Donald Trump went off on another gibberish-filled rant at 5 am EST today, as he does most days. I would like to say this is “bad even by Trump’s standards,” but that would be a cliche and not true. His ordinary level of discourse is extremely coarse.
But that doesn’t mean we should ignore reality just because some of the press that covers Trump wants us to define down deviancy. If you saw this message and didn’t know who wrote it, you would think that person was an extremely thin-skinned, ill-tempered, vain man with no self-control.
He doesn’t respond to the charges. He doesn’t sound original or unaffected. His message contains precisely no useful information to reflect poorly on his presumed target (and no truthful information whatsoever). The only person who would be moved to support the message is someone who values the power of emotional charisma, the low-brow “dominance” politics of a tyrant, and “loyalty” to a political leader.
Trump’s attacks on the foundational tenets of republican democracy are important. The health of our republican form of democracy is not trivial. The American system is based on rational-legal authority. Revolutionary systems like fascism and communism are often based on the charismatic authority of a Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Chavez or Duterte. The megalomaniac in charge asserts someone hasn’t been “loyal” to him personally, and that is taken as a criticism–and grounds to rise up in fury–by the leader’s cultish followers.
Trump’s purposeful divide strategy is contributing to the biggest partisan division Pew has found on record. The president attacking the legitimacy of his political opponents–who make up a majority of the country–and acting in a manner undignified of his office, or of anyone speaking in society, really, is a recipe for creating social strife.
The reason for his attack is that Gillibrand called on Trump to resign over his sexual harassment record–just as Weinstein, Lauer, Spacey, O’Reilly, Franken, Halperin, Louie CK, and so many others were fired or forced out. The charges against Trump, as Bombs + Dollars has previously discussed, are credible. And Trump himself has attacked politicians for being alleged of sexual harassment.
Just a reminder: Unhinged attacks are something of a hallmark for Trump. You can review some of his strange and incoherent ramblings from just this past month here:
Trump on November 15 demanded for the UCLA basketball players arrested and deported from China thank him. On November 22, he called LeVar Ball, one of the player’s fathers, an “ungrateful fool” and a “poor man’s version of Don King.”
On November 24, he lied about having been picked as Time’s person of the year and turning it down, as well as calling for a border wall in response to a terrorist attack that on Egypt that killed over 100. On November 25, he tweeted a link to a conspiracy theorist MRA website claiming he had many accomplishments and attacking the “fake news” media.
And he also directly threatens to restrict free speech and other constitutional rights:
Trump threatens to pull NBC broadcasting license
Trump called for raising taxes on the owner of the Washington Post
Read my classic piece for Areo: Political Correctness vs Trumpism: Why Trump is the Bigger Threat to Liberal Values