blueollie

Why “normalizing Trump” might be a good idea (and what that means)

I was struck by memes of the following variety:

hedoesnotknowwhy

I found myself shaking my head. (yes, I am aware of the argument that Trump was merely mocking a generic clueless reporter and not lampooning the disability of a specific reporter)

But, let’s assume that he was mocking a specific reporter who has one arm with a curled up wrist.

Now some might find that funny, and many might find that rude and boorish. But disqualifying? (*)

Think of it this way: suppose that President Elect Trump were to “bring back” good job, establish 5 percent growth in our GDP, bring up median wages to new heights, keep us at peace, repair our infrastructure, see increases in longevity, reduce poverty and get everyone decent health insurance (even institute a good single payer system)?

If that happened, I think that he would be “reelected” (sort of) in a landslide, no matter how boorish his personal mannerisms were. Many people are willing to overlook such things if the rest is good.

Think about it: suppose you had a rare condition that most surgeons could not fix, but there is this one extraordinary one who had a 95 percent cure rate. But he was going to be let go by the hospital because, say, he made a racial slur on Facebook. And so, the only ones left to operate were those who had, say, a 5 percent success rate. How would you feel?

So, for me, as much as I don’t like Mr. Trump, the real issue is that he is bringing incompetent people to his administration and that he is going to double down on trickle down economics.

And THAT is why I claim that we should focus on failed policies (provided, of course, they fail):

One is to what extent we should regard Trump as deliberately using social media controversies to distract attention from other issues. The other is to what extent political actors should be pressured to not “normalize” Trump — remaining focused on what is outlandish, offensive, and bizarre about him rather than doing boring things like writing about his humdrum pick for transportation secretary.

Normalization, in this context, is typically cast as a form of complicity with Trump in which the highest possible premium is placed on maintaining a rigid state of alert and warning people that he is not just another politician whom you may or may not agree with on the issues.

But several students of authoritarian populist movements abroad have a different message. To beat Trump, what his opponents need to do is practice ordinary humdrum politics. Populists in office thrive on a circus-like atmosphere that casts the populist leader as persecuted by media and political elites who are obsessed with his uncouth behavior while he is busy doing the people’s work. To beat Trump, progressives will need to do as much as they can to get American politics out of reality show mode.

Trump genuinely does pose threats to the integrity of American institutions and political norms. But he does so largely because his nascent administration is sustained by support from the institutional Republican Party and its standard business and interest group supporters. Alongside the wacky tweets and personal feuds, Trump is pursuing a policy agenda whose implications are overwhelmingly favorable to rich people and business owners. His opponents need to talk about this policy agenda, and they need to develop their own alternative agenda and make the case that it will better serve the needs of average people. And to do that, they need to get out of the habit of being reflexively baited into tweet-based arguments that happen on the terrain of Trump’s choosing and serve to endlessly reinscribe the narrative of a champion of the working class surrounded by media vipers.

That is what happened in other countries that have elected these sort of wacky authoritarian populists; they have been stopped by appeals to policy. It really should not be that hard.

goodjoblibtards

And seriously, how did these ads work?

(*) For the record, I find having proper deportment to be a prerequisite to be President of the United States, I don’t want an easily agitated, easily baited, hothead in charge of our military.

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December 1, 2016 - Posted by | economics, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Ollie,

    I was watching a documentary about Trump the other night and they had Ann Coulter on it being interviewed……….I thought is was a spoof to start with…………who is this woman ? She’s not very nice at all is she and, given that she’s 55 years old, appears to have had more plastic surgery than the Kardashian harlot’s arse !

    HBG

    Comment by Handy Bendy Ghandi | December 1, 2016 | Reply

    • Ann Coulter: back in 2001, she got fired from National Review (a conservative magazine), in part from saying that we ought to “invade them” (Iraq), “kill their leaders” and “convert them to Christianity”. She is a professional troll.

      Comment by blueollie | December 1, 2016 | Reply

  2. Just dug a bit more…………calls herself a polemicist……..which is another term for a troll – seems to have made good living out of it though, so clearly has no conscience. (Actually, she reminds me of the lovely Tiffany Wellsley 🙂 )

    Just noticed that Trump has appointed someone called Mad Dog………………….you really couldn’t make it up, could you………..

    Comment by Handy Bendy Ghandi | December 2, 2016 | Reply


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