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Old 09.02.2020, 10:45 PM   #9161
The Soup Nazi
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From The Washington Post:

Quote:
Never forget that our presidential electoral system is an abomination

Opinion by Paul Waldman
Columnist
September 2, 2020

If you opened up your newspaper and read that Joe Biden was campaigning in California, you’d think that something had gone terribly wrong with his campaign, or perhaps with the world as a whole. What could cause this madness? Why on earth would either of the party’s nominees visit a state that is home to about 1 in 8 Americans?

Yet when you read reports such as this one, nothing seems odd at all:

Last week’s Republican convention had just concluded when Joe Biden’s top strategists began hearing from worried Democrats. They told the officials that President Trump’s singular focus on a “law and order” message, coupled with images of violence in cities, threatened Biden’s standing, particularly among White voters in the industrial Midwest.

Over the past few days, Biden has offered his response, reorienting his campaign. He delivered a forceful anti-Trump speech in Pittsburgh, afterward bringing pizza to a firehouse. He began giving newfound attention to Minnesota, a state Democrats haven’t lost in nearly 50 years, and his campaign is eyeing potential trips to Wisconsin and Michigan.

I’m not talking about the “worried Democrats,” which are a constant, nor am I referring to the fact that the presidential race hasn’t actually changed since the Republican convention. It’s the fact that the Biden campaign — or anyone else, for that matter — should actually care what voters in Minnesota are thinking, any more than we do about voters in any of the other 49 states (plus D.C.!).

As the article explains, “Central to Biden’s success is maintaining the support of voters like Kevin King, a 59-year-old retired Marine from Alexandria, Minn.” Which is both perfectly true and utterly bonkers.

Because we’re so familiar with the first part — swing voters in swing states, they’re the ones the campaigns worry most about — we seldom stop to remind ourselves how ludicrous it is that the inclinations of Mr. King (who I’m sure is a perfectly nice guy) should matter any more to Biden and President Trump, and all the people who work for them, than Frederick Flapjack of Bonner Springs, Kans., or Maryanne Moxytoes of Scituate, R.I. Or you.

We’ve heard this all before, you may be saying— another complaint about the electoral college. But we have to remind ourselves — particularly given the fact that in two months we could have yet another election result in which the candidate who got more votes does not become president — just what an abomination this system is.

By all means, we can devote extreme scrutiny to the moves the campaigns are making in the Midwest. That’s one area where they are focused, after all. But every time we do, the fact that it’s an affront to every democratic value should be at the top of our minds.

Right now, almost no one outside of deranged Trump partisans thinks the president will win the popular vote in November. His only chance for victory — and it’s a good one — is to once again assemble the right combination of state wins to get him 270 electoral votes. Which would mean that in half the presidential elections of the last 20 years, the vote loser wound up winning the White House.

In other words, it’s not just an unusual occurrence, something that was always possible but we seldom had to worry too much about. It’s now a regular feature of presidential elections.

How likely is it? Take a look at this analysis from FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver:

 


Turnout projections are running at around 150 million this year (140 million Americans voted in 2016), which would mean that if Silver is right, Biden could win by 3 million to 4.5 million votes and still have less than a 50 percent chance of becoming president. If Biden won the popular vote by 4 percent to 5 percent, or 6 million to 7.5 million votes, Trump would still have a 1-in-10 shot of prevailing.

The proper response to that isn’t to say, “Well, whaddya gonna do? It’s always been that way.” The proper response is unending, incandescent outrage.

I’d like to think that even if the situation were reversed and it was Democrats who were given a giant thumb on the scale by the electoral college, they’d still be eager to get rid of it, since that’s what anyone who has even the barest commitment to democracy simply has to believe. And it’s conceivable we’ll find ourselves in precisely that situation in the near future.

Although things can change in many places — Missouri and Ohio used to be swing states but now are pretty comfortably Republican, and Arizona and North Carolina were solidly red and are now purple — within the next few years Texas will probably become a swing state, and if it keeps moving in the same direction and eventually turns solidly blue, that will make Republican electoral college victories somewhere between difficult and impossible.

I’ll pledge right now that if that should happen I’ll keep raging against the electoral college. Because we could have a different future.

To see what it’s like, all you have to do is look at how things work in every other democracy in the world. Pay close attention, because it gets pretty complicated: People vote. The votes are counted. The person with the most votes wins. Weird, huh?

That could be us too, whether we do it through the National Popular Vote compact or through a constitutional amendment. Let’s never think we have to live forever with what we have now.
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Old 09.02.2020, 11:03 PM   #9162
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Shocker: Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. I'm floored. Trump fires 257 tweets per hour about the dumbest fucking things; on this and Jamal Khashoggi, radio silence. The kompromat must be some really fucked-up shit.
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Old 09.02.2020, 11:10 PM   #9163
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i won't deny that in general, I'm confused by the electoral college, Surely the founding fathers and whatnot had legit reason to create and/or use it, but one has to wonder if it's outgrown itself since. I don't fault them for thinking it'd be a great idea, but we're also 200+ years after and much larger as a population.
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Old 09.02.2020, 11:34 PM   #9164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tw2113
i won't deny that in general, I'm confused by the electoral college, Surely the founding fathers and whatnot had legit reason to create and/or use it, but one has to wonder if it's outgrown itself since. I don't fault them for thinking it'd be a great idea, but we're also 200+ years after and much larger as a population.

I don't think there's that much to be confused about. First of all, the "founding fathers" had SLAVES, so it's not like they were fully committed to a truly universal democracy (women couldn't vote either). Then comes the part of not wanting the great unwashed to fuck up and elect a tyrant, which would have come in handy right after the 2016 election if the whole shitshow hadn't backfired and the wannabe tyrant hadn't been the one with more "electors" but three million real votes less. What's there to wonder - the system is a nightmare and the U.S. of A. (<- "the greatest country in the WORLD!") should have killed it when it (nominally) killed slavery.

Federalism is also a complete stupidity for a country like the States, but that's another discussion.
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Old 09.03.2020, 09:21 AM   #9165
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Trump telling voters in N. Carolina to vote twice to mail-in system is something. Another law he's broken right there.

Be interested to see how many times he's broken the law ever since becoming president.
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Old 09.03.2020, 09:48 AM   #9166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h8kurdt
Trump telling voters in N. Carolina to vote twice to mail-in system is something. Another law he's broken right there.

Be interested to see how many times he's broken the law ever since becoming president.
counting down the minutes for some goofy hair-splitting by a certain loon about how he hasn't broken the law but instead has told people to do something that could be a felony and therefore it's not etc.

when you make fun of it as you probably will and reward the troll with attention please don't requote it though
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Old 09.03.2020, 01:04 PM   #9167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by !@#$%!

when you make fun of it as you probably will and reward the troll with attention please don't requote it though

Ah, I know you secretly love the deel insights of this forum's own Trump supporters.
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Old 09.03.2020, 01:54 PM   #9168
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Quote:
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Ah, I know you secretly love the deel insights of this forum's own Trump supporters.
they embody tragedy and comedy in a single convenient package, but no
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Old 09.03.2020, 05:56 PM   #9169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h8kurdt
Trump telling voters in N. Carolina to vote twice to mail-in system is something. Another law he's broken right there.

Be interested to see how many times he's broken the law ever since becoming president.

Facebook, Twitter Flag Trump Posts On Mail-In Voting, Going To Polls

More: https://news.google.com/stories/CAAq...S&ceid=US%3Aen
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Old 09.03.2020, 11:28 PM   #9170
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Originally Posted by The Soup Nazi
Shocker: Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. I'm floored. Trump fires 257 tweets per hour about the dumbest fucking things; on this and Jamal Khashoggi, radio silence. The kompromat must be some really fucked-up shit.

From The New York Times:

At a Latrobe, Pa., rally, Trump boasts of 'getting along' with Russia.

Mr. Trump's comments came as pressure has increased on the president to sound alarms about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader. It also came a few weeks after a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed ties between the Trump campaign in 2016 and Kremlin officials, and as the Department of Homeland Security issued a fresh warning on Thursday that Russians were trying to foment disinformation by amplifying language about voter fraud.
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Old 09.05.2020, 12:02 AM   #9171
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Christ on a stick, this guy's sucking Putin's dick so hard the fucking thing is touching undigested hydroxychloroquine tablets.

Donald Trump casts doubt on Navalny poisoning, saying US 'hasn't had any proof'

Trump declines to condemn Russia over Navalny poisoning

This is even though "in a meeting in Washington earlier on Friday, deputy secretary of state Stephen Biegun told Russian ambassador Anatoliy Antonov that Moscow's use of this chemical weapon would be a clear violation of its obligations under the chemical weapons convention." Mike motherfucking Pompeo's own deputy!
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Old 09.05.2020, 12:37 AM   #9172
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From a conservative Republican with whom I should have nothing in common:

Quote:
Why Trump Supporters Can’t Admit Who He Really Is

Nothing bonds a group more tightly than a common enemy that is perceived as a mortal threat.


September 4, 2020
Peter Wehner
Contributing writer at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC


To understand the corruption, chaos, and general insanity that is continuing to engulf the Trump campaign and much of the Republican Party right now, it helps to understand the predicate embraced by many Trump supporters: If Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins the presidency, America dies.

During last week’s Republican National Convention, speaker after speaker insisted that life under a Biden presidency would be dystopian. Charlie Kirk, the young Trump acolyte who opened the proceedings, declared, “I am here tonight to tell you—to warn you—that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it and eliminating everything that we love.” President Trump, who closed the proceedings, said, “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens. And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.” And in between Americans were told that Democrats want to “disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door” and that they “want to destroy this country and everything that we have fought for and hold dear.”

“They’re not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities. They want to abolish the suburbs altogether,” a St. Louis couple who had brandished weapons against demonstrators outside their home, told viewers. “Make no mistake, no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”

One does not have to be a champion of the Democratic Party to know this chthonic portrait is absurd. But it is also essential, because it allows Trump and his followers to tolerate and justify pretty much anything in order to win. And “anything” turns out to be quite a lot.

In just the past two weeks, the president has praised supporters of the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon, which contends, as The Guardian recently summarized it, that “a cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires runs the world while engaging in pedophilia, human trafficking and the harvesting of a supposedly life-extending chemical from the blood of abused children.” Trump touted a conspiracy theory that the national death toll from COVID-19 is about 9,000, a fraction of the official figure of nearly 185,000; promoted a program on the One America News Network accusing demonstrators of secretly plotting Trump’s downfall; encouraged his own supporters to commit voter fraud; and claimed Biden is controlled by “people that are in the dark shadows” who are wearing “dark uniforms.”

Trump believes his own government is conspiring to delay a COVID-19 vaccine until after the election. He retweeted a message from the actor James Woods saying New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “should be in jail” and another from an account accusing the Portland, Oregon, mayor of “committing war crimes.” The president is “inciting violence,” in the words of Maryland’s Republican Governor, Larry Hogan. Trump defended 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a supporter who is charged with first-degree homicide; and stated that if he loses the election in November it would be because it was “rigged.” At the same time, the second-ranking House Republican, among other of the president’s supporters, has shared several manipulated videos in an effort to damage Biden.

This is just the latest installment in a four-year record of shame, indecency, incompetence, and malfeasance. And yet, for tens of millions of Trump’s supporters, none of it matters. None of it even breaks through. At this point, it appears, Donald Trump really could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his voters.

This phenomenon has no shortage of explanations, but perhaps the most convincing is the terror the president’s backers feel. Time and again, I’ve had conversations with Trump supporters who believe the president is all that stands between them and cultural revolution. Trump and his advisers know it, which is why the through line of the RNC was portraying Joe Biden as a Jacobin.

Republicans chose that theme despite the fact that during his almost 50 years in politics, Biden hasn’t left any discernible ideological imprint on either the nation or his own party. Indeed, Biden is notable for his success over the course of his political career in forging alliances with many Republicans. I worked at the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the early 1990s when William Bennett was its director and George H. W. Bush was president. Biden was then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; he and his staff were supportive of our work, and not in the least ideological. There will be no remaking of the calendar if Joe Biden becomes president.

Still, in the minds of Trump’s supporters lingers the belief that a Biden presidency would usher in a reign of terror. Many of them simply have to believe that. Justifying their fealty to a man who is so obviously a moral wreck requires them to turn Joe Biden and the Democratic Party into an existential threat. The narrative is set; the actual identity of the nominee is almost incidental.

A powerful tribal identity bonds the president to his supporters. As Amy Chua, the author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, has argued, the tribal instinct is not just to belong, but also to exclude and to attack. “When groups feel threatened,” Chua writes, “they retreat into tribalism. They close ranks and become more insular, more defensive, more punitive, more us-versus-them.”

That works both ways. Fear strengthens tribalistic instincts, and tribalistic instincts amplify fear. Nothing bonds a group more tightly than a common enemy that is perceived as a mortal threat. In the presence of such an enemy, members of tribal groups look outward rather than inward, at others and never at themselves or their own kind.

(continues below...)
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Old 09.05.2020, 12:37 AM   #9173
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(cont'd)

Quote:
The danger of this mindset—in which the means, however unethical, justify the ends of survival—is obvious. And so in this case, Trump supporters will tolerate everything he does, from making hush-money payments to porn stars and engaging in sexually predatory behavior, to inviting America’s adversaries to intervene in our elections, to pressuring American allies to dig up dirt on the president’s opponent, to cozying up to some of the worst dictators in the world, to peddling crazed conspiracy theories, to mishandling a pandemic at the cost of untold lives, to countless other ethical and governing transgressions. Trump is given carte blanche by his supporters because they perceive him as their protector, transforming his ruthlessness from a vice into a virtue.

In my experience, if Trump supporters are asked to turn their gaze away from their perceived opponents, and instead to focus and reflect on him and on his failures, they respond in a couple of consistent ways. Many shift the topic immediately back to Democrats, because offering a vigorous moral defense of Donald Trump isn’t an easy task. It’s like asking people to stare directly into the sun; they might do it for an instant, but then they look away. But if you do succeed in keeping the topic on Trump, they often twist themselves into knots in order to defend him, and in some cases they simply deny reality.

“Motivation conditions cognition,” Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing writer at The Atlantic, wisely told me. Very few Trump supporters I know are able to offer an honest appraisal of the man. To do so creates too much cognitive dissonance.

That they are defending a person who is fundamentally malicious, even if he makes judicial appointments of which they approve, is too painful for them to admit. They are similarly unable to admit they are defending an ethic that is at odds with what they have long championed. They have accepted, excused, and applauded Trump’s behavior and tactics, allowing his ends to justify his means. In important respects, this is antithetical to a virtue ethic. So once again, it’s easier for them to look away or engage in self-deception; to convince themselves that Donald Trump is not who he so clearly is.

These reactions aren’t confined to Trump supporters; people across the political spectrum struggle with confirmation bias and motivated reasoning, in giving too much benefit of the doubt to those with whom we agree and judging too harshly and unfairly those with whom we disagree. That is part of the human condition. The degree to which Democrats, including feminists, overlooked or accepted Bill Clinton’s sexually predatory behavior—including his campaign’s effort to smear his accusers and its use of a private investigator to destroy Gennifer Flowers’s reputation “beyond all recognition”—is an illustration of this. So Flowers was branded a “bimbo” and a “pathological liar,” even though Clinton later, under oath, admitted to having an affair with her.

"If you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find,” James Carville said in response to Paula Jones’s claim that Clinton sexually harassed her. In defending President Clinton against the charges of sexual harassment made by Kathleen Willey, who accused Clinton of groping her without her consent, Gloria Steinem wrote, “The truth is that even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment. He is accused of having made a gross, dumb and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life. She pushed him away, she said, and it never happened again. In other words, President Clinton took ‘no’ for an answer.” And Nina Burleigh, who covered the White House for Time magazine, said, “I’d be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” So Democrats should be careful about looking down at others for accommodating themselves to unsavory and even repulsive characters for the sake of partisanship.

But what’s different in this case is that Trump, because of the corruption that seems to pervade every area of his life and his damaged psychological and emotional state, has shown us just how much people will accept in their leaders as a result of “negative partisanship,” the force that binds parties together less in common purpose than in opposition to a shared opponent. As the conservative writer David French has put it, with Donald Trump and his supporters we are seeing “negative partisanship in its near-pure form, and it’s the best way to explain Trump’s current appeal to the Republican party.” His ideology is almost entirely beside the point, according to French: “His identity matters more, and his identity is clear—the Republican champion against the hated Democratic foe.”

I know plenty of Trump supporters, and I know many of them to be people of integrity in important areas of their lives. Indeed, some are friends I cherish. But if there is a line Donald Trump could cross that would forfeit the loyalty of his core supporters—including, and in some respects especially, white evangelical Christians—I can’t imagine what it would be. And that is a rather depressing thing to admit.

Polarization and political tribalism are not new to America; fear and hatred for our fellow citizens have been increasing for decades. We’ve had plenty of presidents who have failed us, in ways large and small. But this moment is different because Donald Trump is different, and because Donald Trump is president. His relentless assault on truth and the institutions of democracy—his provocations and abuse of power, his psychological instability and his emotional volatility, his delusions and his incompetence—are unlike anything we’ve seen before. He needs to be stopped. And his supporters can’t say, as they did in 2016, that they just didn’t know. Now we know. It’s not too late—it’s never too late—to do the right thing.
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Old 09.05.2020, 01:11 AM   #9174
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While we're at it, let's revisit this one from May:

Quote:
Donald Trump, the Most Unmanly President

Why don’t the president’s supporters hold him to their own standard of masculinity?


May 25, 2020
Tom Nichols
Author of The Death of Expertise

So many mysteries surround Donald Trump: the contents of his tax returns, the apparent miracle of his graduation from college. Some of them are merely curiosities; others are of national importance, such as whether he understood the nuclear-weapons briefing given to every president. I prefer not to dwell on this question.

But since his first day as a presidential candidate, I have been baffled by one mystery in particular: Why do working-class white men—the most reliable component of Donald Trump’s base—support someone who is, by their own standards, the least masculine man ever to hold the modern presidency? The question is not whether Trump fails to meet some archaic or idealized version of masculinity. The president’s inability to measure up to Marcus Aurelius or Omar Bradley is not the issue. Rather, the question is why so many of Trump’s working-class white male voters refuse to hold Trump to their own standards of masculinity—why they support a man who behaves more like a little boy.

I am a son of the working class, and I know these cultural standards. The men I grew up with think of themselves as pretty tough guys, and most of them are. They are not the products of elite universities and cosmopolitan living. These are men whose fathers and grandfathers came from a culture that looks down upon lying, cheating, and bragging, especially about sex or courage. (My father’s best friend got the Silver Star for wiping out a German machine-gun nest in Europe, and I never heard a word about it until after the man’s funeral.) They admire and value the understated swagger, the rock-solid confidence, and the quiet reserve of such cultural heroes as John Wayne’s Green Beret Colonel Mike Kirby and Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo (also, as it turns out, a former Green Beret).

They are, as an American Psychological Association feature describes them, men who adhere to norms such as “toughness, dominance, self-reliance, heterosexual behaviors, restriction of emotional expression and the avoidance of traditionally feminine attitudes and behaviors.” But I didn’t need an expert study to tell me this; they are men like my late father and his friends, who understood that a man’s word is his bond and that a handshake means something. They are men who still believe in a day’s work for a day’s wages. They feel that you should never thank another man when he hands you a paycheck that you earned. They shoulder most burdens in silence—perhaps to an unhealthy degree—and know that there is honor in making an honest living and raising a family.

Not every working-class male voted for Trump, and not all of them have these traits, of course. And I do not present these beliefs and attitudes as uniformly virtuous in themselves. Some of these traditional masculine virtues have a dark side: Toughness and dominance become bullying and abuse; self-reliance becomes isolation; silence becomes internalized rage. Rather, I am noting that courage, honesty, respect, an economy of words, a bit of modesty, and a willingness to take responsibility are all virtues prized by the self-identified class of hard-working men, the stand-up guys, among whom I was raised.

And yet, many of these same men expect none of those characteristics from Trump, who is a vain, cowardly, lying, vulgar, jabbering blowhard. Put another way, as a question I have asked many of the men I know: Is Trump a man your father and grandfather would have respected?

I should point out here that I am not criticizing Trump’s manifest lack of masculinity solely because he offends my personal sense of maleness. He does, of course. But then again, a lot about the president offends me, as a man, as a Christian, and as an American. Nor do I make these observations as a role model of male virtue. I was, in every way, an immature cad as a younger man. In late middle age, I still struggle with the eternal issues of manhood, including what it means to be a good father and husband—especially the second time around after failing at marriage once already.

And truth be told, I am not particularly “manly.” I wear Italian shoes with little buckles. I schedule my haircuts on Boston’s Newbury Street weeks in advance. My shower is full of soaps and shampoos claiming scents like “tobacco and caramel,” and my shaving cream has bergamot in it, whatever that is. And I talk too much.

I freely accept that I do not pass muster by the standards of most Trump supporters. Again, what intrigues me is that neither should Trump. As the writer Windsor Mann has noted, Trump behaves in ways that many working-class men would ridicule: “He wears bronzer, loves gold and gossip, is obsessed with his physical appearance, whines constantly, can't control his emotions, watches daytime television, enjoys parades and interior decorating, and used to sell perfume.”

I am not a psychologist, and I cannot adjudicate the theories of male behavior that might explain some of this. Others have tried. Two researchers who looked back at the 2016 presidential election suggested that support for Trump was higher in areas where there were more internet searches for topics such as “erectile dysfunction,” “how to get girls,” and “penis enlargement” than in pro–Hillary Clinton areas of the country. (One can only hope that correlation is not causation.) The idea that insecure men support bullies and authoritarians is hardly new; recall that one of George Orwell’s characters in 1984 dismissed all the “marching up and down and cheering and waving flags” as “simply sex gone sour.” To reduce all of this to sexual inadequacy, however, is too facile. It cannot explain why millions of men look the other way when Trump acts in ways they would typically find shameful. Nor is arguing that Trump is a bad person and therefore that the people who support him are either brainwashed or also bad people helpful. He is, and some of them are. But that doesn’t explain why men who would normally ostracize someone like Trump continue to embrace him.

In order to think about why these men support Trump, one must first grasp how deeply they are betraying their own definition of masculinity by looking more closely at the flaws they should, in principle, find revolting.

Is Trump honorable? This is a man who routinely refused to pay working people their due wages, and then lawyered them into the ground when they objected to being exploited. Trump is a rich downtown bully, the sort most working men usually hate.

Is Trump courageous? Courtiers like Victor Davis Hanson have compared Trump to the great heroes of the past, including George Patton, Ajax, and the Western gunslingers of the American cinema. Trump himself has mused about how he would have been a good general. He even fantasized about how he would have charged into the middle of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, without a weapon. “You don’t know until you test it,” he said at a meeting with state governors just a couple of weeks after the massacre, “but I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too.” Truly brave people never tell you how brave they are. I have known many combat veterans, and none of them extols his or her own courage. What saved them, they will tell you, was their training and their teamwork. Some—perhaps the bravest—lament that they were not able to do more for their comrades.

But even if we excuse Trump for the occasional hyperbole, the fact of the matter is that Trump is an obvious coward. He has two particular phobias: powerful men and intelligent women.

Whenever he is in the company of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to take the most cringe-inducing example, he visibly cowers. His attempts to ingratiate himself with Putin are embarrassing, especially given how effortlessly Putin can bend Trump to his will. When the Russian leader got Trump alone at a summit in Helsinki, he scared him so badly that at the subsequent joint press conference, Putin smiled pleasantly while the president of the United States publicly took the word of a former KGB officer over his own intelligence agencies.

Likewise, as Trump has shown repeatedly in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, he is eager to criticize China, until he is asked about Chinese President Xi Jinping. In the course of the same few minutes, Trump will attack China—his preferred method for escaping responsibility for America’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic—and then he will babble about how much he likes President Xi, desperately seeking to avoid giving offense to the Chinese Communist Party boss.

(continues below...)
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Old 09.05.2020, 01:11 AM   #9175
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(cont'd)

Quote:
This is related to one of Trump’s most noticeable problems, which is that he can never stop talking. The old-school standard of masculinity is the strong and silent type, like Gary Cooper back in the day or Tom Hardy today. Trump, by comparison, is neither strong nor capable of silence.

And when Trump talks too much, he ends up saying things that more stereotypically masculine men wouldn’t, like that he fell in love with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. “He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters,” Trump told a rally in West Virginia. “We fell in love.” One can only imagine the reaction among working-class white men if Barack Obama, or any other U.S. president, had talked about falling in love with a foreign leader. (George W. Bush once said he saw into Putin’s soul, and he has never lived it down among his critics.)

Is Trump a man who respects women? This is what secure and masculine men would expect, especially from a husband and a father of two daughters.

Leave aside for the moment that the working-class white men in the president’s base don’t seem to care that Trump had an affair with a porn star while his wife was home with a new baby, something for which many of them would probably beat their own brother-in-law senseless if he did it to their sister. Trump’s voters, male and female, have already decided to excuse this and other sordid episodes.

Women clearly scare Trump. You don’t have to take my word for it. “Donald doesn’t like strong women,” Senator Ted Cruz said back in 2016 of the candidate who attacked Cruz’s wife as ugly, but who is now his hero as president. “Strong women scare Donald. Real men don’t try to bully women.”

Trump never seems more fearful and insecure than when women question him. His anxiety at such moments—for example, when he calls on female reporters in the White House press room—is palpable. He begins his usual flurry of defensive hand gestures, from the playing of an imaginary accordion to a hand held up with a curled pinky finger like some parody of a Queens mobster, while he stammers out verbal chaff bursts of “Excuse me” and “Are you ready?”

Does Trump accept responsibility and look out for his team? Not in the least. In this category, he exhibits one of the most unmanly of behaviors: He’s a blamer. Nothing is ever his fault. In the midst of disaster, he praises himself while turning on even his most loyal supporters without a moment’s hesitation. Men across America who were socialized by team sports, whose lives are predicated on the principle of showing up and doing the job, continually excuse a man who continually excuses himself. This presidency is defined not by Ed Harris’s grim intonation in Apollo 13 that “failure is not an option,” but by one of the most shameful utterances of a chief executive in modern American history: “I take no responsibility at all.”

Trump’s defenders could argue that he is just another male celebrity whose raw authenticity offends snooty elitists but appeals to the average Joe. The analogy here is someone like Howard Stern, who has known Trump for years and has been idolized by young men across America. Stern cavorted with porn stars, said shocking and racist things, and was, in his way, the living id of every maladjusted teenager.

Whatever you think of Stern, however, he’s much more of a man, by any definition, than Trump. For one thing, Stern is often self-effacing in the extreme, which is both part of his act and a source of the charm he possesses. Stern routinely jokes about the inadequacy of his male endowment. Trump, however, went to pains to reassure the country—in the middle of a presidential-primary debate—that his equipment has “no problem.” Stern knows how to take his lumps in public, while Trump is a wailing siren of complaints.

More important, Stern is capable of introspection and has a certain amount of self-awareness, a quality important for any mature and healthy person. Stern, who once encouraged Trump’s antics, now seems concerned. He has suggested that Trump was traumatized by his childhood and his father. “He has trouble with empathy,” Stern told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “We know that. And I wish he’d go into psychotherapy. I’d be so proud of him if he did, and he would flourish.” (Stern endorsed Joe Biden in April.)

Trump is never going to get therapy. But Stern’s observation opens the door to a better explanation of why—despite all of his whiny complaints, his pouty demeanor, and his mean-girl tweets—Trump’s working-class voters forgive him.

Trump’s lack of masculinity is about maturity. He is not manly because he is not a man. He is a boy.

To be a man is to be an adult, to willingly decide, as Saint Paul wrote, to “put away childish things.” There’s a reason that Peter Pan is a story about a boy, and the syndrome named after it is about men. Not everyone grows up as they age.

It should not be a surprise then, that Trump is a hero to a culture in which so many men are already trapped in perpetual adolescence. And especially for men who feel like life might have passed them by, whose fondest memories are rooted somewhere in their own personal Wonder Years from elementary school until high-school graduation, Trump is a walking permission slip to shrug off the responsibilities of manhood.

The appeal to indulge in such hypocrisy must be enormous. Cheat on your wife? No problem. You can trade her in for a hot foreign model 20 years younger. Is being a father to your children too onerous a burden on your schedule? Let the mothers raise them. Money troubles? Everyone has them; just tell your father to write you another check. Upset that your town or your workplace has become more diverse? Get it off your chest: Rail about women and Mexicans and African Americans at will and dare anyone to contradict you.

Trump’s media enablers do their best to shore up the fiction that Trump and the men who follow him are the most macho of men. The former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s most dedicated sycophants, has described Trump as a “man’s man,” despite the fact that Trump has no hobbies or interests common to many American men other than sex. In this gang of Sweathogs, Gorka is the Arnold Horshack to Trump’s Vinnie Barbarino, always admiring him as the most alpha of the alphas. To listen to Gorka and others in Trumpworld, the president can turn his enemies to ash through sheer testosterone overload. Some Trump voters have even airbrushed the president’s face onto the bodies of both Rambo and Rocky Balboa. (The president himself approvingly retweeted the Trump-as-Rocky meme.)

Gorka tries to cosplay the same role himself. The photographs of him carrying guns, wearing a suede vest, and posing next to his underpowered suburban Mustang are now internet legends, precisely because they are so ridiculous. But he is a good example of how so many of the men who support Trump have morphed into childish caricatures of themselves. They, too, are little boys, playing at being tough but crying about their victimization at the hands of liberal elites if they are subjected to criticism of any kind.

I do not know how much of this can explain Trump’s base of support among working-class white women. (Those numbers are now declining.) But perhaps these women, too, regard Trump as just one more difficult and mischievous man-child in their lives to be accommodated and forgiven.

The best example of women giving him a pass was after the Access Hollywood tape came to light in the fall of 2016. Trump had been caught on audio bragging about being able to grope women because he was famous. Republican leaders panicked; surely this level of vulgarity, they reasoned, would kill Trump’s chances with female voters.

Instead, women showed up at rallies with shirts featuring arrows pointing right to where Trump could grab them.

Melania Trump, for her part, dutifully defended the boyishness of it all. “Sometimes I say I have two boys at home,” she said at the time. “I have my young son and I have my husband. But I know how some men talk, and that’s how I saw it.” Female Trump supporters were interviewed on national television and—in a tragic admission about the state of American families—seemed confused about why Trump would be considered any worse than the men around them.

I recall one woman telling a reporter that her son talked that way in front of her all the time. Part of how I was socialized into adult manhood was knowing that if I spoke like that in front of my late mother—an Irish American woman from an impoverished background—she would have made my ears ring with the slap she’d have given me.

In the end, Trump will continue to act like a little boy, and his base, the voters who will stay with him to the end, will excuse him. When a grown man brags about being brave, it is unmanly and distasteful; when a little boy pulls out a cardboard sword and ties a towel around his neck like a cape, it’s endearing. When a rich and powerful old man whines about how unfairly he is being treated, we scowl and judge; when a little boy snuffles in his tears and says that he was bullied—treated worse than Abraham Lincoln, even—we comfort.

(ends below...)
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Old 09.05.2020, 01:12 AM   #9176
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(cont'd)

Quote:
Donald Trump is unmanly because he has never chosen to become a man. He has weathered few trials that create an adult of any kind. He is, instead, working-class America’s dysfunctional son, and his supporters, male and female alike, have become the worried parent explaining what a good boy he is to terrorized teachers even while he continues to set fires in the hallway right outside.

I think that working men, the kind raised as I was, know what kind of “man” Trump is. And still, the gratification they get from seeing Trump enrage the rest of the country is enough to earn their indulgence. I doubt, however, that Trump gives them the same consideration. Perhaps Howard Stern, of all people, said it best: “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump for the most part … He’d be disgusted by them.” The tragedy is that they are not disgusted by him in return.
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Old 09.05.2020, 05:39 PM   #9177
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At Least 4 Boats Sink During Disastrous Trump Parade in Texas
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Old 09.05.2020, 09:14 PM   #9178
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Some people here love to post tweets willy-nilly, so fuck it:

 
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Old 09.07.2020, 01:52 PM   #9179
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Old 09.07.2020, 07:26 PM   #9180
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Let's picture this scenario. Joe Biden wins. Now it's January 20, 2021: Inauguration Day. You think Trump's gonna just sit there in the corner like the shit student that he is while Biden talks about healing the country and reuniting with the international community in front of a sea of black faces ready to boo the mother-fuck of the outgoing fucker? He's not! Dotard's gonna be the first president since I don't know when to skip the ceremony, and you can quote me on that.
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