Thursday, December 15, 2022


Yes, Donald Trump embarrassed himself today by announcing that he's selling licensed collectible NFTs/trading cards depicting himself "as a superhero with laser eyes, an astronaut, a John Wayne-like cowboy and a golfer – along with, of course, a dark-suited Trump surrounded by gold bars" ... y'know, the way would-be Leaders of the Free World routinely do. But the Trump campaign has also given the Murdoch press an advance look at efforts to make him look serious. First, The Wall Street Journal reports on campaign strategy:
Rather than staging signature, large-scale rallies, the plan calls for Mr. Trump to tour key states and conduct smaller policy events, focusing on crime, border security, foreign policy, big tech and the economy, according to people involved in the preparation. Rallies would resume later in the year; advisers said it was never the plan to do such events early on.

The goal of the policy events, these people said, is to remind voters of the ideas Mr. Trump advanced during his time in office, which remain popular among Republicans even if his personal style isn’t.
So the plan to reverse Trump's polling tailspin is to have him sitting around big conference tables nodding during dull policy discussions as if he understand the details of what he's hearing? That's how he's going to beat Ron DeSantis?

And in the New York Post, we have this:
Former President Donald Trump vowed Thursday that he will ban the federal government from using the terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” to describe domestic speech if he retakes the White House.

The 76-year-old Trump made the pledge as part of a broader “free speech” platform announced in a video policy statement shared with The Post — vowing also to impose a seven-year ban on former FBI and CIA workers handling private-sector US consumer records....

“The censorship cartel must be dismantled and destroyed — and it must happen immediately,” Trump said in the video, which is expected to be the first in a series of policy announcements as part of his 2024 presidential campaign.

... Trump’s proposals [include] limiting Section 230 legal immunity for tech platforms unless they act with political neutrality....

“Within hours of my inauguration, I will sign an executive order banning any federal department or agency from colluding with any organization, business, or person, to censor, limit, categorize, or impede the lawful speech of American citizens,” he said.

“I will then ban federal money from being used to label domestic speech as ‘mis-‘ or ‘dis-information’. And I will begin the process of identifying and firing every federal bureaucrat who has engaged in domestic censorship — directly or indirectly — whether they are the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, the DOJ, no matter who they are.”
That gets Trump a bit closer to the pleasure/rage centers in the brains of GOP base voters. But is it as viscerally appealing as calling Mexican immigrants "rapists"? For that matter, is it as viscerally appealing as flying immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, arresting alleged illegal voters, and terrorizing Disney, which is stuff Ron DeSantis has actually done recently (even if nearly all of it is facing pushback in the courts and elsewhere)?

Part of Trump's brand is that he's a culture warrior, but it's not that he's a wonky culture warrior. Trump isn't supposed to sound like a guy who understands the details and knows which subsections of the law to rewrite. He's supposed to just barge in and start throwing punches. This might be what Stephen Miller and other advisors want Trump to be, but it's not what Trump's fans want him to be.

The NFTs make Trump look like a guy who's retired from the fray and is just cashing in. The policy statements make him look like ... a guy who wants to be Blake Masters. This isn't going to win him the nomination.

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