Trump Spent The Better Part Of Two Years Portraying Democrats As Hysterical Self-Pitying Losers Who Cry A Lot. So Why All Of A Sudden Did He Change That To A Throng Of Screaming Hellions With A Blood Lust For Power?
Just because they furiously protested Brett Kavanaugh and he thinks he can make hay of it in the midterms? Sure their tactics annoyed some people, but it’s hard to do a protest where you don’t irritate somebody. That’s why it’s a protest: because you’re trying to hold people accountable whether they like it or not. No matter how entitled they feel to impose their will on others unimpeded.
So at rally after rally–and there are lots of them–coming into the midterms this year, it’s suddenly Liberals who are to be feared (seemingly even more than immigrants or terrorists right now), and he seems to think that’ll generate enough righteous anger among his folks to bring them to the polls.
“Democrats have become too extreme. And they’ve become, frankly, too dangerous to govern. They’ve gone wacko.”
And even though Trump on 60 Minutes last night said he didn’t want to discuss his own tactics of ridiculing Christine Blasey Ford during his self-described “famous Mississippi speech”, simply “because we won, it doesn’t matter, we won”, he’s not really letting go of anything when it comes to describing the behavior of Democrats during that process.
But why should we care at all about how Trump of all people characterizes Liberals? Because it illuminates how Trump manipulates and motivates his base: by introducing them to a group of outsiders they should abjectly fear. His fans then do the rest: processing that fear into anger at that group. And turning that anger into action.
And look, Trump is great at this, so there’s no question he’ll get a bunch of people fired up who otherwise might not have been enthused.
But the President’s also taking a big risk. Before, Liberals were weak, ineffectual, deserving of ridicule. Now they are to be feared. Though Trump argues they’re brutal and uncivil, he’s at the same time making them more formidable.
That in turn, seems to be leading Liberals to have an identity crisis of sorts, which is not a great idea less than a month ahead of the midterms.
Do they lean in? As Obama’s former Attorney General Eric Holder seems to suggest when he says: “When they go low, we kick them”, (a variation on Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high!”)
We’re not so sure. Yes, in order for Democrats to win big they need to convince a whole bunch of people to vote who didn’t or were too young to in 2016, or who even voted for Trump in 2016 but are fed up with all the craziness. And it’s reasonable to think a number of them will view Democrats’ actions of late as despicable with or without Trump’s assistance, with a fair number maybe thinking: “wait a sec. Isn’t this the type of behavior we’re supposed to be voting against?” And some will still be stuck on whether it’s fair to hold anything somebody did in high school against anybody. Others will wonder if they’re really inspired by promises of impeachment proceedings for Messrs. Trump and Kavanaugh.
At the same time, still others will think: “we’ve finally got some fighters on our side.” Liberals for months complained that Democrats were unwilling to make a stand and now they are. They lost, but the resistance was more significant than most anyone (including us) expected, and it still resonates. Liberal politicians and activists and ordinary citizens went and willingly fought for cause that looked like almost a sure loss, and for a significant moment or two turned everything on its head. Regardless of tactics, we can’t see how that doesn’t unite voters for Democratic candidates more than it divides.
“Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D’you know that you can use it?”
And now maybe it cuts both ways…
One Final Note
The most telling and disturbing moment to us from Trump’s 60 Minutes interview was the part about climate change: not so much Trump expressing doubt that it’s “manmade” or that “it could very well go back” on its own, or that “they say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael” (without saying who “they” are), because we knew all that already. It’s when Lesley Stahl presses him on scientists–even some of his own scientists at NOAA and NASA–who say “it’s worse than ever”. And Trump replies: “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.”
Which seems to underscore the President’s belief that no one, absolutely no one, isn’t playing an underhanded, zero sum game. Even scientists trying to save the planet…