Trump Kicks Off 2020 Campaign With Return To 2016’s Rants And Red Meat

President Trump's opening rally of the 2020 campaign sounded an awful lot like a rally from 2016

Technically speaking, Donald Trump has never stopped running for President. His 2020 re-election campaign filed its Federal Election Commission paperwork on the day he was inaugurated, after all, and he has spent the better of his Presidency quite obviously focused on getting re-elected In the first quarter of 2019 alone, for example, the Trump 2020 campaign reported that it had raised more than $30,000,000 and had some $40,000,000 in cash on hand. In the time his campaign has been spending millions of dollars in organizing and on items such as targeted digital ads on Facebook and other social media outlets. In addition to that, shortly after he entered office he resumed staging his campaign rally style speeches at large venues around the country, engaging in the same sort of vitriol-filled speech that was a hallmark of his campaign from June 2015 to Election Day on 2016. Even when those rallies were nominally supposed to be for other candidates, such as during the various Special Elections that took place in 2017 or the 2018 midterm election, it was clear that the speech and the rally were really about Trump, and that the vast majority of the people in the audience were there to see the President, not whatever candidate he may have been campaigning for, who was usually only mentioned in passing.

Because of that, yesterday’s “campaign kickoff” rally in Orlando, Florida wasn’t really that noteworthy. None of that stopped loyal Trump fans from Central Florida and elsewhere from lining up as much as forty-eight hours earlier and waiting in 90-degree humidity to get into to see the President speak. That speech came last night, and it made clear that the President’s 2020 campaign, which has apparently settled on the campaign slogan “Keep America Great” to follow on 2016’s “Make America Great Again,” will be very much like the 2016 campaign:

ORLANDO, Fla. — President Trump delivered a fierce denunciation of the news media, the political establishment and what he called his radical opponents on Tuesday as he opened his re-election campaign in front of a huge crowd of raucous supporters by evoking the dark messaging and personal grievances that animated his 2016 victory.

Almost four years to the day since he announced his first, improbable run for public office from the basement of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Mr. Trump mocked and disparaged Democrats, calling them the leaders of an “angry, left-wing mob” and declaring that the 2020 election will be a “verdict on the un-American conduct of those who tried to undermine our great democracy, undermine you.”

He extolled his record as president — the growing economy, the tax cuts and deregulation — but did not offer any new policies or a cohesive agenda for a second term that might expand his political appeal. As he formally declared his intention to run again, he told the audience that his new slogan would be “Keep America Great,” pledging to wage a relentless battle on behalf of his supporters.

“Our political opponents look down with hatred on our values and with utter disdain for the people whose lives they want to run,” Mr. Trump told a packed arena, later mocking Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president and a Democratic rival for the presidency, as “Sleepy Joe.

But for the most part, Mr. Trump avoided mentioning the nearly two dozen Democrats competing for the right to challenge him, and he resisted the temptation to use his favorite denigrating nicknames.

Mr. Trump had relentlessly hyped Tuesday’s event as a dramatic moment in his journey to a second term. But in the end, it was not so different from the dozens of rallies he has held during the past two years.

Standing in front of a sea of people wearing his signature red “Make America Great Again” hats, Mr. Trump unleashed a torrent of attacks, falsehoods, exaggerations and resentments that were the trademark of his first campaign and have been on almost daily display during his time in the White House. His warning for his voters: The establishment will stop at nothing to rob you of another four years.

“They tried to take away your dignity and your destiny. But we will never let them do that, will we?” the president said, declaring victory over a political machine that opposed his election. “They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign — probably the greatest election in the history of our country.”

Egged on by the enthusiastic crowd, Mr. Trump cited a familiar list of grievances during his 76-minute speech. He railed against the “witch hunt” conducted against him by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and the “18 very angry Democrats” who worked with Mr. Mueller. He insisted — falsely — that Mr. Mueller had cleared him of all wrongdoing in connection with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and of obstructing the investigation that followed. And he remained fixated on his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her “33,000 emails,” once again prompting chants of “lock her up.”

At times, Mr. Trump seemed like any other incumbent president, ticking off a laundry list of claimed accomplishments on veterans’ health care, funding for the military, abandoning the Paris climate accords and defending gun rights. The frenzied crowd seemed to lose some of its passion during those moments.

But he whipped them up again by raising fears about immigrants, spending more time on the centerpiece of his bleak vision of a country under assault than on any other issue. As he has before, he lashed out at Democrats, saying they are to blame for the consequences of letting “aliens” into the country.

“The Democrat agenda of open borders is morally reprehensible,” Mr. Trump said, accusing Democrats of the “ultimate act of moral cowardice” for failing to defend Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He said the Democratic position on immigration was “the greatest betrayal of the American middle class and, frankly, American life.”

But for Mr. Trump, the rally was the beginning of what polls suggest will be a difficult 18 months as he seeks another four years in the White House. Already trailing Democrats in many voter surveys and having never cracked 50 percent in approval ratings since taking office, Mr. Trump has turned himself into one of the most polarizing presidents in American history.

His decision to formally start his re-election bid in front of a frenzied crowd of die-hard supporters was a clear signal that he has no intention of backing away from his dire warnings about immigration and trade. Nor will he abandon the personal attacks against his critics and the establishment that have supercharged his most loyal fans.

Instead, Mr. Trump is betting that the 2020 campaign will be a “Back to the Future” replay of the 2016 one, when a reality TV star and New York real estate mogul campaigned as a disrupter with nothing to lose and shook the political establishment to its core. This time, though, he will have the full support of the Republican Party.

More from The Washington Post:

ORLANDO — In the 24 hours before President Trump was slated to formally launch his reelection bid here in the nation’s largest swing state, he pledged to begin rounding up millions of undocumented immigrants, undercut his top officials by downplaying attacks on tankers in the Middle East and announced that his acting defense secretary would leave the job after family domestic violence allegations came to light.

A similar rush of headlines might have seemed extraordinary during previous administrations. For Trump, it was just another day.

But while the high drama and persistent controversies that have defined the Trump White House are a continuation of how he conducted his successful campaign in 2016, he is now an incumbent with a record of actions that have affected people’s lives and their sense of stability.
Polls have consistently shown that more people disapprove of Trump’s handling of his job than approve, but the president has not calibrated, instead redoubling his focus on his most avid backers.

At the Amway Center here, Trump told the crowd that his election in 2016 was the result of a great political movement that has been under attack ever since, despite what he described as the great successes of his presidency.

“We accomplished more than any other president has in the first 2½ years of a presidency and under circumstances that no president has had to deal with before,” he said, using the hyperbole that has marked much of his career.

Trump’s argument for a second term then quickly became a rehash of grievances and false claims from his first campaign, along with a hit parade of Trump rally applause lines. He veered off script to rail at length against the “witch hunt” special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and revisited complaints about the media, “Crooked Hillary” and her missing emails.

“They are really going after you,” Trump said of the list of enemies he laid out for the crowd. “They tried to erase your vote, erase the legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of the country.”

And he warned of the threats posed by immigrants, a focus of his presidency that has thrilled his most ardent supporters and caused his critics to accuse him of promoting racism.

“It’s time to pass Kate’s Law, end sanctuary cities, end catch-and-release, deport vicious gang members — which we’re doing — stop human trafficking, stop illegal immigration and establish a modern immigration system based on skills, contributions and based on merit,” Trump said.

“We want people to come into our country based on merit.”

Trump’s rambling performance was in itself a portrait of his presidency — singular, highly personalized and undisciplined.

(…)

Ahead of Trump’s arrival, his son Donald Trump Jr. drew whoops and cheers as he mocked Biden and other Democrats and proclaimed that his father “accomplished more in trade with Mexico in one tweet” than any of his predecessors.

Bellowing and cracking jokes, the younger Trump told the crowd they are part of a movement, arrayed against media and political forces that doubted Trump from the start.

“We’re fighting with one arm, two arms, sometimes a leg, tied behind our backs,” the younger Trump told the crowd, which booed and jeered the press section on cue.

The reelection campaign hopes that the crusading, us-against-the-world spirit that fills arenas like this one translates to votes, although the argument is shifting from one of grievance to vindication.

Trump is running on strong economic performance this time, in addition to nationalist anti-immigrant themes that delight some of his strongest supporters.

“You guys are not sick of winning yet, are you?” the younger Trump asked, as the crowd waved signs reading “Four More Years.”

“We’re going to keep it going for a little bit!”

Ordinarily, when an incumbent President, or indeed any incumbent, runs for office, they concentrate on finding a way not only to keep their base voters happy but also to reach out to other voters. This is especially true for a candidate in Trump’s position, who was elected by a relatively slim Electoral Vote margin (thanks largely to a 77,741 vote margin in three key states) in an election where his opponent actually garnered some 3,000,000+ more popular votes than he did. It would seem to be even more important when talking about a President whose job approval has never been anywhere close to 50% at any point in his Presidency, something that sets him apart in this history of modern polling. Indeed, no President whose job approval did not reach 50% at least once during his first term has been re-elected since World War Two.

Instead of trying to reach out and expand his base of support, though, last night’s rally, and Trump’s history as President makes it clear that he believes he can win re-election by relying on his base to remain loyal by feeding them red meat while attacking Democrats. This, of course, is the same campaign that he ran in 2016. In other words, as The New York Times and Splinter both put it, the Trump 2020 campaign is going to be 2016 all over again.

While that strategy may have worked in 2016, it’s not at all clear that the same strategy is going to work again four years later. In some sense, of course, it will “work” if the goal is to appeal to Trump’s base voters and nothing else. However, it’s rather obvious from looking at the numbers that this strategy isn’t necessarily going to work again in 2020. One of the reasons this is the case is the fact that many of the voters who ended up voting for Trump three years ago are not necessarily Trump base voters. Many of them were working-class white voters who had supported the Obama/Biden ticket in 2008 and 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016 in part because they believed they had been left behind and forgotten over the previous eight years.

This feeling was no doubt enhanced by the fact that the Clinton campaign had seemingly ignored this voting bloc during the close of the General Election, especially in the three states that ended up deciding the outcome of the election. This time around, Democrats are unlikely to make those same mistakes, and those voters have seen over the past two and a half years that this Administration has not followed through on its promises and has, thanks to policies such as a tax package that overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the wealthy over middle-class taxpayers, and tariffs that are increasing the cost of everyday goods and harmed American businesses. While it’s still possible that many of these voters will still support Trump in 2020, it’s also clear that this block of voters is up for grabs and could make the difference between winning and losing in 2020 as much as it did in 2016.

The sense of deja vu was also present in Trump’s speech in the extent to which he used it to continue attacking Democrats in general and Hillary Clinton specifically. Indeed, in the middle of his rant about the Mueller investigation and report, during which he falsely claimed that the Special Counsel had specifically cleared him and his campaign of collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, Trump bizarrely claimed that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were the ones who colluded with Russia to “fix” the election. Inevitably, this led the crowd to get into the “Lock Her Up!” chant that had become a regular part of his rallies during the 2016 campaign. Again, this may be a theme that will keep his base supporters happy but it hardly seems like the kind of strategy that a candidate in Trump’s position needs to run to win re-election.

All that being said, Trump proved all the pundits and expert analysts wrong in 2016 by getting away with running a campaign that seemed guaranteed to fail. This, after all, is the same candidates who kicked off his campaign by attacking  Mexicans, Muslimsdisabled people, a Federal District Court Judge who happened to be Mexican-American and a Gold Star Family who happened to be Muslim. He attacked John McCain’s military service thus beginning a feud that has continued, and become even more juvenile on the President’s part, even after McCain died. He also attacked women like Megyn KellyCarly Fiorina, and Heidi Cruz in the crassest and most demeaning manner. In the month before the election, he was caught on tape bragging about an apparent sexual assault and conquest and was later accused of sexual harassment and assault by nearly two dozen women. Despite this, he won the election. Will all of that work again in 2020? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s going to require a lot of things to break the same way they did three years ago. The odds of that happening aren’t good.

Here’s the video of the speech last night:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, 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. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Every clip I’ve seen of this…blithely un-tethered from reality.

    ReplyReply
  2. Kathy says:

    The hope this time is that the cheeto base won’t be enough to win the election.

    Dennison is doing a great deal to harm the US economy, and he might yet succeed in this endeavor. Few incumbents can win reelection in the midst of a recession. In particular, it may be a recession this time will trigger panic due to the still-vivid memories of the great recession. This would absolutely kill Trump, one hopes.

    The nightmare is that he strikes a “deal” with China, leaving everything pretty much as it was, but with a fancy name and some minor adjustments, and his followers, enablers, and sympathizers all cheer their heads off pretending it’s revolutionary.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Every clip I’ve seen of this…blithely un-tethered from reality.

    Especially the interviews with his supporters.

    ReplyReply
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hoping lightening will strike twice, kinda like the lottery winner who keeps buying tickets after receiving their $118 million winnings.

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  5. KM says:

    We’re fighting with one arm, two arms, sometimes a leg, tied behind our backs,” the younger Trump told the crowd, which booed and jeered the press section on cue.

    Fighting with a *leg* tied behind your back? Yeah, that kind encapsulate this whole thing, doesn’t it? Unfounded persecution complex bordering on creepy fetish. Screw up a metaphor and the audience refuses to hear how stupid it sounds. Nonsensical hyperbole that can indicate a several lack of basic knowledge or cynical manipulation of someone lacking said knowledge. Mindless cheering for the Mistreated Underdog who also somehow an Alpha Asskicking Boss Who Never Loses. Reality shelved for whatever version is being pushed at the moment, facts be damned.

    Trumpkins, man. They really are a cult.

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  6. Teve says:

    “Our political opponents look down with hatred on our values…”

    ReplyReply
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Well, we would if they had any values to look down on.

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  8. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Trump and his supporters have one particular value in common, and it has to do with other people’s skin colors.

    ReplyReply
  9. Blue Galangal says:

    @Teve:

    Trump and his supporters have one particular value in common, and it has to do with other people’s skin colors.

    I was gonna say…

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  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    “Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”

    This is the quote I was looking for…seriously…talk about projection.

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  11. Guarneri says:

    Deplorables speak truth: “We know that old boy didn’t actually steal any horses, but he’s obviously guilty of trying to avoid being hanged for it.”

    Put your money on Barr, not Nadler.

    You fools.

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  12. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Guarneri:

    Is this in reply to any particular comment or aspect of the article, or have you fully succumbed to being a Senile Old Man Yelling At Clouds?

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  13. Gustopher says:

    [Trump shouted,] declaring that the 2020 election will be a “verdict on the un-American conduct of those who tried to undermine our great democracy, undermine you.”

    Well, he’s right about that.

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  14. Kathy says:

    Trump bizarrely claimed that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were the ones who colluded with Russia to “fix” the election.

    He’s made the claim before. It’s like saying the Jews of Eastern Europe perpetrated a holocaust on the Germans. It’s so disconnected from reality as to seem unbelievable.

    And yet, it’s clear his base believes him, or acts as though they do.

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  15. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08:

    Especially the interviews with his supporters.

    Trump supporters remind me of something I saw years ago. Some debunkers (it might have been Randi’s crew) investigated a revival preacher/miracle worker. Part of his stick was that Gawd told him all about some poor soul in the crowd and he would bring them up and help them. The skeptics recorded all kinds of shenanigans. There was a “first time attendee” who showed up at every event, milling about and asking leading questions. She was wearing a “hearing aid” which of course turned out to be a transmitter and they found the frequency and recorded her saying things like “The ugly fat broad with the bright pink shirt has knee problems. Her daughter, Ruby, is praying for her but she’s not getting any better” Some ushers would then “happen” to walk by, see her discomfort and tell her there was a comfortable chair she could sit in, only to lead her up near the front and sit her in a wheelchair. (You can see what’s coming.) Later on, the Preacher would hear Gawd tell him about a woman, a woman in pain, the pain is in her legs, no her knees, and a good family member, Rudy? No, Ruby! was praying for her and Gawd would answer his prayers. The woman would start shouting, “That’s me” and they would wheel her up to him and he would pray and speak in tongues and slap her on the forehead and then shout “YOU ARE HEALED! STAND UP!” and she did. But of course, she didn’t need the wheel chair in the first place.

    The saddest thing was an interview they did with one of the attendees, just a regular woman in the crowd. She was poor, but had given the preacher her whole social security check for the month because she believed in him and his mission. They then showed her all the evidence they gathered, the video tapes, the wireless recordings, the foul and nasty language, and so forth. Then they asked her how she felt. You could tell from her expression and body language that she was simply not processing what she had seen. (I don’t know how to describe this any better, but I’ve seen it a dozen or more times in my life in all kinds of situations.) And then she said, “Well, I’m not sure about any of that, but I still believe in him. I have my faith.”

    Our Trump supporters here are like angry and resentful versions of that gullible old lady.

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  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:
    He didn’t used to be like this. Five years ago @Guarneri occasionally had things to say. He could argue a side. But if you charted Drew’s apparent IQ over the last five years you’d see a distinct downward trend.

    I wish he’d tell us if he has some form of dementia, I don’t want to be ridiculing someone for an illness. My dad is suffering mental decline, but he’s remained quite charming and notably gentle, and this is the guy with two tours in Vietnam, bronze star, captain of the Army yacht when they still had one.

    Today you would not guess that the frail octogenarian with the bushy beard was the same guy who shot a Vietcong sapper, or worked intel on dockyard corruption in Saigon. Very similar to the way one used to be able to buy Drew’s self-description as a trained engineer and finance guy, but now he sounds desperate and delusional, incapable of more than random blurts of nonsense.

    I imagine I’ll get there eventually, if something else doesn’t finish me off first. I hope I have the remaining good sense to STFU and not embarrass myself. Fortunately I have a wife and kids who have no reluctance to let me know if my mind is turning to Swiss cheese.

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  17. wr says:

    Well, Trump has finally convinced me. There’s no way I’m voting for Hillary in 2020.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There was a “first time attendee” who showed up at every event, milling about and asking leading questions. She was wearing a “hearing aid” which of course turned out to be a transmitter and they found the frequency and recorded her saying things like “The ugly fat broad with the bright pink shirt has knee problems…

    The lord works in mysterious ways…

    Then they asked her how she felt. You could tell from her expression and body language that she was simply not processing what she had seen. (I don’t know how to describe this any better, but I’ve seen it a dozen or more times in my life in all kinds of situations.) And then she said, “Well, I’m not sure about any of that, but I still believe in him. I have my faith.”

    Isn’t that the real miracle? They healed her soul.

    ReplyReply
  19. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He didn’t used to be like this. Five years ago @Guarneri occasionally had things to say. He could argue a side. But if you charted Drew’s apparent IQ over the last five years you’d see a distinct downward trend.

    Isn’t it just more likely that he stopped trying to make any arguments? That his goal simply changed from convincing people to triggering the libtards?

    He stops by, drops some guano, and watches the fun.

    I don’t think it’s a mental decline so much as not bothering to use his brain (for this). It’s just troll culture. Trump promised so much winning, and this is what winning looks like to Guanoboy — triggered libtards.

    I’m not even sure he has crossed into the equivalent of BernieBro territory, where he genuinely believes and actively ignores.

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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Sexual Pervert in Chief President Pud always has one hand free so he can
    “…grab them by the pussy!”

    ReplyReply
  21. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: I actually was one of Randi’s undercover agents when Peter Popov came to Chicago and did his HEEEEAL schtick.

    At some point, I just have to shake my head and mutter under my breath about how idiots should just be left to be fleeced/get ill from non-vaccination/die as Darwin Award winners.

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  22. KM says:

    @MarkedMan :
    Have you seen Chernobyl yet? The character Dyatlov absolutely REFUSES to accept that the reactor exploded, even ignoring his own eyes when he sees the graphite on the ground. You can see on his face that he’s very deliberately not processing what he’s seeing; he’s looking right at it, he knows what it is and what it signifies and just….refuses to let it be recorded in his brain as anything other then debris. His self-imposed delusions give the others trying to cover their ass some support and ground to stand on; his false reporting is used as the basis of reality up to the point of screaming at those pointing out the obvious and sending men to die unnecessarily because the core just wasn’t there anymore. What’s worse? Dyatlov was a real person and really did all those things. He went to his grave believing his own “facts” and that the world conspired against him. He was a major cause in the deaths of thousands of people and he would never admit to what anyone with eyes could easily see.

    Now stop and think how many folks look at the reality of Trump and very deliberately don’t process because of what recognition would mean. Think about what they allow to happen because they are very deliberately sticking with their chosen reality and to hell with actual reality. Think about them screaming down people trying to warn them as “fake news” and realize we’ve got a nation of Dyatlov imitators. Reality is something they can look at, go “nope” and tell you what you didn’t see because it’s not there!

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  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    I prefer your answer as it allows me to continue to shove sticks into his spokes and laugh with sadistic glee.

    But, see, I’m trying to be a better man. Work in progress.

    ReplyReply
  24. Jax says:

    @Guarneri: Nice repeat of a Facebook meme that conveniently got passed around from the Russian troll farm.

    It’s more like “We have proof he actually did steal 10 or 11 of your horses, but since he’s the sitting President, I’m afraid we can’t hang him. Perhaps try not electing horse thieves to the Presidency next time.”

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    @KM:
    I’ve always said that politicians lie not in spite of voters, but because voters demand lies. Virtually everything Trump says can be instantly checked online for accuracy. Anyone bothering to do that cannot continue to pretend Trump is anything but a pathological liar. Do Trumpaloons fact-check? Nope. Deliberately no, they want to be lied to, they need the lies.

    The Left is not immune to this, falling into self-soothing behaviors on environment, for example. The difference being that the Left looks for lies that reaffirm hope, the Right’s favored lies reinforce hate.

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  26. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    You could tell from her expression and body language that she was simply not processing what she had seen.

    I remember seeing that, or something very much like that, in the 80s.

    Self-delusion is hard to correct. People can, and do, lie to themselves all the time. Repeat a lie often enough, and not only do other people believe it, you get to believe it as well.

    What’s worse are the people who can see the fraud, some are a part of the fraud, and go along because it’s in their self-interest. They make the hordes of deplorables possible.

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  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    Put your money on Barr, not Nadler.

    I’ll skip the personalities and put my money on truth, and on justice.
    In the 18th century Drew would have been called a Loyalist…how dare you question the King?
    Pffft….

    ReplyReply
  28. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: The numbers make this the most likely explanation, or at least rule out mental decline.

    We’ve gone from the 27% Crazification Factor to Trump’s constant 42% approval. Either an additional 15% of America is suffering from mental decline, or there is another explanation.

    I’m sure some people are suffering mental decline, and Trump’s base is older, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test as an explanation in general. At least, not without other evidence.

    I mean, we might discover that high fructose corn syrup or something makes people more likely to act out of spite, short circuiting large chunks of the brain (and this might explain the recent increase in right wing parties in Europe), but it seems unlikely.

    I would like to see a study of voting patterns based on obesity though… controlled for age, of course.

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  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Oh, I’m not suggesting that all Trumpaloons are suffering dementia. There’s delusion, stupidity and general nastiness to consider. But unlike, say, @Paul L, @Guarneri wasn’t like this years ago.

    ReplyReply
  30. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    voters demand lies.

    An aha moment for me was when Oliver North, while running for the Senate, literally changed his story overnight, and started telling his adoring fans that he had never lied to Congress. The media was all over it because the videotape of him admitting he lied to Congress was one of the most memorable parts of the Iran-Contra affair. But much to my surprise it had absolutely no effect on his fans.

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  31. Guarneri says:

    In other news, former Vice President spoke to a crowd of two dozen supporters. When asked about the small crowd he indignantly replied “I beat Beto didn’t I??”

    ReplyReply
  32. Guarneri says:

    By the way, which panel did Avennati draw?? 1, or 2??

    His legions of fans at CNN and MSNBC want to know.

    ReplyReply
  33. EddieInCA says:

    @michael reynolds:

    To expand on your larger point…. (first I thought it was “expound”, but realized… nope.)

    I no longer have an issue with Trump. He’s who he is. He’s who he always has been. He’s the same guy he was coming down the elevator in 2015. I fully understand that alot of people, including many Democrats, didn’t want Hillary Clinton to be President. I fully accept that Hillary ran a lousy campaign, full of hubris and arrogance.

    BUT…

    We now have over three years of data. We now have over three years of tweets. We now have over 10,000 DOCUMENTED lies. Not shading of the truth. Not misrepresentations. Lies. 10,000 of them. We now have 2.5 years of “governance”, in which the only thing accomplished has been:

    A) a massive tax cut for the wealthy (I did very well with the tax cut, even though in California I can’t consider myself wealthy).

    B) moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

    C) putting more right-wing judges on the bench. And to be fair, that’s more McConnell than Trump.

    Against that, you have a rabid base that has no problem with the lies, the lawlessness, the brazen destruction of constitutional order, and a man who is hurting them worse than ANYTHING Obama ever did. Yet they stay loyal.

    In a way, it reminds of me of Dr. Joyner, several years ago, when he was being warned about the GOP being taken over by crazies. He refused to see it. He came around eventually, but it took a long, long, long time.

    But at least Dr. Joyner got there. There is a woman on video, from Florida, who is voting for Trump because.. “He doesn’t lie”. Seriously.
    https://www.mediaite.com/tv/trump-fan-tells-msnbc-she-will-vote-for-trump-because-he-doesnt-lie/

    So at this point, it’s not about Trump. It’s about the base of people who are, literally, living in an alternate reality. I don’t know how that gets solved when you have an entire media structure (Fox, Townhall, OAAN, Sinclair, AM Talk Radio) INTENTIONALLY deceiving people as to the facts about Trump and the GOP. Another woman, on video says she watches and listens to conservative media and she had no idea that the Mueller Report said anything negative about Trump.

    Cathy Garnaat, a Republican who supported Amash and the president said she was upset about Amash’s position but wanted to hear his reasoning. She said that she will definitely support Trump in 2020 but that Tuesday night was the first time she had heard that the Mueller report didn’t completely exonerate the president.

    “I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump. I hadn’t heard that before,” she said. “I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated.”

    What can you do with that level of clueless?

    I’m starting to understand how people and societies get to breaking points.

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  34. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: I could have written the second half of your post. I’ve been thinking about it without a glimmer of an answer. I was reminded of it yesterday when I read that Arthur Laffer blamed the recession on Obama.

    I don’t see any fixing this problem.

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  35. Tony W says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’m starting to understand how people and societies get to breaking points.

    If you are a Republican in the Trump era, you have decided that concentration camps, separating kids from parents, frequent neo-nazi marches, proud-boys at your rallies, breathtaking corruption and graft, nepotism and greed, and zero respect for the credibility of both the office of the Presidency, and the United States in general – are all just political tools that are legitimately used when I can get my way.

    It’s not that all Republicans are racist and greedy, uncaring jerks, it’s just that those traits are not deal breakers for them in a president.

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  36. Kathy says:

    538 has a piece showing a strong correlation between the generic Congressional ballot poll and the winner of the presidential election.

    So far so good, in the sense of the old T-shirt that claimed “I plan to live forever. So far so good.” Me, I plan to stop fretting November next year if/when Dennison’s political career joins the trash heap of history.

    If/when it does, I thought we should take pity on the man, and send him a big, beautiful trash bin in a chrome finish engraved with these words: “The only bigger loser than a losing candidate is a one-termer.”

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  37. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Your comment made me think back to Dana Carvey as George HW Bush in 1992 getting down on his knees and saying before the camera, “Please reelect me. Wouldn’t want to be a one-termer. Wouldn’t look good in the history books….”

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  38. Kylopod says:

    I’ve written ad nauseum about how people always over-interpret election results by reading massive conclusions into relatively small shifts in numbers of votes, but I’d like to expand on that thought. Imagine that 2016 had happened just a little differently, where Hillary just manages to eke out victory in the states of WI, MI, and PA, handing her the election by a hair. What would the post-election narrative have been? On the one hand, Trump would still have done a lot better than most people predicted, coming right to the brink of winning. But I think that would have been mostly ignored. Instead, pundits would wonder how the GOP could have been so stupid as to nominate a figure like Trump, the GOP would start eating itself alive, and we’d start hearing a lot more of “He never was a conservative anyway.”

    Of course the cult of Trump would remain, probably insisting the election had been stolen by illegal immigrants in Wisconsin. But the narrative that has taken hold in the past few years–that white backlash is a much more powerful political force than previously understood–would have largely faded, and the idea that Republicans face a serious demographic challenge would have been renewed.

    The fundamental realities–the countervailing trends of demographic changes and white backlash–wouldn’t be different in this alternate scenario. But people’s perceptions of which was more potent would be reversed. All because of 77,000 votes in the Midwest.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I wonder how accurate the explanations for Dennison’s win are.

    There was much speculation about why he really ran and that even he didn’t expect to win. I wonder about that, too, as I’ve come across little evidence to that effect.

    But had he lost as he was supposed to, I can see he’d have made a career of his grievance, Twiting(*) day and night about President Clinton, complaining about how unfair everything is, carping about how government should run, in short, not very different from his current life.

    (not a misspelling)

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  40. An Interested Party says:

    Put your money on Barr, not Nadler.

    Oh yes, root for the lickspittle…

    In the 18th century Drew would have been called a Loyalist…

    Considering who he stands with in this century, he can be called a supporter of treason…

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  41. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: I figure it’s like antivaxxers and diseases. The government has been so good at removing contagious illnesses from the ecosystem that we’ve forgotten exactly how much damage they can do when running amok. (My solution to the problem is to give antivaxxers a choice: either their kids get vaccinated or they get infected with the real thing)

    Similarly, we’ve been depending on cultural norms and checks and balances to keep us going and acting as if lies don’t have any effect on anyone.

    ReplyReply
  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Yeah, but that line isn’t new at all. Glenn Beck’s been doing that line since before Trump went down the escalator.

    ReplyReply
  43. Guarneri says:

    I’m literally laughing.

    I remember when MR was cocksure that they had Trump on treasonous collusion. Mueller was going to prove it all. Then he didn’t.

    Election Night II.

    MR: wrong on all predictions re: Occupy WS Wrong on election. Wrong on collusion.
    Pretty much wrong on everything the last 10 years.

    Heh

    ReplyReply
  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Wow! Three tries. All weak and low energy. Sad. Pathetic.
    Seedy Guarneri!
    And you let Reynolds back in on the fourth one. And still no lease! Low Energy. Pathetic. Seedy.

    ReplyReply

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