Donald Trump and his defenders have often used the excuse that Trump is new to politics to deflect away from any critique about the awful job that he is doing. In the earliest days of the administration, defenders such as Devin Nunes would rush to remind the American people that Donald Trump was a “neophyte,” and claim that his botching of this or that was simply due to his unfamiliarity with the role of being in the White House.
While this political virginity may be forgivable, even expected at the local level for a member of a city council, it is wholly unforgivable for someone who is expected to run the country. Given that Trump’s campaign lasted nearly two years before he took the oath of office, one would reasonably expect that he would learn what the job entails. Hell, even after election night, when Trump stared blankly at his TV with a look of existential dread on his face, one would reasonably assume that Trump would at least take a crash course in basic civics.
One would be wrong.
Even if we take the approach that Trump was fully committed to learning just what was expected of him as he went along, it is now over half a year into his term and he still shows no signs of having made any attempt to understand the Constitution, separation of powers, the role of the executive, how a bill becomes a law, or even the most basic pieces of international relations.
Indeed, a first year college student who needs one social studies course could likely articulate in a better manner than the person currently residing part time in the White House what the role of the president is and is not, and how the United States fits into the global community .
Over the last week Trump has taken to Twitter to blast Mitch McConnell, taunt North Korea, and take credit for things that not only haven’t happened but he has no control over, such as the modernization of the nuclear arsenal.
On Thursday, while on a two-and-a-half-week vacation, Trump tweeted that McConnell should get back to work, and told reporters that he had not ruled out asking McConnell to resign. The hypocrisy of the least productive president in modern times, while on vacation, making social media posts about his fellow party member’s working schedule notwithstanding, it appears from the exchange that Trump doesn’t fully understand that the legislature in the United States does not work for the president.
Further, seven months in, it appears that Trump does not care that this isn’t the case. Trump has frequently asked on Twitter why the Senate could not pass any version of the Repeal and X plan. Not once has Trump taken to the stage, the airwaves, to print, or even to social media, to explain what he would like to see the plan do. He has made no attempt at assuaging the fears of the people or the market.
He has frequently asked, as if he genuinely doesn’t know, how a bill could fail in the Senate. While his remarks about how why, after seven years, the Republicans don’t have an actual plan may ring with the same incredulity as the rest of the country, Trump fails to understand – to even attempt to understand – that he has skin in the game, too. He seems to think that the Senate, perhaps all of the Congress, are simply there to take his half formed ideas and make them a reality.
To be fair to Trump, he did say that he would run the government like his business, so it should be no surprise that there is no leadership and total chaos going on in the offices around him. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has no idea how the bills get paid, how deals get done, and how to manage anything. After all, we’ve seen how his business ventures usually end up.
Spoilers: In bankruptcy and failure, with tons of debt, and usually with an out of court settlement; all the while accruing more debt from foreign banks to pay the settlements.
But, Trump’s inability to govern, even his defiant disinterest in governing, isn’t the truly scary part of the Trump era. Trump’s inability to accept reality around him isn’t even necessarily the scary part, though the implications are great.
It was reported earlier in the week that Trump receives, twice a day, a briefing of pro-Trump propaganda to make him feel better about himself.
It has been reported that a young man by the name of Andy Hemming, who is on the White House payroll to the tune of $89,000 a year, has the sole responsibility of finding the “one in one hundred fifty stories,” according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that feature Trump in a positive light, compile them with pictures and screen shots in a binder, and deliver it to Trump twice a day.
This is probably the most frequent and in depth briefing that Trump gets about anything, since we know that it was reported earlier this year that his actual daily briefings are frequently skipped. It was also reported earlier this year that when he does receive actual briefings, his team has been instructed to constrict the information to one or two pages and use lots of full color pictures rather than words, as he gets bored reading two or more lines of text with out his name in them.
What is truly alarming about this, is that it has lead to the creation of an actual pro-Trump, funded by Trump, “news” outlet on Trump’s Facebook page.
This spread of propaganda, which can be probably be considered state-run as Trump is the head of state, is reaching untold millions of viewers who only accept the word of Trump – even when it contradicts the word of Trump. The effects of this are already starting to show.
Recent polling shows that a growing number of Republican voters now believe that Trump won the popular vote in November of last year. It is now estimated that nearly half, 49% of Republican voters, believe that Trump won the popular vote, while only 59% of voters over all believe that Clinton won the popular vote.
Further, the amount that Trump lost the popular vote by, roughly 3 million, is often touted as the number of illegal votes that were cast, by those who believe such things. That the number is essentially the same should be obvious, but, yeah.
While subjective reality about the verifiable results of a public election certainly warrants concern, there are more concerning numbers to come.
The Washington Post reported that 68% of Republican voters believe that anywhere from 3 to 5 million votes in the 2016 election were illegally cast. They also reported that 73% of Republican voters believe that in person voter fraud, that is a person claims to be another to steal their vote or votes without being a citizen, occurs “very often.”
But the most alarming finding in the poll is that a majority of Republicans no longer believe in regular elections.
When asked if they would support the indefinite suspension of elections under Donald Trump, 52% of Republicans answered in the affirmative. If you bring the Congressional Republicans on board with this proposal to scrap democracy in favor of Trump remaining in office over the possibility that he would lose reelection, the number jumps to 56%.
Over half of Republican voters, the party that has screamed about the Constitution for nearly forty years, are willing to forgo it in favor of never losing another election. And, they are willing to do so over the least competent and least qualified person to ever hold the office.
That’s the scary part.