FANNY BY THE GASLIGHT

A lot of people who have experienced it as a tactic of emotional abuse react negatively to applying the term "gaslighting" to politics, but this Jamelle Bouie article about the VP debate makes a convincing case that it is the best description for one of the Trump campaign's main strategies and, in the future, most toxic legacy.

I've been in two relationships where this has happened to me. It hits me hard and in an exaggeratedly personal way when I see this happen in a political context. As a tactic, there's no doubt that it works. After weeks and months of being told that you're crazy, that you're imagining things, that things that happened did not happen, that things that were said were not said…it's not much of a leap to questioning your own sanity and perception. And it's not easy to bounce back from, either. It has been several years since I got away from it and I'm not completely over thinking that way. The way I hold onto things, there's a decent chance I'll never be completely over it.

Only very rarely do I write about even the most trivial personal matters on here, so it feels very uncomfortable to throw this out there. But I bring it up to underscore the viscerally negative reaction I have to watching Trump and Pence use a calculated strategy of lying blatantly and assuming – correctly, in most cases – that Americans are too lazy, too uninterested, or too short of attention span to remember to check their statements for accuracy. There is no other explanation for why a candidate would repeatedly insist "I/he never said that" when it is so remarkably easy to verify in this day and age that it was in fact said. Hillary Clinton's campaign, just for example, had videos of Trump saying many of the things Pence asserted he never said circulating online before the debate even concluded.

To formulate a campaign strategy around a technique of abuse and manipulation says a lot about the kind of human beings we are dealing with here. Politics has always treated the truth somewhat casually. Interpretations of facts, statements, and events are often creative to say the least. But simply to insist that a verifiable fact, statement, or event is not true or did not happen is rarer than our cynical view on politics might conclude. Imagine if George H.W. Bush had campaigned in 1992 insisting that he never said "Read my lips" or if Bill Clinton continued to insist that he had no "sexual relations with that woman" even after evidence was brought to light that it did. People lie a lot in politics, but rarely do they continue to perpetuate a lie that can be so easily disproved.

It takes a remarkable amount of gall to do that on a worldwide television broadcast. Or it takes a total lack of respect for the dupes you perceive to be watching. Or it takes being a fundamentally abusive, manipulative, narcissistic person. The Venn Diagram of those three circles has Trump and Pence in the middle.

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58 Responses to “FANNY BY THE GASLIGHT”

  1. Mel Says:

    This sort of discomfort with a terrible familiarity is what women who have been victims of sexual assault are feeling watching him, too.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Commenting here intentionally to avoid FB. I'm a few months out of an 11 year marriage to a gaslighter. I understand the constant doubting. I'd never considered Trump in that light, but it fits so beautifully. Thanks for the perspective.

  3. Gabe Says:

    I'm just gonna say that I called it months ago. People are saying you can verify it on the August 11th post. I don't know if it's true, but that's what people are saying. Smart people, important people, that's what they are saying.

  4. pidgeon92 Says:

    That they gaslight doesn't bother me, charlatans abound. What bothers me is that there is such a large number of people who are so oblivious that they just don't care.

  5. Fasteddie Says:

    Trump supporters are single issue voters – that issue is protecting white privilege – white male privilege in general. If "when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression" – these guys are for a lot of feeling oppressed.

  6. c u n d gulag Says:

    t-RUMP has proven what we liberals have been saying for decades about the GOP and "Christian" evangelicals:

    That they're full of shit!

    Yeah, some come for the faux morality.
    But they stay for the fear and hatred.

    They aren't brothers and sister in Christ.
    They're brothers and sisters bound together by fear, hatred and bigotry!

    I worry about violence both ON Election Day, and AFTER..

    t-RUMP has built it. They will come…

  7. c u n d gulag Says:

    Oh, and the GOP is mad at t-RUMP, because he shouts through a bullhorn, what they've been dog-whistling and whispernd, for decades!

    The pots are calling the mad kettle, black.

  8. Noskilz Says:

    It isn't particularly surprising that someone who thinks neo-nazis are worth cultivating would also be a fan of "the big lie" routine.

    What comes next is really the key, isn't it? If – as seems likely – Hillary beats his ass like a drum, what then? That's what I'm most curious about. Does the GOP actually try to change gears or does it resign itself to being basically a regional player and muddle along in gerrymandered Gohmertstans as long as the donor money holds out? Or will it just take a page from Trump's book and just try to pretend 2016 never happened?

  9. Tim H. Says:

    As an ex-fundie, this season has been giving me flashbacks of end of the world sermons, they were on to something, except for the part about divine closure, it'll be more "Just ugly for a thousand years"…

  10. jharp Says:

    I think it started with Palin.

    After that empty headed nitwit's performance it became obvious that you could stand at the podium and make no sense whatsoever. To say whatever you wanted to say.

    Now it's becoming the norm.

  11. John Danley Says:

    Trump is going full po-mo. His campaign is the unlettered equivalent of a political Sokal Hoax, but his followers wouldn't know the difference or care. He's got one month to completely alter reality via reverse psychology, unbridled sensationalism, equal-opportunity relativism, and fabrications so unbelievable that they're indistinguishable from psychotic spectrum disorders. All this while Gish Galloping on methamphetamine.

  12. Emerson Dameron Says:

    When you doubt your own judgment and sanity, that makes it really, really hard to respect and stand up for yourself. Or, uh, so I've been told.

    That may explain the actions of *some* members of the Republican establishment.

    I would love to say that I will enjoy watching karma crush Donald Trump. But this is just cringing and misery all the way down.

  13. J. Dryden Says:

    I'd trace it further back than Palin, further back than Bush. I think you can either blame Nixon (or Johnson re: Vietnam, maybe) for making lying about something demonstrably true into a feature rather than a bug of presidential politics–

    –but then there's Reagan.

    Because Trump lies like Reagan. Pence is a piece of shit liar, but he KNOWS he's lying when he lies. (Whether this makes him better or worse, I don't know and I don't care. "Funerals for Fetuses" was the point at which I washed my hands of this guy, who's clearly auditioning for the role of Commandant in the forthcoming Republic of Gilead.)

    But Trump lies like Reagan. (So did Palin, by the way.) That, he speaks, and does not deliberately speak something he knows to be contrary to the truth–he just speaks and whatever he says must be true BECAUSE HE SAID IT.

    Pence just lies. He lies like Nixon. He knows what the truth is and says something else because the truth hurts him. But there's no such duplicity in Reagan or in Trump because they're FUCKING MAKING THE TRUTH AS THEY SAY IT.

    Motivations vary–Reagan believed in what he said because the man believed in an America that never was and told stories that derived from that Neverland. Trump lies because he's a depraved narcissist who is always right and who always wins and for whom the truth is always subject to his immediate need.

    There's no fixed point of reality from which Trump and Reagan are consciously deviating. What they're doing doesn't FEEL like lying to them because in the crypt-like perch from which their decrepit souls stare out at the world, what they say is a reflection of what IS because they BELIEVE it to be so.

    There's a quality of genuine madness to Trump's lying. Reagan at least had the excuse of actual dementia. Trump? Well, if I had to guess, I'd blame it on untreated syphilis. Either that, or he's just a bottomless recess of self-regarding filth.

    Pence fills me with anger when he lies.

    Trump fills me with horror.

  14. Mo Says:

    Dryden – we must be drinking the same hooch, or maybe re-reading Thinking, Fast and Slow too often. That thing about how our brains are story-generating organs – even psychotics think they're making perfect sense, and don't understand how the rest of us just can't see it.

    Gotta mix in the con artist sauce, tho, when it comes to Palin and Trump. A mirror that reflects whatever BS stories the audience is driveling, making them feel so validated that they must empty their wallets to support this person who says just exactly what they've been feeling.

  15. Mo Says:

    the crypt-like perch from which their decrepit souls stare out at the world

    Vampires, stimulating and feeding upon the poisonous emotions of vile people to fill their needy emptiness?

  16. Michael Says:

    It was done to me, too, man. I'm sorry. I am seeing an excellent therapist and it was key for me.

  17. mago Says:

    Short attention spans and Cheetos.

  18. Tsotate Says:

    @John Danley – pretty sure it's coke for that gish gallop, not meth. Note the sniffing in debates.

  19. Wim Says:

    Dick Cheney was (and is) a past master of the uncaring lie. There were several occasions when he snarled he'd never met someone he'd been photographed with shaking hands several different times and places…pretty much exactly like Guliani just saying he didn't remember Hillary being around Ground Zero, and there's a picture of her walking there beside him. Tucker Carlson wrote about how the Bushies would lie straight to his face without qualm or seeming awareness. To say these people are gaslighting is to give them too much credit for cunning. They say whatever lights up their pleasure centers, and they don't give one fuck about your opinion. Truthiness is whatever gets them from this moment to the next.

  20. waspuppet Says:

    I've been getting that queasy feeling of recognition for more than a year. It's not just the gaslighting; it's the "I'm the only one you can trust," the "You have no idea how dangerous the world can be if you try to manage without me," the "you have no idea what life in the real world is like," and of course the "Conflict? I don't want conflict; I want everything to be nice and peaceful. YOU'RE the one who's causing conflict by not doing everything I want." And the related "I'll be happy to treat you with respect, once you start treating me with respect by doing everything I say.*

    Those domestic-violence accusations against Trump are SO far-fetched, aren't they?

    *Sharp-eyed observers will note that Trump is far from the only Republican who does these things.

  21. Lalo Khezia Says:

    Also the ever popular 'see what you made me do?'

  22. Misterben Says:

    I really don't think the majority of America is as ignorant or racist as their support for Trump would suggest. I just think there's a lot of desperate, worried people in this country, and he is connecting with their need to not feel that way anymore.

    I think the extent of Trump's support is an indication of the extent to which we've failed as a country. How desperate must people be to declare their support for him even despite everything we know about him?

  23. geoff Says:

    @Noskilz– Assuming the Giant Evil Baby loses the election, he'll be flushed down the memory hole faster than you can can say George W. Bush. "Donald WHO?" Pence can go back to being the poor man's Rush Limbaugh.

    And Ed and many commenters, thanks for pointing out GEB's tactic for what it is, and tying in to his obvious all along misogyny. (Yes, obviously men can be gaslighted too, but it's gotta be more common for women to be the victims.) ANYWAY, I try to pay as little attention to Trump's batshit pronouncements as possible (he lost me out of the gate with the "murderers and rapists" bit), but I had heard his "global warming is a Chinese plot" bit. When he said during the first debate (right?) that he'd never said that I really GOT IT. "Who're you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?"

  24. JohnR Says:

    Misterben: "I just think there's a lot of desperate, worried people in this country" Don't overlook the incredibly important part the decades-long GOP campaign of fearmongering propaganda has been. Make people scared and they'll do anything you want. FDR knew this well – it's been a basic political ploy for probably as long as we've been humans, if not even longer.

  25. John Danley Says:

    @Tsotate Says. Point taken. But meth can also be snorted, and the subsequent dysfunction in dopaminergic neurotransmission combined with choreoathetosis, unrivaled psychosis, hypersexuality, and punctuated euphoria will require a forensic toxicology report, internal autopsy examination, and fMRI brain scan before Nov 8.

  26. Tim Says:

    I've also heard that people object to the use of the term gaslighting applied to these situations, but I'm not sure what their objections are. One reason I have thought it might not fit is that it often depends on the perpetrator being able to isolate the victim socially — either on a more or less permanent basis, or intermittently on the occasions of the mistreatment — so that it becomes a "your word against mine" situation. When it's done in political speeches, there are scores or hundreds or thousands of witnesses, people who can say, "no, he said it and we can't all be crazy," etc. But you're right that it does seem to work the same way anyway.

    I know it's pointed out endlessly, but there is the Karl Rove quote:

    We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do

    And before him, there was Orwell:

    'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.'

    'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the
    stars go round it.'

    Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say anything. O'Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection:

    'For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is
    beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematiciansare unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?'
    — 1984, Part 3, Chapter 3

    So he saw this going on as far back as the 1940s.

    Sorry for the length, but it's hard to know where to cut Orwell off. 1984 is still very worth reading.

  27. Safety Man! Says:

    To be fair, I don't consider this unique to Trump and Co., or even Republicans. Consider Brian Williams, for example. Outside of the election, I think it's important to consider that sometimes different versions of reality are not necessarily based in deception, but rather different assumptions or perceptions based on available data. I do this a lot with risk assessments; even with actuarial tables to provide some grounding in statistics you can get widely different end points. I suppose I'm trying to articulate the difference between inaccurate and "wrong", which is difficult.

  28. alighierispal Says:

    This is a political culture in which the people who lied and manipulated us into Iraq are taken seriously while the people who got it right and resisted the war are still treated like dirty fucking hippies. I guess my point is that there was a leadup to Trump. We were groomed for him, desensitized. I'm not suggesting any sort of conspiracy, just a media and political culture that has gradually grown progressively more indifferent to historical truth and contemporary reality.

  29. swkellogg Says:

    “The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.”
    ― Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

  30. Redleg Says:

    Exactly right. Trump and Pence have raised gaslighting to an art-form, where it is really the only thing of substance in their campaign, yet is really without substance because it is essentially about untruth. And sadly, the deliberate and continuous campaign of deceit is working in several ways. First, it has narrowed the focus of the election to a discussion of sex and sexual assault, and permits the public to judge both Clinton and Trump on these matters rather than simply holding Trump accountable for his own words and actions. The over-emphasis on the sex stuff may sell papers but it also draws attention away from discussion of policies and discussion of other transgressions such as Trump Foundation abuses, relationships with Russian Oligarchs and Putin, business failures and taxes, etc.

    Second it has engendered many deplorable and fallacious beliefs in Trump's followers about Hillary Clinton (and Barack Obama) and will likely provide more than a little motivation to violent action should Trump lose the election. Many of Trump's supporters are deplorable in their beliefs, and this has been fairly well researched. They do have a large number of people motivated by racial animus and nationalistic fervor. They do have a large number of people who hate the federal government and regulatory functions. They do have a large number of people who are very angry and feel they are teetering on a knife's edge. Many of these people scare me in their abuse towards anti-Trump protesters and towards Hillary Clinton (Jail her! Hang the Bitch!).

    The worst part to me is not Trump and Pence but the media that often misses the meta-story because it is focused too much on the fine details. One of the meta-stories is that the Republican party has engaged in some of these same deceitful and manipulative behaviors and Trump is simply taking the manipulation and deceit to an extreme we haven't seen before. Hell, for years the GOP has been dishonest about the effects of the HRCA, the health of the economy is, the state of our military, how under-attack religious people are, and so on ad nauseum. The media simply reports these differences of opinion as part of politics without pointing out that there are reliable and valid data that refute many of the GOP talking points.

    Anyway, I am upset by the brash lies and attempts to manipulate public sentiment. This by itself should be disqualifying.

  31. mothra Says:

    I think what is really disturbing is that Trumpsters will eagerly join in on the gaslighting. I have conversations with a Trump supporter that go like this:
    Me: "Trump absolutely said he had a threesome with a billy goat and a five-year old girl. He was filmed saying it on "x" network."

    Trumpster: You are looking at the wrong news outlets. You are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses and are naive. They can make so many things up and fake so many things in the liberal news these days."

    Me: "Uhh…."

  32. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @Tim:

    The objection, I understand it, is that applying concepts such as "gaslighting" as metaphors cheapens them and trivializes the experiences of those who have gone through the real thing. (See also: rape, the Holocaust, etc.)

    It's less troublesome if you make it clear that observing Donald Trump and Mike Pence isn't the same thing as being in an abusive relationship – there are just some interesting parallels.

  33. Kaleberg Says:

    I assume this term comes from the movie Gaslight. In it a husband plots to get rid of his wife by making her doubt her own sanity and getting her committed as insane. (It's more complicated than that, but ….) At one point he turns down the gas lights in the house. When his wife remarks that the lights look dim, he replies that they are perfectly normal and that she is having some kind of mental problem. His goal is to destroy her sanity, not to convince her that the gas lights weren't dimmed.

    That's what bothers me about this usage. If the Republicans were just trying to convince all of us that we were going crazy or horribly deluded, then the term would make sense, but they are instead trying to convince us that the things they are telling us are true and that we should act on that truth. I suppose the new usage will stick, especially with its war of the sexes overtones.

  34. Anonymous Prof Says:

    @Kaleberg:

    Oh, on the contrary, I think the use of "gaslighting" in this context is perfectly appropriate. The strategy is not so much about convincing people of a particular version of events, as it is about destroying the possibility of having a real discussion. Certainly they're trying to convince their supporters that anyone who opposes Trump is crazy.

    FWIW, my Racist Dean tried to gaslight me when I confronted him about his racism- he straight-up called me delusional, and when I brought up specific comments he had made, he just chuckled, shook his head, and declared that none of that had ever happened. He acted, in other words, just like Mike Pence in the VP debate.

    As Tim said, it's like Orwell said in 1984: at some point it's about the person with privilege declaring that their privilege enables them to define reality.

    What really bothers me is that basically political discussion is now impossible on all sides, for the reasons we have discussed here. I mean, for God's sake- people here keep using "MOOOOZLIM!!!!" as a way to mock conservative bigotry. But the problem is, as I keep pointing out, that actual Muslims find that offensive, because "mooslim" is closer to the correct pronunciation than "muzzlim."

    Now, the thing is, I backed this by providing a link to a webpage, on which a number of Muslims presented their views. And the response I got here was: that website says "muzlim" is perfectly acceptable, and BTW fuck you, you dumbass bulletnutz ammosexual, blah blah blah.

    How is that any different from how Trump supporters behave?

    "Trump said global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese."

    "No he didn't."

    "Here, LOOK AT TRUMP'S TWITTER STREAM. By God, it's right there in black and white!"

    "LOL fuck you libbrul piece of shit! I looked at his twitter and he NEVAR SAID IT!!!!"

  35. Anonymous Prof Says:

    @Kaleberg:

    I just wanted to add a point, that I think is the crux of the matter re: whether we're really seeing "gaslighting" in the traditional sense of the word.

    In the movie "Gaslight," the guy didn't actually believe that the lights weren't dimming.

    But, as a number of people have pointed out, Trump seems to actually believe his bizarre denials. And when I confronted my Racist Dean, it was very clear that he actually believes that he never said anything racist, even though he was repeatedly, vocally, and even notoriously racist. When people here sling insults at me and call me a Trump supporter, they clearly genuinely believe I am a Trump supporter. (FTR, I was pro-Bernie, and am now desperately hoping Hillary wins. I also am hoping that Trump goes to jail for raping that little girl, but for some reason, even now, nobody is talking about that.)

    Maybe that isn't how gaslighting always works (I don't think Mike Pence believes his bullshit,) but very frequently it is. In fact, I think that part of what makes it so corrosive is that the abuser is so eerily, uncannily convinced of things that you know aren't true- and so you often start to wonder about your own certainty. If I'm utterly convinced that the Dean repeatedly made racist comments, and he is utterly convinced that none of that ever happened, then who am I to say that I'm not the crazy one? (For my part, I was glad that I wasn't the only faculty member who had complained about the Dean's abusive behavior, because that reassured me that it wasn't all in my head.)

  36. mago Says:

    bed time for bonzo. sorry.

  37. geoff Says:

    I don't really buy the whole "Trump is a Clinton plant" theory, but I DO wonder why the Giant Evil Baby's "locker room talk" video and various harassment charges are only surfacing now IN OCTOBER. They do quite conveniently take some of the heat off the leaked Podesta e-mails, but hey, PEOPLE KNEW ALL THIS STUFF YEARS AGO. You'd think even if Billy Bush kept all this crap secret from his FIRST COUSIN Jeb, Jeb could have spent a little of that $250 million campaign war chest on opposition research. Surely somebody who built casinos in Atlantic City has got to be a least a little bit mobbed-up? Trump's been harassing women since the '70s– surely the Repubs could have found somebody to torpedo his campaign I dunno, six months ago?

    I'm no fan of the GOP, but I at least thought they were reasonably competent at putting their guy in the ring. Where was Lee Atwater when they needed him? Hell, even Rove probably could've toasted Trump when it mattered, but I guess he's out.

  38. Skepticalist Says:

    People have been told that it's a good idea to pretend to be stupid or else. Evidently they have agreed that the only safe thing is to admit to no real interest in the election. When they do say something about it, they go out of their way not to be specific. It's as if politics is some kind of vague thing but to be careful. They'll agree that Trump behaves like a four year old but they qualify it by saying that both he and Hillary equally suck.

    When did everyone become so fragile?

  39. democommie Says:

    @Skepticalist:

    The Trumpsludge are NOT pretending to be stupid.

  40. geoff Says:

    @Skepticalist

    I think everyone became so fragile when in "polite" company Trump supporters are called "deplorables" and are generally considered to be rubes and racists, poor white trash. And when people who express any skepticism about Mrs. Clinton's trustworthiness or her actions as Senator or SoS, they're automatically assumed to be Trump supporters and thus ignorant racists or worse, class traitors ("a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Trump!") and so on and on.

  41. geoff Says:

    (This thing needs an edit function, sorry. Should be "… people who express any skepticism about [Clinton] ARE automatically assumed…")

  42. waldoh Says:

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com.au has best explained how the lying by Republicans has become essential because of a constant suffocation of truth and morality by the Segrettis and Atwaters and Roves and Limbaughs and Fox and Hate radio.

  43. Katydid Says:

    @Geoff; Trump supporters are considered deplorables because most of them *are* deplorables. It's just that simple.

  44. Tsotate Says:

    @John Danley — That's technically possible, I suppose. It would visibly destroy the cartilage in his nose really fast, though.

  45. Robert Walker-Smith Says:

    We all have models of the world in our minds; all are false, but some are useful. This becomes a problem when you believe that the model is true. Any discrepancy between the model and the world is experienced as a flaw in the world, because it *should* correspond to the truth of the model. The more dissonance, the more threatening the flaw becomes.

    That's how MY model models that part of the world, at least.

  46. geoff Says:

    @katydid, I sure don't want to defend the Giant Evil Baby, or his supporters, but the "all Trump supporters are poor and ignorant" meme is simply not the case. Down here in my red state, there are a LOT of well-off, well-educated folks that support you know who. Sure, they're RACISTS, but hell, they always have been. Leaving aside the "well, racism IS stupid" argument (with which I agree), the obvious left/liberal contempt for "working-class whites" is not going to win over many voters.

    Waldah has it right-: the estimable Driftglass has been pointing out the GOP went nuts a long time ago, and the press' "both-siderism" has given them a legitimacy they haven't deserved in a long time. And now it's blowing up in their face.

    I think that if the GEB wasn't a handsy idiot, he'd have had a damn good shot at the Presidency. If things don't improve economically over the next few years (and I see no reason to think they will) the American Taliban is going to take over the whole damn government by 2020.

    (And thank you for replying. Maybe I need to move back to CA; this red state shit's starting to get to me.)

  47. Tsotate Says:

    @geoff — If working class whites don't want the left viewing us with contempt, maybe we shouldn't do contemptible things like support Trump.

  48. Mo Says:

    Geoff – I didn't see where Katydid described Trump supporters as "poor and ignorant." She said "deplorable," which is not the same thing.

    Matt Yglesias agrees with you on the well-off and educated racist Republican Trumpsters:

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/15/13286498/donald-trump-voters-race-economic-anxiety

  49. geoff Says:

    @Mo, you're correct, I was making an unwarranted inference/ assumption. Thanks.

  50. Katydid Says:

    @Geoff: "all Trump supporters are poor and ignorant" meme is simply not the case". And that's not what was said. What was said was his supporters are deplorable. Surely you're not arguing that the people who physically assault 80-year-old women and minorities, who call for the assassination of Trump's opponent, who are currently assaulting and threatening reporters for simply showing up to rallies are *not* deplorable?

  51. Katydid Says:

    @Geoff again: "I think that if the GEB wasn't a handsy idiot, he'd have had a damn good shot at the Presidency."

    Sadly, i think you're right. And that's terrifying that there are enough Rill 'murkkkuns and brainwashed fools out there who think a man with a track record of failure in pretty much everything he's ever done *and* who has zero experience in political matters and even lacks basic self-restraint….that THAT man would make a great choice for POTUS. Never mind the fact that he's demonstrated that he thinks women are mere inanimate objects for his pleasure–he actually called on Russia to hack the US Gov't computers. That affects *all* Americans.

    It shows you just how the rightwing media and at least 30 years of concerted groupthink has resulted in a shocking segment of the USA who are willingly led around by the noe because they lack the basic intelligence and reasoning ability to see how much contempt the rightwing thought leaders have for them.

  52. Major Kong Says:

    Just because somebody calls them deplorable doesn't mean they're not deplorable.

  53. geoff Says:

    @Katydid, I hope you saw my concession above that you did NOT say "deplorables" = poor white trash. (Hopefully) obviously I agree that anyone who thinks all Mexicans are rapists and all Muslims are terrorists and cops who shoot black people for no reason are heroes and a physically disabled reporter can be mocked without consequence and a Muslim American soldier who died in Afghanistan is… shit, I don't even know. An asshole?

    And I definitely agree that the Powell Memo and Fox News and Rush fucking Limbaugh and his dumbass cohort and Citizens United and Koch brothers money have moved this country almost unrecognizeably (to me! I'm not that old!!) to the right.

    I guess my (weak) point is that the Democratic Party has utterly failed over the last (let's say) 25+ years to counteract the above in any kind of effective way. And people are angry at the result of their (the Dems') (imo) capitulation/ participation in union-busting, offshoring, bailing out TBTF megabanks and doing nothing about the foreclosure crisis and on and on.

    So while I recognize well that there ARE a lot of "deplorables" out there (like my neighbors, though probably not the Mexicans), I DO believe that a lot of their anger at the status quo is entirely justified, if misplaced. The Dems nominated a status quo candidate, and lately things ain't working out that great for most of us.

    (Thanks all for replying. Not tryin' to carrstone y'all. Though I am thinking about changing my screen name to Joe Bageant (RIP).)

  54. Katydid Says:

    Geoff, yes, I did see your response, and hey, misreads can happen, no big deal. I was addressing the behavior of so many of Trump's supporters (deplorable) and not any socioeconomic class they might belong to. I agree that people with any amount of money and any background can behave terribly.

    As for the Democratic party, well, I think there's a lot of assumptions being made about how terribly they are, such as the countless forwarded emails I get from family members and acquaintances telling me the current president is the worst ever, is both an atheist *and* a devout Muslim (really?), and pals around with a man who died when the POTUS was a child. But people believe that because of a concerted effort to get the lie out and keep spreading it.

  55. Ed Says:

    Hillary Clinton: Pathological Liar? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-7R9FWCh3s

  56. bb in GA Says:

    Side issue: Why do so many of y'all lampoon "MOO-slim" ?

    That is the way many people of that persuasion pronounce what they are.

    If a significant number of Jews said (in English) that they were JAWS and I repeated that, would I be anti-Semitic ?

    With so many substantive things to mine from your enemies, why do you ever bring up such nit$hit ?

    //bb

  57. Skepticalist Says:

    Trump is right. These campaigns are definitely rigged. Otherwise the GOP would have arranged his demise long ago.

  58. Skepticalist Says:

    That was meant in regard to the laughable Republican primaries