Tuesday, August 02, 2016

"Cheer up! Things could be worse!

So I cheered up, and sure enough....things got worse!

A little more kerosene for the fire:

“He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud,’” Stone said. “‘If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’”
Here's the thing:  Trump is not leading in Florida.  All three projections at 538.com show Hillary taking Florida handily, now and in November.  So what, right?  If Trump isn't leading, how can he complain?

But remember:  Trump lies.

“It’s a very big subject for me. And border security’s very big. And when you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place, we’re allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands. And I think that’s what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else.

“And, you know, I’m not going to change my views on that. We have radical Islamic terrorists coming in that have to be stopped. We’re taking them in by the thousands.”
That is the most baseless, ignorant, unsubstantiated fear-mongering.  But since the focus of the comment is supposed to be Mr. Khan, and since this is Donald Trump, the remark is reported in the context of the ongoing effort by Mr. Trump to shoot his candidacy in both feet; nobody stops to notice the outrageously irresponsible thing he just now said.  Even President Obama has spoken about it; but even President Obama is talking about the Khans:

“There has to be a point in which you say this is not somebody I can support for President of the United States, even if he purports to be a member of my party. The fact that that has not yet happened makes some of these denunciations ring hollow. I don't doubt their sincerity. I don't doubt they were outraged about some of the statements that Mr. Trump and his supporters made about the Khan family,” he said. “But there has to come a point in which you say somebody who makes those kinds of statements doesn't have the judgment, the temperament, the understanding to occupy the most powerful position in the world because a lot of people depend on the White House getting stuff right."
"Yes, I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president," he said at a press conference when asked if he questions Trump's fitness to serve given his comments on the Khan family and on Russia. "I said so last week. And he keeps on proving it. The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that had made suck extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn't appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the middle east, in Asia means that he's woefully unprepared to do this job."
We can't get to what a mendacious liar Trump is, because we have to stop and focus on the concrete story of the Khans (v. the abstract story of "thousand and thousands" of "radical Islamic terrorists").  Granted, the AP did report this story and call Trump's statement:

— an unprecedented assertion by a modern presidential candidate.
Trump’s extraordinary claim — one he did not back up with any immediate evidence — would, if it became more than just an offhand comment, seem to threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections and challenge the very essence of a fair democratic process.
But that's still in the context of the Khan narrative, and the point quickly dissolves in the "he said/she said."  Because it won't become "more than an offhand comment" until much, much later.  Too much later, probably.

So what happens when Trump claims he was leading in Florida, and therefore he shouldn't have lost it?  I don't really think Trump can inflame the country (especially if he loses as decisively as 538 shows him losing; there's no scenario where swinging Florida puts Trump ahead of Clinton in the electoral college), and a "bloodbath" would require much more support for Trump now than the polls show.  But given what we just went through with the first black President (not just birtherism but "You Lie!" and all the efforts to treat Obama as illegitimate), this conclusion seems rather a sound one:

Even if we set aside the prospect of widespread violence from his supporters, Trump’s comments risk delegitimizing a Clinton victory—and as result, an ensuing Clinton presidency—in the eyes of many Americans. (As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent points out, the lock-her-up-themed GOP convention already planted that seed.) Put another way: Until now, the greatest dangers posed by Trump were predicated on him winning this November. Now he’s dangerous even if he loses. 

1 comment:

  1. Maybe we can finally win the Civil War this time...