A Formula for Understanding What Are the Lines That Even Trump Cannot Cross

I think I may have figured out the formula for identifying what Trump cannot get away with.

We know that he can insult people of color, be racist, misogunist, criticize military heroes, ally himself with dictators, and, frighteningly, that he seems to get away with it.  This is mainly because the party he has taken over is unable to do or say anything significant in response without threatening to tear the party apart.

However, as the New York Times points out, the two outrageous statements that seem to have broken through, again mainly because his party can not, consistent with its self-image, allow them to pass, are the attack on Judge Curiel, and the one on the Khan family.

What’s different?  Both these cases involve an attack on someone who would be off limits to anyone other than Trump, a Federal judge and a military hero.  That’s not unusual.  Think John McCain or Justice Ginsburg.

What makes these attacks unacceptable to Republican leaders and followers is that they are combined with explicit racism — in one case the so called “Mexican” judge, and the other the so called “Muslim” family, to which direct attention is drawn in both cases.  Again, there’s plenty of explicit racism that Trump gets away with — and plenty of implicit racism that the party gets away with, and has gotten away with since Nixon..

Why is this different?  Why is this unacceptable?

Because the only way Republicans can get away with their systemic and implicit racism is by saying, and believing, that people like the ones Trump is now attacking prove that they, their party, and indeed the country, are not racist.  Look at how we allow minorities to achieve in America.

Its a terrible thing to attack your own fig leaves  Its really very tender underneath.



The Damage is Already Done. Defeating Trump is No Longer Enough.

In Seven Days in May, as I recall it, President Kirk Douglas, having foiled a coup threat, decides not to go public with the truth, reasoning that even the idea that a coup was possible would do immense irreparable ham to American democracy.

We are almost at a similar moment.

With Nate Silvers’s Polls-Only forecast having moved from exactly 50% chance of a Trump victory to 49% within the last hour, we have to think about what it means for the future that an obviously vicious hateful, unrestrained and unrestrainable megalomaniac, who is also facing serious questions about his possible relationship or symbiosis with a hostile aggressive foreign power, has been able to get even this level of support.  This is true even if he is ultimately defeated.

Our ability to trust the democratic process is already deeply damaged, damaged perhaps more than at any time since the founding of our Republic.

The only way that the damage can be repaired is if Trump is repudiated so massively that any association with him, any hint of similarity, becomes a political death sentence.  This requires not just a repudiation at the Presidential level, but also that those who have supported him, those who have failed to stand up to him, those who have treated him seriously in any way other than as a threat, are held permanently to account.

One can argue about exactly at what point this was all so obvious that excuses by those enablers listed above cannot be accepted, regardless of later changes by them.  For me it was the attack on judicial independence, or maybe the mocking of the reporter for his handicap.  But there can be no argument that that point is long past.

If this retribution does not come to pass, it will not be long before the analysts will start asking, “so what candidate can appeal to those Trump appealed to, without the rough edges,” and we will be in deeper trouble even than we appear to be now.

That’s how high the stakes are, and will remain.

Melania’s Diary #2: Updating my Resume With TV Show Coupling

Maybe now I can let the world know about my TV career.

Here I am on the BBC program Coupling, playing the wife of someone competing with regular Patrick for having the most attractive wife.  (The two other women are also “competing” for who is to pretend to be the even more attractive fake wife of Patrick.)

Yes, and I got to wear my hair in its natural color.

Donnie refused to play Ivan, my husband.  Donnie said he was too much of a looser.

The NSA Will Have to Protect Party and Campaign Data Operations, Just Like the Secret Service Protects the Candidates

After the assassinations of 1968, the US government routinely protects candidates, even before they have the nomination.

Given the threat to democracy and the nation as a whole, from the hacking of party and campaign data operations, including e-mails, I do not think there is any alternative to NSA, or maybe another agency, providing similar routine protections.

As with Secret Service protection of candidates, office holders, and families of office holders, this will raise complex questions about privacy, trust and responsibility.  A compromise, I suppose, would be to rely on the private sector, with appropriate and individualized government agency supervision.  But, with the stakes so high, that’s a big risk.  Would you hire Blackwater to provide candidate protection?

I wonder when this will be proposed, and when it will happen.  Maybe not till after this election cycle, given the political vulnerabilities on both sides.


Is is he Mad or is he a Democrat?

When the Republican presidential candidate calls for Russia to hack into American computer networks there is only one question.  Is he mad, or is he a Republican?  It is apparently the ultimate proof of the man’s focus on his own interests, rather than those of the country or his party.

I go with the Republican theory, because of the timing.  The timing of this craziness could not have been better for the Dems.  At the very point when the convention line-up is designed to emphasize Clinton’s steadfastness, he highlights his own instability.  It is no political defense that he reminds people about the e-mail issue.  This is like going from saying that a woman should not to to bars late at night, to urging a man to rape her, and indeed others too, because any hack of a US internet capacity is a hack of all of us.

I go with the Reggie Perrin Theory, following an old BBC 70’s humor program in which the hero starts a business designed to fail, it succeeds dramatically, and every attempt to kill it makes it only more and more successful.  If I am right, then the question is what on earth comes next.

As it sinks in what this means, the damage to down ballot candidates, forced to separate themselves from the top of the ticket,will only get greater and greater.

On the other hand, if it is a mental capacity issue — with the diagnosis shifting from narcissism to megalomania, the question becomes what happens when the 25th Amendment is triggered on the day of the inauguration.  Or what happens if the incapacity becomes clear between the election and the voting of the electoral college.

Maybe the debates will show which it is.