Trumpism Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

‘Mistakes Were Made’

Read here about the history of this nebulous, deflective phrase used by politicians to escape blame for things they should be blamed for. Remember though, in Donald Trump’s case, “mistakes were made” would be an entirely new and improved level of thought and responsibility taken by a guy who, even this week, still believes drooling, ugly crowds of followers at his rallies screaming, “lock her up,” are absolute affirmation of his inevitable election in November. That he is laying the groundwork for not only not going quietly if he loses but calling into question the integrity of the entire American system of elections, setting the stage for real civil unrest, may be Trump’s most unforgivable sin.

Questioning If An Election Will Be ‘Rigged’ Strikes At The Heart Of Democracy

 

Donald Trump’s poll numbers finally have begun to reflect some logical, downward correlation to his now-accelerated aberrant behavior, even for him: the anger, the hate, the bigotry, the insults, the lying, the delusional grandiosity, the policy and knowledge-free promises of instantly fixing everything.  Will Hillary’s lead hold or even expand, not only in the national numbers but in the battleground states that are Trump’s only hope?… you’ll get no official prediction here.  But the ebb and flow of polls is more likely than not going to show a reversal and a closure of the gap, of which we will be alerted to by Donald Trump himself when he starts bragging again about the numbers.  For now he is silent on them, reminding us the press is made up totally of horrible, dishonest people.

Following a week that began with Trump: 1. continuing his fight with Muslim-American Gold Star parents   2. attacking local fire marshalls at his rallies   3. throwing a baby out of a rally then, as usual, pretending it was joke   4. calling Hillary Clinton, “the devil,” early in the week… demoting her to mere “monster,” by Friday   5. asked how his daughter Ivanka might respond to sexual harassment in the workplace, he sensitively responded, “I would like to think she would find another Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.34.15 PMcareer or find another company if that was the case.”  6. ate KFC — with a fork and knife — aboard his private jet, then posted a picture of it online   7.  asked if he’d have changed anything about the last week, he pensively, deeply reflected and looked into his soul, “Maybe,” he said Friday, “I would’ve done a little bit less.”

There’s continuing proof that it isn’t so much that the press is inherently “dishonest,” it’s merely that Trumpism has taken the standards for truth and accountability down to unimaginable levels of absurdity.  Trump is the student for whom a D-minus is trumpeted as a sign of greatness.  Things that fleetingly signal the smallest, remotest hints of normalcy and decency by Trump are rotely parroted as “turns in the campaign,” or signs he’s suddenly become “presidential.” (or even adult!)  Show me a 70-year old guy who’s never been told “no” in his life who suddenly changes his personality and I’ll show you someone who is either acting like a phony now or was a fraud for the first 70 years of his life.  Take your choice or take both probabilities if need be.  So, the press “dishonesty” leans in favor of Trump, not against him when these tiny, always temporary, grudging bows to convention or apology are seen as signs of “the turn.”  Two examples from this week, where the ratings-hungry press always, in the end, roots for the series to be extended, even if a blowout seems possible and a comeback unlikely with one team down 3-1.  And yes, I was surprised to see so little LeBron-Cavalier analogizing done at the Cleveland Republican convention!

  1.  His absolute non-apology for being out there lying for several days about a video that he never really saw. Via CNN:
After repeatedly claiming he had seen footage of the payment — compensation tied to a decades-old debt — during the week, Trump tweeted a reversal early Friday: “The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!”
Trump had actually viewed video from news reports showing American prisoners arriving in Switzerland after being released by the Iranians.
Like the mythical, infallible Fonzie on Happy Days, or a deranged dictator drunk on his own self-perceived perfection, Trump cannot apologize or even say the word “wrong,” let alone say he was wrong and that he should not have been out there repeating false information.  He should have said, “mistakes were made…. by me.”  Yea, that’s coming!
2. The non-analytical “reporting”  of the painful, pried-out-of-him-with-a-sledgehammer, begrudgingly given under duress, hostage-tape “endorsement” late in the week of Paul Ryan, Kelly Ayote, and John McCain. The supposedly greatest ad-libbing, free-wheeling, crowd-pleasing (usually) non-teleprompter-using stump speaker in US history had to stiffly read his fake endorsement of the three after hating on them…. forever. “In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.”  He gets any kind of credit for that?  Yes, he does, in our new series, Anything to Keep it Close 90+ Days Out. That’s a guy who has never used the phrase, “shared mission” in his life.  That’s not how he talks.  Trump showed all the enthusiasm of a guy reading a statement forcing him to endorse Zika and Ted Cruz.  watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCf–oEDMM8
As the week ended, Trump was Trump again.  I was worried for a moment. CNN reports that,  “the Republican nominee, speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, accused Clinton of being “unbalanced” and “unstable,” called her a “dangerous” and “pathological” liar and warned voters in this swing state that a Clinton presidency would lead to “the destruction of this country from within.”  As he is not a psychiatrist, he is free to make that evaluation.  Actual psychiatrists are being warned to Leave This Man Alone.  Meanwhile, I continue work on my next country hit: How Can I leave You Alone If You Won’t Leave? Washington Post:

Hey Republicans: YOU BUILT THAT!

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 2.01.49 PMForget Mondale, 1984 (won one state + DC, 13 electoral votes to Reagan’s 525, got 40.6% of the vote to Reagan’s 58.8). Forget Goldwater, 1964 (won 6 states to Johnson’s 44+DC, got 38% of the vote to LBJ’s 61%).  Right now Trumpus the Tank Engine is determined to set a new standard for losing a presidential election.  Down there with the 1940 NFL Championship Game, won by the Chicago Bears over the Washington Redskins, 73-0.  Trump wants to make history, and currently seems determined to do so, but not in the way he anticipated after scientifically targeting a surely-shrinking group of blindly loyal followers. As of midweek, he’d triggered talk of a new show on A&E… Celebrity Politician Intervention.

Smart CEO’s underpromise and overdeliver.  Before the Republican convention, this:

“It should be a monumentally magnificent convention and it should be brilliantly staged,” is what Trump told the Washington Post earlier this year. “The convention in Cleveland will be amazing,” is an exact quote of a tweet by Trump himself.

When the chalk dust finally settled, it was a radical case of overpromise and underdeliver.  Apparently Scott Baio, the UFC guy, the wife plagiarizing Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.01.03 PMMichelle Obama, and the 75 minute Rebel Yell Acceptance Speech didn’t move the needle the right way:

Two Gallup surveys of 1,000 adults after each convention found that just 36 percent said they were more likely to vote for Trump after watching the GOP proceedings, while 51 percent said they were less likely, a 15 percentage point disadvantage. That was the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1984 that a candidate has left a convention with a net negative. Previous conventions left candidates with a net positive ranging from a couple percentage points to a 45 point advantage. More below, courtesy Time Magazine:

Forget the ‘Convention Bump.’ Gallup Found People Less Likely to Vote For Donald Trump.

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Determined to run the table by offending every possible slice of the American electorate and then declaring that each one of those niches (women are a niche?) “love me,” here is the New York Times’ updated Twitter Insult list, as of July 29, that is a bit outdated since it doesn’t include Khizr Khan and Gold Star parents, babies, and the NFL scheduling computer.

The 250 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List

Less than 100 days before election day, and melting down in front of us is what is left of the Republican Party Hardly of Lincoln.  When he said in 1858 that a “house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln was referring to the divisions over slavery, not a political party itself.  But it sure applies right now, and it’s a party establishment against its own voters, many of whom have decided that frustrated anarchy carried out by an ignorant, unprepared, authoritarian one-man-band of bully is better than anything.  It’s like telling your 5-year-old to go to his room.  Time out.  Next thing you know you hear things crashing and breaking he’s so mad at you. It never ends well.  The lack of courage…. the outright fear in the souls of the members of the Republican party unwilling to put the welfare of the country… the world possibly…. above their own elected selves is a sad, mass case of Profiles in Cowardice.  So far, a few corporate executives and retiring members of Congress have stepped off the runaway train.  But very few.

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Finally, a quick math lesson. In 2012, Barack Obama harvested 66 million votes.  Mitt Romney got 61 million. In the 2016 Republican primaries, Donald Trump piled up 14 million votes, which was 45% of the Republican primary vote.  In other words, 55% didn’t like him much.  So, he needs every person who’s already voted for him, plus literally every person who didn’t (17 million).  That gets him to 31 million, if he were perfect in the preliminary Republican category.  He’s got to more than double that to win, assumedly by appealing to lots and lots of folks who don’t dislike him as much as they hate Hillary Clinton.  Good luck with that.  She may be best advised to take a 3 month cruise around the world and let Trump roll.

Another math lesson. Trump seems to start out fast and then fade over time.  His glory days as a developer of real estate are certainly behind him, but you’d never know that from the outward sheen of conspicuous consumption… the airplane and the helicopter with his name on them, the younger wife (latest model…. literally), and a braggadocious, bigger-than-life persona that makes one greatly appreciate the understated elegance of Hugh Hefner.  His boasting about the popularity of his Apprentice shows on NBC was always based on knowing no one would ever look up the raw numbers.  Let’s do it here, and you’ll quickly see the fade over time, and don’t add up to presidential consensus popularity:

Number of viewers the first six seasons of The Apprentice, 2003-2007: Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 4.08.23 PM

 

 

 

Rebranded as The Celebrity Apprentice, 2008-2015… a slight bump then the final fade out into political obscurity:Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 4.11.23 PM

 

 

It’s not fair to assume Trump’s tv ratings over time are now being reflected in his poll numbers as a presidential candidate.  It’s not fair.  But one can certainly hope.