Don’t worry, Trump’s hyperbole is meaningless. Right?

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In case the point is not clear, read:

Trump’s anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and he was merely using this language as bait to catch masses of followers, and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is ready to make a political move.

A sophisticated commenter credited Trump with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on racist and sexist rhetoric, saying “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like this. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

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44 thoughts on “Don’t worry, Trump’s hyperbole is meaningless. Right?

  1. I love to give Trump a good kicking as much as anyone but where are you getting Trump’s anti-semitism from ? His daughter has converted to the faith.

  2. Now now Brainstorms, Wesley had repeatedly shown himself to be immensely slow on the uptake, so there is slack to give for his odd comment.

  3. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  4. I venture a guess and say the point is not that Trump is an anti-Semite, but that it would be dangerous to simply downplay his rhetoric as merely strategic. And I think this is a good (and scary) point.

  5. Bjoern, it is indeed a scary point!

    On the broader issue of anti-semitism, the Anti-Def league things he either is or has produced from within his camp very antisemitic material, which functionally is the same thing even if done out of stupidity, because he is responsible for the ads he buys, pays for, and claims that he approves. Also, his supporters, and I know that is not him, but they are linked, have been fairly antisemitic .

    I had considered leaving off the word antisemite from the original text and just sticking with racism to avoid the distraction, but I also wanted to stay as close to the original text as I could. I left off the stuff about Bavaria rather than replacing it with “Queens” or something….

    Check this out:

    “Criticizing Donald Trump while being Jewish is hazardous duty, as a fresh report from the Anti-Defamation League notes. Titled “Anti-Semitic Targeting of Journalists During the 2016 Presidential Campaign,” the study turned up a wave of 2.6 million tweets with anti-Semitic language over the period from August 2015 to July 2016.

    Why mention all this in a media column? This is why: “The top 10 most targeted journalists (all of whom are Jewish) received 83 percent of these anti-Semitic tweets,” indicates the report.”

  6. Greg has a fundamental point here. The picket line not to cross are the human rights and fundamental freedoms of everyone, Laren NH, Friday 11 November 2016, 22.24 PM, Dutch time.

  7. The uptick in violence against non-white non-males since Trump’s election is a clear sign of more serious trouble ahead. As in civilization ending trouble. And Trump has done nothing to damp this down. It looks like he and his surrogates are riding into town as proto-Nazis. We are thinking in terms of conventional American constitutional means of curbing his power, but if he goes full Neanderthal on us and inspires his armed minions to rise up, we have a dead country. Remember, we are talking about red states, the legacy children of the American civil war… and their supporters in Blue states. The Murka that thinks guns god and gravy are way better than any stinking Union. Better put your brains and your guts to work drawing up plan B because it looks like we are going to need it.

  8. Wesley (#1): Gone full Godwin I see.

    When a man has been endorsed by the American Nazi Party, Godwin’s Law no longer applies.

  9. Godwin’s law does not prohibit anything. It is a law of behavior, stating how long it will take in inane conversations for someone to compare someone to Hitler.

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual rise of actual fascism and the actual resembles of an actual person to the actual Hitler!

  10. Well, we don’t need more evidence that Trump is viciously authoritarian. I wonder if this might actually bring him down in the end. I’m not sure he can actually survive in the job.

    He’s in for the mother of all culture shocks. His lifelong autocracy and the privacy in which to exercise it are gone. He’s never been in a space like this before. He doesn’t own the Executive Branch, let alone the rest of the government and military apparatus, and if he interacts with people as though he were still running his own business there will be problems.

  11. SteveP #12

    By the time a Trump first term is over, presuming he and P:ence survive it I think the following likely results of that first term will have a high probability of starting a new civil war

    1. Complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
    2. Privatization of social security (then completely stolen by Wall Street so you can never retire unless you have other investments – nut they’ll get to those too)
    3. Privatization of Medicare/Medicaid
    4. Disbanding or emasculation of the EPA
    5. Sever restrictions on the FDA (so no advanced labelling for example)
    6. Removal of any remaining restrictions on campaign contributions from corporations
    7. Reduced taxes with the majority going to the top 5% or so thereby further bankrupting the treasury
    8. No infrastructure rebuilding unless it is by private companies that then own the infrastructure but you pay for it.
    9. Increased job exportation through free trade agreements or other means
    10. More MIC spending
    11. Complete repeal of Dodd-Frank to let the banks do what they want again.
    12. Any remaining social safety nets (SNAP etc.) will be curtailed or eliminated
    13. Expect Unemployment benefits to be reduced

    As I said elsewhere welcome to America’s version of Dickensian England. You will be back to the Robber Baron days

  12. ” He’s never been in a space like this before.”

    The one big problem for decent people is that since he has Republican support in the House and Senate, he stands a good chance of getting the vile people he wants to appoint to positions confirmed. If that happens he will be surrounded by the same types of sycophantic yes men that he’s had his entire “business career”, with the same echo chamber and no attempt at moderation.

  13. Complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

    Nope. He’s already backing down from that. He told the WSJ in an interview that he would consider leaving certain parts of the Affordable Care Act in place.

    He’s going to drive the Conservatives batty who think they have a rubber stamp for pursuing their evil…

  14. Brainstorms – note the word “consider” a most weaselly word if ever there was one. Paul Ryan has already made it clear that the ACA is dead dead dead, as has Mitch McConnell. Trump is not going to go against them and the 3 of them have already met to discuss it.

  15. Greg,
    Of course we weren’t there for the evolution of Hitler, and thus we don’t really know what it looked like as it was developing. Maybe Trump is of a similar mindset, though I, without the firsthand experience of Hitler’s philosophical development, don’t feel the parallel you suggest. I would say, ok, if Trump is our Hitler. who are the future victims and what are the mechanisms by which the will be “dispatched?”
    I don’t get that Trump wants to live in the world that you would claim he is capable of creating…

  16. Doug, yes it’s a weasel word. But that wasn’t my point. And Paul Ryan can send legislation to the Senate, thence to Trump’s desk, but Ryan can’t make Trump sign it, no matter how many “dead” proclamations he makes. Ditto for McConnell. They can be co-conspirators, but they can’t treat Trump like their personal legislation rubber stamp.

    And you can’t manipulate a narcissist into doing your bidding; it’s typically the other way around. He can give them fits of frustration should he decide he wants to “do something else”.

    Trump does not take counsel from anyone; he’s “the expert” (witness his words on the ISIS situation, etc.). He will “negotiate” his “art of the deal” to get what he wants.

    They will be lucky if he wants what they want. Otherwise… Well, he’s been steadily destroying the Republican Party up to this point. Why stop now?

  17. Brainstorms – good points. He’s already walking back his promise to round up all the aliens and deport them – see and that article makes clearer what you said about Obamacare
    after his meeting with President Obama Thursday, Trump said he would consider alternatives to an all-out appeal. “I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,” Trump told the Wall St. Journal.

    “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” he added.

  18. ““I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,”

    Just how naive do you have to be to even think there is a chance he meant what he said there?

  19. “I don’t get that Trump wants to live in the world that you would claim he is capable of creating…”

    People like him, who destroy the lives of others for whatever reason, never have to live in the world they create: they maintain their lifestyle from above.

  20. Dear Moderators: Would you please put some sort of tracking software on whoever made the vile remarks at #23? Maybe get a trial version of FireEye or something. I Know that the link will dead-end at something stupid, but you should really make some attempt to keep out the worst of the deplorables here , while you still have some capability to do so. Thanks.

  21. SteveP #26

    I looked at that comment and wondered whether he was being serious or a Poe. It is often difficult to tell the two apart.

  22. Guys & gals, there’s something y’all have missed:

    70% of the state governments have Republican governors and legislatures. It takes 2/3 of the states to pass Constitutional amendments. They have a safe margin for this.

    It’s axiomatic that any open avenue of power is a “magnet” for people who seek power. Thus there is a risk that Trump & his monstrous minions will try to go that route for one thing or another.

    I’m inclined to think that the paradigm we’ll see in play will not be overt racism, antiSemitism, and the like, but rather, social Darwinism. That will provide plausible deniability and ass-coverage for the rest of it.

    Private actors such as the KKK, militias, Oaf Keepers, etc., will engage in random acts of violence, hate crimes, terrorism, etc. Trump himself will reply with the equivalent of a “who, me?”, like the proverbial guy who abundantly passes gas in a crowded high-rise elevator.

    The sheer quantity of hate crimes and such does not have to be large: each one will be reported in the media, and the media will duly “tut tut” about it, and large swaths of American demographics will Get The Message.

    The goals here are not merely to deport, or disenfranchise, or harm through violence. The goals are two-fold: One, to dominate other humans because it feels good (a little dopamine buzz for malignant narcissists). Two, to extract energy-conversion utility from the masses (that includes ourselves) as far as possible and by any means possible. Sunlight >> calories >> labor >> profit. All else is either _means_ or _entertainment_ for those who consider themselves apex predators, and consider us to be FOOD.

    Mark my words.

    Greg I still owe you a message elsewhere re. polling & statistics; I have a deadline to get something written tonight so it’ll be over the weekend.

  23. @28 John Mashey

    Yes, assuming the system functions as it should.

    Call me suspicious, but I worry about a wall of science denying Republicans in positions of power (and again, Trump was mentored by McCarthy era Roy Cohn) using their platforms to gin up trouble.

    I also worry about a long standing habit of Republicans slowly working to take over and to hollow out democracy and undermine it’s checks and balances, it’s rule of law, and to render ineffective enforcement of the law and regulations that don’t suit them.

  24. Make America great again?

    There was a land
    A big big land
    That looked for talent
    who would be President.

    Two runners were left
    He right, she left
    Battled their way
    up to Election Day.

    He campaigned loud
    to the lost crowd
    No respect for nobody
    Just for the big ‘T’ only.

    Her tracks were better
    She was a header
    A scapegoat she became
    He helped make her lame.

    People made notes
    Both battled for votes
    People were mad
    Their lives went bad.

    Stayed up all night
    Till morning light
    The shock was great
    Their wounds got weight.

    How could that be?
    They lacked to see
    The street fighter in him
    Who was kicking to win.

    Unbelievable, he won
    to get jobs done
    Lots of voters got upset
    She hurt and distressed

    Soon they’ll hear his voice,
    Show them his choice
    of men standing at his side
    Ready to fight the tide.

    Written by Irma Grovell
    12 November 2016

    Irma my wife, of whom I’m very proud, wrote this poem. We light candles all the way to a new Election Day. Laren NH, Sunday November 13 2016, 18.21 PM Dutch time

  25. I have never heard anyone claim that Trump is an ideologue…

    And such comparisons can never be exact. We fail to learn from history if we allow ourselves to get distracted by such quibbles.

  26. apologies if this has been cited previously. Article that rerminds us that all this “benefit of the doubt” strategy has been an M.O. of many autocratic regimes.
    a Quick list of the author’s bullet points: [direct quotes]

    Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.

    Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Consider the financial markets this week, which, having tanked overnight, rebounded following the Clinton and Obama speeches. Confronted with political volatility, the markets become suckers for calming rhetoric from authority figures. So do people.

    Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster, by a man once celebrated as the democrat to lead Turkey into the EU…..The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access.

    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.

    Rule #5: Don’t make compromises.

    Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. Donald Trump certainly will not, and Trumpism, to the extent that it is centered on Trump’s persona, will not either. Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election. They offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past. They had also long ignored the strange and outdated institutions of American democracy that call out for reform—like the electoral college, which has now cost the Democratic Party two elections in which Republicans won with the minority of the popular vote. That should not be normal. But resistance—stubborn, uncompromising, outraged—should be.

  27. The right wing has spent decades demonizing the media as biased and unreliable. Now when Trump pushes his extreme and dangerous agenda, half the country won’t believe that it’s happening because news of it will be coming from the “mainstream media”.

  28. In 1920s/30s Germany, the Nazis fell into power following a governance failure and general lawlessness resulting from unrestrained street violence between the two opposing militant ideological factions – both of them very small political minorities.

    The Nazis’ ideology is far less interesting than the behaviour of the non-Nazi majority which delivered power to this tiny political sect through their decisions – and lack of decisions.

    Ultimately, the German population in 1932 and 1933 had had enough and voted en masse in favour of the Nazis’ clear and simple messages.

    If there is a lesson in all of this, it goes a lot deeper than a shallow comparison of Trump with Hitler; and I believe many people have been warning of this for the last decade or more: the more dysfunctional our political class becomes, the more mis-ruled we all feel to be, the more attractive become simple and clear messages.

    Obama did a great job at staving off popular insurrection at the polls, but the Democrats’ decision to propose Clinton achieved Trump’s desired effect.

  29. While Trump may not feel personally dispossessed by global powers, his rhetoric appeals to people who DO feel that way.

    QFT. Trump has given these people scapegoats: the anti-Semitism has so far only been dogwhistled, but the anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, and anti-black rhetoric could hardly be more explicit. AFAICT, most Jews, Asians, and non-Cuban Hispanics understood this message as, “We’ll be coming for you, too, eventually” (the Jews in particular have a strong rational basis for this fear). Of course Trump can’t keep the promises he made: the jobs aren’t coming back, and the logistics of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants just aren’t in place. But the rhetoric is still attractive to people who want to live in the 1950s.

    Of course Trump has the causes all wrong, too. The Rust Belt was already being called the Rust Belt by the early 1980s, a decade or so before NAFTA was negotiated. Songs like Billy Joel’s “Allentown” (1982) and Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” (1984) captured the sense of futility that comes with de-industrialization. But for Trump voters, that history has been retconned out of existence.

  30. Of course Trump has the causes all wrong, too. The Rust Belt was already being called the Rust Belt by the early 1980s, a decade or so before NAFTA was negotiated. Songs like Billy Joel’s “Allentown” (1982) and Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” (1984) captured the sense of futility that comes with de-industrialization. But for Trump voters, that history has been retconned out of existence.

    True, especially that final sentence: I have an nephew-in-law who is convinced that his business’ bankruptcy was entirely due to President Obama’s policies. His business went belly up in the first quarter of 2007.

  31. “and the logistics of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants just aren’t in place.”

    Not to mention that the increase in costs to businesses in employing legal employees would be crippling (even to Trump enterprises).

    Expect lots of blaming the left and Democrats.

  32. The hypocrites screaming the loudest typically are the ones who benefit most, personally, from the cheap labor costs of illegal immigrants.

    The U.S. economy is inextricably intertwined and very dependent on these people. Deporting them would cause severe food shortages, bankrupt restaurants, etc.

    But given that the Trumpkins are eager to destroy America, I’m sure it will remain high on their agenda.

  33. If what you want is Democrats in office, the fact that Trumpkins want to cause an economic collapse is good news for you. (In fact, since the next step down was likely to happen during the coming years either way, it is good news for you that there are no Democratic power centers left who can be blamed for it.) The one thing you have to worry about is whether there will be an election at all in 2020, and whether vote suppression will have made it so impossible for urban poor people to vote that there might as well not be an election. The time to start donating money or time to groups that will help people get their papers in order is RIGHT NOW. The main goal should be to get enough Democrats in state office in 2018 and 2020 to prevent another ten years of extreme gerrymandering of U.S. House districts. The best hope of doing so is to run populist candidates, btw.

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