Monday, November 23, 2020


At The Atlantic, Anne Appelbaum attempts to explain why General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy is blocking the presidential transition. Appelbaum does so by trying to imagine how other Trump flunkies have felt during the past four years:
Over time, everyone who worked for Trump learned to tolerate his lying. Some concluded that they had to lie too in order to keep their jobs. Some began to believe the lies, because that made things easier. Some began to think defending the president’s lies was patriotic, because he was the president.
No, that's not exactly right. No Trump subordinate accepted lies from Trump because it's patriotic to tolerate and enable lying by a president. Think about who's been president! Barack Obama! Bill Clinton! Jimmy Carter! Trump's aides wouldn't have enabled lying by those traitors! If they believed the president was lying, they went along because his enemies are Democrats, the worst people in the world. Trump uses false statements to own the Democrats -- which is the most patriotic act imaginable.

Appelbaum continues:
[Murphy] is behaving badly, dishonestly, unfairly. She is violating the Constitution of the United States of America by refusing to recognize that the election is over, that Trump’s lawsuits and legal games are frivolous, and that the transition has begun. But she, like so many others in the White House, seems to believe the exact opposite: that it is part of her job to support radical, norm-breaking, democracy-destroying lies.
Or perhaps she believes Trump's lawsuits and legal games are legitimate attempts to discover the truth, because there's no conceivable limit to the criminality of Democrats. Democrats might have flipped 150,000 votes in Michigan -- if they'd needed to, they could have flipped half a million, or a billion, because that's how evil they are. It's utterly conceivable that Democrats might have worked with the Republican governor and secretary of state in Georgia to use Venezuelan software to steal an election for the Democrats as a means of advancing the cause of communism -- we shouldn't put anything past the Democrats!

In the 1980s, millions of Americans believed satanic ritual abuse was widespread in daycare centers and similar settings. In one case, involving the McMartin Pre-School in Los Angeles, the allegations were credulity-straining:
A secret cave for sexual games (investigators couldn’t find it). Rabbits butchered on a church altar (no traces of blood turned up). Airplane rides for in-flight molestations (no records were found). Strangers molesting children (almost absurdly, children picked photos of actor Chuck Norris and city Controller James K. Hahn).
Yet people believed. They'd concluded that evil at that scale was conceivable even if the allegations were contradicted by all the forensic evidence.

We have QAnon now. Once again, millions of people believe in evil at that fantastic scale.

Republicans have long believed that Democrats are capable of unspeakable evil. They've just never had a party leader who affirmed their beliefs to the degree that Trump does. We should absolutely not assume that they know Trump is lying. Many probably don't know that -- or if they do, they think it's fine, because if Democrats aren't evil enough to pull off this electoral theft, they're evil enough to use the presidency as a way of bringing America to its knees. That's the goal of all Democrats, in Republicans' eyes.

So even if Trump's flunkies know he's lying, they believe it's for a good cause: saving America from the unimaginable horrors of Democratic rule.

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