August 19, 2020
Trump being Trump
One of the many questions about Trump’s 2016 campaign is whether he deliberately took political positions that he thought would get him elected, or whether his biases happened to resonate with enough voters in critical places. I’m inclined toward the latter, because he isn’t disciplined enough to take a course not natural to him. His behavior this time around seems to confirm that view, as he takes positions which are transparently self-serving or irrational, and not designed to win votes.
He has denounced voting by mail, alleging that it would lead to “the greatest rigged election in history” and “the greatest fraud ever perpetrated.”1 Although he claims that voting by mail leads to fraud, he will, again this year, mail in his ballot. He gave the game away by this reaction to Democratic proposals to increase funding for vote-by-mail options: “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”2
How can that be prevented? Deny the Postal Service needed funding. "They want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. . . .But if they don't get [it] that means you can't have universal mail-in voting, because they're not equipped to have it."3 Voting by mail would doom Republicans; he’s a Republican; if we deny the post office necessary funding, there won’t be any voting by mail. He might as well put up a billboard saying “I’m wrecking the Postal Service so that I can be re-elected.”
Trump dropped a hint that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be Vice President — even though she was born in Oakland — because her parents were immigrants, thus announcing again that he doesn’t have a clue about what is in the Constitution. His blathering will remind people that his previous birther claim also was aimed at a person of color: Barack Obama.
Racism isn’t a winning theme this year, but Trump blunders on. He threatened to veto a defense authorization package if it includes a provision to rename some military bases honoring Confederate leaders, tossing in a gratuitous racist label: "I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth 'Pocahontas' Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!"4
Not long ago, Trump tweeted clips of whites yelling “white power” or brandishing guns at protesters. More recently, using his usual medium, he played another race card, tweeting: “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.”5 He added, in case anyone missed the point, “Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge! Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey, is African American. Trump trails Biden among women. Patronizing suburban women and suggesting that they share his fear of “those people” doesn’t seem like a strategy to win them over.
On Trump’s watch, the response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a tragic failure. Apparently eager to remind everyone of that, Trump criticized Michelle Obama for using an out-of-date number of deaths when she cited “over 150,00.” Clever of him to remind us that the death toll now is about 170,000.
Trump has botched the response to the corona virus, not only by inaction, lies and encouragement of irresponsible behavior, but by promoting remedies that range from dubious and possibly dangerous (hydroxychloroquine) to demented (ingesting bleach).
Trump’s use of his office for financial gain is no secret. “Hotels, clubs and restaurants owned by Trump or bearing his name have billed various federal agencies and personnel more than $1 million since he became the Republican nominee for president.”7 Yet he continues to hold events at his properties, drawing attention to the practice. He declined to pledge that stimulus funds would not go to his properties.8
Although Russian interference in the 2016 election was a major issue and an embarrassment to Trump — casting doubt on his ability to win without foreign help —he said, last year, that he would accept election aid from a foreign country (“information on an opponent”) in this year’s election.9 When intelligence revealed that Russia is at it again this year on his behalf, he said that couldn’t be true, offering the ludicrous excuse that no one has been tougher on Russia than he. However, when it was reported that Russia had offered bounties on American troops in Afghanistan, Trump declined to raise it with Putin.10 He might as well announce that he welcomes Putin’s help in the election and won’t do anything to annoy him.
Most of the news media are on to Trump, so he should be clinging to Fox, but he attacks it whenever it runs anything he doesn’t like, such as reports of negative poll results.
All of this might be ascribed to a belief that, no matter how he behaves, he’ll be re-elected, but it’s obvious that he is far from confident about that, as revealed in his suggestions that the election might be postponed or redone. It’s Donald being Donald, because he isn’t capable of any other behavior.
1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/14/trump-mail-ballot-florida/?utm_campaign=wp_ politics_am&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_politics
6. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stella-immanuel-interview-trump-demon-sex-hydroxychloroquine_ n_5f24bf5bc5b68fbfc8833cea
8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/powerup/2020/03/23/powerup-trump-won-t-rule-out-possibility-his-private-business-could-benefit-from-coronavirus-stimulus/5e77caca88e0fa101a 74f374/
9. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/id-exclusive-interview-trump-listen-foreigners-offered-dirt/story?id= 63669304