Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Donald Trump's Flying Circus: Proof That He Lacks the Cunning or Discipline to Be a Fascist
So what would a real fascist or at least a fascist wannabe, someone like Steve Bannon do when confronted with the combination of disappointing crowds at his inauguration and black-clad rioters burning things down? Especially if the day after his inauguration there was a huge, peaceful protest march dwarfing the size of his inauguration crowds? Obviously, he would turn the subject away from the respective crowd sizes and play up the rioters. That would be especially true if he was already harping on the theme of American as a smoldering hellscape on the verge of complete social breakdown that only he could save. Riots at his inauguration would play into this narrative very nicely. Only a fool would decline to make use of such a gift when given to him.
A real fascist, or even a wannabe wouldn't talk about disappointing crowd sizes. He certainly wouldn't offend the still-free press by telling the Washington new corp, many of whom had personally been present in the farther reaches of his inauguration and seen the empty stands, that they shouldn't believe their lying eyes. He would talk about the outrageous riots that had taken place, Instead of having his press secretary make of fool of himself by claiming the crowds were of record size, he would have his press secretary show close-up pictures of the riots. He would present peaceful Trump supporters beaten by protesters and have them interviewed as martyrs. He would imply without actually saying (and therefore setting of fact checkers) that if his crowds were disappointing, it was only because the rioters were keeping them away and point out (accurately) that they were trying to block access to the inaugural. And above all, he would regularly juxtapose talk and images of the Women's March with talk and images of the rioters, all creating the false impression that the Women's Marchers were the rioters while maintaining plausible deniability that he was actually making such an allegation and allowing him and his supporters to be outraged that when anyone accused him of trying to create that impression.*
But no! Donald Trump instead becomes obsessed with proving that really he had a record-setting crowd, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. And this isn't some short-lived obsession that he relieved the next day by having his press secretary give a statement to the press demanding that they ignore the evidence of their lying eyes, and raising it with the CIA when visiting in an attempt to mend fences. No, he just can't seem to drop the subject, any more than his alleged Electoral College landslide, or the supposed illegal voters who denied him a popular majority.
It should by now be apparently that there is no grand strategy behind Trump's outbursts and tweets, or he would do it better. (See above). What you see is what you get. And what we are seeing is a pathetic narcissist with a pathological craving for approval, utterly unable to handle the demands of the job, and too thin-skinned to take the criticism that invariably goes with it. Trump is no fascist, just an overgrown child.
*Look, for instance, at how skillfully George W. Bush juxtaposed references to 9-11, to terrorism in general, to Iraq, to taking the fight to the enemy, and to Saddam Hussein. He never came right out and said that Saddam was behind 9-11, but he made a very strong impression to that effect without actually saying anything that fact checkers could call him on. Or look at David Frum still tries to conflate Women's Marchers -- peaceful and light-hearted, if a bit vulgar and raunchy for conservative tastes -- with actual rioters.