Tuesday, August 30, 2022


The Bulwark's Jonathan Last thinks Donald Trump is either mentally ill or a traitor:
The former president of the United States has made a new pronouncement. He now demands that the federal government either:
1. Declare him the winner of the 2020 election and install him as president. Or,

2. Re-do the 2020 election.
... If Trump is serious, then he is cognitively impaired. There is no way to accomplish the “remedies” he proposes. The idea that someone could simply “declare” him the rightful winner of the 2020 election is preposterous. Who has that authority? Not Congress. Not the Supreme Court. Not the president. There is no piece of paper that can be signed and ratified that would accomplish this goal.

So either Trump does not have the baseline intelligence to understand how the government and the U.S. Constitution function—or he has suffered from some mental decline which has rendered him incapable of basic deductive reasoning....

On the other hand, if Trump is not serious—by which I mean that he does not actually believe that either of these remedies are even theoretically possible—then he is advocating the overthrow of the legitimately-elected government of the United States and rejecting the Constitution.
Does Trump know he can't just be declared the president? I'm not sure -- but if he thinks it's possible, it's not cognitive impairment, it's merely a level of ignorance Trump shares with millions of voters, who don't pay attention to the basic workings of government and have no idea what's possible under the law and what isn't.

(Part of the evil genius of the Republican Party over the past few decades has been the embrace of ignorance -- Republicans pitch their propaganda to people who have no idea that what they're being told doesn't pass the smell test. These voters embrace the messaging because it makes them feel good -- or makes them angry, which is the same thing. So for instance, much of the Republican Party has recently spread the lie that the Inflation Reduction Act calls for the hiring of 87,000 armed IRS agents trained to use deadly force. No Republican wants to inform the base that this isn't really happening, because then the base won't be angry anymore. For Republicans, lying works.)

It's possible that Trump doesn't know that immediate reinstatement can't happen. It's possible that he understands it can't but knows that demanding it fires up his fans. If the latter is correct, you could say he's just negotiating brazenly. By demanding immediate reinstatement, in a statement to an electorate that has no idea whether that's permissible, he's trying to move the Overton window. He's throwing out a brazen ask and daring everyone to call it unreasonable.

Is this how he negotiated when he was a famous real estate "dealmaker"? Making a demand that's selfish, unreasonable, and blatantly impermissible is a bold negotiating tactic. It's also the way a bratty child "negotiates": Give me everything I want, right now!

Trump is either a seditionary or a spoiled five-year-old. Or both, I guess.

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