Things still drifting along as weirdly as ever but an increased flow of articles starting to notice some aspects while still ignoring others.
Here’s WAPO’s Aaron Blake continuing the daily obsession with the latest incitement from Trump to please keep talking about Russia.
1. There is something nefarious going on
(preferred explanation, with several paragraphs of the usual)
2. Trump is oblivious to how this might be perceived
(Trump is so stupid he does not understand that being perceived talking to Putin with no other Americans present will cause journalists to blather endlessly – the default explanation of why they keep on blathering about Russia whenever he tells them to being Trump’s stupidity, not theirs)
3. Trump is simply addicted to causing controversy and/or sees it as a GOP base play
“Whenever a politician does something suspect, the analyst in me is trained to look for the political advantage. Trump’s unexpected victory in the 2016 election had plenty of folks hailing his little-understood political genius and suggesting the media simply missed what appealed to Trump supporters.
There is also a significant chance that Trump loves the kind of coverage that ensues from these kinds of meetings. He’s got plausible deniability that anything unsavory happened — after all, who is going to contradict that? Putin? The interpreter? — and it gets the media in a fuss about what may have happened. Trump seems to love the idea of wielding all of that fuss and using it to decry the “fake news media” to rally his base.
And perhaps that’s the calculation. But at this point, Trump and his team have to be wondering: What’s the payoff? What is he really getting out of it? Trump’s approval rating is the lowest in modern presidential history, the GOP-controlled Congress hasn’t passed any signature legislation, his party split on one of his major promises on the health-care bill, and all Trump has to show for it is a mostly intact group of Republican voters who say they still like him.
If Trump has designs upon being a great president and winning so much that people would get tired of it, stuff like this sure doesn’t seem to be paying dividends.”
The above shows a faint glimmer of understanding. But only faint.
This guy’s job as an “analyst” depends on him not understanding the following:
- The media did not fail to understand what appealed to Trump voters. They actively helped him wipe out all the mainstream Republican candidates with masssive free publicity about what an outrageously anti-establishment outsider he was, knowing that this appealed to supporters and expecting it would result in the Republicans nominating him as a candidate so grotesque he couldn’t win even against Hilary Clinton and the completely degenerated party she represented.
- Trump’s overall approval rating is indeed very low. But still well ahead of the media, Hilary Clinton and BOTH parties in Congress.
- Trump’s party has not split on health care. He DOES NOT HAVE a party in Congress. Pretending that the Republican representatives in the House and Senate are Trump’s party goes together with “forgetting” that the media helped him defeat the Republican party in the presidential primaries.
- The payoff for Trump is that by consolidating his base and keeping them fired up about the biased media he will keep his opponents in Congress intimidated for fear of defeat by Trumpist candidates in the 2018 primaries and will replace many of them, emerging with a large Trumpist party in Congress (even if the Democrats get a majority in the House of Representatives). Obviously having a party in Congress is a necessary preliminary to doing any “winning”, including on healthcare.
I haven’t got much new to add since I figured out this much in the first article in this series, written before inauguration day.
But it is really quite illuminating that six months later, even after starting to notice that their coverage helps Trump consolidate his base, the “analysts” still don’t get it. Their livelihood depends on them not understanding. How could they continue doing their jobs if they did understand?
Here’s a slighly less faint glimmer. The Atlantic explaining What Congressional Republicans Really Think About Trump and Russia
“Even as alarm has reached fever pitch among Democrats, most in the GOP see the reaction as little more than partisan noise.”
Reasonably clear that no chance of removing Trump from office with this Russia stuff that only strengthens his base.
As editor David Frum said It’s Trump’s Party Now.
A positive feedback loop is now well established that will ensure it remains Trump’s party at least through the 2018 primaries. Not only the “Never Trumpers” like David Frum, but many mainstream Republicans are simply giving up and ceasing to consider themselves part of the same party.
As usual, the New York Times can only look at this from a Democrat perspective Why Trump’s Base of Support May be Smaller Than it Seems
No doubt the 85% to 90% of Republicans who approve of Trump could be the same fraction of a shrinking Republican base as they drive others away. Great news for Democrats and the New York Times! But they are the people who will be voting in the 2018 Republican primaries. If any of these analysts had a clue they would be analysing the consequences of that. It doesn’t even require far sightedness. A completely different political situation is less than two years away.
Here’s Janet Albrechtson in the Australian on The Genius of Donald Trump: Liberal media in a frenzy over president it created
She gets it pretty well about how the liberal media is playing into Trump’s hands. But her obsessive hatred of her political opponents and delight in them making idiots of themselves results in her not even noticing that it is her own “conservative” side of what passes for mainstream politics that has been completely humiliated and wiped out by Trump.
“Normal programming cannot resume until the media starts reporting news and offering considered analysis rather than trying to get even with a modern-day President it helped create.”
But why then does she not attempt some “considered analysis” rather than merely endlessly celebrating the stupidity of her opponents? She could for example consider and analyse the consequences of a large bipartisan majority supporting isolationist and protectionist policies that she and other conservatives oppose. With a Democrat majority and a mainstream Republican wipeout by Trumpists is she still going to be celebrating?