Kevin Drums asks, we answer: Kevin Drum asks a good question today. Then too, he asks a dumb question.
Drum reviews the crazy behavior in which Donald J. Trump 1) insists that he won an electoral college "landslide," and 2) insists that he won the popular vote, once you eliminate all the illegal voters.
In the face of that craziness, Drum asks a good question. It's also a fairly dumb question:
DRUM (11/29/16): What kind of person is so unhinged that even though he won a presidential election, he goes nuts when he's reminded that he lost the popular vote and (a) demands that all his minions start writing sycophantic tweets about his historic landslide victory, (b) continues stewing about it anyway and fabricates an allegation of massive voter fraud perpetrated by the Democratic Party, (c) flips out at an anodyne segment from a CNN reporter about his lies, and (d) spends his evening hunched over his smartphone rounding up a motley crew of racists, nutbags, and teenagers to assure him that he's right?"What kind of person is so unhinged" that he engages in stuff like that? As you can probably see, Drum's question contains its own answer.
What kind of person does this? And how easy is it to manipulate someone like this? We have a helluva scary four years ahead of us.
That said, we'll give two answers of our own:
First and most obviously, a crazy person does things like that. It's time to acknowledge an obvious fact. At least on the face of things, Trump seems to be diagnosable, something like "crazy." He seems to be something like "mentally ill."
That would be our first answer to Drum's question. A crazy person does things like this, and Donald Trump seems to be crazy. What makes this so hard to see?
That said, we promised two answers to Drum's question. Here's our second answer:
"What kind of person" does stuff like that? The kind who would make himself king of the birthers, as Trump did in 2011 in a highly visible way.
At that time, Trump began acting in ways which were visibly crazy. Unfortunately, his crazy conduct closely resembled a great deal of the conduct which had been journalistically "normalized" in the previous twenty-odd years.
Rather plainly, Trump was making up all kinds of shit back in 2011. He even claimed that he had sent investigators to Hawaii—that they couldn't believe the stuff they were learning about Barack Obama.
Our press corps didn't show any sign of knowing how to react to these fabrications, or even of wanting to. Truth to tell, the press corps had been engaged in similar conduct for several decades at that point. Our press corps had sunk itself in the culture of Trumpism long before Trump came along.
Chris Matthews was Trump before Trump. Because of his standing within the guild, everyone agreed that it was OK. To this day, it's still forbidden to discuss the way the mainstream press corps was Trump before Trump. But when Trump made himself king of the birthers, it was pretty much more of the same.
For ourselves, we had seen enough of this mainstream press culture by 1997. At that time, we started building the current site. Eighteen years later, Drum is asking what kind of person does stupid shit like this.
Our final answer: the kind of person with and for whom Drum works! As a group, they were Trump long before Trump. Trump merely upped their game.
Our gatekeepers are now almost totally gone, in the political realm and in the mainstream press. Party bosses can no longer keep the Trumps out. Cronkite and Brinkley were replaced by crazy people like Matthews (circa 1998-2008) and by the rest of the horrible brood.
Christopher Matthews was Donald J. Trump long before Candidate Trump came along. Drum's colleagues wanted to go on his show, and so they averted their gaze.
(David Remnick averted his gaze on Hardball in February 2000. Sixteen years later, Rachel Maddow says that Remnick's "a genius." For the transcript from February 2000, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/19/06. Remnick's cowardice in early 2000 explains where we are today.)
Christopher Matthews was Trump before Trump. Rachel Maddow is almost as bad. As liberals, we're unable to see this. We have almost no game.
At one time, a self-adoring hustler like Maddow wouldn't have been allowed on the air. Now she is allowed on the air, and our side thinks she's great. (Believe it or not, she was playing her "sex tape" again last night. It's why she gets mocked as "The Nun.")
Meanwhile, the craziness of Limbaugh and Matthews has been replaced by the craziness of Alex Jones. The crazy Jones is now the person from whom Trump gets his "ideas."
The gatekeepers saved us from ourselves for all those many years. Those gatekeepers are long gone. We've been left to our own devices. As it turns out, we aren't very bright, and we have no skills at all.
"What kind of person is so unhinged" that he does stuff like Trump is doing? Which part of the accurate word "unhinged" can't Drum make himself understand?