A black hole in a white house

Donald Trump

I’ve tried to explain this before: Donald Trump always has another outrage to make us forget the previous one. He’s a black hole. There is no bottom to him.

So now he’s pissed off Baltimore with his attack on Elijah Cummings, phrased in part as an attack on the district Cummings represents.[1] I don’t know how much of this is really important because Trump will say or do something else outrageous to make us forget about this. But the Baltimore Sun editorial board defends the city and concludes:

Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.[2]

The tweet and the editorial both allude to Trump’s previous outrages. These are legion. Immediately before this, we were upset about “send her back” and his racist attacks on the “squad.”[3] And before that, we were upset about concentration camps.[4] See the pattern?

Meanwhile, a few more neoliberals signed on for impeachment.[5] We’re watching a train wreck here as Trump maintains the support of his base by infuriating more and more others. This can’t go on forever, but I also have to admit that it’s gone on far longer than I thought possible. Yes, that should be frightening in itself, but when I’m perplexed as I am, I’m also looking for theoretical insight—and right now, I don’t even quite know how I should be phrasing the question.

Baltimore Sun, “Better to have a few rats than to be one,” July 27, 2019, https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0728-trump-baltimore-20190727-k6ac4yvnpvcczlaexdfglifada-story.html

Kyle Cheney, “With Sunday surge, nearly half of House Democrats back impeachment inquiry,” Politico, July 28, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/28/democrats-trump-impeachment-1438519


Brexit

There is a new blog post entitled, “A sociological and sociopathic magical thinking.”

Christopher Hope, “Boris Johnson to unveil biggest ad campaign since Second World War to prepare for ‘no deal,’” Telegraph, July 28, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/28/boris-johnsons-100million-brexit-ad-campaign/

Lisa O’Carroll and Rowena Mason, “Johnson told no-deal Brexit will crush domestic policy plans,” Guardian, July 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/28/boris-johnson-ifg-no-deal-brexit-crush-domestic-policy-plans

Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html


Mitch McConnell

I don’t know but it seems to me that if you can only point to weak actions to resist Russian interference and have to resort to a claim of ‘McCarthyism’ to defend yourself against charges of being a Russian agent,[6] you might be a Russian agent.

Seriously, though, it’s beyond obvious that Mitch McConnell is an absolutely shameless partisan Republican who exemplifies my theory of the morality of polarization.[7] So despite his claim to have “singled out [Vladimir Putin] as our adversary and opposed [him] for nearly 20 years,”[8] he’s quite happy to accept Russian assistance in electing Republicans.

Mairead McArdle, “McConnell Calls Accusations That He’s a Russian Asset ‘Modern-Day McCarthyism,’” National Review, July 29, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/mitch-mcconnell-calls-accusations-russian-asset-modern-day-mccarthyism/


  1. [1]Politico, “Trump lashes out at Cummings over border detention criticism,” July 27, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/27/trump-lashes-out-at-cummings-over-border-1437939
  2. [2]Baltimore Sun, “Better to have a few rats than to be one,” July 27, 2019, https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0728-trump-baltimore-20190727-k6ac4yvnpvcczlaexdfglifada-story.html
  3. [3]Noah Bierman, “Trump seeks to disavow ‘send her back’ chant at his rally,” Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-07-17/trump-new-chant-send-her-back; Eric Cortellessa, “Liberal US Jews say Trump is weaponizing Israel to defend his racist tweets,” Times of Israel, July 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liberal-us-jews-say-trump-weaponizing-israel-to-defend-racist-tweets/; Michael Luo, “Trump’s Racist Tweets, and the Question of Who Belongs in America,” New Yorker, July 15, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/trumps-racist-tweets-and-the-question-of-who-belongs-in-america; Ashley Parker, “How a racist tweet became a Trump rally chant in three short days,” Washington Post, July 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-a-racist-tweet-became-a-trump-rally-chant-in-three-short-days/2019/07/18/bd81b798-a968-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html; Salvador Rizzo, “Trump falsely claims he tried to stop ‘Send her back!’ chants about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” Washington Post, July 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/18/trump-falsely-claims-he-tried-stop-send-her-back-chants-about-rep-ilhan-omar/; Adam Serwer, “Trump Tells America What Kind of Nationalist He Is,” Atlantic, July 15, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/trumps-white-nationalist-attack-four-congresswomen/594019/; John Wagner, Mike DeBonis, and Colby Itkowitz, “A divided House votes for resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks,” Washington Post, July 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-lashes-out-again-at-minority-lawmakers-as-house-prepares-to-condemn-his-racist-tweets/2019/07/16/bca3afa4-a7b3-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html; John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, “Trump vows congresswomen ‘can’t get away with’ criticizing U.S.,” Washington Post, July 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-day-after-distancing-himself-from-hostile-chant-trump-criticizes-media-for-its-coverage-of-his-rally/2019/07/19/9c094c16-aa12-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html
  4. [4]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html; Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, “‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds,” Washington Post, July 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-tours-detention-facilities-at-the-border-defends-administrations-treatment-of-migrants/2019/07/12/993f54e0-a4bc-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html; Caitlin Dickerson, “‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children,” New York Times, June 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/migrant-children-border-soap.html; Adam Harris, “An Astonishing Government Report on Conditions at the Border,” Atlantic, July 3, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/government-report-details-inhumane-conditions-migrant-facilities/593242/; Miriam Jordan, “Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas,” New York Times, June 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/migrant-children-detention-texas.html; Alejandro Lazo and Jacob Gershman, “Lawsuit Alleges Government Mistreatment of Migrant Children,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-alleges-government-mistreatment-of-migrant-children-11561608969; Sam Levin, “‘Happy hunting!’ Immigration agents swapped cheery messages about raids, records reveal,” Guardian, July 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/03/ice-us-immigration-messages-raids; Katie Mettler, Mike DeBonis, and Reis Thebault, “Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones. Joaquin Castro captured photo and video anyway,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/02/ocasio-cortez-says-dispute-with-border-patrol-agents-started-after-one-tried-take-stealth-selfie/; Geneva Sands and Nick Valencia, “2nd Customs and Border Protection-connected secret Facebook group shows mocking images,” CNN, July 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/05/politics/cbp-second-facebook-group-images/index.html; Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, “Migrant kids in overcrowded Arizona border station allege sex assault, retaliation from U.S. agents,” NBC News, July 9, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/migrant-kids-overcrowded-arizona-border-station-allege-sex-assault-retaliation-n1027886; A. C. Thompson, “Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes,” ProPublica, July 1, 2019, https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-border-patrol-facebook-group-agents-joke-about-migrant-deaths-post-sexist-memes
  5. [5]Kyle Cheney, “With Sunday surge, nearly half of House Democrats back impeachment inquiry,” Politico, July 28, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/28/democrats-trump-impeachment-1438519
  6. [6]Mairead McArdle, “McConnell Calls Accusations That He’s a Russian Asset ‘Modern-Day McCarthyism,’” National Review, July 29, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/mitch-mcconnell-calls-accusations-russian-asset-modern-day-mccarthyism/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “The morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, September 21, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/09/21/the-morality-of-polarization/
  8. [8]Mairead McArdle, “McConnell Calls Accusations That He’s a Russian Asset ‘Modern-Day McCarthyism,’” National Review, July 29, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/mitch-mcconnell-calls-accusations-russian-asset-modern-day-mccarthyism/

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