Thursday, April 30, 2020

Blame The Dog

From the Washington Post:

Trump’s advisers presented him with the results of internal polling last week that showed him falling behind former vice president Joe Biden in key swing states in the presidential race, part of an effort by aides to curtail Trump’s freewheeling daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations.

The president spoke with campaign manager Brad Parscale, White House senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, among other officials, in calls and meetings last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to the three people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.

One call on Wednesday — with Parscale patched in from his home in Florida and McDaniel from hers in Michigan — was designed to present grim polling data to the president to encourage him to reduce the frequency of coronavirus briefings or to stop taking questions, after seeing his numbers slip for several weeks, officials said.

Trump resisted the pleas, saying people “love” the briefings and think he is “fighting for them,” a person with knowledge of the Wednesday conversation said. Trump has long been distrustful of polling data presented to him when the numbers are negative, aides say.

[…]

Aides described Trump as in a particularly foul mood last week because of the polling data and news coverage of his administration’s response to the pandemic, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. In one call, he berated Parscale over the polling data, the two people said.

At one point in that call, Trump said he might sue Parscale, though one of the people with knowledge of the comments said he made the remark in jest. News of Trump’s eruption at Parscale was first reported Wednesday by CNN.

Trump told Parscale that he did not believe the polling that had been presented to him, even though it came from the campaign and the RNC.

“I’m not losing to Joe Biden,” Trump said at one point, both of these people said, adding that the president used profanities throughout the call.

Of course he’s going to blame someone else when he’s losing, and like those who fart and blame the dog, it’s never his fault.  And — Dog willing — when he loses in November, it’s not going to be his fault.  He will say the votes against him were fraudulent, illegals voted in huge numbers, the Democrats cheated, the Republican establishment and Deep State had it in for him from the beginning, and the Chinese were for Biden all along.  He will never concede, he will challenge the vote in court, he will say the Electoral College is a scam, and on that clear beautiful morning of January 20, 2021, the Secret Service will have to bodily remove him from the third floor of the White House residence where he will be surrounded by the discarded bags and wrappers from Burger King and Cheetos.

But yes, at this point, you’re losing to Joe Biden, and you don’t even have a dog to blame.

2 barks and woofs on “Blame The Dog

  1. Well, if everybody knows months ahead of time that Trump has refused to accept a loss in the election, they will react accordingly, months ahead of the 1/20/21 date on which he will only be forcibly removed from the WH if the center holds and there is a consensus to remove him by then.

    I don’t think that we can expect that his base will accept that he lost any more than Trump himself will accept that. How many of them believe Trump’s assertion that he actually won the PV in 2016? How many of them believe that Ds and their urban voters regularly steal elections? How many of not just the Trump base, but mainstream Rs, believe against all the evidence that identity theft is a real threat to fair elections that justifies Voter ID laws at least? And this year we will almost certainly have a COVID factor further muddying the waters of an election process that is fairly complicated and opaque, and only draws a minority of eligible voters in normal years. There will be more than the usual actually legitimate concerns that this or that procedure adopted by this or that state to deal with COVID risk unfairly skewed the result, procedurally or by depressing turnout in one group or another. Throw in the way overblown and frankly fake concerns, and there is no magnitude of a Trump loss, in the PV or EV, that his base will not be able to explain away.

    And if this base, that even now even the “moderate” R politicians tremble in the face of, does not accept the Trump loss, how will these R office holders not be forced to publically agree with them? And if they do have to pretend that Trump Really Won trutherism makes sense, they will be forced to act so as to give it some semblance of validity. The “moderates” might hem and haw and try to hew to some reasonable line that, sorry, Trump lost and we have to live with that, hoping that in time that reality will sink in with the base and the Trump Really Won movement will peter out. But it won’t peter out, will it? The base has accepted so many even less likely conspiracy theories, hasn’t it? Soon the Rs in red controlled states, and their red state courts, will be pressured, and often not resist the pressure, to send in EC tallies for Trump, no matter what the actual result. Their base will give them their marching orders, and they will have to manufacture evidence that what the base wants is perfectly justified.

    Maybe if SCOTUS put its foot down firmly to quash the fake EC tallies, that would do the trick. That’s likely but not certain. But why would the R party hacks who constitute the majority on the court do that, give the election to the D? They certainly don’t have to openly steal the thing for a Trump who clearly lost, as their only alternative. All they have to do is take the completely justifiable line that Congress is the final judge of the validity of EC tallies, and therefore refuse to decide any such cases.

    So 1/3/21 dawns and the new Congress is tasked with deciding which EC tallies are valid or not. If both chambers are majority R, I can’t see them, after months of public protestation that Trump Really Won, suddenly betraying the Trump base in order to avoid betraying the US. We know where their loyalties lie. Trump will be re-elected no matter what happened on Election Day, count on it.

    If only one chamber is R majority, that chamber will refuse to agree with the other chamber that enough EC tallies went for the D to make that person president. There will be no winner of the 2020 election. If it’s the House that’s R, they will have made Trump Speaker before 1/20/21, and he will continue in office in the absence of a winner of the 2020 election.

    If it’s the Senate that is R, while the House is D, by 1/20/21 there will no longer be any Secret Service agents on duty willing to forcibly remove Trump from the WH — ditto for generals and admirals. The D Speaker could certainly claim to be president, because possession of the WH has no written Constitution effect on who possesses the powers and duties of the office, and order all the Trump generals and admirals and Secret Service agents dismissed. Even among the wider, non-purged, cross-section of the Secret Service and military, is it clear that an unelected D Speaker will enjoy consensus support in such a threatened civil war against the at least once, and arguably twice-elected Trump? Maybe they won’t arrest the Speaker, but I wouldn’t bet on them arresting Trump either. How does that situation of two pretenders to the presidency get resolved? At the very least, even a reality-testing Trump, one who wasn’t demented and really knew that he had lost, might claim that Trump Really Won just to get the bennies he could extort to agree to give in to the other pretender and leave quietly. He would get to leave with a bag of loot.

    And if it’s the seemingly safe circumstance that the election gives both chambers to the Ds, by 1/3/21 the Rs may be in such a state trying to deal with the Trump Really Won movement that their residual majority will vote to not seat enough of the Ds who won Senate seats to give Ds their majority. In for a penny, in for a pound, and the same COVID plus standard election concerns and uncertainties that served as the pretext for the Trump Really Won movement could serve as the pretext for the Senators X, Y, and Z Really Won movement.

    Even if stealing the Senate and the WH is a bridge too far for the Rs, and a D Congress votes on 1/3/21 to make the D candidate president, there is still going to be the problem of Trump having entrenched himself in the WH by purging any of the usual folks who might forcibly remove him on 1/20/21. Is it clear that the Ds have the stomach for sending in somebody — the DC metro police, the DC National Guard? — to potentially have to fight it out with the Secret Service? Again, even a non-demented Trump, would have opportunities, even in this best of all possible variant realities, to harvest some good from his loss, that he might go with Trump Really Won as a pure con job.

    But Trump is demented, and he knows it. He decided to run for president because he increasingly found even the low energy business model of his family corporation progressively beyond his diminishing abilities. He has the cartoonish view of politics and public policy that is possible to people not interested in either, that both are dead simple, requiring only the willingness to assert one’s will in a field grown weak and indecisive with trying to please everyone and observe all the public pieties. Of course, neither is at all simple, as he has found. He has been shielded from the consequences of his total incompetence at a job he despises in every aspect except for its public display until this COVID crisis has demanded decisions that our system allows no one but the president to make. Now he’s desperate. What do you expect him to do if he loses? Accept the custodial care he obviously needs? Oh, he gets such care as a perk of the office — all his personal needs are attended to — but it comes as the least service due to the Head Honcho of the entire US of A. The same custodial care that would be the necessity imposed by his failing powers, that might make going out in a blaze of glory on 1/20/21 seem the preferable fate.

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