Friday, August 24, 2018


No Donald Trump transgression will ever offend Republican voters enough to make them abandon him in significant numbers. One thing can cost Trump the base's support: the belief that he is no longer Owning the Libs.

Tucker Carlson recognizes the risk to Trump, so this is what he said on Fox last night:
Tucker Carlson said Thursday that an exceptional phenomenon has taken over American politics, and President Donald Trump appears to be the subject of it.

Carlson said that the left currently has "one thing on its mind: impeachment."

He played video of several of the 222 times the term was mentioned on cable news yesterday.

Carlson said Trump is accused of such for the "high crime of being shaken down in an extortion scheme by a porn star girlfriend."

He said that story is just one example of the phenomenon he recognized:

"If the left exists only to oppose anything that Trump does or says, then isn't Trump in control of the left's message?" he asked.
That's the key to Trump's appeal: He's in control of the left (which, for right-wingers, includes the media, the Justice Department, and even parts of the Republican Party). Once Trump no longer appears to be in control, he's vulnerable. The deplorables might abandon him then.

Consider the case of Sarah Palin. She was a Republican favorite throughout the fall of 2008, and for quite a while after that. The rest of America mocked her, but conservatives were persuaded that she struck terror in our hearts. (American Thinker headline from late 2009: "Why the Left Fears Sarah.")

But she couldn't sustain it. There were too many embarrassing personal and family stories, and too many bad choices (quitting as governor of Alaska, backing fringe candidates like Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, and generally opting for quick bucks rather than political influence). Tina Fey's version of Palin on Saturday Night Live had more popular impact than Palin herself. Then, in 2011, Palin's SarahPAC produced a map that placed the districts of targeted House Democrats in crosshairs, including that of Gabby Giffords. Giffords was then shot by a would-be assassin. After the subsequent firestorm, it was clear even to right-wingers that Palin had lost control of her own narrative. Even right-wingers could no longer plausibly claim that she Owned the Libs. A few months later, polling showed that a majority of Republicans didn't want Palin to run for president in 2012.

That's the risk for Trump. He hasn't controlled the narrative this week, and even the base might be starting to take notice. Carlson's monologue was meant to tell the residents of Oz that the Wizard is still very much in control of his magic.

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