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Trump World Seems Worried

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  hallux  •  4 weeks ago  •  23 comments

By:   Tom Nichols - The Atlantic

Trump World Seems Worried
Donald Trump is running neck and neck with Joe Biden, and might even be taking the lead in the 2024 race. Yet Republicans and their media ecosystem seem to be in a panic about their candidate.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


The Path of Deception

As the presidential candidates head into their first debate next week, Trump’s people should be happy. Their candidate, of course, is dragging around a sled loaded with politically toxic baggage: He’s a   convicted felon ; he was   found liable   for sexual abuse; he   tried to incite   an insurrection; his speeches include gibberish   about sharks   and   a movie cannibal . He multiplies his own troubles at every turn, even undermining surrogates who keep trying to explain away his darker or weirder statements. And yet, against every rule of political physics, Trump is running even or perhaps pulling ahead of a reasonably successful incumbent.

But if Trump is doing so well, why is his campaign and its support system in right-wing media resorting to easily disproved lies? Joe Biden’s age has been a   brutal factor in keeping his poll numbers   low. The president is weaker of voice and stiffer of gait than he was even a few years ago, and more likely now to mangle a word or phrase. The GOP has its pick of examples to use to keep making that case, yet the party resorts to cheap tricks such as deceptive video editing.

Last week, for example, Biden was at the G7 meeting in Italy. The Republican National Committee released a video of him apparently wandering off from a group at a skydiving exhibition, like a confused grandpa looking for the van back to the senior-citizens home. The  New York Post  dutifully ran with the video. It looked bad—but as presented,  it was a lie . Biden was turning to talk to a paratrooper just a few yards to his left.

The RNC video and the   Post ’s   obedient amplification weren’t based on spin or interpretation. Someone had to have looked at that video of Biden in Europe and made the conscious decision to create a lie.   Let’s just cut the frame right there so that Biden looks like he wandered off. By the time anyone figures it out, it won’t matter.

The video made the rounds, and maybe that’s all the RNC wanted. A lie, as the saying goes, gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. And, as I often point out, I am a grown-up who has worked with local and national politicians. I am fully aware that   politics ain’t beanbag   and dirty tricks are part of the game. But if your candidate is doing well, why take the risk? A party that thinks its candidate is in control doesn’t take the chance of pulling the spotlight away from the opponent, which is exactly what happens when campaign operatives get caught in a lie.

The campaign engaged in a similarly baffling move this past weekend, when Trump went to Detroit. The Trump courtier Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News to congratulate him for speaking to 8,000 people at a Black church. Trump did, in fact, speak at a Black church—but to a crowd of perhaps 100 or so mostly  white  people in a half-empty space that couldn’t hold 8,000 people even if seats were installed in the rafters and on the roof. (Its pastor gamely  said the next day  that he was surprised at the number of Black people who actually attended, considering that some had initially laughed at him when he approached them on the street about the event.)

So why not take the win, run the video of Trump with a Black pastor, and leave it at that? Why go for the big lie and then look foolish?

One possibility is that the Trump campaign is worried. Maybe Conway was just gilding the Trump lily, but MAGA world appears to be working overtime to make Trump and Biden seem indistinguishable and thus equivalently awful. Last week, Andrew Ross Sorkin   reported   on CNBC that top U.S. business leaders were concerned about Trump’s mental fitness after a meeting on June 13 with the former president. Several CEOs, according to Sorkin, said that Trump “was remarkably meandering, could not keep a straight thought,” and “was all over the map.”

Hours after the Trump story dropped, the   New York Post   ran   an article   that used almost identical language about Biden meeting with G7 leaders, featuring comments attributed to a “diplomatic insider” and an “attendee from a non-US delegation.”

Deceptively edited videos, nonexistent crowds, and   No, your man is more senile than ours   counterprogramming is not the sign of a confident campaign. But Trump’s team might also be doing these things because they   work .

The Biden video—even if only the arguing over the provenance of the video itself—wrested attention away from yet another disturbing Trump   rant about sharks . Conway was   ridiculed   for her Detroit comments, but the media response to the Trump event was all the campaign could ask for. Instead of publishing a headline like “Trump Speaks to a Small, Mostly White Audience of Loyalists in Black Church as His Campaign Lies About Crowd Size,” the   Associated Press   rolled out an article titled “Trump Blasts Immigrants for Taking Jobs as He Courts Voters at a Black Church, MAGA Event in Detroit.”   CBS   went with “Trump Hosts Roundtable at Detroit Church, Says Biden Has Been ‘Worst President for Black People.’”

If nonevents bolstered by outrageous falsehoods generate coverage like this, who could blame the Trump campaign for thinking that lying is merely a small frictional cost of getting great headlines? Trump’s people understand the power of the fast lie and slow correction, and they know, too, that the media are reflexively averse to reporting on one of the major candidates as an unstable felon who is flatly lying to the public. Don’t believe me about that “felon” part? Today,   The   New York Times   ran the headline “Biden Campaign Ad Paints Trump as a Felon.” Britain’s   Financial Times   likewise   wrote : “Joe Biden to Paint Donald Trump as ‘Unhinged’ Felon in $50mn Ad Campaign.”

“Paint”?

Someone at   The New York Times   must have caught up with this headline, because by midday,   the story   was retitled “Biden Campaign Ad Calls Attention to Trump’s Felon Status.” But that first draft was indicative of the deep reluctance in some quarters to talk about Trump accurately, as if this were still 2016 and Trump hadn’t yet shown that his flaws were more than mere speculation by his opponents.

The Trump campaign has seized on the essential truth that this election is about images and feelings rather than facts or policies. It is working to squeeze every vote it can out of its most extreme supporters by providing them with the high-octane Trumpiness they crave. But the campaign is also resorting to sometimes-desperate ploys in order to cover both candidates in a carefully formulated smog, hoping to obscure the differences between an old man who occasionally stumbles over his words and a nearly-as-old criminal who regularly wanders out of the gates of Fort Reality to go on a walkabout in the wilds of his unstable mind.

In the end, the Trump campaign has chosen the path of deception both because the weaknesses of its candidate demand it and because it’s a more reliable path to better media coverage and to winning over credulous and inattentive voters. Why bother telling the truth if lying works so well?


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Hallux
PhD Principal
1  seeder  Hallux    4 weeks ago

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Quiet
1.1  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Hallux @1    4 weeks ago

was thinking more along, "bring out your dead, bring out your dead" cause brain dead comes to mind, when thought of, are the Trump kind

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Hallux @1    4 weeks ago
"Trump is running even or perhaps pulling ahead of a reasonably successful incumbent."

Which, IMO, shouts out to the rest of the world the sad level of education, intelligence, common sense and ability to think critically of about half of the American public. 

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Quiet
1.2.1  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2    4 weeks ago

i think critically about far more than that...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.2.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Igknorantzruls @1.2.1    4 weeks ago

Then you may well be among the more intelligent Americans.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Junior Quiet
1.3  afrayedknot  replied to  Hallux @1    4 weeks ago

“Help! Help! I'm being repressed!”

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
1.3.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  afrayedknot @1.3    4 weeks ago

Get a new dominatrix.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.3.2  devangelical  replied to  Hallux @1.3.1    4 weeks ago

maybe that's his safe phrase, rookie...

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Junior Quiet
1.3.3  afrayedknot  replied to  Hallux @1.3.1    4 weeks ago

…missing Cobalt Blue now…

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.3.4  devangelical  replied to  afrayedknot @1.3.3    4 weeks ago

I hear that...

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2  Sean Treacy    4 weeks ago

It’s rational to be worried about trump, and makes much more sense than the reality  denying behavior that resembles Kim jong un worship we see from democrats. The worse Biden performs and polls the shriller the defenses become.  

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
2.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    4 weeks ago
Kim jong un worship we see from democrats.

When were Dems ever on the receiving end of birthday cards from Kim? When did Dems ever say, "And then we fell in love, okay? No, really - he wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters." 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Hallux @2.1    4 weeks ago

I have no idea why democrats treat Biden like North Koreans communists worship Kim.  

Why do democrats claim Biden  has the energy of a thirty year old and is sharper than he ever was, but only when cameras aren’t around?  The lies are so transparent but it doesn’t stop the Biden cult.  

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Quiet
2.1.2  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Hallux @2.1    4 weeks ago
he wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters." 

i always wondered, if Trumps' so called by he 'love letters', ever spelled anything...?

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
2.1.3  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.1    4 weeks ago
I have no idea why democrats treat Biden like North Koreans communists worship Kim.

Surely you jest, and poorly at that. MAGA is about as NK as one can get when it comes to worshipping. Hell, Drumpf could just as easily say that Jesus was a loser for getting nailed to a cross and they would nod and grunt while dragging their knuckles to vote as one thought for all and all thought for 'the' one.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1.4  JBB  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.1    4 weeks ago

Sure! The Democrat's devotion to Joe Biden is cult like while the gop and Trump's MAGA are nothing like that at all /S!

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Quiet
2.1.5  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Hallux @2.1.3    4 weeks ago
Hell, Drumpf could just as easily say that Jesus was a loser for getting nailed to a cross and they would nod and grunt while dragging their knuckles to vote as one thought for all and all thought for 'the' one.

just like pow's and the 'losers' lining those French Cemetary Graves, Trump would consider Jesus a 'loser' that as Atlantic City demonstrated, Trump would not have to pay, and he would have that lazy son of God loaded back up on that Golden Showered Calf, showin extrac thigh, while deported back to Israel, where Netanyahu wood crucify Jesus High

on medical bud

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2.1.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hallux @2.1    4 weeks ago

um..never that I can recall

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.7  devangelical  replied to  Igknorantzruls @2.1.5    4 weeks ago

it would be funny if the judge ordered a crucifixion for trump on 7/11, in a nod to his gullible supporters...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3  JBB    4 weeks ago

Those around President Biden are confident about next week's debate.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1  devangelical  replied to  JBB @3    4 weeks ago

no prep, no audience, no clue, and a mic cnn can turn off. trump's fucked. but can anyone really predict his next stupid move? I'm counting on some real drama for the benefit of his legion of maga morons. the neck snapping spin here the next day will be epic...

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    4 weeks ago
the media are reflexively averse to reporting on one of the major candidates as an unstable felon who is flatly lying to the public. 

There is no journalistic integrity anymore. Would somebody like trmp been elected 30 years ago? 20 years ago?

Shame on the New York Times and their ilk

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    4 weeks ago
There is no journalistic integrity anymore.

their last great white dope, ronny raygun, basically killed it off in the 80's, but the good news, defamation suits are really starting to pay off...

 
 

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