

    A pollen cloud.

    Not video, real life. And the tree wasn’t bumped by a random truck, and there was nearly no wind.

    It just aspirated. It was all at once. There was a preliminary small burp that caught my eye – “did I just see that?” and so I paid attention. And twenty seconds later from the same random pine tree there was this great green / gray spontaneous cloud.

    No impetus, no wind burst; the damned tree just breathed out life.

    How can an insentient plant spontaneously expire millions of pollen spores all at once from a thousand different spots. That is insane – it’s a tree, it doesn’t have a brain.

    I Googled pollen clouds and I think I just saw a really rare thing. An external tap can trigger the cloud like we’ve seen in videos, but spontaneous pollen expiration is rare. It was very cool, but kinda spooky and scary. It’s a f*cking tree – it shouldn’t be capable of independent active behavior. Maybe it was an Ent.




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  40. teve tory says:

    OT But some conservative geniuses have decided that Impeachment is the way to go.

    For Obama!

    Let’s get #ImpeachObama trending!

    — Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 21, 2018

    #ImpeachObama https://t.co/TMgxlg6SlO

    — MFLYNNJR (@mflynnJR) May 21, 2018

    Right now, one person is worried about impeachment, and it’s not President Trump #ImpeachObama

    — Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) May 21, 2018

    h/t Wonkette




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  41. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    One of the staff members cited said that, about Trump being “relatable” because he’s not a master of grammatical English.

    I don’t doubt that’s the explanation they give. It’s not a new idea (I remember reading years ago about the intentional use of grammatical errors in advertisements, something that goes back a long way). In this case, though, I suspect the primary motivation is to misdirect readers as to who wrote the tweets.

    Remember Sarah Palin? Her cult members loved her word salad because it made her a”real” person who spoke just like them.

    I think it’s more than that. It’s not so much they loved the word salad as that they loved the way it subjected her to mockery from people like you and me. The American right has long had a pathological obsession with taking snooty liberals down a peg. The more we point out how stupid and ignorant they are, the more they dig in their heels.

    MBunge’s comments here are a perfect embodiment of this attitude. We can sit here picking apart his claim that Trump is more “successful” than any of us, but the more basic point is that even if his statement were accurate, it’s completely irrelevant. By some metric any US president could be described as more “successful” than most Internet commenters, but that doesn’t invalidate their criticisms. Like other Trump apologists, and like Trump himself, MBunge is far less interested in knocking down the criticisms than in imagining the critics to all be driven by intense jealousy. Of course this is all massive projection.

    Politicians have been playing to this type of voter for ages. It’s a major ingredient to the faux-populism in this country where figures like Dubya or Trump who were born into wealth are cast as the regular guys. Every time a pundit or comedian makes fun of their pronunciations or spellings, it only further cements the supporters’ adoration. He’s one of them not because there’s anything in his lifestyle that actually resembles their own, but because they feel a connection in having faced similar mockery in their lives and are gratified to see such a person having reached the top of the totem pole in their eyes.

    Trump was made for these types of voters. As one comedian put it years ago, he’s like a hobo’s image of a rich person, flaunting his material acquisitions in a cartoonishly over-the-top manner while nursing deep grudges over his lack of respect from most of the upper class. There is nothing Trump fans live more for than those moments in which Trump puts his critics in their place, as they see it. That’s why his thin accomplishments while in office barely matter to them, or the fact that most of them will not materially benefit from the policies he has managed to implement.




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  42. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Treejaculation.




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  43. Matt says:

    @Kathy: I have only season 3 🙁




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  44. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: G’kar and Londo MADE that show. The paths of those two characters and how they interacted with each other was brilliant.




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  45. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But a tree doesn’t have a nervous system!

    How could it…!! Ach! I’m freaking out here, people. Over a god damned random pine tree!

    Unless it actually is an ent, and then it would be at least understandable. Ents are known to get there freak on in unusual ways.




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  46. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    Who is exponentially more successful and significant than you in almost every material way

    Hahaha…he’s ended up with less than he started with, had he simply invested in the S&P500….so how is that successful. It’s failure.
    Significant…when the Republican Party is in shambles…we’ll see.
    Every day there is more indication that Dennison is corrupt.
    You’re dumb.




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  47. Kylopod says:
  48. One American says:

    @Stormy Dragon: he has every right to be cranky and his tweets is the only way he can surpass the Fake Media and ISPY OBAMA CRIMES.




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  49. One American says:

    @Todd: we shall see




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  50. One American says:

    @MBunge: this would be the end denial stage I think




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  51. teve tory says:

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump

    Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!

    3:54 AM – 23 May 2018

    This is madness, and the GOP congress isn’t complaining.




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  52. teve tory says:

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    More
    SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!

    4:12 AM – 23 May 2018

    4 am. Something’s got him worried.




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  53. Kylopod says:

    Reading Kevin Drum’s post this morning, I see that the previously mentioned Boston Globe article actually confirmed my theory:

    “West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar and staccato syntax in order to mimic the president’s style, according to two people familiar with the process.”

    Sure, the article goes on to talk about the use of bad grammar as a way of thumbing one’s nose at “elitists,” but it’s clear the ghost-tweeters’ main motivation is quite simply that they are pretending to be Donald Trump.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/05/21/trump-tweets-include-grammatical-errors-and-some-them-are-purpose/JeL7AtKLPevJDIIOMG7TrN/story.html




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  54. KM says:

    @Kylopod:

    but because they feel a connection in having faced similar mockery in their lives and are gratified to see such a person having reached the top of the totem pole in their eyes.

    BINGO! The whole connection is one of bitterness, which is why they resented the hell out of previous characterizations like “deplorable” or “clinging to guns and God”. These are people who’s definition character trait is ANGER: anger at how life’s treated them, anger at specific groups, anger at not getting the respect they feel entitled to, anger being used over and over again by politicians, etc. The thing is anger is a secondary emotion. It’s reactive, protective and is never the primary feeling. It requires examination to figure out what caused the anger in the first place and self-awareness to realize anger’s not enough. But rather then look at themselves and do some soul-searching, it’s easier to go with the anger and decide those who are “mocking” you are the problem. It’s those damn liberals putting down people in dying towns who are the issue, not the people who insist on staying in dying towns and having their way of life preserved no matter what. Even if we magically managed to fix all their problems, made them economic powerhouses and showed them the cultural deference they think is their birthright, they’ll STILL be bitter AF because it “took so long” and liberal coastal elites just “don’t get it” and naturally “condescend” to them. Some people simply need an enemy to focus the negativity for the psyche to stay intact.

    Trump’s the ultimate connection these kind of people can have. It’s never his fault, it’s always the haters. He’s everything they’ve always dreamed of being – a deep wish-fulfillment it’s hard to understand if you’re not afflicted with existential rage. He breathes the kind of antagonism they harbor like pure O2. He mocks but mockery from others just bounces right off. He wins, as they termed it. He couldn’t have been a better model for the mindset if they’d make him in a computer simulation.




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  55. An Interested Party says:

    he has every right to be cranky and his tweets is [sic] the only way he can surpass the Fake Media and ISPY OBAMA CRIMES.

    Oh my, that’s a great parody there…




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  56. dazedandconfused says:

    Ignore them.

    The worst thing one can do to a malignant narcissist, no doubt, but more importantly ignoring them would deny Trump his primary method of manipulating the media. The RW media, should they opt to continue fixating on them, would be making a mistake. They will become all the more distinct from journalism.




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