Excellent (Orlando-Alternative) Read: “The Man Who Was Upset”

In my opinion, David Roth is poised to follow in the footsteps of great commentors like Damon Runyon, Roy Blount, and Charles P. Pierce as he moves from sportwriting to politics. This is from the New Republic:

Even after the hit NBC reality show The Apprentice rebuilt his personal fortune and retooled his image from Gilded Tabloid Oaf to Glowering Dealmaster, Trump never declined an opportunity to fish a quarter out of the toilet when the situation presented itself. That reflexive and amoral avarice is one of the ignoble truths of Trump, but it’s subsidiary to the most important and elemental fact about the man, which is that he never does or says anything new. Some things may be shaded slightly differently from one blurt or boast to the next—every number he says invariably cheats upward over time, and he periodically adds new scenes and jokes to the metastasizing stand-up act that he rolls out at his rallies… 


At this stage in his sublimely unexamined life and increasingly evident cognitive decline, Trump isn’t really capable of very compelling misdirections or even passably convincing falsehoods. He digresses because he loses the plot, and he lies when the truth wouldn’t look good on him; he distracts himself and tells himself lies because it is the only way to square what is actually happening with what he would prefer to be happening. (In this, he is but building on the spiritual birthright bestowed on him by his dad: Fred Trump was an ardent worshipper at the Marble Collegiate Church of Norman Vincent Peale, the reactionary business prophet who distilled many failed superpower incantations of his own in his blockbuster self-help tract, The Power of Positive Thinking. Peale presided over Donald’s first wedding in 1977, and remains Trump’s most frequently cited spiritual mentor.)

Where the media has failed and continues to fail is in its insistence that Trump is doing all of this, or any of it, for the same reason that other politicians are understood to have aimed to distract or chosen to lie. When this tendency is criticized, the criticism often arrives in the form of some lamentation that the media is still covering Trump as if he were a Normal President.


That criticism is reasonable as far as it goes, which is not nearly far enough. A series of long-standing procedural and political and discursive norms really have failed the essential challenge that Trumpian politics and Trump’s own bulletproof shamelessness present. But the steepness and rapidity of their fall raises some serious questions about just how sturdy they were to begin with. The spectacle of expert analysts and thought leaders parsing the actions of a man with no expertise or capacity for analysis is the purest acid satire—but less because of how badly that expert analysis has failed than because of how sincerely misplaced it is. Trump represents an extraordinary challenge to political media precisely because there is nothing here to parse, no hidden meanings or tactical elisions or slow-rolled strategic campaign. Mainstream political media and Trump’s opponents in the Democratic Party conceive of politics as chess, a matter of feints and sacrifices and moves made so as to open the way for other moves. There’s an element of romance to this vision, which is a crucial tenet in a certain type of big-D Democratic thought and also something like the reason why anyone would need to employ a political analyst. But Trump is not playing chess. The man is playing Hungry Hungry Hippos… 


The politics of Fox News are reactionary, but they are also hard to pin down—they are about a feeling, a combination of distaste and distrust for all the things that other people are getting away with and seem so entitled to out there. This hunched and feral posture of grievance is then combined with a fiercely put-upon impatience with the service that viewers themselves are receiving… 

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GOP Venality Open Thread: If Only There Was Some Agency!...

… Or if Leader McConnell allowed us any!…

Romney of the Uncanny Valley, peak functionality.








Weak Man, Tough Talk

As you’ve no doubt heard, the Short-Fingered Vulgarian announced a plan to round up “millions” of undocumented immigrants via tweet last night:

This was news to ICE, according to The Post:

U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.

I’d rather gouge out my eyes with a melon baller than watch Trump’s klan rally/2020 campaign launch from Orlando tonight, but I’d bet my next paycheck that anti-immigrant demagoguery will feature prominently in the evening’s bellowing. We’ve seen this movie before. Trump will make stupid accordion gestures with his tiny mitts and leer, snarl, strut and lie in an attempt to sound tough. The rage-fart huffers of Cult45 will stomp and hoot in approval.

But whenever Trump cranks up the bigotry, it’s a sign of weakness. Greg Sargent at The Post has it exactly right:

It has never been clear whether Trump acknowledges any political downside to his immigration cruelties and all around border-related impulsiveness. He appears to refuse to accept that they helped Democrats win a large national majority in the 2018 House races. He appears certain — outwardly, at least — that in 2020, this focus will energize his core supporters by enough to tip the electoral college, due to disproportionate numbers of blue-collar whites in the Rust Belt.

But the backdrop to all this is that the Trump campaign is firing several pollsters, because internal data leaked revealing Trump as deeply vulnerable to losing reelection — including trailing in Rust Belt states.

Trump still enjoys the advantages of incumbency and the good economy. But if his immigration agenda in particular is helping boost his reelection chances in those places, there’s no sign of it yet. Until that changes, this threat of mass arrests looks more than anything else like doubling down on a failing strategy — both substantively and politically.

In addition to firing up racist, xenophobic base voters, mean-spirited immigrant bashing frightens squishy Republican Never Trumpers like Andrew Sullivan and David Frum, who are urging Democrats to take a harder line on immigration — despite being immigrants themselves. Remind me again why we should listen to those assholes? Oh right, we shouldn’t — fuck them.

Candidates Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke have compassionate, comprehensive immigration proposals. Even if neither man makes it to the ticket, it’s my hope that their proposals gain support in the primary, just as I hope many of Warren’s economic policies become part of the Democratic Party platform in 2020, even if she’s not the nominee.

Outside of Trump’s rabid, dwindling base, cruelty doesn’t play well. But Trump is going to double, triple, and quadruple down on immigrant-bashing from tonight on through election day — not because he’s strong, but because he’s weak.

That means we’ll have to stay strong, because friends, shit’s about to get even uglier. This may be a good time to reach out to immigrants in your life who are understandably anxious about the climate in this country and let them know you stand with them.








Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Graphically Terrible

(Rubes via GoComics.com)
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Hey, the worst we have to worry about is Handsy Uncle Joe, an ‘independent’ who’s leaking support, and approximately a bakers dozen of disgruntled white dudes who can’t get traction. The Repubs are stuck with the Squatter-in-Chief, the half-bright diehards at the core of his personality cult, and the uncertain mercies of foreign oligarchs…

As President Trump prepares to formally launch his reelection bid Tuesday, his allies are trying to tamp down headlines that depict his campaign as trailing top Democrats, beset by withering leaks and unable to keep internal tensions from spilling into public view.

The 2020 drama intensified over the weekend, as Trump’s campaign abruptly fired three of its pollsters, including one polling firm formerly owned by Kellyanne Conway, the president’s adviser and former campaign manager.

Privately and publicly, campaign advisers fumed over the leak of internal polling data that showed Trump far behind former vice president Joe Biden in key states — a pattern that has touched a nerve with the president…

While an economy with low unemployment and steady growth would normally be a solid tail wind for an incumbent president, the Trump campaign is facing signs of a tough path to reelection.

The 17-state poll conducted by the campaign in March, for example, showed Trump trailing Biden by double digits in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, ABC reported Friday. Trump’s approval rating has also been stuck around the 40 percent mark throughout his term…

(Walt Handelsman via GoComics.com)
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On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

 

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

 

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