This is with full employment.
People fundamentally do not like him, never will in the aggregate and are eager to hear alternative visions for the future. https://t.co/CzvdIfosKT
— Zeddy (@Zeddary) January 27, 2019
Elect a "businessman," you get the business. And you get it good and hard. https://t.co/o3RXoo1rz3
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) January 26, 2019
Like many other sports reporters, David Roth is underrated as a political commentor. At Deadspin:
… What most bears repeating and is most readily forgotten about Trump, even after his shutdown stole paychecks from 800,000 government employees and more than a million contractors for reasons even he never seemed to understand, is that he has no idea what he’s doing. There were certainly ways in which Trump’s shutdown reflected both traditional reactionary values—bullying and stiffing vulnerable working people are core to both Trump and his party—and Trump’s unique determination to leverage his every ugly belief to the max, but also there was never the sense that any of this was happening by design. On Friday, he agreed to the same deal that he rejected 35 days ago for the same reason that he rejected it then, which is that he decided it was the right thing to do. The belief, however inchoate and incoherent, is the thing…
This is also true, and maybe even especially true, when Trump is obviously lying. Even before he banged his own personal left turn and began his full-tilt drive into the desert of cognitive decline, Trump was not an especially nuanced or strategic person. His mind is not what it was, and at its peak it was more of a Magic 8 Ball than a supercomputer. He can’t learn anything because he can’t listen to other people if they aren’t speaking from inside a television; he can’t remember what he hears there because he can’t really care unless it’s about him. These deficits are clear when Trump is extemporizing on furloughed workers cutting deals with the milkman or imagining cartoon coyotes piloting sedans full of duct-taped women across the Rio Grande, but they are even clearer when he tells knowing lies. The former tend to be about other people, and so tend to be both lurid and half-assed; he only really ever applies himself when the lies involve himself.
This gives these lies the advantage of being heartfelt, but it also strips them down. The stories he tells about workers gladly giving up their paychecks for his drowsy racist fantasies and the villains working against him are mostly just sounds he makes to keep himself interested; he might have noticed that they drew louder-than-usual hoots from the seething grandparents and dead-ender rubes at his rallies, but he also might not have. His lies, though, are more elemental. They are never anything more than the opposite of truth. If Trump keeps insisting that he’s not being investigated for his relationship to Russia in gratuitous and unconvincing ways, it’s not because he’s trying to leverage some advanced placement Dealpoint or exploit some hidden businessman’s trick or angle. It’s because he’s literally fucking being investigated for his relationship with Russia and because he very much wants people to think he’s not, and because that’s honestly the best he can do because his brain is an old donut bobbing around in a toilet.
Trump is so relentlessly dishonest and so plainly diminished and so sorely overmatched that, at this point, he can only be taken at his word. This isn’t to say that you should believe what he’s saying, although you surely don’t need me to tell you that. It just means that what he does, from here until whenever his helicopter leaves the White House lawn for the last time, will never be anything but what it appears to be.
If he appears to be confronting an emerging truth that makes him look bad with a flailing childish insistence that Actually The Opposite Is True, it’s because he is. If it looks like he’s numbly ventriloquizing the rancid words of one of the aspiring genocidaires tasked with writing his more high-flown addresses, it’s because he is. If it appears that he is taking some cruel promise made idly at some point in the past and then spinning stupid stories to justify seeing that promise through, it’s because that is just what he’s doing. Trump repeats the same five or six phrases like a defective Teddy Ruxpin not because he’s trying to brainwash or brand but because he can only hold like 175 words in his head at one time and is just kind of mushing the button that seems most appropriate for the situation over and over again. There will be no new work done until he’s out of this job, not just because the venal and idiotic criminality that has defined his life belatedly appears to be catching up with him but because it simply isn’t in him to do new work, and because his current job transparently doesn’t matter to him at all. He’ll believe that he’s getting away with it—that he’s winning and commanding and leading—until the cuffs close or the lights go out, and he will always act that way. He will spend the rest of his life trying to demonstrate that he was right about whatever it was that he said or did before.
There is no reason to overthink any of this. Trump himself surely is not. He will not fix any of it, of course; that’s not what he does. Instead he will just say that it is not broken, or already fixed, or that it was always supposed to be that way, or that someone else did it. Nothing will ever matter more to him than that work, and yet he’ll never work any harder at it than he is right now…