Projection Is the Sincerest Form of Trumpism
They believe everyone must be as craven and corrupt as they are.
Hey fam: I’m still under the weather, so no TNB tonight. But in case you missed it, The Next Level YouTube edition this week was epic in my absence. Sonny Bunch joined Tim and Sarah. Good show, long show. You should go watch it.
1. Do Democrats Want Trump To Win?
I asked this question last week and we did a poll on it—put a pin in that. In the meantime, the Hill ran this piece: “Democrats pine for Trump as GOP nominee.”
I was interested to see some of this Democratic pining people keep talking about.
So what evidence does the Hill provide?
[Trump’s] campaign is stirring excitement, and even some glee, from Democrats.
Members of President Biden’s party are openly pining for Trump to become the 2024 Republican nominee, believing he is just too flawed to win a general election.
They argue that the situation today is markedly different from 2016 . . . [a]nd Democrats are eager to have such a beatable opponent in an election that is likely to be challenging for their party.
That sounds bad of Democrats! Let’s get to the examples!
“I am hoping for Trump’s nomination, ‘cause I think he’s the easiest candidate to beat,” former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) told “The Briefing with Steve Scully” on SiriusXM this week.
Finally. We finally found a Democrat (singular) pining for Trump to win. Surely there are more, right?
Well . . . not really. The Hill then moves on to these examples:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told The New York Times recently that even though he thought a Trump candidacy would be “an absolute horror show” for the health of American democracy, it would be “probably a good thing” for those who want Republicans to lose in 2024.
Democratic strategist Mark Longabaugh told this column that Trump is “infinitely weaker than he was.”
“You can always get burned by making some of these predictions, but I just think he seems a little bit of a spent force,” Longabaugh said. “There are a whole bunch of dynamics that are very different from 2016.”
Neither Sanders nor Longabaugh are saying that they want Trump to be the nominee. Sanders explicitly says that Trump’s candidacy would be a “horror show” for American democracy. Longabaugh is analyzing the situation without making any value judgment.
Further down in the piece, the Hill finds one other Democrat pining for Trump:
“I think we would all like Donald Trump to run again,” former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) recently told Gray Television.
Mission accomplished? McAuliffe isn’t saying he wants Trump to win the nomination, just that he wants him to run. But at least this gets the Hill to be able to use the plural Democrat(s).
But doesn’t reality seem to be precisely the opposite of the Hill’s headline: Because if Democrats as a general matter were “pining” for Trump to win the nomination, they’d be able to find more—many more—examples.
Anyway, last week I asked Bulwark+ members two questions:
Would Trump be easier to beat in the general election than a replacement R?
Do you want Trump to be the R nominee?
Here’s what you said:
So among Bulwark+ members, a slim majority think Trump would be easier to defeat and even so, the overwhelming majority do not want him to win the Republican nomination.
In other words: These are people putting country over party.
So why are conservative types so invested in the idea that Democrats must be “pining” for Trump to win? Like everything else about Trumpism, it’s projection.
They’ve spent so long putting party over country that they cannot countenance the reality that not everyone is so craven.
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Do you remember that time the Republican governor of Florida passed a law and the CEO of Disney said he didn’t like the law and the Republican governor of Florida used the power of his state government to financially retaliate against the Disney corporation?
Here’s what Disney said at the time:
Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.
That’s a severely limited statement. It’s not an attack on “Republicans.” It’s not a condemnation of Gov. Ron DeSantis. It’s not electioneering around a candidate or a party. It’s a specific corporate goal announcing that it is in the company’s business interests for this one law to be removed from the books, either by the legislature itself or the courts.
In response, Republicans lost their shit and decided to revoke a 50-year-old law designed to promote Disney’s business (and thus increase Florida’s tax base).
DeSantis explained: “Disney thought they ruled Florida. They even tried to attack me to advance their woke agenda.” And: “Disney has gotten over its skis on this.…When you are trying to impose a woke ideology on our state, we view that as a significant threat."
Rep. Mike Waltz said, "these corporations need to stay out of politics."
State Rep. Randy Fine explained, “You kick the hornet’s nest, things come up.”
(Please note that last phrase: “keep an eye on you.”)
Anyway, there was lots and lots and lots of this. Perhaps you remember.
Fast forward to Elon Musk, who has been taking much broader and more assertive political positions in his role as owner and CEO of Twitter:
Saying he will vote for DeSantis in 2024.
Telling people they should vote for all Republicans in the 2022 midterms.
Mocking Democratic senators.
In response the Biden administration has done . . . nothing? Let me check: Yup, nothing. And yet here’s Kevin McCarthy crying about the possibility of the Biden administration using the power of the government to punish Elon:
Here’s the exchange. A reporter asked McCarthy:
“What do you make of the White House saying they are ‘keeping an eye on’ Twitter under Elon Musk’s ownership and leadership?”
That is offensive to me . . . Government’s gonna go after someone who wants to have free speech? What do they have to look at Twitter about? Do they want to go more after the American public about whether they can have an opinion on something? . . . I think the American public have spoken on this. I think our First Amendment stands up and I think they should stop picking on Elon Musk. . . .
And I one thing I would say when we talked about accountability, we will no longer let government go after people simply because of their political views.
A serious question: Does Republican hypocrisy ever just push you into tilt? Because that’s how I feel right about now.
What’s happening is not that the Dems are doing something the R’s do all the time and the R’s are waving their hands and getting upset about it.
No. The Democrats pointedly are not doing what the R’s do. And in response the R’s are (1) pretending that they are, while (2) waving their hands getting upset about it.
Again: It’s projection. It’s always, always projection.
3. Old Folks Home
This is an extraordinary essay and it will hit you like a freight train:
When I was 19, a nursing home hired me to work as an aide. There wasn’t much to the interview that I remember, other than I agreed to come to work on time and take the certification course the home provided. In this course, I learned how to lift a frail person out of bed, how to wipe them, how to bathe them if bed-bound; how easily their skin tears, and how to touch so as not to cause a bruise. The head nurse was a short man with a thick north Texas accent and a handlebar mustache who finished the training with the advice to “treat each resident like they’re your grandmama.” The course lasted two weeks and came with the stipulation that I stay for at least six months. Employee turnover was high.
This job, caring for grandparents around the clock, paid $7.25 an hour — above minimum wage, the hiring manager boasted, which at the time in Texas was set at $5.15. This really was a great job, the other aides told me. It was steady work that came with a lunch break and health insurance for your kids, things that were lost on me. I was an anomaly in that job: a teenager, in college, white.
None of my friends understood why I wanted to work there. Young people are scared of old people, which is to say all people are scared of old people, which is to say all people are scared of death. Death hung over the place like a ghost, the hospital smell embedded daily in my clothes. All I can say is that I wanted a real job and I liked old people. I’d already seen my share of dead bodies, thanks to the slew of open-casket funerals that came with a childhood spent in an aging rural community. Also, the home was the only place that called back when I applied. . . .
There are plenty of reasons to see nursing homes as sad, neglectful places, and I’m sorry to say that my experience working in one did not change this perception. But I can also say that the perception has less to do with staffing, funding, and regulations (or lack thereof) and much more to do with our country’s fear of death, its rejection of vulnerability, and its subsequent inability to see the inherent dignity in people — especially in their vulnerable moments.
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