The New Palin?

Will post-POTUS Trump be the new Palin and slide slowly into insignifigance, or will he lead an actual right-wing insurgent movement that can cause genuine trouble? Or maybe both?

What we know: Right now, Trump appears to still be denying that he lost while simultaneously planning his comeback. He has grudgingly agreed to vacate the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden, but no one expects him to concede. Michael Cohen predicts he’ll spend Christmas at Mar-a-Lago and just not bother to return to Washington. There are also credible stories that he is planning to begin his campaign for 2024 at a big rally to be held during Biden’s inauguration. It’s also the case that a significant percentage — as high as 80 % in some polls — of Republican voters believe Trump’s claims of election fraud and do not consider Biden’s election to be legitimate.

All of these elements could destabilize U.S. democracy, especially if they continue for very long. (See Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, The Damage Will Last.) The question is, how long will they last? It’s possible that once Trump is out of the White House and no longer dominating nearly every news cycle he’ll slowly fade away.

A lot depends on news media. I have read in several sources that Trump fully expects to continue to dominate news media after he’s out of office because Joe Biden is boring. Maybe, but IMO the major media outlets are mostly going to be glad to be rid of him. It’s been gratifying to me that most news media has been quick to point out that Trump has no evidence of election fraud. Maybe they’ve learned something.

See Martin Longman, How Trump Killed Political Blogging, at Washington Monthly.

Political blogging was born in the Bush years, peaked under Obama, and mostly died in the Trump Era. The decline is partly explained by the mainstream media adopting some of blogging’s strongest features and hiring some of its talent—think Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent. But the most important factor is that straight journalists finally internalized that it’s part of their job to tell the reader when they’re being lied to.

The mainstream media didn’t see it that way when the topic was invading Iraq to deal with Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.  The political press corps was tentative in combating Birtherism and the Tea Party’s response to the election of a black man. At times, they were still somewhat credulous and deferential with the Obama administration. Yet, it was Trump’s flurry of incontrovertible falsehoods that led the Washington Post to put the famed “Democracy Dies in Darkness” banner up shortly after his inauguration. Today, after four years of covering his presidency, straight news reports are blog-like in the way they chop down lies and contradict official statements.

Martin Longman compares news coverage of George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq to their coverage of Trump.

I try to imagine what it would have been like in 2002-03 if the Washington Post had written, “Bush said he planned to invade Iraq and said, without evidence, that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons. His foreign policy team has been widely mocked­­ – and the United Nations inspectors have contradicted almost every claim as they’ve scoured the country in vain looking for weapons of mass destruction.”

However, even  this year there was still a lot of “normalization” of Trump going on. See Aaron Rupar, Vox, NPR’s sanitizing of Trump’s Milwaukee rally shows how he’s broken the media from January 15, 2020. IMO the pandemic and Trump’s failure to respond to it changed something; it was a bridge too far. Mainstream media is done normalizing Trump, it seems.

Trump will still be the darling of One America News and Newsmax, but as I wrote earlier this week, those are rinky-dink outlets with no influence among powerful people. Will Fox News, the New York Post, and other Murdoch media continue to promote Trump? There’s been lots of reporting that Rupert Murdoch is no Trump fan, and much of the Murdoch media’s coverage of Trump’s post-election shenanigans has hardly been deferential to Trump. On the other hand, Trump may still be useful to Murdoch as a means to stymie the Biden Administration.

The Republican Party also needs to make a choice. It seems to me the GOP in the long run would be far better off without him. If he really does spend the next four years running for the 2024 GOP nomination it’s going to seriously screw with Republican chances that year.  In the short run, though, his followers are just too big a piece of Trump’s base to blow off. It’s hard to know what they will do with Trump. They may not know themselves what they will do with Trump.

This is all leaving out the real possibility that Trump will be indicted and tried for serious crimes once he’s out of office. If that happens, this will give the Republican Party a graceful way to cut him loose, and I suspect most of the party will take advantage of that opportunity if it arises.

By 2024, Trump may be lucky to get a gig as a guest judge on Shark Tank.

David Horsey, Seattle Times

10 thoughts on “The New Palin?

  1. What the MSM is now doing – by finally allowing at least some tiny rays of truth to shine through their news piece(s), so they don't just end up being spokespeople for some of the usual RepubliKKKLAN /Corporate bullshit – is a very small step.  But, it's said that from small things big things come!

    As for tRUMP, he will not retire into his FL mansion, at his swampy shire.  No-no!  He wants attention!  He craves attention!!  He needs attention!!!  HE HAS TO HAVE ATTENTION!!!!!  HE WILL, WILL, WILL HAVE ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!

    tRUMP will want to have the appearance of holding major power (without doing a lick o' the work, of course…), so he's going to wrap the RepubliKKKLAN Party around his aging carcass like a scarf around a soprano's neck, and play at being homage power broker, and political career maker.

    The greater the acolyte's homage given to this ancient complete charlatan, the higher tRUMP will hold the sycophantic wannabe in what the rest of us know as "esteem" (tRUMP's esteem for others goes no further than his own nose: AKA – none!) . It'll be like a mother setting her children against one another by telling her how much more s/he loves her than the other siblings, and why – in writing: Preferably as an Op-ed in the NYT's or WaPo.  

    tRUMP will try to affect the political world in any way he can, as often as he can, so that the networks and news programs/channels will have to pay attention to him – in order for him to hold in thrall his maniacal mob of morons.  And keep them sending their moolah to him – for whatever he wants them to buy:  From hats to bullshit!

    He'll stop when he physically dies, or the MSM finally stops falling for his tricks.

    He knows that's not likely. 

    At least not soon. 

    So, you let the grift run its course….



  2. It's the same problem they had in the 2020 primary.

    Trump led their voters off like the Pied Piper with the hardcore racist hate talk that they always wanted to really hear from Their Leader.

    They needed his voters and they tried to criticize him without alienating those voters and they failed repeatedly and that's how he got nominated. They really did try to stop him, Cruz gave that Trump Speech at the convention where he told the truth for perhaps the first time in his public life. 

    He's as popular with the base as ever and more hated by everyone else than ever. I used to think that they might reign things in over at Fox, but that's looking pretty delicate for now.

    I think they will just have to wait til he flames out before they can move on to the next thing. And if anything has been apparent over the last few years, you cannot predict what Trump will do or how things will go if he's in the picture. He really is a unicorn (or The Mule for Asimov fans).

  3. Trump will try to suck everyone's attention, but there are other mini-Trumps waiting in the wings, a lot more competent, and scary. Besides: Rupert Murdoch has spoken. Even Faux Noise is sidling away.  As for the media, I echo Jay Rosen:

    It’s clear now what the priorities should be: #decenterTrump; he’s not the protagonist anymore. Move coverage of his election fantasies to page A21, or ignore altogether. Focus on the damage he can do on his way out. Ditch speculation on his future plans.

    While it’s good that the MSM has to some degree obsoleted blogging, by calling a lie a lie (yay, they finally graduate from 3rd grade), the probable glide path for them is to normalize everything, to wit Jeff Sharlett:

    I get the media impulse to shave off edges of the near-coup not-quite-yet past. It’s a kind of bargaining w/ fate. If we don’t call fascism fascism, maybe it will go away. This is like imagining the sun orbits the earth, that our own perception is gravity. It isn’t.

    Morning NPR: “The president has sounded somewhat divisive & frankly petty at times.” Dangerous euphemism presenting as candor, post-election reframing of authoritarianism as merely politics & manners. The old press tradition of normalizing that which didn’t ask to be normalized.

  4. bf – your age is showing. Yes, I read the Foundation Trilogy this year. Very apt comparison. The Mule was a freak with incredible powers over the minds of others but he could not duplicate himself. His era died when he did. The Foundation survived. 

    The question is if the Trump era will wind down as this freak leaves DC. I think Trump wants a dynasty. He has a real twisted view of himself as genetically superior.  Threatening to run is a con he will play regardless but to discount Trump's vision of turning the entire federal apparatus into an extension of the Trump Crime Machine is real. Getting even is fundamental to Trump's make-up – so he's not going to fade away. At his age, health is a wild card.

    Which narrows the question to the salient point, which Maha's blog title asks – will the fan base get bored with the show? Remember – he's not going to be able to separate children from their parents at the border. He's not going to be able to demand the military discharge gay & lesbian soldiers. He's not going to be able to twist immigration law to bar Muslims. He's not going to be able to threaten to lock up his enemies (always next week.)  The Q fantasy unravels. The circus will be boring – Trump in the center ring with no tigers and no acrobats. Of course, Rush had a 30 year run with less, but he speaks in full sentences. 

    Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are trying to grab the spotlight. Neither has lost their ambition. They have to deflate the Trump balloon without being caught as the prick. McConnell must not have liked dealing with a nincompoop. The Trump pick will have control of the RNC, but only until 2022. The Senate is full of Republicans who want to stab Trump without being caught holding the knife. The contempt that Republicans have for the rubes following Trump may be too much – they might not wait for Trump to die. I don't expect a frontal attack from the GOP against Trump, but they are going to undermine Trump's pedestal to topple him. If there is Karma, this is when the GOP will get justice for dumbing down their voters to zombies. – Trump will declare civil war on the Republican Party form his own party, and run his own bat-feces-crazy candidates.

    On that day I will get stinkin' drunk to celebrate because Democracy will prevail. Fox will have to choose sides and they will go with the Republican Party. Trump will try to monetize the revolution by starting his own network. (There's money there.) This will work like Trump Airlines, Trump Steaks, Trump University, and the Trump Taj Majal. 

    Palin faded. Trump will fail majestically and Democracy will be the better for it. 

  5. I’ve been wondering about this… Was scientist’s killing the opening shot of a Trump-led war on Iran?

    I read that Trump asked his advisors a couple weeks ago – concurrent with the election – about attacking Iran. Everyone told him to forget about it, it would risk sending up the Mid East in flames. This is exactly what Trump would want.

    I read “Foundation” ages ago as a teen. Trump is not the Mule. He – and his followers – are very much part of a pattern which has occurred before. He most resembles Mussolini.

    Ruth Ben-Ghiat wrote “Strongmen” which discusses this in detail. The most you can say is that these guys do not leave easily. Mussolini ended up getting strung up like a ham from a wire. Hitler felt betrayed by his own country and wanted to destroy it.

  6. Doug, I love your optimism, but recent experience has taught me wisdom, in the form of a riddle.

    So riddle me this: How do you make God guffaw?

    Answer: Prophesize!

  7. I think America is suffering from Trump fatigue. He shot his wad and he's spent. Unless he can come up with an incredibly new act he's done. Aside from that, if he has hopes of staying in the limelight it's going to take a lot of money. More money than his "lightweight" MAGA hat wearing crowd are going to cough up. The reality is that his relationship with his supporters is symbiotic and once he loses the power to fulfill his end of their understanding he'll become just another bellowing loudmouth with a history of failure hung around his neck.

     Trump knows the end is nigh and he's getting frantic with his buffoonery with hopes of securing at least a remnant of diehard supporters. The dregs and misfits of conservative alliances might hold on because they have no where to go, but mainstream conservatism is going to move on without him. He'll be a political pariah.

     Bag of shit that he is! And don't forget.. mother nature is working her magic on him also. Nobody escapes the ravages of stress.

  8. it seems like most of the audience at the inauguration would be biden fans.  so if the orange ferret wearing treason weasel would make such an announcement wouldn't it be greeted with utter silence?  wouldn't that cause his brain=such as it is= to explode?  would he risk such humiliation?  i think he's going to be too ill to attend.  easy cop out, no risk of embarassment

    • Trump doesn't need an excuse to not attend the inauguration.  He will probably be playing golf at maralago.  Or else watching it on TV and sucking his thumb and pooping in his diaper.


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