Friday, May 04, 2018


I'm traveling to see family, so I'll be away from the blog until Wednesday, but the relief crew will be here while I'm away.

I'm leaving at a time when it's widely believed that the president is making fatal missteps -- The New York Times says he's losing control of his narrative, while Slate and the Times say that even Fox News isn't safe for him anymore.

Yes, I know that what Rudy Giuliani said on Sean Hannity's show exposes Trump legally. Yes, I know that Fox's Neil Cavuto denounced Trump (“I guess you’re too busy draining the swamp to ever stop and smell the stink you’re creating”). But the Cavuto moment doesn't mean much -- Fox has always permitted occasional, if infrequent, denunciations of sacred cows (usually by Shepard Smith);
Fox loyalists inevitably say in right-wing comments sections that the Fox apostate is a "swamp creature," and some insist that they'll no longer watch Fox, but the rest continue to turn it on at breakfast and leave it on until bedtime.

As for the strategy spearheaded by Giuliani, I think it's legally problematic but emotionally brilliant. In Giuliani, Trump has found the one person who might rally the deplorables as effectively as he does. Giuliani hates the enemies of Trumpism as viscerally as Trump does (he's hated us for decades, long before it was Trumpism), and as repulsive as he is, he has real presence on TV. This is a moment when Trump is, by all accounts, "unleashed," doing things according to his own instincts, and is seeing a slight uptick in his polls. I don't think that's a coincidence. The point of Trumpism is to give the Trump rabble the joy of rage. Giuliani is very good at that.

Trump's strategy right now is to intimidate and to win in the court of public opinion -- or at least the opinions of heartland whites, who are the only people he cares about. The conventional wisdom may be right and he may really be hastening his own downfall, but I'm not so sure, and I suspect that whichever is the case, he'll be doing better in the polls with Giuliani as his surrogate than he was doing before.

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