T: Man, it’s Nazi WWF out there, with the worst of the hard right mobilized by Trump’s rants about caravans coming to invade us.
J: He’s abandoned even the pretense of not-racism… everything he says can pretty much be summed up as “brown people are coming to steal your shit!”
T: What’s your take on the political fallout from the Kavanaugh hearings?
J: I think that the Republican Party has pretty much gone all-in on being the party of angry older white men, and the Kavanaugh nomination/hearings just emphasized that. They found out that the guy had issues that warranted investigation, but they more or less whitewashed it and rammed the confirmation through, because they could.
They played to their white male base at the cost of pretty much all women. This isn’t a new thing; the caravan hyperbole is part of the same narrative, ending birthright citizenship, the travel ban… it all plays to the white male vote. Because of the way the Senate map lies this cycle, with a lot of Democrats up in states that are historically Republican, playing to the base like that will actually help them a little in the Senate race, but it will cost them in the House.
Trump’s recent rhetoric, in my opinion, is a product of his realization that the House is likely gone so he might as well go balls-out to help the GOP in the Senate.
T: I wish I had known this a week ago, but did you know those caravans are a common thing? Apparently, there are 3-5 of them every year.
J: I think a lot of people don’t know that these caravans are regular occurrences. I’d bet $100 that Trump didn’t know until they started hyping it on Fox News.
T: I didn’t find that out until this morning.
The media aggregators have been reporting on the caravans from both sides for what, two weeks? The synagogue shooting was directly related to the reporting, and Trump’s angry, threatening rhetoric was calculated to stir up the conservative base for the midterms.
J: I’m not sure it’s all that much of a stretch to put a few drops of that blood on Trump’s hands. What do you think?
T: At least a few drops. Donald Trump yelled about the caravan, invoking Soros’ name to get his voters stirred up about his so-called Deep State. One sucker bought it and killed a bunch of elderly Jews while they were in their own church, minding their own business.
Would his base – the larger base – support his side if they knew he made it up? I dunno. The nut jobs would, of course, but the rank and file base might think it was going too far.
J: Soros has been a Republican boogeyman forever; he’s the Sheldon Adelson of the left.
T: I noticed some of the campaign rhetoric from the left is completely dominated by Trump, too. McCaskill characterized the far left as “crazy democrats” – a clear sop to the need to placate Trump’s hardcore loony-base.
J: McCaskill is in a tough spot; she needs some crossover Republican moderate voters to get past her Trumpista opponent, so she has to disavow the hardcore lefties without offending her base.
It’s a pretty narrow path she has to walk.
T: Is the path still live? I mean, are there any voters left to sway?
J: At this point (three days before the election) I doubt there are very many true undecideds left. It’s going to come down to turnout and enthusiasm.
The Democrats have had an edge in enthusiasm, but that seems to have lessened somewhat. The last poll I saw was something like 76 percent Democrats and 68 percent Republicans saying they were certain to vote. That eight-point edge is a lot smaller than it was in, say, August, when it was more like 18 points.
T: The GOP has a huge edge in low-road gamesmanship. The Dems just aren’t good at it, witness their treatment of the Ford allegation. They have to take the high road, and right now nobody is all that interested in the high road.
J: The KCBQ ‘Copter says traffic on High Rd. is sparse and spotty.
T: The GOP, thanks to Trump’s domination of American media, can do pretty much anything they feel like doing. Nobody is going to stop voting for them if they get caught lying. Nobody seems to care about lying anymore.
So the caravan story — or something like it — had to be expected. Something was going to be fabricated to help GOP turnout.
J: If there’s one thing Trump is good at, it’s hyperbole. He keeps referring to the caravan thing as a “crisis”, when in fact the caravan is nowhere near the border, isn’t going to be anywhere near the border for weeks if not months, and has publicly announced that when they DO arrive, they’re going to present themselves for asylum processing, not just rush the border like a big game of Red Rover.
But Trump has never been one to let the truth stand in the way of a good story. But Trump calls it a “crisis” to fan the flames of his base.
T: Trump would call dinner a crisis if it meant he could get 2 percent more cake for dessert.
J: Make Duncan Hines great again!
T: I got a buck that says MSN would publish a cake story, even if they knew we made it up.
J: How do we get aggregators to use more diligent means to fact-check what they publish?
T: No chance of that, J. The truth-control will have to come from the other side, I think. What we need is an aggregator that is approved by the Associated Press, something like that. A Good Housekeeping seal of approval that everyone understands is the real deal.
J: Would the AP go for something like that? Or would it be better if it was an independent organization, something like Snopes or factcheck.org?
T: I think fact-checking sites are pointless in a quick-moving news cycle. They are like putting out a fire after the house burned to the ground and everyone moved away.
The initial input is what we remember. We remember Trump saying Mexican invasion. Few of us will even notice that some fact checker told us, after the fact, that Trump made the invasion up.
It’s unfortunate, but we can’t use a morning after pill to keep Trump from impregnating his base with fetal propaganda.
J: I may have to go bleach my brain after that analogy. That sucked.
T: What we’ll need is for the nation to get to know the AP a lot better, and the AP to be our Walter Cronkite. Something like that. If there is a father figure aggregator that the nation trusts, the rest of them will have to keep one foot on the truth, or be known as fake news.
J: That would be a worthwhile project, but what good would it do with someone like Trump who a) lies casually and b) has a rabid base of followers who are ready to believe whatever he says?
T: Trump is like a spider. His followers are the web and the media outlets are the flies. I’m not sure who the GOP is, but I suspect spiders all have several thousand cousins who get to come over for dinner.
J: So … the AP is a fly swatter?
T: Something like that. Swat the stupid flies, though. The ones that approach the web with hungry looks.
J: We saw the danger in 2016, and a lot of the things that we warned about have come to pass. But that 42.1 percent is still insisting that everything’s just hunky-dory and we need to return the spider to power to help with the invasion of flies coming to threaten our southern border, eat our hamburgers and lay eggs in our potato salad. OK, that wasn’t a great analogy, either.
T: That’s an understatement.
J: Get off me. I’m the legal expert. You’re analogy boy.
T: Don’t call me boy, boy.
J: When did we turn into a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon?
J: So Trump’s supporters are going to believe whatever he says, so what’s the point?
T: Who are Trump’s supporters, anyway? Lemme toss this out.
Scale Trump’s 42.1 percent to 100 percent, and portion it out among these groups, you can add any group that you think I missed.
- Nazis – the loons who goose step, parade through the streets waving Ar-15s and pollute Twitter with hateful messages and insane rants. This is where 99 percent of the ‘Murica rants come from, and 99.9 percent of the violence potential.
- Archie Bunkers – the working class old white guys who are terrified of strangers. Take Trump’s money away and he would be just like them.
- Bubbas – the regular folks who love what we think of as Americana – camping, country music, beer, barbeques and the flag. They don’t talk about Trump much unless asked, but they will push back if you tell them you hate him. They don’t think he’s been given a fair shake, so they want all those libtards to back the hell off and give him a chance.
- Pubs – Longtime republicans who would vote for a starfish with a missing leg if it had an “r” next to its name on the ballot. They became Trump supporters the moment it was clear he was going to be the nominee.
- Moths – they support Trump because he’s exciting and makes politics entertaining. This is the reality show crowd. They are incredibly gullible, but not particularly stubborn.
I suspect the total would be well over 100 percent, because large swaths cover multiple areas, so let’s just choose the first one each person represents. If you are a Nazi who is addicted to reality television, you are a Nazi. GOP members who are also scared shitless of brown people are Archies. And so on.
J: Lessee …
- 1 (Nazis). 5 percent. Not much, if any, overlap with any other group.
- 2 (Archies). 15 percent; maybe 1 percent overlap with #1.
- 3 (Bubbas). 40 percent; probably 10 percent overlap with #2. No overlap with #1.
- 4 (Pubs). 40 percent: 10 percent overlap with #3, maybe 5 percent overlap with #2.
- 5 (Moths). 10 percent; slight overlap with #2 and #4.
I’d add Libertarian-Lites, people who think that the government should be run like a business and therefore a businessman would do a good job of running it. I’d put those at 5 percent, overlapping with #4, maybe even a subcategory of #4.
T: I’ll call your category Libertines and add one-percenters, just to list them. There aren’t enough of them to be much of a factor, but they are the financial backbone of the GOP.
- (Nazis). I’d guess there are closer to 10-12 percent, or roughly 5 percent of the country as a whole. They are easily the loudest group, and the group that creates the most problems, but a clear minority of the overall base.
- (Archies). This is a huge group, given the average age of Trump’s voters. I’d guess it’s 35-40 percent of his base, and I suspect I’m still a little low.
- (Bubbas). Another huge group, likely close to half of the total, maybe as much as 65-70 percent if you include the ones who are also Archies.
- (Pubs). Another huge group, but if you remove the Archies and the Bubbas it’s comparatively small. Most Pubs are either Archies or Bubbas.
- (Moths). This is the group that got Trump elected. I suspect that there are few Archies or naked Pubs among the Moths, but a lot of Bubbas. I’d guess about 20 percent of Trump’s supporters are Moths, giving him the 10 percent bump from his expected 35 percent, enough to steal the election.
- (Libertines). They are a small group, and most of them voted for Gary Johnson. They may have given Trump a slight boost overall, but polls suggest that Hillary lost more votes to Johnson than Trump did.
- (One-percenters). I’d say … maybe 1 percent? This is Trump’s real constituency, the one that he clearly backs based on his actions, rather than his words.
J: Election Tuesday … I’m sure we’ll revisit that scale.
T: Oh yeah. Too bad there is no way to verify it.