Trump presidency

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sardia
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:01 pm UTC

I call bullshit on some of things Trump claimed he accomplished. What's so hard about getting the majority of Congress to cut taxes? Did Trump shape legislation so it favored the rich corporations instead of the middle class, or did Republicans nod along while Congress wrote whatever the hell they wanted, and sent it for a rubber stamp?

You're right about immigration, Trump has significantly increased anti immigrant sentiment and policy in the Republicans party.
Secret Trump bonus: opinion of Russia among Republicans rose after Trump got elected.
Tldr Trump has influenced the GOP, but the GOP also influences the Trump administration.
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Zamfir wrote:I don't think that adds up. There are plenty of rich, white, American men who would love to be president, but don't stand a chance. Trump's Twitter feed is a thing of jealousy for politicians, this level of direct communication to supporters who actually listen. It might be shameless, but it's not idiocy.

Again, look at this case. It's eye on the ball, sharp messaging. What's important about hurricane Maria for Trump? The democrats would love another Katrina to hurt his reputation. What's Trump's strength? The original death numbers were low, and his supporters look down on Puerto Ricans. Whats the weakness? The place is visibly in shambles.


I agree. It's not stupidity, it's an effective method of communication. It isn't literally correct in a great many cases, but his statements with regard to the hurricane are a reasonable depiction of the situation from his point of view.

Trump's been maligned for being an idiot for a long time, but we can't reasonably attribute all of his successes to luck. At the end of the day, the guy does seem to understand PR, and utilizes fairly effectively for self-promotion. He's pretty good at what he cares about, he just doesn't appear to care about the things many of us do.

Twitter is a useful tool for Trump, but it's a double edged sword. Would you agree on "Trump would be more popular if he shut up and changed nothing else"?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:02 pm UTC

Donald Trump being President is more the product of an extremely massive propaganda effort by Republicans and wealthy right-wing activists, combined with an extremely undemocratic process for selecting Presidents, than Trump's ability to market himself. If it wasn't for their willingness to all apologize for Trump, and willfully mislead the public for the sake of winning elections (including promoting conspiracy theories and the idea that their way of life is under attack from liberals, who aren't even real Americans, that hate freedom, and who continue to do so even as they produce mass murderers), Donald Trump would never have been a serious candidate, and would never have won the Republican primary, let alone the election.

It takes a serious amount of evil to get someone like Trump elected.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby SDK » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:03 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:You just have to not give a shit about anyone but yourself. And yes, that is one thing Donald Trump is really good at.

:lol:

Yeah, you've got a lot of good points there. I have trouble shaking the fact that he's got continuing approval from... 40% of the American population is all. Everything you say is true, but fuck... 40% still like Trump despite all this. It can't be that 40% of Americans love to see their country burn. That I can't believe, so I figure I've got two choices: 1) accept that 40% of Americans would literally be voting for a Republican monkey-in-a-suit due to partisanship, or 2) look at his appeal in a different way in how he speaks and interacts with these people.

If I've nailed his personal general appeal to two principles, racism and being apparently pro-economy, maybe I am just talking about the Republican party in general without realizing it. Is it truly that hopeless? Would 40% of Americans actually vote for an empty suit with a GOP pin? Depressing, though it might be true.

I don't think that's the case though. If it was, you'd think the Republican party in general would be happy to denounce Trump. Better Pence than an empty suit with Twitter access, right? The Republican party certainly sees a large part of that 40% as Trump voters rather than Republican voters. Maybe they're wrong. Maybe the base would stick with them and the general Republican party are just too cowardly to make that move. But I don't know - it seems that Trump has tapped into something that the Republicans want to use because he does something the other Republicans can't: talk to these people.

But like you said, "Being appealing doesn't make you not-an-idiot", so is he just a dumb tool that the Republican's are struggling to wield? Again, I don't think so. He's getting things done. Yes, his goals largely align with Republicans, but the direction he's taking is not the direction of the Republican party exactly. He's successfully getting what he wants from the government. Taxes, trade wars, environmental regulations... and eventually the wall. Any other Republican would not be focusing on the same things he has. This is him navigating the political landscape well enough to get what he wants. I'm sure he could be doing more, I'm not saying he's a genius, but he's done a hell of a lot better than someone who you say isn't cut out for making french fries.

PEDIT: Apparently I type slow enough for cphite to say a lot of that and have you respond. I don't see how you can link that politifact pie-chart and say Trump's not getting what he wants though. Most are in the works, some have been delivered. They don't have the pie-chart for their Obamameter, but it seems to me Obama failed to deliver in many ways as well, and I wouldn't consider him an idiot (though some of those are likely the fault of the Republican stonewalling).
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:09 pm UTC

cphite wrote:While folks fret over his Twitter feed and how stupid he looks, and how embarrassing he is... the guy keeps delivering on things that he promised to do. Even if those things are stupid, evil, whatever - he's getting them done. He got the tax code changed; he's getting his way on immigration; he's completely reworking trade on a global scale; he's gutting environmental regulations, worker safety regulations, and financial regulations; he's stacking the courts.


Some of this, like changing the tax code, is less that the Trumpster Fire was able to 'do' something as it is that he's not threatening to veto legislation coming out of a Republican congress. Naturally though he tries to take credit for all of it.

I'm not sure how much of the immigration policy is his direct responsibility either now that I think of it. He didn't campaign on the current "Zero Tolerance" policy, that came out of Jeff Sessions's Justice Department. Again it's more that he's not getting in the way of people with the actual policy positions and then taking credit for it himself.

The important bit, in my opinion at any rate, is that the Trumpster Fire is terribly easy to manipulate if you've got enough breath mints to tolerate kissing his ass that much. If you can stomach that then you can get him to not only sign off on outright atrocities, but he'll take credit for them and take the heat off you. Better still the Trumpster Fire is skilled at one thing if nothing else: managing PR disasters. You can propose gas chambers and work camps for immigrants, the Trumpster Fire will not only take the heat off you, but manage the disaster in such a way that it mitigates the public image problems.

Grand Upshot: We have Douglas Adams's "President of the Galaxy"; a figure composed of finely tuned public outrage who's job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.
Last edited by Dauric on Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:13 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Donald Trump being President is more the product of an extremely massive propaganda effort by Republicans and wealthy right-wing activists, combined with an extremely undemocratic process for selecting Presidents, than Trump's ability to market himself. If it wasn't for their willingness to all apologize for Trump, and willfully mislead the public for the sake of winning elections (including promoting conspiracy theories and the idea that their way of life is under attack from liberals, who aren't even real Americans, that hate freedom, and who continue to do so even as they produce mass murderers), Donald Trump would never have been a serious candidate, and would never have won the Republican primary, let alone the election.

It takes a serious amount of evil to get someone like Trump elected.
I think it's a combination of right-wing activists along with a lot of frustrated Americans who (rightly or wrongly) feel deeply disenfranchised with the political process -- and perceive Trump as a match, and the government as soaked in gasoline.

Trump appeals to people who are frustrated and feel like they have no representation. He's similarly frustrated, and his rambling incoherence acts as a Rorschach ink-blot upon which you can project whatever political fantasy you want. Trump is a pro-gun libertarian? Sure, whatever. Enough pro-gun libertarians support him and he'll even say whatever it is they were hoping he'd say.

The perpetual conflict he's in is easy to project on; you can make the conflict about whatever is most important to you.

(Also, he's clearly racist as all fuck, which appeals to all the racists. There's that, too.)
Dauric wrote:Grand Upshot: We have Douglas Adams's "President of the Galaxy"; a figure composed of finely tuned public outrage who's job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.
God, he really is an evil version of Zaphod Beeblebrox.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:54 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Twitter is a useful tool for Trump, but it's a double edged sword. Would you agree on "Trump would be more popular if he shut up and changed nothing else"?


He would probably be marginally less disliked by his adversaries. This would probably not be a significant difference. I cannot imagine anyone here deciding to answer "yes" to a survey approving of Trump if he did everything else the same, but avoided twitter. After all, folks here have policy differences with him. The magnitude of the dislike might change somewhat, but that ultimately matters fairly little.

There is a significant part of his base that enjoys seeing leftist outrage, though. It gives them a sense that they're "winning" or something. So, poking Democrats in the eye consistently gets him approval from his base. This is of use to him.

So strategically, he's not erring in using Twitter, even if the posts are obnoxious to us. He has built himself a rock solid base of fans.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:26 pm UTC

Trump is just a rudderless attention whore. That translates into him "being good at appealing to his base", but that only requires a simple Pavlovian conditioning mechanism, no kind of crafty Machiavellian scheming that would belie any actual cognitive intelligence.

Trump does a thing. It gets him attention. So he does the thing more.

He randomly does variations on the thing, and also other things, and those that get him the most attention reinforce that particular behavior, and he does more of it.

Someone asked upthread whether Trump is honestly misinformed or spreading things he knows to be false, and while I think both of those things are happening, they're as a consequence of Trump spewing bullshit, in a technical sense. Trump says whatever gets the reaction he wants to get from it, without regard for whether it's true. Sometimes that may mean saying things he knows to be false. Sometimes it may mean saying things he has no information about. Occasionally it will mean saying things that he both believes and are true. But he's not saying them because he believes them to be true, he's saying them because it's useful to say them (because it gets the reaction he wants, and gets him more attention). That they happen to be true sometimes is just fortuitous. If it's useful to say other things and those things happen to be false, or if he has no idea about their truth or falsehood, that's fine with him because he doesn't care.

That's what people are talking about with all this "post-truth politics" and such.

ETA: Someone upthread mentioned in passing his slip-up with the gun control issue, and I think that nicely illustrates this. At a meeting between Trump and lawmakers, some Democrats tentatively asked if Trump would consider having some kind of mechanism by which through due process guns could be taken away from people deemed unsafe to have them, and Trump replied something about why not just take all the guns from the bad people right away and then figure out who should get them back later. That sounds like a simple common-sense popular idea that a five-year-old would understand: no guns for bad people! Of course that's going to get Trump a positive reaction! What it got was flabbergasted surprise from both sides of the aisle and presumably a stern talking-to by his Republican handlers who issued a "correction" on his stance about gun control the next day.

Or also, look at all the promises he made on the campaign trail. He basically just said whatever anybody wanted to hear. He just happily and without qualifications promised a reporter that yeah sure of course everyone is going to be medically insured, nobody's going to be left behind, everyone will get even better health care than they have now, he's totally not going to destroy the tiny progress on that front that had just been made. I don't think he said that knowing that he intended to do the opposite, I think he said that because that's a good-sounding thing to say that will get a positive reaction from the audience -- "yes, of course you're going to keep all the good things you have now, and it's going to be even better!" -- and he didn't care if it turned out to be true or not. His Republican handlers later convinced him that their repeal of The Affordable Care Act would be that "everything you already have and more", and whether or not that turned out to be true (spoiler alert: it didn't), Trump's got to stick to the message that Trump did the good thing and made everything better because Trump is a winner all the time, so much winning, because if Trump wasn't winning at everything all the time people wouldn't like Trump and that would make Trump feel bad.

I think even the "good people on both sides" comment and hesitation to disavow support by white supremacists is ultimately because of this. Trump wants everyone to like Trump. Trump doesn't want to alienate anyone... at least, not anyone who likes Trump, or who might like Trump. Anyone who doesn't like Trump is obviously a bad person to Trump and their opinions don't count anymore because they don't like Trump and that makes them not count. It's still a form of moral bankruptcy, but I don't think Trump associates to Nazis because he really believes in their message, he associates to them because they support him. If, somehow, all the Nazis in the country turned around and became the most vocal Trump-haters (no idea how that would happen, but hypothetically), I have no doubt that Trump would become the #1 advocate for banning them from the country or whatever other abuse of power he thinks he could use to get them to shut up and stop hating him.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:04 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Trump is just a rudderless attention whore. That translates into him "being good at appealing to his base", but that only requires a simple Pavlovian conditioning mechanism, no kind of crafty Machiavellian scheming that would belie any actual cognitive intelligence.
Yes, this specifically; this is why assigning competence to Trump is so bizarre and even borderline offensive to me.

Like, you could replace Trump with basically any rich white narcissistic dude with paper-thin skin and an allergy for critical thinking or self-awareness, and they'd probably do just as well. There's no strategy here; there's no cleverness or craft. Donald Trump is just a shithead in an environment where being a shithead worked out great for him.

It's like giving credit to PUAs for being "cunning" or "competent" because some of them get laid a lot. No, they're not competent. They're just arrogant, cocky, borderline-rapists in an environment where being an arrogant, cocky, borderline-rapist can get you what you want. If you ask them to explain how they get what they want, they'll go on long pseudo-scientific rants that have nothing to do with them just being arrogant, cocky borderline-rapists. They aren't skilled -- they're just shameless idiots who are oblivious to how terrible they are.

Donald Trump is to politics what PUAs are to getting laid. You could replace him with a non-sapient android that just spits out random offensive shit and gets into procedurally generated flame-wars on twitter to achieve the same effect.

Fuck, build that and have it run against him in the next election. I'd vote for it.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:20 pm UTC

Like, you could replace Trump with basically any rich white narcissistic dude with paper-thin skin and an allergy for critical thinking or self-awareness, and they'd probably do just as well

But they don't do as well. The republican primary was a room full of those, and he laughed them away. There are loads of people who would like Trump's popularity but do not have it. It's stupendously rare to have this personal connect with so many people.

Case in point - it's rare even among the major league, super-succesful politicians in Washington, who have wet dreams about being president but aren't. It's more common among professional entertainers, like Trump used to be. Perhaps he's only the first of a wave of celebrities turning to politics, based on their internet-enabled peronal connection to their fans.

Of course, he's partially a focus for a trend that could have found another focus. And then we'd discussing this other person. Celebrity has that effect. But it's not a complete accident that the spotlight fell on a guy who spent decades on relentless attention-seeking and self-promotion.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:25 pm UTC

Can anybody else remember Paris Hilton asking whether John McCain was ready to lead, and proposing an energy policy that can only have come from people to whom she listened?

Who else thinks President Paris Hilton would have been a better choice in 2016?
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:31 pm UTC

Good choice of alternative example. Paris Hilton is another person who gets derided as being all about self promotion or whatever, but...she does not actually appear to be dumb. She's quite successful by any objective metric.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:32 pm UTC

I think that PUA analogy works well to explain Trump's relative success. Not all PUAs are equally "successful" either. But the ones who are, more so than other at least, didn't get that way because they are genius manipulators who discovered the secrets of women's strange alien brains. They've just stumbled into something that works out for them more often than it does for others.

I mean, really that's probably true of most people who are successful at most things. People who happened to have stumbled into the right patterns of behavior over the course of their lives stumble into situations where those behaviors are rewarded and they become the success stories. Sure there are behaviors that are more likely to lead to success in more situations and some of those are known and can be taught, but there's also just gobs and gobs of chance; there's no scientifically demonstrable plan to go from any starting position to a particular kind of success, or when there is, everyone does that and we don't think of it as "success" so much as "not fucking up spectacularly". Everything else is shit just happening to work out the way it does.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:32 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:But they don't do as well. The republican primary was a room full of those, and he laughed them away.
The politicians in that room were experienced veterans who knew how to express their shitty values via encoded speech. Trump didn't (and doesn't) know how to use encoded speech, so he just flat-out expressed his shitty values. He did it with his usual smarmy lack of self-awareness and lots of gusto.

That's Trump's power: He just says shitty things with lots of confidence, which appeal to shitty people -- and those shitty things anger and confuse everyone else, which appeals to people who like seeing others angry and confused.

That's all there is to it.
Zamfir wrote:Of course, he's partially a focus for a trend that could have found another focus, and then we'd discussing this other person. Celebrity has that effect. But it's not a complete accident that the slotlight fell on a guy who spent decades on relentless attention-seeking and self-promotion. He's very very good at it.
He's very good at being outrageous, yes -- but I don't think being outrageous is something we should consider to be a "skill".

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:44 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Zamfir wrote:But they don't do as well. The republican primary was a room full of those, and he laughed them away.
The politicians in that room were experienced veterans who knew how to express their shitty values via encoded speech. Trump didn't (and doesn't) know how to use encoded speech, so he just flat-out expressed his shitty values. He did it with his usual smarmy lack of self-awareness and lots of gusto.

That's Trump's power: He just says shitty things with lots of confidence, which appeal to shitty people -- and those shitty things anger and confuse everyone else, which appeals to people who like seeing others angry and confused.


To add to this, let's not forget that the Trumpster Fire didn't just appear in late 2015. He's been a scandal magnet since the early 90's, and he's tried to become PotUS twice before 2016, once in 2000 and again in 2012. He's had practice at the whole public image thing, time and effort spend learning how to get positive reactions that he so desperately desires in the realm of public media. His ability to turn his lack of self awareness in to an advantage is a practiced and developed methodology refined over a minimum of the last three decades (and probably all of his life).
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:26 pm UTC

He's very good at being outrageous, yes -- but I don't think being outrageous is something we should consider to be a "skill".

It's not outrageous on its own, it's outrageous combined with self-promotion. Get attention without making a fool out of yourself.

Now, it's oh so tempting to say "but he is making a fool of himself!" But apparently, lots of people trust him, both to act in their interest and to be effective at it. Which is exactly what politicians want to achieve, but struggle at.

So, he is a much, much better judge of what he can get away with than I am. And than so many others are. Who cannot copy him if they would want to, and who keep getting surprised by the tenacity of his popularity.

Now, all of that could be some fluke, some accidental tune-in to a popular feeling. And to some extent, it probably is. But as Dauric says, it's also what he has been working on all of his life. It's not a complete fluke, it's also that he's a skilled salesman (arguably, conman), and an experienced celebrity personality.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:33 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
He's very good at being outrageous, yes -- but I don't think being outrageous is something we should consider to be a "skill".

It's not outrageous on its own, it's outrageous combined with self-promotion. Get attention without making a fool out of yourself.

Now, it's oh so tempting to say "but he is making a fool of himself!" But apparently, lots of people trust him, both to act in their interest and to be effective at it. So, he is a much, much better judge of what he can get away with than I am. And than so many others are. Who cannot copy him if they would want to, and who keep getting surprised by the tenacity of his popularity.

Now, all of that could be some fluke, some accidental tune-in to a popular feeling. And to some extent, it probably is. But as Dauric says, it's also what he has been working on all of his life. It's not a complete fluke, it's also thst he's a skilled salesman (arguably, conman), and an experienced celebrity personality.

Counterpoint, he's the head of the party, so partisanship is in full force. It took repeated losses and the Iraq war for Bush Jr to become an albatross on the necks of Republicans. He had similar problems of being an incompetent person. The rest of the party can't criticize him without weakening the GOP base. But if Trump every shows weakness, like say losing badly during the midterms or a recession, then the the previous sycopants could easily turn on Trump.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:57 pm UTC

I think that is the core reason for the tweetmanship, and also why it looks so extreme from the outside. He is not fighting a popularity war with the Democratic party about the middle ground of US politics. He is fighting a popularity war with the Republican party about their middle ground.

And he could still lose - he is not a skilled politicians in the sense of building a network allies in the political arena. I am sure everyone around him would shaft him if they got the chance. So he has to keep fighting the intra-party war, maintaining enough direct rapport with the voters that he can't be shafted. And that's where he seems so unusually skilled.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:06 pm UTC

Huh. So it turns out reality TV actually is extremely useful for learning how to be a president...

Wow. What in the actual fuck is wrong with this world? It's like a complicated problem that we can't understand because... oh shit, is the problem... us? Are we the problem?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:43 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Huh. So it turns out reality TV actually is extremely useful for learning how to be a president...

Wow. What in the actual fuck is wrong with this world? It's like a complicated problem that we can't understand because... oh shit, is the problem... us? Are we the problem?

Yes, the voters are a problem. And rich white people, which has a lot of overlap. Like are voters sheeple for buying the racist stuff? (Ie my salary sucks cuz of economy, I'll blame minorities to feel better)
Or Are the rich whites at fault for creating monstrous immortal corporations that refuse to pay taxes?
(Instead of paying taxes, I'll lobby for tax code to favor corporate elite, which means less money for people.)
The web of blame is vast, but it's very white and predatory.

Honestly, pick up a piece of the system to fix, anything more and you make too many enemies.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:47 pm UTC

@CU, a very specific brand of reality TV though. Didnt you talk earlier about charismatic father of the nation figures? Trump was on TV for a decade as a strict-but-just patriarch, teaching the kids how to become a great leader like himself.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:58 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Huh. So it turns out reality TV actually is extremely useful for learning how to be a president...

Wow. What in the actual fuck is wrong with this world? It's like a complicated problem that we can't understand because... oh shit, is the problem... us? Are we the problem?


There's a lot wrong. Trump's just the tip of the iceberg in some respects.

Anyways, publicity has always helped in politics a fair bit. Reagan was an actor before he was an immensely popular president, remember. Voting is ultimately a popularity contest of sorts, and people knowing who you are has always given a leg up.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:26 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:[...] the Trumpster Fire is skilled at one thing if nothing else: managing PR disasters. You can propose gas chambers and work camps for immigrants, the Trumpster Fire will not only take the heat off you, but manage the disaster in such a way that it mitigates the public image problems.

This is a highly unusual understanding of the concept of "managing PR disasters". That normally involves some acknowledgement of the harm that's been done, some back pedalling, some promises to do better in future, firing an appropriate scapegoat, that kind of thing. Trump's approach is a mix of whataboutism, distraction, lying, and, the worst of all, just damned well brazening it out. If BP had had Trump doing their PR at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, they'd have said things like "Well, Shell have leaked loads of oil. Much more than us", or "they're saying we've spilled 4.9 million barrels - that's nonsense, it's only about 100 barrels", or "Yeah, fuck all those dead seagulls. They're Mexican seagulls anyway, they look pretty ugly to me".
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:46 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Dauric wrote:[...] the Trumpster Fire is skilled at one thing if nothing else: managing PR disasters. You can propose gas chambers and work camps for immigrants, the Trumpster Fire will not only take the heat off you, but manage the disaster in such a way that it mitigates the public image problems.

This is a highly unusual understanding of the concept of "managing PR disasters". That normally involves some acknowledgement of the harm that's been done, some back pedalling, some promises to do better in future, firing an appropriate scapegoat, that kind of thing. Trump's approach is a mix of whataboutism, distraction, lying, and, the worst of all, just damned well brazening it out. If BP had had Trump doing their PR at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, they'd have said things like "Well, Shell have leaked loads of oil. Much more than us", or "they're saying we've spilled 4.9 million barrels - that's nonsense, it's only about 100 barrels", or "Yeah, fuck all those dead seagulls. They're Mexican seagulls anyway, they look pretty ugly to me".

Yes, and then a load of people who thought they were going to get rich and retire early by collecting points on their BP cards would have cheered and repeated those slogans all over the internet.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

Obligatory: BP Spills Coffee

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Euphonium » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:20 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Euphonium wrote:You're being incredibly disingenuous here.

One person is not reflective of the entire sentiment of the Convention. As I mentioned earlier, there was a pretty even split among delegates (but not among delegations)--most notably, James Madison himself (perhaps the most influential individual there) was in favor of direct election of the executive, but acknowledged the structural issues that made it unlikely to prevail.
I can easily find you three separate quotes from three different people at the Convention on this specific issue (arguing for indirect versus direct elections on account of distrusting the masses).

Are you illiterate?

The point is that this was not a universal view. I never said "no one thought this," but rather that "this wasn't the single or even primary reason behind its adoption."

Also, didn't you just try to argue that the electoral college was designed to preserve white supremacy? Are you now arguing that it *only* had to do with structural issues regarding getting the smaller states onboard? What does that have to do with preserving white supremacy?

No. Multiple causation is a thing. In particular, these things chained together. The Electoral College magnified the influence of low-population states. That, coupled with the disproportionate advantage in Congressional representation that slave states gained from the 3/5 Compromise (which in turn would give them even further advantage in the Electoral College) meant that the fact that it would be a useful instrument for preserving white supremacy was another major driver behind its adoption.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:38 pm UTC

The 3/5ths compromise only gave slave states more power if you think the default alternative absent the compromise would be to not count slaves at all. The slaves states themselves would not have thought that the default: they would default to counting the slaves as full persons (for purposes of census tally and thus the state's congressional representation), which would have given the slave states even more power. Free states on the other hand would have defaulted to the opposite: slaves are non-persons and so don't give any additional representation to the slave states.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:53 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Like, you could replace Trump with basically any rich white narcissistic dude with paper-thin skin and an allergy for critical thinking or self-awareness, and they'd probably do just as well.

I think one think that Trump has going for him is that he spent years building up an image as a successful businessman. He is obviously not, but he crafted this image that he was and got the general public to believe it.

I am not saying he did this as laying the groundwork for a political career. He did it to inflate his own ego and it just so happens that when he then went into politics this image served him well. I am also not saying that he is smart or skillful because he created this image. Anybody can inherent millions and plaster their name across everything they own. I am saying that he does have something that most other criminally rich and criminally stupid people do not.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:09 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
TGH wrote:Like, you could replace Trump with basically any rich white narcissistic dude with paper-thin skin and an allergy for critical thinking or self-awareness, and they'd probably do just as well.

I think one think that Trump has going for him is that he spent years building up an image as a successful businessman. He is obviously not, but he crafted this image that he was and got the general public to believe it.


In terms of business, Trump is...alright. He is neither the spectacular success he labels himself, nor the miserable failure his opponents would portray him as. He's pretty middle of the road. However, he did manage to get an unusual reputation considering that.

I am not saying he did this as laying the groundwork for a political career. He did it to inflate his own ego and it just so happens that when he then went into politics this image served him well. I am also not saying that he is smart or skillful because he created this image. Anybody can inherent millions and plaster their name across everything they own. I am saying that he does have something that most other criminally rich and criminally stupid people do not.


That's definitely true. The world is full of narcissistic ego-ridden people who would literally do anything to get Trump's fame and power. And yet he has it, and they do not.

If there's anything Trump has pointed out, it's the ludicrous power that ceaseless self promotion can have.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:38 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I think one think that Trump has going for him is that he spent years building up an image as a successful businessman. He is obviously not, but he crafted this image that he was and got the general public to believe it.

In terms of business, Trump is...alright. He is neither the spectacular success he labels himself, nor the miserable failure his opponents would portray him as. He's pretty middle of the road. However, he did manage to get an unusual reputation considering that.
I am not saying he did this as laying the groundwork for a political career. He did it to inflate his own ego and it just so happens that when he then went into politics this image served him well. I am also not saying that he is smart or skillful because he created this image. Anybody can inherent millions and plaster their name across everything they own. I am saying that he does have something that most other criminally rich and criminally stupid people do not.

That's definitely true. The world is full of narcissistic ego-ridden people who would literally do anything to get Trump's fame and power. And yet he has it, and they do not.
If there's anything Trump has pointed out, it's the ludicrous power that ceaseless self promotion can have.

I think his cleverest stuff is how he got the public to believe he was a billionaire, which translated into more income/business deals for Trump. His other big trick was somehow getting banks to loan him money again despite all his bankruptcies. *

*Assuming the rumors Russian mobsters bailing him out wasn't true.
Last edited by sardia on Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:05 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:18 pm UTC

Quote tag's a bit off there.

I do agree that he's managed to parlay his reputation for wealth substantially beyond it ought to be. Sure, the guy's got money, but he acts as though he's the richest man alive or something. Even now, he's probably what, just barely within the top 500? In the US, not worldwide. And he's acted that way even when he had far less. Fake it till you make it, I guess.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:41 pm UTC

sardia wrote:.
I am not saying he did this as laying the groundwork for a political career. He did it to inflate his own ego and it just so happens that when he then went into politics this image served him well. I am also not saying that he is smart or skillful because he created this image. Anybody can inherent millions and plaster their name across everything they own. I am saying that he does have something that most other criminally rich and criminally stupid people do not.

That's definitely true. The world is full of narcissistic ego-ridden people who would literally do anything to get Trump's fame and power. And yet he has it, and they do not.


While this seems plausible, I'm not sure it's as certain as that. It's possible that current socio-political conditions simply generally favour the rise of narcissistic egotistical celebrities to positions of political power. Whichever celebrity narcissist we ended up with as president we would be asking "what do they have that others like them don't?". The answer could very well be nothing at all; except for luck.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:42 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:I am not saying he did this as laying the groundwork for a political career. He did it to inflate his own ego and it just so happens that when he then went into politics this image served him well. I am also not saying that he is smart or skillful because he created this image. Anybody can inherent millions and plaster their name across everything they own. I am saying that he does have something that most other criminally rich and criminally stupid people do not.
Yes.
The backing of the Russian Mob.

It took years and many millions of dollars to develop the relationship.
The Mob there is better than the Mob here, Trump understands that.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:18 am UTC

Euphonium wrote:Are you illiterate?

The point is that this was not a universal view. I never said "no one thought this," but rather that "this wasn't the single or even primary reason behind its adoption."
Let me try and break this down for you? Here's what ucim said that started the conversation:
ucim wrote:One of the original ideas behind the electoral college is that the hoi polloi shouldn't be trusted to elect the highest office
Here's your response to that:
Euphonium wrote:What a load of uninformed nonsense. ... What tilted the scales towards the Electoral College was structural: delegations voted by state rather than as individual delegates, and because the Electoral College would give disproportionate power to lower-population states, those states supported it out of self-interest (particularly those who feared slavery was in danger)--and there were enough of them to prevail in the end.
Here's what I responded with:
The Great Hippo wrote:The reasons behind the electoral college are complicated and multiplicitous; you are correct to point out that one of the big reasons had to do with smaller states wanting a bigger piece of the Executive pie. ... It is nevertheless also true that one of those reasons, directly stated multiple times (by multiple parties!), was that they didn't feel they could trust people's overall ability to make informed decisions regarding candidates with extraordinary power.
So, to break it down even farther, here's the summarized conversation we just had:
ucim, summarized wrote:Y is one of the ideas behind Z.
Euphomium, summarized wrote:Bullshit. X is one of the primary ideas behind Z.
Me, summarized wrote:No, ucim is right. Sure, X is one of the primary ideas behind Z, but Y is also an idea behind Z. It's just a smaller, less important idea.
This conversation is a product of me wanting to get across to you that ucim didn't actually say anything wrong.

That, and I was deeply annoyed at how you decided to use your education to demean someone rather than a tool to enrich the conversation ("Well, yes; that was one of the justifications for the electoral college. But it's not one of the primary reasons behind it. The primary reason was..."). History is a gift to be shared, not a blunt weapon to bash people over the head with. Don't denigrate it like that.

Anyway, good luck with your degree.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:56 pm UTC

The scotus nominee rape allegation took a disappointing turn. The accuser is asking for a delay+FBI investigation, but the Republicans are playing hard ball. I'm not sure what influence anyone can have short of another shoe dropping. I'm sure having a hearing would be better than not having it, but I'm not sure how this could sink kavanaugh. Unless he lies under oath (aka denies rape but proof later occurs).

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:59 pm UTC

It was 30 years ago. He can just deny having any memory of the incident.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:33 pm UTC

Alright, you don't need to buy Stormy's book anymore. What you all wanted to know: Trump has a smaller than average mushroom.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:44 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The scotus nominee rape allegation took a disappointing turn. The accuser is asking for a delay+FBI investigation, but the Republicans are playing hard ball.


Asking for an FBI investigation is ridiculous; the FBI is not going to investigate something that wasn't even technically a crime when it allegedly happened - much less three decades later. She has no evidence, and her only witness denies the event ever happened; what would they even investigate? At best they're going to ask questions; which is what the Senate is already offering. Only, in the case of the Senate, they're going to allow the accusers legal council to come up with the questions.

The accusation was made at the end of July by way of a letter to Diane Feinstein; who declined to even mention it during the hearings or even while privately questioning Kavanagh over the course of two months. There is your delay; they held it back until the last minute in an obvious attempt to do the most damage. There is no time for him to clear his name if he's innocent; and no time to choose another nominee if he is not. Their goal is to prevent him from being confirmed before October when the SCOTUS convenes.

The explanation given for this delay is that Ford didn't want to be in the public eye; fair enough. But there is no reason Feinstein couldn't bring it up in closed meetings, either while questioning Kavanagh himself, or within committee. But she didn't do that... why? If she sincerely believed this accusation to be true, why keep completely quiet about it until the 11th hour?

I'm not sure what influence anyone can have short of another shoe dropping.


To put it bluntly, the main point here is to smear his name and sway people against confirming him. Whether or not he did what he's been accused of will never be known either way; and everyone involved knows that.

I'm sure having a hearing would be better than not having it, but I'm not sure how this could sink kavanaugh. Unless he lies under oath (aka denies rape but proof later occurs).


He hasn't been accused of rape. The claim is that he held her down, groped her, and covered her mouth when she tried to scream. She claims that a friend of Kavanagh (Mark Judge) jumped on top of them, which allowed her to escape. Mark Judge denies that this ever happened. I can't imagine what evidence they're going to find three decades after the fact.

So there is your hearing. She will claim that it happened; he will claim that it didn't happen. She will get some people to say it sounds like something he would do; he will get some people to say that it doesn't sound like something he will do. It'll come down to what version people choose to believe.

If he actually did this then he's a scumbag and ought not be a justice; I think we agree on that. But there has to be more than just "he said, she said" thirty years after the fact.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:44 pm UTC

cphite wrote:the FBI is not going to investigate something that wasn't even technically a crime when it allegedly happened - much less three decades later.


wrong.

assault (Maryland criminal code, sec. 3-202)
https://codes.findlaw.com/md/criminal-l ... 3-202.html

rape (and attempted rape) (Maryland criminal code Sec 3-303)
https://codes.findlaw.com/md/criminal-l ... 3-303.html

Section (a)(ii),(iii) and (iv) should be of relevant interest, to wit:

(a) A person may not:

(1)(i) engage in vaginal intercourse with another by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other;  or

(ii) engage in a sexual act with another by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other;  and

(2)(i) employ or display a dangerous weapon, or a physical object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon;

(ii) suffocate, strangle, disfigure, or inflict serious physical injury on the victim or another in the course of committing the crime;

(iii) threaten, or place the victim in fear, that the victim, or an individual known to the victim, imminently will be subject to death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, or kidnapping;

(iv) commit the crime while aided and abetted by another;  or


EDIT: my apologies, it should be sec. 3-307 (emphasis mine)
https://codes.findlaw.com/md/criminal-l ... 3-307.html
(a) A person may not:

(1)(i) engage in sexual contact with another without the consent of the other;  and

(ii) 1. employ or display a dangerous weapon, or a physical object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon;

2. suffocate, strangle, disfigure, or inflict serious physical injury on the victim or another in the course of committing the crime;

3. threaten, or place the victim in fear, that the victim, or an individual known to the victim, imminently will be subject to death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, or kidnapping;  or

4. commit the crime while aided and abetted by another;

(2) engage in sexual contact with another if the victim is a substantially cognitively impaired individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know the victim is a substantially cognitively impaired individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual;

(3) engage in sexual contact with another if the victim is under the age of 14 years, and the person performing the sexual contact is at least 4 years older than the victim;

(4) engage in a sexual act with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the sexual act is at least 21 years old;  or

(5) engage in vaginal intercourse with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the act is at least 21 years old.

(b) A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of sexual offense in the third degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Yablo » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:43 pm UTC

The investigation of the alleged incident should fall to the local jurisdiction. The only thing that suggests the FBI might want to investigate is the fact that the accused is being considered for a high federal appointment, and the FBI has already done six background checks on him over the years as he's moved up through the ranks.

The accuser (last I heard on the radio yesterday) won't return calls or emails. She should absolutely be heard, but there was plenty of time for this accusation to have been a factor during the initial hearings. This just feels like a desperate and poorly executed delay attempt by Feinstein.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:16 pm UTC

I can't see how they're going to get the FBI investigation thing to slide. I'm assuming this is delaying strategy (I'm not sure what they actually expect the FBI to find so long after the fact), but I think they may have overplayed their hand. They got a week delay with the testimony preparing to be heard next Monday and clearly they want to push for more, but I think they probably had a better chance of her testifying and something falling out of that to stop the nomination. Without her testifying, it's going to be spun in a terrible light for the democrats and is basically going to go away regardless of what the truth is.


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