Yes, he actually could: Could Donald J. Trump get re-elected?
Yes, he actually could! Then again, something quite different could occur, possibly unconnected to any election.
With that in mind, Michael Cohen said the following to the House Oversight Committee:
COHEN (2/27/19): Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.Cohen fears that there will never be a peaceful transition of power? Does that make any sense at all? Is that just totally crazy?
We're not entirely sure. We believe that we ourselves have mentioned that possibility in the past—and yes, Donald J. Trump does hold the nuclear codes.
We're not saying that Donald J. Trump would actually use those codes. We've just said it's a possibility, given the fact that the sitting president seems to perhaps and possibly be some version of "mentally ill."
Nor would this president likely take well to impeachment, or to attempted removal from office. Sectors of our liberal tribe are currently in love with those thrilling possibilities. Like Dr. Bandy X. Lee, we regard the sitting president as potentially "dangerous."
These peculiar things having been said, a new election is underway, and with it "election coverage." With that in mind, we strongly recommend Gene Lyon's syndicated column from last week.
Because we'd been called away from our sprawling campus on a mission of national import, we missed the column in real time. In his essay, Lyons brought his pungent wit to bear on the way our presidential elections have been "covered" over the past thirty years:
LYONS (2/20/19): [T]he kinds of insulting trivialities the nation's self-infatuated pundit class have long used to ridicule previous Democratic candidates are already in evidence. Remember Al Gore's bald spot and three-button suits? John Kerry windsurfing and his choice of the wrong—indeed, downright "inauthentic"—cheese on his Philly cheesesteak sandwiches?Gene, who is a long-distance friend, had alerted us to the Washington Post's Power Pundit Rankings, the pitiful but highly familiar nonsense on which his column focused. As he continued, he stated several important points:
Meanwhile, everybody supposedly wanted to have a beer with George W. Bush, a down-to-earth regular guy (and recovering alcoholic). And, quite coincidentally, the worst American president since the mid-19th century.
LYONS (continuing directly): Because an American presidential election is above all a TV show, print pundits must go to considerable lengths to get noticed (and, if possible, appear on TV). Hence the Post's made-for-TV power ratings. Readers are treated like so many children watching Saturday morning cartoons, candidates like animated characters.And so on, but also so true! We the people actually are "treated like so many children" within modern pundit culture (though it seems we don't much notice).
So anyway, here we go. Right down the slippery slide to mass-market inanity: clothing, hairstyles, food choices, sexual peccadillos. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand eats fried chicken with a fork (inauthentic). Sen. Corey Booker is a self-righteous vegan (snob)...
And yes, a modern White House election actually is "an [extremely long-running] TV show." Stars are paid millions of dollars per year to keep viewers tuning in over the course of two years.
(How many millions of dollars? You aren't permitted to know! You're only asked to be concerned about the possible effects of large sums floating to Trump.)
The sheer stupidity Lyons describes has been the norm for decades. No, it didn't begin this year because we have an array of (highly capable) female candidates, though a wide range of modern liberals are eager to tell you that.
Lyons speaks well of E. J. Dionne at one point; we'll offer a demurral. Dionne doesn't play these reindeer games, but he has also never been willing to say one word about them. In fact, almost no one speaks up about this endless destructive nonsense. Within the press corps' sprawling guild, such things simply aren't done.
The gruesome gong-shows Lyons cites sent Bush, then Trump, to the White House. "Liberal" journalists refuse to tell you that this occurred. A code of silence has long been in place, and it gave us President Trump.
There's much, much more to say about this. We'll resume next week, though we'll make one guarantee right now:
Absolutely nothing will change! This is the established culture of our upper-end "rational animals" as of this rather late date.
The greatest mainstream column: Long ago and far away, E. R. Shipp served as the Washington Post's ombudsman. In a brief column called Typecasting Candidates, she actually described the way this idiocy works:
SHIPP (3/5/00): [R]eaders react—sometimes in a nonpartisan way, more often not—to roles that The Post seems to have assigned to the actors in this unfolding political drama. Gore is the guy in search of an identity; Bradley is the Zen-like intellectual in search of a political strategy; McCain is the war hero who speaks off the cuff and is, thus, a "maverick"; and Bush is a lightweight with a famous name...As a result of this approach, some candidates are whipping boys; others seem to get a free pass.We'd register one objection. Candidate Bush was briefly treated in that dismissive way by the bulk of the mainstream press. As soon as Candidate McCain was dispatched, the press corps returned to treating Bush in the respectful, admiring way Lyons described last week.
That said, Shipp described the basic system. Our "journalists" tend to "typecast" candidates, treating them as characters in a novelized drama.
They get assigned their stereotypical roles; from that point on, the facts are sifted, invented and rearranged to make the story-lines work. This typecasting is routinely based on the silly trivia Lyons mentioned last week.
Shipp wrote a very brief, highly insightful column. In line with the rules of this reindeer game, her piece was completely ignored.
Are we humans "the rational animal?" That's the role we've long assigned ourselves in self-admiring columns and books!