Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Trump and Consequences

    This seems to be the week that it began to sink in, even among the people who had bought into the conventional Beltway wisdom: Trump means what he says. And this is Trump, the only Trump there is. He's not going to "pivot toward the general election" like the wised-up insiders have been saying he would. He's not capable of change. Trump is deeply dishonest, but he believes what he says. When he says that if he's elected he will do things that are destructive, illegal, or unconstitutional, we should believe him.

    Donald Trump says he would change libel laws so he could punish journalists who make him angry, because that's what he wants to do. He attacks the judge presiding over his fraud lawsuit, because he would like to punish that judge. He talks about using the power of the Presidency to attack his personal enemies, as he sees them, because that is what he wants to do. Anyone who thinks that Trump would not do those things if given a chance is deluding him- or herself.

    Up until now, the conventional wisdom among certain journalists, politicians, and assorted hacks has been not to worry about what Trump says, because in time he will follow the usual political script and do what the conventional wisdom expects. (As if Trump has followed the conventional script at any point up until now.) The wised-up types haven't been worried about what Trump says at his rallies because they pride themselves on being smarter than the audience, and Trump's act is so obviously phony that only an idiot would buy it. But they forgot that Trump actually is one of the idiots who buys Trump's act.

    Donald J. Trump is suffering from a serious psychiatric disorder. (Disclosure: I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist. On the other hand, I am not wrong.) That disorder is incurable, and Trump would refuse treatment if it were offered to him. He's a narcissist, and he likes himself this way. But that major personality disorder limits him. He can lie with enormous conviction, and then tell a contradictory lie with the same intense emotional belief a few seconds later. But what Trump cannot do is stop believing in his own lies. He has no sense of an authentic self outside of those lies. He's not a guy who puts on act to bullshit the rubes. The bullshit is his identity. He is the act, and he has no other character to play. So his psychiatric condition makes Trump enormously rigid in ways healthy people would not expect. He can change the details of the bullshit at lightning speed, but he can't change the basic act, because there's no Trump outside the act.

    There's not going to be any "pivot" to a more presidential or conciliatory Trump for the general election. He's not capable of that. And if he were elected, there would not be any shift from campaign mode to governing mode. Hell, no. This is not campaign mode. This is Trump mode, the only mode he has. The only difference if he were elected would be that Trump's sense of grandiosity would be rewarded and intensified, to everyone else's danger, because Trump would be even more convinced that he could do anything he wants.

    So the media has fed Trump's campaign, because he fits neatly into their crassest and most cynical business strategies. But if Trump wins, he will destroy the American media by attacking press freedom. Actions have consequences. Those who enabled Trump will pay the price, because Trump himself will punish them.

    The Republican politicians making the craven decision to endorse Trump are likewise courting the destruction of their own party. I'm not sure what happens to the Republicans after a Trump loss, but I'm pretty sure a Trump victory would mean the end of the Republican Party. This is the predictable consequence of various party actors' actions.

    Donald Trump is a liar, but we should take him at his word. If he is elected he will blow up America's foreign alliances, just as he says he would. He will attempt to deport 11 million people. He will run up a massive deficit with more tax cuts for millionaires, just as he promises. And he will bankrupt the country trying to pay for his asinine wall with Mexico, because he has talked about the wall so much that there is no going back. Trump can lie and backtrack, but he cannot bear to be seen backing down. He couldn't build the wall, because it's impossible and impractical. But he also can't not build the wall.

    No one should be surprised at how crazy Trump is. He's been telling us at the top of his lungs for a year. But various people have, for their own reasons, tried to rationalize away Trump's obvious break with reason and treat him like a normal candidate. Those people have been extraordinarily reckless, and they have put our country in real danger. Trump should never have gotten this close. And those who have helped him should never be trusted again.

    Trump will spend the next five months demonstrating how profoundly unfit he is. He can't help himself. But he will also be establishing, beyond any reasonable doubt, his enablers' unfitness for public trust. And those people had a choice.



    It's not often that a major party candidate for president is not a politician, so it's not surprising that political experts convinced themselves that Trump would "pivot" or "change" like a career politician would.  I think one of my favorite things about this is why Trump ran -- because Obama insulted him at the White House correspondents dinner and people laughed.  That's it.  That's the motivation. Obama embarrassed him by cracking wise about Trump's decision to fire Gary Busey, made right as Obama decided to launch the bin Laden raid and Trump felt diminished and that was that.  His whole campaign is a stunt to "show those people" and to the extent that he got this far but doesn't reach the White House, it's damned hilarious.

    I agree that the put down at tne Correspondents dinner probably played a role and it's interesting to speculate on his "birther" stance and how premeditated it might have been. But I can't agree that anything about Trump is hilarious. When you start throwing third parties into the mix, plus Trump getting 40 % of the vote irregardless of what he's doing, it's a dangerous situation for our country. 

    Politically dangerous, yes, but I can't stop laughing at the fragility of the Republican party, which made Trump's gambit possible and how this is really little different than Romney winning the nomination in the previous cycle. Seems like any one with a net worth over $100 million can buy their nomination and this is not new.

    Right. But I think what's new is that "persona as perceived substance" has been pushed further, and dangerously so, than it ever has been in our society.

    I want to laugh about it but I can't anymore. If Trump loses in a landslide this whole campaign is the funniest thing that has ever happened in American politics. If he wins or even if he comes close it's the most dangerous crisis that America has ever faced.

    Well said, Doc. His racist attack on Judge Curiel should alarm even the staunchest Republican---and yet Ryan describes it as "out of left field".

    Some interesting polling in three way race with Johnson---he picks up an average of 7.5% and as high as 11%. The media may well adopt Johnson as the next "story". If this picks up steam I'm concerned about what Sanders may do to follow suit.


    Media provided Donald Trump with free advertisement. Trump was never really pushed to explain his positions in detail. The media helped Trump and they will be among the first institutions to suffer if Trump is elected. Unfortunately some news outlets would become essentially state tv and radio for President a Trump so that those networks could maintain access to the Donald.

    rmrd, you state several times a day what the black community think as a whole and who in the black community is out of step and so should be either pushed back against or ignored. Because you are a member of that community with a finger on its pulse, could you tell me whether or not Margaret Kimberly is a respected voice of sanity among black people or maybe should be written off as out of step. Thanks.


    The author is an unknown in the black community as is Black Agenda Report. Obama, Clinton, and Sanders are all criticized. Obama and Clinton are no different than Trump. Her argument would fall flat in the black community

    Regarding deportations, the Obama administration is deporting more people with criminal backgrounds. In addition, there are more people detained at the border. These border crossing detentions are now counted as deportations, a change from prior classification.

    The author feels that the United States has been the aggressor regarding Putin and Russia, a hard sell here in the United States.

    Ms. Kimberly is entitled to her opinion. I do not think she would gain much traction in the black community labeling Obama a Fascist,

    Do you agree with Ms. Kimberly's assessment of Obama?


    Thanks for that response. I was under the impression, and I do not remember why, that Black Agenda Report was/is widely read. I can see why Kimberly's thesis would be a hard sell to anyone already committed to either/or Hillary or the Democratic Party, right or wrong. 

    The author feels that the United States has been the aggressor regarding Putin and Russia, a hard sell here in the United States.

    Again, I see the truth of that statement but it begs a question; is Kimberly right or is she wrong. Getting the correct answer to this and so many other questions is important, as important as life versus death to many people. 

    Do you agree with Ms. Kimberly's assessment of Obama?

    That would depend on the definition of Fascism which I have commented on in the past. Technically speaking, no, Obama is not a Fascist because he says he is not a Fascist. Actual Fascists openly and proudly embraced both the name and the characteristics of Fascism, but do you think that Kimberly distorts either Obama's or his predecessors' actions? What label is put on an ideology is often simply a marketing ploy. Americans, IMO, are masters of marketing as well as being extremely susceptible to it. Do you think that Kimberly's criticisms are all or mostly wrong and, if any are correct, that they are inconsequential?

    Many Progressives do not understand the black community. The Black Agenda Report does not speak for the majority of the black community. Interestingly, Progressive whites acquaintances  supporting  Hillary Clinton knew that Cornel West was not held in high regard by the black community in general. The Progressives I know supporting Sanders view West as a hero. 

    Putin is viewed as a white European trying do do a land grab to boost his ego.Russian media has displayed racist images of Obama and Putin had a racist athlete light the Olympic torch. Putin is as much a racist as Trump. Putin is viewed as an aggressor.

    Regarding Obama's record, I did note the shift to deporting criminals and how border detentions are handled.

    Obama changed his position on Social Security cuts

    ​Obama has been for raising the minimum wage. Republicans oppose the idea.


    Here is a link to comments from a black supporter of Bernie Sanders on how white Sanders supporters are reacting to the loss. White supporters feel entitle to winning the nomination. Minorities realize tag winning is long long drew out process. The author of the article feels that it is white tribalism that makes it difficult for white Sanders supporters to understand the perspectives of black voters. I link to this article to emphasize that my sentiments about Bernie Sanders are shared by others. In this case, the commentary comes from someone who felt connected to Sanders. Surrogates like Susan Sarandon come across as being in a racial bubble.

    Sanders supporters feel entitled to tell everybody else what has to be done for unity, but state that Sanders supporters are unwilling to make any compromise.

    They are just following the lead of Sanders who has turned into a narcissistic antidemocratic asshole. When the candidate refuses to accept the will of the voters one can't expect the followers to accept it either.

    the Vermont senator insisted that the delegate count is fluid. And he expressed confidence that he could persuade some “super delegates”— the party leaders who are not locked into voting for a particular candidate — to peel away from Clinton in the “six long weeks” before Democrats gather in Philadelphia.

    “Now, I have heard reports that Secretary Clinton has said it’s all going to be over on Tuesday night. I have heard reports that the media, after the New Jersey results come in, are going to declare that it is all over. That simply is not accurate,” Sanders said at a news conference here.

    Sanders then added, with emphasis, that the “Democratic National Convention will be a contested convention.


    O-K - you call Sanders an "asshole" - apparently because you're angry that Sanders has the temerity to continue to challenge your preferred candidate.  What do you call somebody who repeatedly denies she broke the rules when the Inspector General has concluded she did indeed break the rules and who also lies about the time when the rules were changed?

    Barrett Pitner, writing for the Daily Beast, wrote a very interesting article about his conversation as a black Bernie supporter having a conversation with some white Bernie supporters:

    Here is a bit of an excerpt that started with him over-hearing a conversation:

    " Killery Clinton is stealing the nomination and the system is rigged against Bernie Sanders," said the two young white guys standing behind me in line. They rambled incessantly about how she was cheating and could not be trusted. Superdelegates were their greatest frustration. Unelected delegates who could "decide" the nomination proved that the process was a sham that was intentionally set up to prevent Sanders from winning.

    At first I tried to ignore the conversation and thought they were Trump supporters ("Killery" is usually a right-wing thing). But once it became clear that these guys were Sanders supporters, I had to jump in. For years, these guys had been "my people." I have been a fan of Sanders long before his presidential run and have made many friends due to our mutual admiration of his policies. Surely, I'd be able to have a civil, rational conversation with these guys, right? When, I chimed in it was evident that we were speaking different languages.

    We agreed on most of the substantive policy issues, and I told them how I even interned for Sanders about a decade ago. We should have been able to see eye to eye, but we could not. The main source of their frustration was merely the fact that they had lost. The fact that she is ahead in the popular vote, has won more primaries and caucuses, and has earned more delegates was to them a minor nuisance. They had their absurd talking points and were unwilling to deviate into reality. The more I reflected on them, the more I realized the key point: They felt entitled to win, and a defeat meant that someone must have cheated or that their opinions did not matter, which of course couldn't be true. They preferred to suspend reality and fabricate injustices rather than concede that Sanders has lost fair and square.

    Essentially, we disagreed on what America supposedly promised or owed us. They felt success was promised to them. The entitlement to believe that you should always win allowed them to overlook how the system in many ways has always been unjustly rigged in their favor because they're white. I brought up race during our conversation and how I'm very aware of how a system can be rigged against you. These guys acknowledged my point, but it was obvious that this reality did not factor much into their thinking. They felt aggrieved and cheated, and that was all that mattered. They could not understand the perspectives of blacks, Latinos and other minorities in America who are regularly treated as threats to society before their voices can be heard. We are often silenced before we even have the chance to win. And as a result, we know that losing is a reality we will confront and that success can be a difficult and long process that may only show its face in the lives of our children or grandchildren who have more opportunities because we've spent a lifetime fighting for positive change.

    These guys could not understand this struggle. They wanted immediate success and gratification, and they were not used to things not going their way. The issues and the lives of others had become irrelevant. All they wanted was for me to agree that they had been unjustly cheated, and that "Killary" and the DNC had rigged everything against them.

    I could not agree, so I had to walk away. Sander's message has resonated mostly with a younger, predominantly white electorate like those two guys. Their message and frustrations have been heard loud and clear, but their electoral defeats have resulted in an intensified pack or tribalist mentality that unfortunately has similarities to the white tribalism that has guided Trump's campaign. Sanders and Trump are mining similar disaffections amongst the white electorate.

    rmrd0000, are you familiar with Pitner?

    Pitner is the author of my linked article. I am amazed by the fact that many Sanders supporters have much less identification with the black community than Clinton supporters. Sanders, West, Michael Moore, Nader Etc, supported a primary challenge to Obama despite possessing the knowledge that such a challenge could jeopardize having a Democrat in the White House. Sanders supporter terms are oblivious to how they are viewed in the black community. It is astonishing.

    People joke about my recurring references to Cornel West, but those jokes ignore the fact that Sanders is openly suggesting that he will disrupt the Democratic Convention. West will create disorder in his position on the platform committee. Sanders whines that the system is rigged against him. West charges that a host of black activists are inauthentic because they do not direct venom against President Obama. Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Both men go out of their way to distance themselves from the black community. Neither man can point to anything that they have done to benefit the black community. 


    rmrd0000 - for months you have been telling us the black community prefers Hillary Clinton.  Is the black community familiar with the breach between the Clintons and Peter Edelman and Marian Wright Edelman over their support for welfare reform?  Are the Edelmans well-regarded in the African-American community?

    Excellent. This should be on the front page of the Op-Eds of the NYT.

    There has been talk of Trump being reckless with the 'nuclear codes.' How about the opposite.

    What if Putin decides to stage an 'Russian test gone horribly awry, a nuclear missile accident'.

    Knowing Trump 'makes deals' and is basically a coward and a fool.

    What if that accident takes out DC-the VP, Congress and the the Supreme Court, both in session, and the Pentagon?

    While Trump is relaxing in Mar-a-Lago?

    What would Trump do? Would the Republican base give a crap about Congress and the Supreme Court going up in smoke? Would Trump? Fox News? The surviving pundits would have a heyday, 24/7 coverage.

    Would Trump tell the world, yes, yes, Putin assured him it was a 'horrible horrible'  accident.

    But he is still here. President Trump. And Putin is investigating the accident and punishing those responsible.

    Then Trump quietly 'makes a deal' and agrees to follow his buddy Putin's commands...relating to deployments US forces on land and sea, and dominance in the Eurasian continent...or else Mar-a-Lago is next?

    I am temporarily locking comments on this thread, because another off-topic fight about Sanders has broken out. This is not the first time this has happened in the comments of a non-Sanders-related post, and the parties involved have been warned about this before.

    I will unlock this thread later for PERTINENT comments, after the possible ToS violations have been reviewed.

    [UPDATE: I have re-opened comments, but insist that we keep the Sanders infighting off this non-Sanders thread.]

    If you can say anything remotely positve about trump, it's that when you side with him, you know what you're siding with. 

    There will be no pivot (and I know there are some Repubs who didn't want to believe that.) What he shows you is what he is - a bigoted, misogynistic, blowhard, narcissistic bully who has zero self-control, and even less self-awareness.

    I do believe that SOME of the people really thought his primary performance was for show, and that he would be more "normal" in the general. Now I'm sure they realize he's a crazy person and they will not be able to control him AT ALL.

    They don't have any good options. This is going to get very interesting. Or scarey. One way or another, we'll need a lot of popcorn. And wine.

    Latest Comments