We Haven’t Hit Bottom Yet

Trump and his campaign are flailing around trying to find a message, or an issue, that will cause the nation to rally around His Orangeness once more. Or, at least enough to close the gap in the polls. Recently he’s been tweeting LAW AND ORDER randomly. And we assume the deployment of jackbooted thugs unmarked federal law enforcement officers to Portland was supposed to do something other than just make street violence in Portland worse. One suspects Trump thought he would be lauded and admired for getting tough with the demonstrators. Maybe his staff is lauding and admiring him, and probably the usual echo chamber of right-wing media approves, but that’s not going to grow his voter base.

But the Trumpers are dropping broad hints that the martial law tactics are not going to be limited to Portland. It appears advance troops have shown up in Chicago already.

The most alarming warning I’ve seen comes from David Atkins — Trump May Use DHS Stormtroopers To Stop People from Voting. “We could end up seeing armed private contractors hired by the RNC and affiliated conservative organizations to intimidate Democratic-leaning voters, bolstered by camouflage-wearing taxpayer-funded rifle-toting border patrol agents aggressively checking papers of every voter in line in the guise of “securing against voter fraud” on the president’s orders.” I’m not going to review all the reasons Atkins thinks this could happen, but do read the article.

I personally see the stormtroopers as an extension of the Bible Stunt, a way for Trump to show off what a tough guy he is. But so far, polls are not showing that it’s helping him any. Most Americans are worried about the pandemic, about money, about whether their children are going back to school. They aren’t fixated on some rock-throwers in Portland.

Meanwhile, there are no end of in-depth stories on the general theme of How Badly Trump Has Screwed Up the Pandemic Response. Here’s a nice one at WaPo — The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the coronavirus. It includes this graphic:

That’s kind of awful. Stay safe out there.

Paul Waldman notes that if we lefties were given to conspiracy theories, we might speculate that Trump is deliberately trying to destroy America. His “handling” of the pandemic is so bad, he might as well have been trying for the worst possible response. I don’t think it’s deliberate, though. Trump doesn’t know how to do anything.

I am nearly through the Mary Trump book. One revelation in it that I hadn’t heard elsewhere was about Donald’s move into Manhattan real estate in the 1970s and 1980s, when he renovated the old Commodore Hotel into a Grand Hyatt and built Trump Tower. This was when he built a reputation as a master deal-maker. But all the deal-making involved in those transactions was done by daddy Fred Trump Sr., according to Mary. Donald was just a front man. That was true of the Manhattan projects until Fred succumbed to dementia in the 1990s. He died in 1999.

The first thing Donald did on his own was to start buying real estate in Atlantic City in the 1980s. He developed the casinos on his own but with daddy’s money backing him. Fred didn’t know anything about the casino business, and of course neither did Donald. If he’d stopped at one casino it might have been a success, but going into huge debt to build three casinos in the same place turned out to be really stupid. There wasn’t enough gambling profit in Atlantic City to make the debt payments for all three. So the whole project collapsed.

Trump doesn’t know how to do anything. He’s a bumbling fraud. Things will get worse.