Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Odds and Ends Concerning Trump

In recent comments on various other news sites, I have repeatedly made two points, and I figure I should make them here as well. Both relate to Donald Trump.

First, I am still seeing what I saw in my essays  "A Quick Check In", "A Brief Thought on Trump", "What Does Not Kill You...", "The Problem With the Big Tent", "Most Absurd Debate Since ... ", "Nice to Get Confirmation" and "Why We Have RINOs", Trump's campaign is being run exactly like Obama's 2008 one. In 2008, Obama made vague statements and his cultish followers heard in them what they wanted, and so could all believe Obama endorsed their exact beliefs, even if that meant followers had contradictory ideas of the "real Obama". Trump is very similar. Each of his followers imagines he knows the "real Trump" and believes those statements that fit his ideas, while imaging anything contradictory is "just politics' or "a joke". It is why they will never leave Trump or be disappointed, because they can imagine away any uncomfortable statements as not being "real". Just as they blame bad poll numbers of media bias, and dismiss scandals as media plots to discredit Trump, they ignore whatever he says that would otherwise upset them, imagining he "had to say it" or the media edited it to discredit him.  (See "The Candidate as Inkblot" about Obama's version. Also "The Inherent Disappointment of Authoritarianism" to explain how a similar thought process is used by most proponents of authoritarian schemes.)

Second, I wanted to mention the harm Trump is doing to conservatism. Not the obvious, such as his destruction of the GOP, or his filling the ranks of what is left with nationalist, alt-right and populist mobs. Nor the fact that the public, which confuses Republican and conservative, which now imagines Trump is what conservatism is about. I covered those before in "What Does Not Kill You...", "Our Oswald Mosely", "Both Sides Now", "The Trouble With Tough Talk" and "Predictability and Pragmatism - Why I Oppose Trump". No, the new topic I want to discuss is how Trump takes valid issues off the table. Take, for example, his hyperbolic claims about Obama and ISIS. There are legitimate issues there, such as how Obama's (and Hillary's) withdrawal of military forces and often counterproductive rules of engagement allowed ISIS to expand and become more powerful in the region. But now, because Trump presented the issue in the most stupid way possible, mixing in a hint of conspiracy theories, it is impossible to discuss reasonably, as any independent hearing a conservative mention the topic will imagine he is hearing the Trump position and shut it out. And Trump has done this to many, many issues, making ti impossible to raise valid concerns by his addle-minded way of addressing them.

Oh, there is much more to say, I am sure, but for the moment I think this will do. When I have more time I will return to the topic and, if Trump has not found an excuse to bow out of the race, I will take a more thorough look at him one more time.

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