Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Media is Letting Trump Campaign Roil Them on Pivot

It's as if the etch a sketch really does work. They are talking about Trump as if nothing he's said for 14 months will matter.

The media has this conceit that it's 'savvy.' But it's showing itself to be the opposite in its Trump coverage. With Trump they seem to go by the premise that whatever Trump says now, you have to believe from the bottom of your heart. 

Josh Greenan had written of this 3 months ago. 

"A strange phenomenon buoys Donald Trump's presidential prospects — one perhaps unprecedented in American politics: Voters are rewarding a would-be President because he's proposing policies that are simultaneously dangerously radical and utterly implausible."

"A mass roundup, via a federal deportation force, of every undocumented immigrant in America."

"Building a wall on the United States' southern border, paid for entirely by Mexico."

"Banning all Muslims from entering the country."

"Imposing massive tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods."

"Torturing terrorism suspects and killing civilians in combat."

"Rewriting libel laws to make it easier to for the rich and powerful to sue their critics."

"And many more outlandish ideas that would threaten America's core character."

As Greenan goes on to say, this should be devastating for a candidate.

"Taking morally reprehensible stances should be devastating for a candidate. So should advancing proposals that are politically or practically impossible. But doing both has been key to Trump's success because the very absurdity of many of Trump's plans has helped inoculate him from charges that they, and he, are dangerous."

"Actually I just got an interesting tweet from Jeff McFadden regarding Iowa and why Trump is outperforming in the state-a poll today shows them tied in Iowa but she has a 6 point lead in Ohio."

"Yeah. My parents were born there. It's about 150 miles from here. The Big Lie works best on honest people."

This makes sense. What Greenan is arguing is that Trump's very dishonestly gives him an asymmetrical advantage. As McFadden suggests, maybe honest people fall for the Big Lie first as they lack the necessary cynicism to mistrust effectively.

Regarding the pivot, Jay Rosen:

"Usually campaigns try to elude the journalist's conceit of "the pivot." Today on the Sunday shows, Trump and RNC people are encouraging it."

Because lies and dissembling are all Trump has.

As Greenan says there are two different Trump targets:

"Trump is selling to two very different swaths of the electorate. Pollsters usually break down Trump's supporters by race, region, ideology, education level and class. But, more importantly, Trump backers divide into voters who believe that he will do what he says and voters who are convinced that he is just playing a part. So, there's no reason to be afraid of him. His most radical proposals, they assume, could never happen — and he knows it."

"The true believers who fill stadiums for rallies carried Trump through the Republican primaries. They really do want that wall built. They really do want to ban Muslims, deport all undocumented immigrants, wage trade wars against China and Mexico, and, for the hell of it, torture an alleged ISIS bastard or two and kill a few thousand of their family members or neighbors."

"They're tired of America getting pushed around; they're sick of seeing jobs go overseas. Many are threatened by what they perceive as deterioration of the culture. They think their values are under attack. Some harbor explicitly racial grievances."

"Everything with Trump is 'Believe me'-though he lies 70% of the time."

"Believe me" is the candidate's rhetorical crutch, the incantation the swaggering billionaire businessman repeats to insist that, unlike all the craven pols we've known before, he is for real.

About other countries: "They are laughing at us, believe me."

About entitlements: "I'm the only one who is going to save Social Security, believe me."

About the military receiving illegal orders from their next commander-in-chief, such as to torture suspected terrorists or kill civilians: "They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me."

About the culture: "You're going to see Merry Christmas in department stores, believe me, you're going to see it."

About the wall: "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me."

About everything: "We're going to win a lot, it's going to be a big difference, believe me."


Having repeatedly indicted politicians as "all talk, no action," Trump counters: "Everything I say I'm going to do, folks, I do."

"But there's a reason why all of Trump's "trust me" assurances start to feel like the lady protesting too much. He knows that he must increasingly court a second constituency, one that is uneasy about his rashness and believes they know better about what he really intends to do."

"While many of these voters are sympathetic to the emotional thrust of Trump's core message, especially on trade, and are also sick of politically correct politics as usual, they also care about sanity and stability. They don't want Trump to actually do many or most the radical and impulsive things he crosses his heart and promises to accomplish."

"And more to the point, they believe Trump doesn't really want to do them, either — that when he says he means what he says and says what he means, he's really just playing a TV part to drive headlines."

"So to them, the seeming impossibility of Trump's proposals takes the edge off their cruelty and danger."

"Trusting that the Constitution and the courts would, for instance, stop immigration officials from asking every tourist and immigrant "Are you Muslim?" they see a non-ideological problem-solver who in his own way is a rebuke to a Washington establishment that disappoints them."

"They are voting for, or thinking about voting for, Trump the dealmaker, not Trump the doer. They hope he will be slippery. They hope he will negotiate. They hope his proposals are merely starting points for talks."

Last week on Fox News, Trump went so far as to distance himself from that unhinged man who's been running for President as to pronounce: "Look, anything I say right now, I'm not the President. Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it's a suggestion."

We've gone from "everything I'm going to say I do" to "everything is a suggestion."

"Many of his supporters are more than fine with that."

"A 29-year-old Hispanic attorney who wouldn't be named told the Guardian, "His peers say there are 'two Trumps' — the brash character he portrays himself as, and the decent man they know behind closed doors. It's clearly a strategy; his proclamations have kept him on the front pages for a sustained eight months."

"Last December, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, no stranger to rabble-rousing, said, "If you take what he says literally, he can be a frightening guy" — then went on to intimate that Trump doesn't really mean most of it."

In other words there are two kinds of Trump voters: those that believe he means everything he says and those who don't believe much of what he says.

We see this again this morning:

"Will Trump's immigration plan include a deportation force? "To be determined," his campaign manager says."

For me, to assume he doesn't mean any of it is beyond irresponsible. And even if he only does 10% of what he has said it would be a disaster.

The only rational course is to hold him to what he says. That's the way Hillary Clinton is judged and how every other Presidential candidate gets judged.

He can't get a more forgiving standard. If you think of this as Trump voters in group A who believes he means every word and those in B who think he's just kidding, those in group B are playing Russian Roulette.

Again you have to believe that 100% of what he has said is baloney.

So I assume there will be a deportation force, there will be a Muslim ban, an ideology test, and that he will use nuclear weapons, will get out of Nato. With nuclear weapons, Morning Joe reveals that he knows that Trump asked about using them 3 times.

The risk that A Trump voters are right is too great for B Trump voters to take such a risk.

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