Home / General / It is important not to normalize this or see it for anything other than what it is

It is important not to normalize this or see it for anything other than what it is


In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.

There’s a bunch of other beauties in this latest little tweet storm from ohjesusican’teventypeitrightnow.

This is an example of what Masha Gessen was talking about immediately after the election:

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.

This is going to get a lot worse.  This is his best behavior, when he’s in his conciliatory stage, and when he has yet to receive any formal power.

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  • cs

    Under the “everything is projection” theory, does that mean Trump has a reason to think a lot of people cast illegal votes for him?

    • Davis X. Machina

      No, rather desperate that the stories of voter suppression, etc. don’t gain any traction, now that the recount is on, and Clinton’s majority is climbing.

      A counter-narrative must be created stat, so that we can ‘teach the controversy’.

      • NeonTrotsky

        And hell maybe they’ll get to steal the position of governor of North Carolina using this too.

    • Harry Hardrada

      Something like this was actually reported on during early voting.


      (of course, one person does not equal a shitload of people trying to do the same)

      • Ask Me Gently

        She even admitted it was Trump’s exhortations that motivated her to vote twice as a corrective to Democratic “rigging”.

        • CP

          Yep. That’s the whole point of projection. It’s a preemptive justification for your own crimes.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            And to encourage their people to go out and cheat, nudge nudge, wink wink, because they (you know, THEY) are doing it.

    • nemdam

      Though the odds are almost infinitesimally small, this is the best evidence I’ve seen that Trump did steal the election.

  • NewishLawyer

    But you have to remember that there are imaginary dinner parties where liberals mock Midwesterners!!!

    Yeah things are going to get bad. All this makes me think we are going to see a real crackdown on civil rights and liberties. The MSM doesn’t know how to handle this. I am glad the Democratic Party seems to be holding firm so far.

    Did anyone see the article in the Times about Trump billing Scottish residents for his Wall?

    • Origami Isopod

      Did anyone see the article in the Times about Trump billing Scottish residents for his Wall?

      AHAHAHAHA, yeah, that should work.

      • Denverite

        Because Scotsmen are famous for being easily separated from their money.

        • vic rattlehead

          Ha! That’s my mom’s side of the family. And where I get my penny pinching ways that drive my wife crazy.

          • Denverite

            Ditto, except my dad’s side. My surname is one of those funny-looking Scottish ones with a bunch of weird consonants and less-common vowels all smooshed together.

      • Simple Desultory Philip

        one of the few silver linings to this election cycle is that i’m now familiar with the word “shitgibbon”. thank you, scottish tweeting person, whoever you are, for one of the greatest descriptions of the nazi cheeto ever.

    • MAJeff

      But you have to remember that there are imaginary dinner parties where liberals mock Midwesterners!!!

      But, the liberals doing so are other Midwesterners.

    • guthrie

      Wait, what? I’m a Scot, in Scotland, and haven’t heard of this. We’re very happy to burn down the property of complete eejits; at the very least we could damage his golf courses.

  • NewishLawyer

    Makes me think Giuliani or Bolton is going to be the S of State.

    • kayden

      Or Sessions.

      • Ahenobarbus

        Has Jerry Fallwell jr. been offered it yet? Apparently he turned down Secretary of Education.

        • kayden

          Please don’t give Trump any ideas. Apparently, to hold cabinet positions in Trump’s administration, you don’t have to have any qualifying experience/background. For Trump, that makes sense, of course, but it will be disastrous for the rest of us.

    • vic rattlehead

      Can you see a Democratic president offering, say, Dinkins or Koch Sec of State based on being Mayor on 9/11? Actually, David Dinkins was Mayor during the 1993 WTC bombing! He should be in the running for State too!

      I mean, yeah, it’s more a reward for Ghouliani’s loyalty and helping to ratfuck the election, but let’s be honest, that is Giuliani’s sole “qualification.” He was Mayor of NYC on 9/11. And he’s milked the shit out of that for over a decade.

      At the same time, I’m not really sure what qualifies Romney for State, but since he would likely be the sanest member of a Trump administration I’m pulling for him (and on that note, Axelrod made a good point. Unless Trump wants Romney trashed so he doesn’t have to hire an adult as opposed to a sycophant).

      • Breadbaker

        Romney’s qualifications for Secretary of State would be about this:

        1. He did fix the 2002 Olympic scandal (with help from some people who did not then run for Governor of Massachusetts and for President).
        2. He had a pretty disastrous set of meetings with foreign leaders and in foreign countries in the summer before his nomination.
        3. What were William Jennings Bryan’s qualifications as Secretary of State? Romney also was his party’s most recent nominee for President (as of course is the current incumbent in the office, but John Kerry has a lot of experience from his long time in the Senate).

        • vic rattlehead

          What were William Jennings Bryan’s qualifications as Secretary of State?

          *chuckle* I’m not sure that’s a great counter argument? I can see Conway saying this on CNN.

  • carolannie

    I just had a fun comment-dialog with a so-called constitutionalist who stated that since Clinton won by only 2 million votes (or so) it was totally meaningless because that was a tiny minority of the votes and that was an irrefutable fact.

    And anyone who thought that one person-one vote and things like the Equal Protection clause might be of some import, he kept stating that this was an irrefutable fact which made his whole argument correct.

    I can’t wrap my head around some of these people’s thought processes.

    • howard

      motivated reasoning: the older i get, the more i see the explanatory power of the concept.

    • sharonT

      This article was especially disheartening


      I’ve spent the last decade slowly paring my political media diet. First, I ditched the Sunday talk shows, then the politics section of the Washington Post. NPR’s reaction to the 2002 mid-terms and 2004 general election convinced me to switch to sports talk on the weekend. I couldn’t stand listening to Jonah Goldberg yucking it up with Scott Simon over my Saturday morning coffee. (Oh yeah, this fall wasn’t the first time that Jonah had been pressed into service to provide Conserva-cover for NPR). Plus coverage of politics has devolved into a type of sports talk anyway, so I’d rather mainline my sports talk in a form that hadn’t been stepped on.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Yeah, I’m always shocked that they have Jonah on. It’s not like he’s really an intellectual or actually knows anything Are there no quality intellectuals on the right?

        (Slow pitch…. right over the plate…)

      • Gee Suss

        Holy crap. They actually set the narrative then fill in stories to fit that narrative? That’s… that’s what Fox News does.

  • MPAVictoria

    I am almost certain we are going to be unable to resist the normalization of Trump’s insane brand of politics. Things are REALLY going to suck.

    • Mike G

      What a shame for Fidel Castro that he died just weeks short of living to see his model of massive ruling-family state corruption implemented in the US.

      • (((Hogan)))

        But we’ll be spared the wealth redistribution, education and health care. Yay.

        • vic rattlehead

          That’s why I like to say that the U.S. is still a developing country. A rich country without universal healthcare is just shameful and we’re about to take a huge leap backwards in that respect.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            The more you pore over the quality-of-life statistics comparing us to other advanced, industrailized countries, the more you start to wonder if we’re somewhere on the borderline between advanced industrialized nation and developing world. Or, as Paul Krugman’s wife puts it, “Texas is feudal.”

            • vic rattlehead

              No doubt. If you look at the stats blind (ie without knowing the names of the countries) there’s really no argument.

      • JohnT

        A Facebook meme I saw this morning pointed out that Fidel had sworn he would not rest until the US was destroyed. Cue Trump. His work was done. He knew what a Batista could do with power.

    • The Lorax

      Wolf Blitzer: “Hillary Clinton claims she won by 2.5 million votes. Trump claims that there were 3 million illegal votes cast. Who is likely to win the argument? We’ll discuss that right after we look at this bombshell about Hillary Clinton’s email server.”

      People talk about losing faith in institutions–I’ve totally lost faith in the media, including such “liberal” outlets as NPR and the NYT. And my disgust isn’t abating as we move farther away from the election.

      I feel worse about the media now than I did in the runup to Iraq. It’s full of VSPs whose first commitment is to both-sides-do-it ism. And they all will be insulated from the horror to come. Cokie Roberts and Steve Inskeep and Mara Liasson and Wolf Blitzer will be just fine.

      • Simple Desultory Philip

        i feel the same way. the only exception for me currently is the wapo, and even then it’s really only individual reporters like fahrenthold that i have respect for, and not necessarily the company as a whole. i suddenly feel very uncomfortably like a nutty right-winger shrieking about media bias.

        • njorl

          Wapo had been careening to the right for 20 years. I think their harder line on Trump was a reaction to Trump’s outrageous behavior toward their reporters. Had Trump not singled them out petulantly, they would have been on the “both-sides-do-it” bandwagon

    • vic rattlehead

      Normalization is just cognitively easier for people who won’t be directly affected by Trump, or at the very least, relatively insulated from things like climate change that will affect everyone by virtue of wealth. So white, straight, wealthy (etc) people will not want to go on thinking “all is doomed” no matter how true it is. Staring down the barrel of an autocracy is not pleasant. Much easier to convince yourself all is well, Trump doesn’t really mean all those things, and those protesters being gunned down by the National Guard had it coming because dirty hippies, terrorism ,etc.

      So for the comfortable or the people for whom it will be easy to normalize Trump, I guess you have to address it from a psychological angle-make it as psychologically difficult as possible for them to accept normalization. I guess?

      • Jon_H11

        I was with my parents this weekend, who are convicted Reagan Dems (hadn’t voted Republican since ’84, but voted Hillary begrudgingly), well off, and live well above sea-level. The only things that I was able to shake them out of their “this is just how things go. Everything will be fine” fugue was to bring up the dismantling of medicare/social security Ryan and McConnell have lined up. That put the fear of God in them; they’re well-off, but no one short of a multimillionaire can afford old people medical bills on their own.

        The semi-good thought for me is that I can’t imagine that the Republicans won’t try to take out SS/Medicare with their majorities, and I don’t think Trump will be able to handle the backlash without instigating a rebellion in the Republican ranks. If he does manage it…

        • vic rattlehead

          My parents are pretty similar. My mother until very recently identified as a Democrat (she had been a registered Democrat since the early 70s, changed to Republican around the rise of the Tea Party in 2010 or so). And not just in terms of never changed her registration – I remember asking her about politics growing up and she always said, without qualification, that she was a Democrat. Despite never having anything positive to say about any contemporary Democrat not named Bob Graham! I think the last Democrat she voted for was Bob Graham – who she happily voted for for Governor and Senate every time he was on the ballot despite disliking virtually every other Democrat from 1980 onward.

          My mom used to be pretty persuadable on this stuff pre-2010 but she’s been watching a ton of Fox News. Hopefully Paul Ryan’s shenanigans wake her up. I don’t remember what she thought about 2005 – I didn’t really follow politics back then.

          I don’t think Trump will be able to handle the backlash without instigating a rebellion in the Republican ranks.

          With no political experience, I don’t think Trump will do a very good job of leading a coalition. I mean, if they flatter him enough he’ll have no problem rubber stamping anything and everything sent to him, but if there is any dissent in the Republican ranks or public backlash there is no evidence that he is politically savvy enough to handle it. Bush shit the bed with SS in 2005 and whatever else may be said about him he was a bona fide politician. I think Trump does have some political talents – but again, campaigning/holding rallies is a skill and he is good at that, but holding a coalition of actual politicians together is a completely different skill set. I think he’ll fold like a cheap suit or have an epic meltdown if he’s ever required to actually, like, do anything at all to hold his party together.

          He’s a preternatural rabble rouser, I’ll give him that, but if that’s all he’s got it won’t be enough.

          I think Trump is already going to get snowed by McConnell and Ryan. If he loses his popularity with his base he’ll be really fucked – they’ll eat him for breakfast.

  • This all totally makes sense if you see the votes of black people as illegal. Since that’s increasingly close to the open position of the Republican Party.

    • petesh

      I was going to make a 3/5ths joke but I can’t even … yes, this was exactly my first thought

    • Bloix

      Yes. The disenfranchisement of non-white people will be thorough and permanent. The use of the criminal and libel laws to discourage dissent and muzzle the press will become an every-day feature of political life.

      I have been saying for about a decade on this blog and elsewhere that if the Republicans ever took control of the Supreme Court, both houses of Congress, and the presidency, we would find ourselves living in a one-party totalitarian state. This is not a normal time. It is a constitutional crisis more dangerous than the one that preceded the Civil War.

      Most of my comments have disappeared, apparently, but ten years ago I wrote:

      The Democratic party and the liberal media reacted to the 2000 election as if it were politics as usual — donkeys and elephants. A great many people had an uneasy sense that it was something very different: the beginning of an effort to turn the US into a totalitarian one-party state. We could see that the election had been stolen, and that the techniques for the theft had been blessed by the Supreme Court… Yet the Democratic Party and the media continued to behave as if we were in the middle of just another election cycle.


      And I said it last year on Delong’s blog:

      The Republicans under Gingrich decided that they were not a participant in two-party democratic system, and instead were a radical political movement with the goal of establishing a one-party state.

      They came very, very close- a hair’s whisker close – to achieving this goal under W… They haven’t given up. They now think that by disenfranchising black and other minority voters, they can control both houses of Congress (they’ve done that, largely through gerrymandering) and the presidency, and then they will be able to change enough laws to secure one-party rule for generations to come.


      That is where we are now. We dodged a lot of bullets, but you only need to be hit once to be dead.

      • Cassiodorus

        While I agree with this statement, doesn’t it seem weird to be talking about it publicly?

        • “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

        • To be fair, talking about it using a pseudonym may provide a degree of cover. Then again, I can’t speak for Bloix, but people who want to can probably track down my name; I haven’t exactly hidden it everywhere. Might be time to start scrubbing references to it at places I control (which, to be fair, is where almost all of them are).

          I’m also convinced that Bloix is correct. To be fair, I’m also suffering from clinical depression, but my worst impressions of where things could go over the past two years haven’t been wrong yet, so that’s not terribly encouraging.

    • DrDick

      Pretty much, though I am certain Trump regards any votes against him (or any other opposition) as illegitimate and probably illegal.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      These are the people who think that blacks are just committing crimes all day long, when they’re not picking up their generous welfare checks.


      For people who think blacks are inherently criminal, shout “DEMOCRAT VOTER FRAUD” at the GOP base and you can pretty much predict where their brains will go.

  • kayden

    Trump is pretty much telecasting what he’s going to do with what’s left of the Voting Rights Act in concert with the Republican-controlled Congress and the new Attorney General (whether Guiliani or Sessions). Anyone who didn’t vote for him is illegal and shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place. Got it?

  • Nick never Nick

    I’m curious what ‘not normalizing’ actually means — Trump is doing it, he’s getting away with it, there don’t seem to be any actual consequences for it . . . It’s normal.

    All of the above is because it already HAS been normalized, ever since Gingrich started down this path. That ship has sailed.

    • NewishLawyer

      I think it means screaming it loud whenever he does anything.

      Time had an article that said Trump’s cabinet is filled with racists. That is not normalizing things.

      CNN got in trouble for a horse race debate about whether Trump could dismiss the alt-right after Spencer asked Are Jews People? CNN’s horcerace debate was normalizing.

      Now if the right-wing really tries to bring back Jim Crow things are going to get ugly fast. I expect mass and probably violent resistance.

      • Nick never Nick

        I think you’re right — the reason I ask is that I think a much more powerful argument against Trump is “I don’t want that”. Whether Trump is normal or not, he’s doing what he wants with the support of people, and some support from the media. There isn’t going to be a moment when all of a sudden we rub our eyes and wonder what’s going on — at every step, people have speculated what would stop Trump, and nothing has. And nothing, I assure you, normalizes so much as winning an election.

        Our argument should be “We don’t want that, support us”. If you get bogged down in whether Trump is ‘normal’ or not, you’re making your point indirectly. Don’t worry about whether having a cabinet full of crazy racist maniac looters is ‘normal’ or not — the argument is ‘we don’t want a cabinet full of crazy racist maniac looters. We want Medicare. Vote for us.’ Keep it very simple.

        If we are in a New Gilded Age (which I believe), that implies some loss of ideology — politics is going to be a battle of factions and networks. There is nothing as powerful as having a huge number of people backing you, and saying with their agreement that you want something done. Don’t worry about what’s normal, count the people behind you.

      • Moondog von Superman

        While we’re busy screaming about his behavior and statements, his staff will be busy dismantling Medicare, social security and obamacare and implementing national voter ID, crosscheck, etc.

        • Nick never Nick

          And that’s the other thing I worry about, which you articulated well — that ‘not normalizing’ is a form of politics-as-performance, which is so well developed in the age of Facebook. We won’t normalize Trump, we’ll pass around meme after meme after meme, while he and the rest of his team exercises power. That has to be blocked by something visceral and strong, like a huge fucking organization of angry Democratic voters from the block level on up.

          • Cheerfull

            A point I have been trying to make recently to anyone who will listen in the various townhalls, forums, meetings in Seattle. The Democratic party is the only organization that can speak up and sometimes resist on a broad scale to everything and its time to make it do that, including taking over every local party organization as needed to pressure the top.

          • NewishLawyer

            Let me clarify.

            When it comes to tweets, all you can do is raise alarm bells and mock.

            Make every COI known and reported.

            When it comes to appointments and policies, we need to be picking up the phone and placing pressure on Ds in Congress and pressurable Rs to reject and oppose.

            Local and State Democratic politicians also need to resist and oppose by any means necessary save violence. Lots of lawsuits, etc.

            If Trump and the Ts try a true Naziesque purge of all opposition, I don’t know what to do. Take to the streets? Leave?

            • Lizzy L

              NOT LEAVING.

              Fuck Trump.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              Make every COI known and reported

              How am I going to tromp around peoples’ backyards at night searching for little fish ponds without breaking trespassing laws?

              Oh wait, did you mean conflict of interest? I googled. That’s my best guess.

              • N__B

                Certificate of insurance.

      • kayden

        Jim Crow things

        Like voting suppression tactics? Republicans have already brought those back and they appear to be normalized. N.C. Republicans are on record boasting about closing down polling stations and winning. If closing down polling stations because too many Black people vote isn’t Jim Crow-like, I don’t know what is.

        • Nick never Nick

          yep — they did this, and things didn’t get ugly fast. Not only is ‘not normal’ a weak argument, but it gets even weaker if it’s wrong.

        • NewishLawyer

          I meant on a more broad/national scale.

          • Jean-Michel

            Also, the open and undisguised return of poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, the whole ball of wax. There is no bottom here.

  • This is an example of what Masha Gessen was talking about immediately after the election

    Not really on topic, but she’s got a follow-up piece today on her point of “no compromise”:

    We cannot know for certain, any more than we can know now whether a scorched-earth strategy or the strategy of compromise would more effectively mitigate Trumpism. But that does not mean that a choice—the right choice—is impossible. It only means that we are asking the wrong question.

    The difficulty stems from the realist tradition in politics. In contrast to what is sometimes called idealism, the realist position holds that the political world is governed not by morality but by clear and calculable interests. Alliances and conflicts turn into transactions with predictable outcomes. The realist reasoning is applied most clearly and most often to international relations, but it has seeped into all political life, turning virtually every conversation into a discussion of possible outcomes.

  • efgoldman

    I fully expect, unless the secret service amputates his thumbs, that somewhere down the road he will tweet something so off the wall and offensive as to cause a major international incident.

    • NewishLawyer


    • N__B

      You mean, besides calling Merkle a three?

      • petesh

        Oh, their first formal meeting is going to be F-U-N.

    • nemdam

      My question isn’t if this will happen, but how many times will it happen.

    • He already tweeted that the UK should make Nigel Farage its ambassador to the US, which was greeted with peals of laughter in the House of Commons and resulted in the spectacle of the President-Elect of the United States being clowned on by a bunch of Tories. Wonder if he got around to seeing the video of them all laughing at him.

      • efgoldman

        Wonder if he got around to seeing the video of them all laughing at him.

        Right after he loads up the video of 10,000 Muslims celebrating 9/11.

    • Breadbaker

      We expected that result when he insulted John McCain’s status as a war hero last year, and about a hundred subsequent tweets. I think this is wishful thinking.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Tweets? I expect worse. This man child, who I have yet to see sincerely smile or laugh, is going to act out in much worse wats. Screaming, crying, groping, punching, slapping. Maybe it will happen behind closed doors and we’ll find out 12 years later in some tell-all memoir by some GOP insider who should have told us sooner. Or, he’ll do it in full view of TV cameras.

      And good, decent people will be aghast. Meaning that his political support will remain the same.

    • I fully expect that something someone else says to him on Twitter will cause him to fly into an uncontrollable rage, resulting in global thermonuclear war.

      I’m only half joking here. I’ve said since long before the election that it is a very real possibility, and I have seen nothing to convince myself that I am wrong.

      Really wish we had gone with that nice game of chess.

  • russiannavyblog

    Now that he’s in charge of the DOJ, I wonder when he’s going to direct the Attorney General to find and prosecute these millions of illegal voters.

    • kayden

      Why not? If he’s able to convince enough (White) Americans that there were millions of illegal votes, he’ll have no problem convincing them that the AG has to take steps to go after those illegal voters. The only problem with this scenario is that there are no illegal voters — just votes against him.

      • Breadbaker

        And there are still real live Article III judges in this country. You have to find a federal statute someone allegedly violated and try them under it. A lot of left wing lawyers stand ready to help any defendants with free legal aid.

    • DrDick

      If it is Jeff Sessions, I am pretty sure that is already on his agenda.

    • wengler

      Well we’ve gone far beyond the firing of US Attorneys being a scandal at this point.

      I would be far less surprised if the Trump DOJ started bringing case after case against elected Democratic officeholders starting at the federal leadership level.

  • howard

    i continue to question his sanity.

    • DrDick

      I have no questions about it at all, the man is completely insane.

      • There is no question whatsoever that he is clinically narcissistic. He probably has several other personality disorders as well.

        • rm

          He has a pattern of alternating between schmoozing friendliness and vicious personal attacks, and the truth or falsity of the attacks is irrelevant — he just follows an ethic of “respect me and I’ll be nice to you; fail to kiss my ass and I will destroy you.” Go away, come back. Why are you offended by my attacks? They didn’t happen and they were your fault anyway.

          Sounds like Borderline PD to me.

  • tonycpsu

    Apparently this is the bullshit he’s basing his tweets on — InfoWars, of course. Coupled with Kellyanne Conway’s statement that it was okay that Trump’s skipping some intel briefings because he’s getting his intel info from “a number of sources”, I think it might be time to stock up on bottled water and canned goods.

    • efgoldman

      I think it might be time to stock up on bottled water and canned goods

      I think some of those home fallout shelters from the 50s and 60s might still be available.

    • Yankee

      It’s too late to learn to grow vegetables. Y’all shoulda listened.

  • Warren Terra

    Apparently Alex Jones’s InfoWars has been making a claim of this sort (three million illegal votes for Clinton); Trump is a fan of the show, or at least used it to reach his base.

    Relatedly, Trump has blown off almost all of his Presidential Daily Briefings, but we’re assured by his spokesthing Conway that he’s incredibly well informed from a variety of other sources. With his NSA nominee and that nominee’s designated deputy both being conspiracy nuts, the mind boggles as to what the other sources might be; InfoWars seems as likely as anything to be a key part.

    ETA I see tonycpsu and I were writing basically the same comment at the same time (my version was characteristically more prolix)

    • tonycpsu

      I’m going to need my brain back for work tomorrow!

    • vic rattlehead

      I think I read a claim about “illegals” voting in California as part of a coordinated Clinton fraud effort. And I just thought…why bother? Without a national popular vote why bother taking the risk to rig the election in *California*? If they were really so devious and evilly competent why couldn’t they rig it where it actually would have made a difference?

      I suppose Clinton could have carried out a coordinated voter fraud scheme involving MILLIONS to run up the score and “steal” the popular vote from Trump and give her supporters a nice talking point that the media would pretty much ignore (which was obvious from the ex ante perspective, any republican who wins, by hook or by crook even, has a mandate, end of story, nothing else matters). Sounds plausible. Even if it were possible, it’s a lot of work for very little return and incredible risk.

      • Simple Desultory Philip

        i have an ex who has fallen all the way down the conspiracy rabbit-hole over the last few years. he believes everything that comes out of alex jones’ fever swamp of a brain and honestly, logic doesn’t really enter into it. looking for internal consistency in the tangled mass of contradictory theories and ideas is not only futile in the practical sense, because there isn’t any, but also futile in that the conspiracy-believer *always* has an explanation; if they can’t come up with anything relevant to the topic you’re arguing about, they’ll just call you a sheeple who’s been brainwashed by the lamestream media and dismiss everything you have to say out of hand. they desperately want to believe that there is a grand global conspiracy that has hoodwinked everybody else, and they are the only ones who know the TRUTH. they see themselves as the heroes in a dystopian fantasy. i honestly don’t know how it’s possible to reach them. i have tried over and over with my ex and after this election i finally had to just cut him off. i know for a fact that his false-equivalence-conspiracy-mongering on facebook convinced at least a few of his friends in florida to toss their votes away by either abstaining or going third-party, and i’m so blindingly mad about the whole thing that our eleven-year-long friendship is probably done for good.

        • vic rattlehead

          Sadly, I know people like this. In my own family. My uber conservative father has backed off of Fox News as “idiotic” (he is proud of his chemistry degrees and being a scientist prior to med school and has no patience for climate change denial – which I am hoping I can use to slowly pry him away from the Republican party). If it involves his tax bill he can buy almost any Republican b.s., but everything else he seems to be persuadable on. Although even he has said shit like “they need to increase taxes because the infrastructure here is starting to fucking suck” and in 2010 “you know I actually wouldn’t mind single payer, I’m so sick and tired of dealing with all the goddamn insurance companies.” So people can surprise you?

          Those people I fear are unreachable. My father is capable of listening to reason. We had a long conversation over the holiday weekend about climate change and the Obama legacy in general (which was derailed by Castro’s death – we’re Cuban). He is persuadable because he has never been big into crap like Infowars or Fox News or hate radio. He is friends with people who regurgitate that bullshit to him, but he is not directly exposed to it.

          But people who have convinced themselves with literally zero evidence that the Clinton campaign manufactured literally millions of B.S. votes because…Alex Jones said so…what the fuck can we do about that? People who as you say :

          if they can’t come up with anything relevant to the topic you’re arguing about, they’ll just call you a sheeple who’s been brainwashed by the lamestream media and dismiss everything you have to say out of hand.

          Cynics really are the most gullible people aren’t they? At least the blindly cynical folks. As a friend of mine liked to put it: blind cynicism and blind optimism are both blind.

          These same people will sneer at you for being naive when you talk about, say, the real albeit incremental progress that would be possible under a Clinton presidency and yet buy anything no matter how outlandish that feeds into their conspiratorial worldview. Hm.

          You know, just because you adopt a reflexively world weary pose and believe any negative bullshit that confirms your worldview…doesn’t mean you’re not a credulous dumbfuck.

    • MobiusKlein

      I saw the 3 million illegals voting claim within a few days of the election. Nov 11: Some fact-free tweet, from Gregg Phillips:

    • kayden

      I wonder why Jones limited the number of illegal votes for Clinton to 3 million. A bit odd unless he’s simply claiming that Clinton didn’t win the popular vote by legal means. Since he’s making up lies from the top of his head, Jones should claim that anyone who voted for Clinton did so illegally. With Trump as President. Jones’ lies are going to have to be more outlandish to compete with Trump’s lies.

  • LeeEsq

    At least we know what the Justice Department is going to be doing under Reichskomissar, I mean Attorney General Sessions is going to be. Voter suppression and other civil liberties violations conducted at the federal rather than state or local level.

    • sapient

      That is why Sessions was chosen.

      We have to somehow stop him from being inaugurated before he ruins millions of lives.

      • LeeEsq

        Every potential Trump pick is going to pursue the same goals.

  • LeeEsq

    Here is an alternative suggestion on the right way to oppose Trump from an Italian professor at the University of Chicago. The basic argument is that the Italian left made a mistake when dealing with Berlusconi by focusing on his personality and traits rather than his policies. His argument is that Berlusconi was only beaten when the opposition focused on issues and policies and treated him as an ordinary political opponent like the way Obama treated Romney and McCain. This may or may not be true in Trump’s case because Trump is definitely not ordinary but it should be considered.

    • Nick never Nick

      I think this is correct — not only because saying what you want and what you don’t want is a much simpler political argument than saying that you don’t like someone and think they’re crazy, but also because many voters might take the latter personally. They voted for Trump, and now you’re going to tell them he’s a crazed racist loon? That says something about them too.

      Spend your time arguing that you want Medicare, protections for workers, good schools, and a living minimum wage.

      • LeeEsq

        Hillary Clinton’s biggest mistake, and I agree with Dilan on this, was not making the positive case for Hillary Clinton. Too much time was spent on the legions of Trump’s negative qualities. It secured her the popular vote but not the electoral college. Focusing on a more positive message on why voters should vote Clinton might have helped her in the key electoral fire wall states.

        • Warren Terra

          Plenty of speeches made a positive case for Clinton and for her policies. Only attacks on Trump got coverage.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            According to certain groups who don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, Hillary Clinton, good friend of the media, had complete control over the narrative, and only what she wanted covered was covered.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            She really could’ve run more ads on obvious pocketbook issues like taxes, healthcare, minimum wage, etc. She chose to run mostly ads attacking Trump for his various bigotries and his instability. To be fair, it appeared to be working before Wikileaks and the FBI intervened.

            However, that doesn’t excuse the media for not covering those issues, despite NYT’s protestations to the contrary.

            I was about to say “the issues” instead of “pocketbook issues”, but that buys into the media’s false framing of things like racism and bias against the disabled as not being “real issues.”

        • wengler

          She was never going to win on trade and that’s the issue she desperately needed to go away. Obama should’ve killed it for her, but nooooo…he needed to push an unpopular issue in an election year as a lame duck.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            Oh, it’s a criticism I actually agree with wengler on. I think Obama continuing to push it undermined her on that issue.

            If he had killed it, Hillary could’ve said “well, I wasn’t going to support it, but it’s dead now and it’s going to stay dead.” It would’ve been an easier sell.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              While it would have helped her, I doubt it would have helped her very much.

              Supposedly people are rational, and have an opinion, such as the TPP is bad, and then base their vote on which candidate is against, or most against, the TPP.

              While there are people like that, IMO they’re vastly outnumbered by the people who “like” one candidate for reasons they don’t understand and then explain their favoring this candidate by pointing to certain opinions.

              So I think that if TPP wasn’t an issue few people who disliked her would have changed to liking her. Instead they just would have found a different issue to explain their dislike.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                Perhaps, but it’s dead anyway.

                Even if it only helped marginally, that’s better than nothing. It came down to very few votes in the end.

    • Gregor Sansa

      I agree that this is a good perspective. But Trump won by being wrong in so many different ways on so many different levels that we couldn’t get it together to focus on just one or two. Knowing the right answer as to which thing would be best to focus on doesn’t actually help solve that problem; you have to have a way to convince everyone else to get on board. I don’t have a solution for this.

    • weirdnoise

      Well, it’s precisely conventional metrics where Trump fails hardest, and where people are less able to make squishy excuses for him. So I’m all for it.

    • Ahenobarbus

      Might have been nice to try this during the campaign.

    • efgoldman

      This may or may not be true in Trump’s case because Trump is definitely not ordinary but it should be considered.

      Problem is, neither Shitweasel nor anyone else has any idea what his “policies” are. We are projecting his (announced, but not formally) fascist nutcakes team’s past policy preferences on him.
      Not that I don’t think Sessions, Bolton, whoever, won’t try to implement their own fever dreams. Of course they will.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        neither Shitweasel nor anyone else has any idea what his “policies” are

        1) Become an actual billionaire (or possibly trillionaire)
        2) Vengeance on anyone who every laughed at his crass, ugly, ignorant short-fingered thuggery.

        That’s his policy list and he knows what it is. What he doesn’t yet know is how to execute it competently – but that’s why he’s got Gingrich, Giuliani and Kobach on the team.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          And after they secure Amurka as the Land of the Free, they’ll all high five each other and go look for their new, fourth wives.

          (I dunno about Kobach, but Trump, Gingrich, Giuliani…. )

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I’d like to think that it would be difficult to find women who would be willing to be wife #4 for those people, but that would be denying much of human history.

      • lunaticllama

        Eventually, there will be legislation that he will either have to support or not. That is why trying to break the Republican coalition over any plan to privatize Medicare has to be the #1 priority. The politics of the issue are straightforward and would likely undermine Trump/Republicans with key constituencies. The actual policies are the bedrock of U.S. liberalism.

    • nemdam

      I don’t necessarily disagree with this. Dems just lost an election, so it’s time to try something else. But I have some reservations. Because whenever Hillary would attack Trump on policy, it would either not get covered, or Trump would just call Hillary a liar. So it’s hard to attack someone on policy when he just denies anything he’s said.

      The good news though is with Trump in office, there will be an actual record which is much harder to ignore or deny. But I also fear that Trump will do the same thing and say any attacks on his record are lies or deny his record actual exists. And given the current media climate, I can’t say I’m very confident they will follow up if he simply denies reality. He did it all campaign so I don’t see why he won’t continue doing it in office.

      • guthrie

        Yes, exactly, I thought this blog had provided some evidence that Clinton’s policies were generally ignored and covered far less than Trum,ps policies or some problem with emails.

        • LeeEsq

          There are always campaign ads.

  • vic rattlehead

    The election of this…man has reminded me of a George Carlin quote: “When you’re born into this world, you’re given a ticket to the freak show. If you’re born in America you get a front row seat.”

    Except it’s not really a freak show. It’s a horror show. I feel like I’m trapped in an episode of the Twilight Zone or something.

    Still waiting for Dump to tweet “The Aristocrats!”

  • gmoot

    I’d lay odds that he’s going to settle the statutory rape suit this week and wants to distract the media, just like he did with the Trump Univ fraud settlement.

    Like Charlie Brown and the football, it works. every. time.

    • Nick never Nick

      I think that suit was withdrawn before the election, the woman was afraid to take it forward.

      • rm

        Knowing the kinds of abuse directed at journalists during the campaign, I hate to think of the kinds of threats that have been directed at her.

        • It’s been reported that she got a torrent of death threats, I believe, and probably much worse as well.

          • rm

            His beautiful twitter feed, or its email/snail mail equivalent.

  • keta

    You do have to admire Trump’s work ethic. I mean, the man just never stops, as evidenced by his seeking informed input on cabinet positions even during what appeared to be a relaxing holiday repast.

    And in a nod to former first lady Laura Bush and her tireless work in promoting literacy to Americans, Trump spent time with Thanksgiving guest Fabio, chatting about literature:

    President-elect Trump: Fabio! My man! So good to see you. Thanks for coming to pay your respects.

    Fabio: I’m living the American dream, Mr. Trump, by being in your presence.

    P-e T: Listen! Eric was reading me one of your books here recently and I must say, you get almost as much pussy as I do! You dog!

    Fabio: Actually, Mr. Trump…

    P-e T: And that’s genius how you change names, and locations, and even eras to make it seem like you’re not the one banging all that pussy! That’s what I call bigly writing!

    Fabio: The truth is, Mr. President-ele…

    P-e T: I could write that good, but I don’t have the time, especially now that I’m running the world. Hey! Maybe you could be my Poet Lariat, how about that? You could promote reading and riding, get it?, and then I could tell you about all the beautiful women I’ve conquered and you could write it in your books!

    Fabio: But Mr. Trump, uh, Mr. President-elect, your highness, I…

    P-e T: Great, great talk. The best. I’ll have Rinse get in touch to set it all up. Oh! One more thing! Ginger or Mary-Ann? I’ve never been able to decide…

  • Gregor Sansa

    I think it’s worth making a big deal of “emoluments“. Unless we can somehow convince multiple Trump electors to jump ship — a very slight hope — and unless he somehow gets Congress to explicitly OK his profit-taking — a total impossibility — Trump will be violating the constitution several times an hour from the moment he is sworn in, without lifting a finger. Articles of impeachment should be written up and ready to go from day 1, and Democratic House members should be willing to join with any quasi-sane Republicans in voting for speaker in order to maximize the chance that Trump will be impeached. Pence as President will still be worse than Bush, but there is no way Trump can last 4 years without literally destroying US democracy, so the sooner we get him impeached the better.

    • tonycpsu

      Democratic House members should be willing to join with any quasi-sane Republicans

      I have some terrible news for you.

    • efgoldman

      unless he somehow gets Congress to explicitly OK his profit-taking — a total impossibility

      A lot of misplaced faith in the RWNJ Republiklown congress, Gregor. They won’t take any action. won’t bother to carve out a legal exception. Democrats will harrumph and Republiklowns will just pretend there’s nothing to see here Lalalala.

      • Gregor Sansa

        I’m not saying that Congress will make a fuss. I’m saying that constitutionally, they would be able to OK what Trump does. They won’t bother, but they could.

        • tonycpsu

          Sure, if somehow some Republicans did the right thing, it would be an easy impeachment case, but then he’d just re-jigger his holdings in a way that stops violating the letter of the law and merely violates the spirit. Probably best to fight on other fronts instead.

          • efgoldman

            Probably best to fight on other fronts instead.

            Hell, it took six years to bag Agnew for physically accepting envelopes full of cash bribes across the Maryland governor’s desk.

    • jmauro

      I think it’s worth making a big deal of “emoluments“.

      No one will care. It’s a technical argument that people will think is too cute by half and just ignore. Trying to get an impeachment on that is a losing cause because it should be clear that it isn’t happening.

      Like the comments above that focusing on the policy instead of character, the better line of attack should be “How can he be doing your job as President, if he’s trying to real estate job instead” and then pound the Republican party with that from every race from dog catcher on up.

      • vic rattlehead

        How is it too cute by half? It actually seems pretty clear cut to me.

        • jmauro

          You’ll have to explain what “emoluments“, and at that point you’ve lost. It’ll sound like a technicality to folks and they’ll just phase out as a he said/she said sort of thing.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            “The Constitution says the president can’t take any money from foreign governments!”

            “Why? Because they can buy his favor!”

            That seems to be a simple enough explanation.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              What a Trump supporter hears:

              “Trump is making them furriners give him money.

              Trump is smrt.”

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                The basket of deplorables is not where we’re aiming to win people over.

                The people who didn’t like Trump but voted for him anyway (or voted for Johnson/Stein or stayed home) are the ones we’re after for the most part.

    • rm

      Shit, people, “it won’t work” or “people won’t care” are not goddam fucking reasons to shut our mouths, or let our representatives shut theirs, about this massive unconstitutional situation which is baked in to the nature of Trump’s “business” (I use scare quotes because it’s hard to respect the business of selling rights to put a name on things).

      Republicans did not worry that there was nothing to their impeachment articles against Clinton. The charged ahead. The public did not care either way. They lost because Democrats held the Senate, and because the public didn’t care about Bill’s sins. If they had won, the public would not have cared in the long run. After losing, they still charged ahead and won a few years later by stealing the 2000 election. Then when they lost in 2008, they still charged ahead with redistricting to gerrymander a majority out of their minority of voters.

      Worrying about optics is no longer the point. Actually doing something is the point. Try and try and try. You never know when the opportunity will break, and you’ll succeed. Have every weapon at hand, do not leave any stone unturned. Our representatives will not have anything else to do but obstruct and wait for the day Trump is so toxic that a number of Republicans are willing to help get rid of him. If we ever win that way, no one will care if the word “emoluments” is weird and unsexy.

      • Breadbaker

        The counterargument, which many have tried to articulate in various ways, is keep your powder dry and focus on the simplest messages. The Clinton impeachment came down to “he lied about a blow job, that’s perjury!” You need as simple a message about Trump, in part because he will give you so many things to latch on to you will have trouble focusing on just one or two. There were a lot of things Nixon did, too, but lying about the cover up of Watergate was simple enough for everyone to understand. I think someone named Hillary Rodham was involved in drafting those articles of impeachment. I wonder what happened to her.

    • Donalbain

      Why would any sane Republican impeach Trump? Remember, sane is not the same as moral. If a sane Republican has the intention to stay in office, impeaching Trump would be the last thing they would do. Voting to impeach would guarantee at the very least a brutal Primary fight, that they would probably lose.

  • vic rattlehead

    A lot of people are going to have a lot of blood on their hands when it’s all said and done.

    And there is some good journalism out there and some brave souls. But there are also plenty of bootlickers and spineless hacks as well. And if you thought the aftermath of Iraq was bad, well. The hemming and hawing and post hoc rationalizations for supporting that foreign adventure are going to look like a fucking MODEL of accepting responsibility when hacks in the media and other so-called leaders try to justify why they said/did nothing while Trump committed atrocities.

    When we look back on the Bush era in the years ahead, Judith Miller will seem like Upton Sinclair.

    • howard

      i couldn’t agree more that the excuse-making will be enormous with this proviso: we have to survive as a functional democracy long enough to allow the truth to emerge….

      • efgoldman

        we have to survive as a functional democracy long enough to allow the truth to emerge….

        The truth isn’t hidden. Orange McRapey’s character, conflicts, and thievery are right there in the open.

    • sapient

      The blood on their hands will be ours. We need to stop it before it happens. We need to try everything.

      • vic rattlehead

        I agree. I’m just getting over being paralyzed by sadness/fear.

  • mtraven

    I guess the problem with normalization is that at some point (and that point was months back), “Trump says something obvious false and/or dangerously unhinged” ceases to be news. I mean, I reacted to all these items and forwarded them around for a while, now when I do it I feel like a bore, it’s not conveying any interesting new information. It’s dog-bites-man.

    I agree this sort of normalization should not turn into complacency, and it should be fought against, but at some level it runs into the basic limits of human attention and cognition.

    • efgoldman

      “Trump says something obvious false and/or dangerously unhinged” ceases to be news.

      Yeah. I think we (the general we) reached outrage fatigue right around the time he clinched the nomination.

    • nemdam

      I agree, but the counterargument is why did EMAILS! not run into the same problem? Bernie said back in October 2015, over a year (!) ago, that “The people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”. And Democrats rapturously applauded! So anytime I hear about Trump outrage fatigue, I wonder why there was never any EMAILS! fatigue? And yes, I know nonsense scandals will always have an audience in the right wing fever swamps, but EMAILS! went far beyond that. That’s why I misjudged the impact it had all campaign. I assumed since it had gone on so long, the actual wrongdoing was so insignificant and hard to understand, and that the vast majority of new information did nothing to change the story that this scandal would have no impact on the race outside of hardening existing partisanship. But I was wrong about the impact of EMAILS! as I was about anything. So who the hell knows.

      Also, sorry as this is probably a dumb question, but is this you? https://twitter.com/mtraven Cuz if so, I am a fan!

      • tonycpsu

        In addition to the complicated circumstances of the email thing (she was given an exception to State Department rules that she probably should not have asked for and definitely should not have been given, the “classified” emails weren’t classified at the time, etc.) there’s the simple fact that expectations are so low for Trump that it’s barely newsworthy when he says/does something awful. The media is supposed to guard against this, but they had a financial interest in heightening the sense of a competitive election, so they played it up instead.

        • Sev

          Right. It’s so much more compelling/fun to show up the hypocrisy of the virtuous than to prove that a scoundrel is a scoundrel.

      • efgoldman

        But I was wrong about the impact of EMAILS! as I was about anything. So who the hell knows.

        Standard Republiklown messaging: Pick a short, repeatable word or phrase and keep after it, and after it, and after it…..
        Whereas Tangerine Cheetoh’s daily outrages were each a bit different than the others.

        ETA: Even the Clinton Foundation “concerns” were couched in terms of the damned emails.

      • mtraven

        It’s a good question, but the two sides just aren’t that symmetrical. I know we all have our biases and it’s hard to be objective. But it seems to me that the Clinton email thing was fake outrage, and somehow for that reason was immune to outrage fatigue. It was an excuse for hatred, not a cause of it. IOW nobody really cared about the emails.

        Trump’s outrages are real and the reaction to them is real, and for that very reason one gets tired of hearing about them.

        Well, that’s one theory I just made up. Another is that the right is just better at fomenting and perpetuating these kind of things, with Fox and Limbaugh and the rest stirring a never-ending kettle of inchoate anger, and the left just doesn’t have the tools or disposition to do it right.

        The Clinton campaign tried to use outrage as a weapon, most of the TV ads in the later stages of the election were just clips of Trumps most offensive statements. But that didn’t work for whatever reason, in retrospect it seems obvious that they were just helping Trump build his brand. I thought they were pretty effective but I wasn’t the type of person who needed to be convinced. Whoever they were aimed at, the desired effect didn’t happen.

        And yes, I am that mtraven, thanks for reading!

        • rm

          Yes, “excuse for hatred” sounds right. “Emails” actually meant “Benghazi,” which actually meant “burn the witch.” There can be outrage fatigue, but not dog whistle fatigue.

          It’s kind of vexing that so many journalists think that emails had anything to do with those “clouds” and “shadows.”

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Well, I think what we are seeing is that Trump is genuinely mentally ill, quite possibly with a side order of Alzheimer’s thrown in. How wonderful the next four years will be – if we get that far. I think we are going to experience massive attempts at stripping civil rights from anyone who doesn’t look like the “right” sort of person, plus open intimidation by white militia poll watchers.

  • MacK

    Trump right now is having an online twitter tantrum …. which is unwise.

    The problem for Trump is that if any cyber intrusion, i.e., ‘hacking’ is found at all, it will likely be Russian hackers – and it’s not unlikely that they at least tried. It almost certainly cannot change the outcome of the election. In fa t I’d be surprised if there was not evidence of hacking on some level.

    But Trump would be a president who lost the popular vote by 2.5 million, known to be ‘cosy’ with Putin and helped by Russian hackers – who hacked the vote – and Trump opposed an investigation!

    The legitimacy problems of the Trump/Pence administration after that would be, as Trump would put it, yuuuuugggge.

    • vic rattlehead

      What’s going to happen? There is no legitimacy problem for a Republican, ever. The Republicans aren’t going to investigate one of their own and we don’t have enough seats in Congress to do that on our own. Aside from some good eggs, the media is for the most part craven. The political demise of Trump has been predicted at least once a week for over a year now, and yet…

      • lunaticllama

        Legitimacy problems are just stories that people tell. Start telling the story, over and over and over again. That’s what I’m doing, even if it seems futile, I don’t think it is, but any effects will be long-term (sort of like how stories about the Clintons had disastrous effects, although initially “nothing” happened.)

    • rm

      It’s extremely unlikely that Russians got into voting machines or tabulators.

      It is already established that they helped to spread disinformation which magnified the failures of our press and our tabloid-on-steroids social media culture.

      It doesn’t matter. We have, as of now, always been a friend to Putin and at war with Eastasia.

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