Trump obviously feels invincible. He is beyond us all now. He is at the heights he has always dreamed of, but it has not made him nice. He believes that he must use fear to stay there, he must use audacity, and that is something he is really good at. Audacity can be a positive trait that allows risk-taking and pushes a forward agenda, such as a successful business. But in Trump’s case he has the audacity to break laws, to defy even the most gentle of authorities such as his nation’s traditions which never before had to be set into laws. Staying within some of these informal boundaries was a sort of gentleman’s agreement (also respected by ladies). But Donald J Trump is no gentleman, nor does he want to be one. He is a fascist. He is always punching back even when that is not the best strategy. He can’t help himself. He sees every disagreement as an attack. He sees every decision that goes against his wishes as turning him into a victim. He plays the victim well in order to get his way, but once he wins, he is ruthless. If he loses, which he rarely does, he engages in brutal retaliation. He seems to have a cruel heart, but he really has no empathy of any kind. His reactions are all about what he is feeling and how he can soothe himself. He cannot hide his emotions. He likes that his moods are carefully observed by everyone and that people try to keep him happy so he won’t lash out.
But even so, even though we know all of this about him, it is still unusual that he is acting the way he is in the run-up to an election. Meddling in the business of the Justice Department is not usual. Transparently interfering in courts, their processes and their outcomes is just not done. Doing this to keep crooked men out of jail because you like them, or because they are your friends; because they kept the loyalty oath they swore to you (knowing you would come to their rescue), because they refused to testify in front of lawful investigations of a Special Prosecutor is something that is usually done on the down low (or not at all). Doing this so openly in an election year is really, really rare. It suggests that you are so certain that you will be reelected that you do not need to worry about what you do, even this close to an election. Is Trump unable to keep himself in check to achieve a greater goal? Is he playing to his base to show how he treats those who are loyal to him? Is the election already a done deal, is the fix in? Will the electoral college math, the Evangelical machinations, and the Republican dehumanization of the Democrats make a Republican the winner of all presidential elections for decades to come, even though this is no longer a majority party. Trump obviously believes it is all about him, that his people love him so much, and the economy is doing so well that he has a blank check for any behavior that secures his tenure in his little Oval Office fortress.
He purges sincere civil servants who work in his government for testifying against him. Actually he eventually purges almost everyone. He turns in a budget that would not go into effect until after the election that makes big cuts to social programs. He wants the Supreme Court to declare the Affordable Care Plan unconstitutional. He reverses clean water protections. What candidate for President, even an incumbent does these kinds of things this close to an election. Presidents often try to do as little as possible and make statements about ‘gifts’ that will accrue to the people if they vote to elect. Why does making such counterintuitive moves seem to make Trump even more ‘Trumpy’? He had to hold an entire party in Congress in thrall to escape being impeached. Now he is putting ‘the band’ back together to help him win this election but I bet he will not listen to any advice from these old pals, like Hope Hicks. Of course, she obviously knows her way around the Trump. I would like to think that Donald is just being overly confident, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we are screwed. And that is exactly what Trump wants me to think. We need to put our energies into making sure that Donald’s cavalier behavior in the run-up to 2020 is just hype.
Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Nati Harnik – AP – NBC News
Running against Trump is not a fate I would wish for anyone. I wish the candidate who wins the Democratic primary did not have to run against this nasty piece-of-enigma. Trump cheats. Trump’s behavior is not limited by rules. He sneers at rules. Rules are for chumps. And he has been able to get away with breaking the rules for so long that he believes he is invincible. I am worried that his unfounded confidence makes it almost impossible to discover his “kryptonite”.
He has the Senate in his corner. Cynical Republicans in Congress have wholeheartedly embraced this criminal bottom feeder hiding in the oval office because he makes them think that he (and therefore they) will keep mysteriously winning. For now the winning is all too real. But the winning is real because Trump cheats. The Republican Party has also been doing a lot of cheating. If there are no moral rules, no philosophical stops, no conscience, and no guilt you can use any tactics against your opponents. If your opponents are determined to uphold some principles (as in this case the Democrats are) then the probability of beating them goes way up because Trump and the Republicans can just use lots of no-holds-barred politics and violate the Constitution they have pledged to uphold, and there you have it.
How Does Trump Cheat?
How does Trump cheat you may well ask. Trump began cheating even while campaigning and we watched him do it but we could never prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Being negative about an opponent is considered quite acceptable in an election although voters are always moaning about how they hate negative ads. Finding your opponents past impurities and exaggerating them is AOK.
But I believe there is a difference between airing someone’s past political inconsistencies and totally demonizing someone. The kinds of conspiracy theories that turn a fairly normal Secretary of State and grandmother into someone who finds children for child predators and eats babies, stories which circulated about Hillary, goes beyond the pale. Why people like to believe these products of someone’s overactive imagination is tough to understand until you realize how many times these stories are repeated and called to the attention of people who also happen to be voters. But someone believed it so well that he took a long gun to a DC pizza parlor to bust up the trafficking operation that was supposedly going on in the basement of the establishment.
The numbers in the elections were not on Trump’s side when he began campaigning. Hillary had the electoral college threshold within reach; every poll said so. However several events occurred in the final months of the campaign. Videos started to appear on social media that claimed that Hillary was sick and even dying. Trump began this attack on Hillary’s health, although he had no actual medical data to back up his remarks. And of course, Hillary actually did have a fairly serious case of pneumonia. Campaigning is hard work. She let herself get run down, but she was certainly not dying.
I don’t remember when another candidate in an election has “owned” a whole television news channel dedicated day and night to putting a single political party into office by playing on the grievances of some American voters. Fox “News” may have backed the Republican Party but it soon became the channel of Trump.
The time line is important-notice proximity to the election:
Someone at the FBI found Hillary emails on Andrew Weiner’s laptop and that refreshed the ire about Hillary’s use of a private server. Her assistant, Huma Abedin, a Muslim, it was suggested, may have leaked classified materials to her estranged husband’s laptop with sinister intent (something, something terrorists). (Huma Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, MI).
On July 5, 2016, former FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau would recommend that charges not be filed in the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email system while heading the State Department.
On Sept. 26, 2016, the FBI executed a search warrant on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s iPhone, iPad and laptop computer, and discovered 141,000 emails on the laptop that were potentially relevant to the FBI’s closed investigation of Clinton. Longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin was married to Weiner at the time. (Abedin’s lawyer said early this year the couple was privately finalizing their divorce.) Weiner was being separately investigated for “sexting” with an underage teenage girl.
A month later, on Oct. 28, 2016, Comey told lawmakers in a letter that the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” and that investigators would “review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information.”
On Nov. 6, 2016, Comey told Congress in a follow-up memo that the FBI had “reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State” and that officials “have not changed our conclusions.”
It is highly unlikely that Trump initiated this FBI timeline but he certainly used it to full advantage with plenty of innuendo and “rigged” election speech. But clearly the timing of this FBI announcement was very suspicious. However it is also highly unlikely that Comey was in cahoots with Trump, although I suppose someone may have tipped the FBI off about the emails on Weiner’s computer, and we have had no reporting about who that might have been.
The Access Hollywood tapes were aired on October 7, 2016 and things looked bad for Trump for a while. But Trump’s friend Roger Stone seems to have signaled for the Wikileaks dumps to begin an hour later. Why did Trump command such loyalty from so many influential, but shady men? Why did some Americans want a man like Trump to be President? Why did the American people want a president whose elections tactics seemed so underhanded? Again a 24/7 news outlet, which was able to spin everything in favor of a man who turned an election into a mafia movie, had an enormous effect as it ginned up the angers that talk radio hosts had spent a decade implanting in American brains.
Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post • January 29, 2019 10:31 am
Updated: January 29, 2019 10:31 am
“The revelation in The Washington Post of a tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women landed just after 4 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2016.
Less than an hour later, WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy organization founded by Julian Assange, began releasing hacked emails from the account of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.”
Many things happened to help Trump win the 2016 election that he had no control over. But he certainly responded to negative information very quickly using distraction to great advantage. There is still all the Russia interference in the election that followed Trump’s tacit statement of permission for Russia to jump into the mix.
“Russian officials began to target email addresses associated with Hillary Clinton’s personal and campaign offices “on or around” the same day Donald Trump called on Russia to find emails that were missing from her personal server, according to a new indictment from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said in a July 27, 2016 news conference…
After the July, 2016 news conference, critics slammed Trump for apparently encouraging foreign actors to steal information from his opponent. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity and a matter of politics to being a national security issue,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement after Trump’s remarks…
Mueller’s indictment details a sophisticated, large-scale hacking effort by 12 Russian officers to interfere with the 2016 elections by stealing documents from private servers and staging their release through fake online personas, such as Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.
In all, the Russian officials and their co-conspirators targeted more than 300 people associated with the Clinton campaign and other Democratic Party organizations starting in March 2016, the indictment says.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said no Americans knew they were communicating with Russians in this indictment and he had no evidence that the outcome of the election was affected.”
Rob Rosenstein had no evidence that the election was not affected either.
I have never heard a candidate who wished to be the President of America ask Russia to help them do anything or learned that so many, or indeed any contacts, took place between a campaign and Russians. Here is another tactic that seems absolutely beyond the pale, except this particular man knows how to get others to cheat for him so it is almost impossible to pin anything underhanded on him. We know he cheats, we can see him doing it, but we cannot prove it.
How Barr turned the Mueller Report into a Fiasco
When a special investigator was finally appointed, it took Mueller almost 2 years to conduct an investigation. Throughout those 2 years we heard Trump address Mueller constantly, using a bullhorn to make sure everyone could hear him say that he is not guilty, which made us suspect all the more that he is very guilty. Trump managed to put an attorney general in place just before the investigation ended who believes, according to a document he produced, in the absolute power of the President.
With the acceptance of William Barr to be the AG we the people were screwed. We suspect Barr called a halt to the investigation; we know he commandeered the official report and handed out a less-than-adequate summary of the contents of the report. Although he later gave people (voters) access to a heavily redacted version of the report he did this only after the fake verdict had already had time to set in. The majority leader in the Senate who does whatever Trump asks and nothing more has declared the case closed.
Trump has defied the House of Representatives and the Constitution by refusing to cooperate in any way with House investigations. He has ignored subpoenas; has told all his peeps to ignore subpoenas. And there we are, where we stand right now with our cheater-in-chief and an election looming. I do not believe there is one Democratic candidate willing to cheat the way Trump has, with no respect for the rule of law or even the rules of political warfare. Trump cheats bigly.
How do Republicans cheat?
How do the Republicans cheat? The Republicans cheat by messing with votes, Democratic Party votes. Statistics show exactly who votes for Democrats so it is an easy matter to target them with a flurry of annoying tactics, each of which must be discovered and defused. These attacks on voters are so numerous and enacted at such local levels that it is difficult to overturn each and every one before a given election day. Our elections, which I used to feel were very well run, protected by the (now toothless) Voters Rights Act which were mostly fair and free, are beginning to seem like beleaguered mine fields of purged voter rolls, gerrymandered districts, polling places that keep getting cut and cuts in the number of voting days, Russian hackers, and any other thing some Republican comes up with. It is always Republicans trying to suppress Democratic votes. There is no evidence that Democrats have tried to suppress Republican votes and that is because Dems have not been doing that. Republicans have been cheating for decades.
Holding an election in such a chaotic landscape fills me with dread that we are doomed to four more years of Donald Trump because he and his people are willing to cheat to win and the Democrats are not. And cheaters seem to be winning these days. It doesn’t seem like it should be like that. You would think voters would not vote for cheaters. Will this election have any oversight?