STORYLINE / NARRATIVES / NARRATORS: Does Donald J. Trump know that he lost?


Narrators offer us narrative: Last Friday night, Alicia Menendez served as guest host for Stephanie Ruhle on the MSNBC program, The 11th Hour.

For our money, Menendez is a straighter shooter that some of MSNBC's regular hosts. That said, the program's opening topic was preordained: 

Trump Trump Trump Trump Jail.

Within our floundering tribe, there's really no other topic!

During the program's opening segment, Menendez asked one of her guests if the January 6 committee was likely to make a criminal referral concerning Donald J. Trump.

The guest was Tali Farhadian Weinstein, who was introduced as "a former federal and state prosecutor in New York." As part of her reply, Farhadian Weinstein repeated a fundamental takeaway from last Thursday's presentation by the January 6 committee:

FARHADIAN WEINSTEIN (10/14/22): Well, my take as a [former] prosecutor, Alicia, is that it doesn't really matter whether or not the committee makes a criminal referral. As a realistic matter, this entire proceeding—all of these hearings—have been a criminal referral.

They've collected lots of information that points toward criminal prosecution, and I think it's made a lot of progress on some of the harder aspects of prosecution. 

I mean, we are so many miles away from where we were around January 6th and when this committee started to get going, when we used to hear people say, "Well. maybe Donald Trump actually thought that he won that election and he's so disconnected from reality that maybe this was not a fraud, because he believed what he was saying."

And I think it's really impossible to hold onto that idea, to believe that, after yesterday.

Farhadian Weinstein was giving voice to one of the principal claims which emerged from last Thursday's hearing. Within our blue tribe, we've been told that the committee established, as a basic matter of fact, the claim that Donald J. Trump has known all along that he lost the 2020 election.

Did the committee establish that as a fact? For ourselves, we can't really say that they did.

The examples they offered to establish this point struck us as rather fuzzy. At any rate, it's now been established as a basic part of basic tribal belief:

Trump knew all along that he lost the election. His representations to the contrary have been part of an elaborate fraud, continuing right up to the present day.

For our money, it's certainly possible that Trump knew that he lost all along, and still knows that he lost today. It's possible that he's been lying about this every step of the way.

But, for whatever it may be worth, we can't say that the committee has actually established that point. In large part, it all depends on a phrase Farhadian Weinstein used:

It all depends on what the meaning of "disconnected from reality" is!

To what extent is Donald J. Trump "disconnected from reality?" And how about some of the stranger advisers with whom he came to surround himself? 

How "disconnected from reality" are such disordered players as Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell and Michel Flynn? We bring no expertise to that question, and neither does Farhadian Weinstein. For that reason, we'd be slow to assume that we actually know what these disordered players, including Trump, may have believed and thought.

For what it's worth, Farhadian Weinstein isn't "disconnected from reality" in any obvious way at all. Like many of the people you see on MSNBC, she lives deep inside New York City's power elite. According to the leading authority on her life, her (remarkable) story goes like this:

Tali Farimah Farhadian Weinstein (born in 1975 or 1976) is an American attorney, professor, and politician. She is a former federal and state prosecutor and was a candidate in the 2021 New York County District Attorney race.

Born in Iran to a Jewish family, Farhadian Weinstein came to the United States as a refugee in 1979...After graduating from Yale University and Magdalen College, Oxford, she earned her Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. She then became a law clerk for Judge Merrick Garland at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, during O'Connor's last two years at the Supreme Court.

Farhadian Weinstein worked at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2009 to 2017, first as counsel to Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General during the Barack Obama administration, and then as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. She later served as general counsel to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez from 2018 to 2020. 

In 2021, Farhadian Weinstein was a candidate in the Democratic primary for New York County District Attorney. Since 2017, she has also taught at the New York University School of Law where she continues to serve as an adjunct professor. In late 2021, she became legal analyst for NBC News.

Farhadian Weinstein is very highly accomplished. (Just to complete the record, she attended Magdalen College as a Rhodes scholar after graduating from Yale.)

Farhadian Weinstein is very highly accomplished. She has always struck us as a good and decent person—but in ways we've barely begin to discuss, she hails from deep inside the nation's power elite.

There's nothing "wrong" with being extremely wealthy and very connected. There isn't even anything wrong with being highly accomplished within the academic realm!

There's nothing wrong with any of that. But let us start the week by saying this:

Massively connected career strivers aren't famous for rocking societal boats. They may be good and decent people. But they may also be inclined to stick to the established scripts of their tribe, profession or guild.

In her year at MSNBC, Farhadian Weinstein has always struck us as a good, decent person. That said, those of us in our failing tribe are receiving our political messaging from many people like Farhadian Weinstein—from wealthy, highly connected people who may not have the world's best judgment about various political matters.

Those people supply us with our scripts, often for very high pay. That said, how good, in the end, is their political judgment? In the end, how wide-ranging are their apparent academic smarts?

Those of us in our failing blue tribe receive our messaging from these people—and sure enough! This very morning, our impoverished analysts awoke to some very bad political news:

A brand-new survey from Harris/Harvard strongly suggests that the GOP will win control of this House next month. For Kevin Drum's overview of that occasionally peculiar survey, you can just click here.

Also this:

Atop the front page of its print editions, the New York Times is reporting the results of a similar survey. Online, the report's dual headlines say this:

Republicans Gain Edge as Voters Worry About Economy, Times/Siena Poll Finds
With elections next month, independents, especially women, are swinging to the G.O.P. despite Democrats’ focus on abortion rights. Disapproval of President Biden seems to be hurting his party.

Gack! With November approaching, voters are swinging toward the GOP. Or at least, two major surveys report this.

Why would voters be swinging that way? For starters, consider this:

In that Harris/Harvard survey, respondents seemed to be much more concerned about the GOP's policy platter than they were about our own. 

In particular, respondents to the Harris/Harvard survey identified January 6th as the issue with which Democratic leaders are most interested. A much smaller number of respondents identified that (important) topic as their own chief point of concern.

Alas! People like Farhadian Weinstein have "messaged" our tribe in recent years. She strikes us as a good, decent person. Others in this blue tribe leadership cadre sometimes strike us as perhaps a bit less fully sincere.

At any rate, our tribe has turned to this power elite as the source of our political wisdom. We've turned to people like Farhadian Weinstein—but also to people like Rachel, Joy, Michelle and Stephanie, and even to experienced people like Lawrence.

These narrators have been doing what narrators gotta do—they've been selling us Storyline, Narrative, Script. All week long, we'll examine this question:

As election defeat seems to loom, how well have they performed?

Donald J. Trump knew all along that he lost the election! We can't say we're totally sure about that, and things just go downhill from there.

Tomorrow: Snapshots of the (blue) elite


  1. The only thing we can be sure of, is Trump's outright contempt for Republican voters.
    I don't see how you can hold that against him.

    1. Republican voters tend not to care about the feelings of the elected official, only whether he appoints the right justices and promotes the right policy.

    2. 10:11 missed to boat.

      Republican voters do not care about the corrupt nature of elected officials. They do care about the feelings of politicians - they want them to feel antagonistic towards those who are not Christian White males.

  2. There are more former Presidents named Donald Trump, who think he won the 2020 Presidential election than there are Republican voters who think CRT is being taught in elementary schools. That's for sure.

  3. 'There's nothing "wrong" with being extremely wealthy and very connected."
    Republican voters will vote for someone like that every time. As long as they're also a bigot, of course.

  4. So now Independents are joining the Republican voters to not care about the economy, too?
    Democrats are fucked.

    1. Turns out not that many voters are motivated by making sure the maximum number of killings possible take place at abortion clinics.

    2. There was nothing in Kevin Drum's description of the Harvard/Harris poll today about abortion.

    3. Abortion is not in the Bible. The Bible says life starts at first breath, and that a fetus in the womb is not an individual life with rights, but in fact just property of the mother.

      Over 90% of abortions are done at the zygote/embryo stage, a non sentient non viable clump of cells, no different than the skin cells your body sheds every day - those cells can also become life (modern science!).

      Abortions beyond viability are not legal, except some states allow exceptions for the life of the mother or if the baby's health is compromised.

      Abortions do not involve killing, it is removing a non viable non sentient clump of cells. Abortions save lives.

      The anti abortion stance is immoral; it is in fact evil. Abortions have occurred for thousands of years, will continue unabated; however, they will become more dangerous - the abortion ban will kill lots of innocent women, and not save a single life.

      What 10:12 does get correct, is that voters are not swaying in the wind, who one votes for is largely baked in early in life, so electoral politics is not about persuasion, but about motivating voters to actually vote. Republican voters are easily motivated due to their psychological nature; Dem voters increase the most when voting is made easier, by mail in ballots for example.

      Somerby, and Drum, are morons that hate anybody left of center, and will mislead and misinform in an effort to manufacture ignorance.

      Trump said multiple times, after the election, that he could not believe he lost to Biden, that he was humiliated by being beaten by Biden. Somerby's Black Knight impression, while he insists Trump is delusional in light of all the evidence indicating the opposite, shows that is Somerby that is disconnected from reality.

    4. Every abortion ends a young human life. That doesn't mean there won't be people who try to contort reality to justify the killing on the grounds that the human isn't really human. Just like Hitler did.

    5. Zero abortions end a life.

      Without sentience, not to mention viability, there is no human life.

      5:24 is unable to comprehend the value of human life because they are wounded lost souls, trapped by their undying need for dominance.

      5:24's stance does nothing to limit the number of abortions, all it does is endanger and cause harm to women.

      Immoral people like 5:24 will try to contort reality to justify their stance of oppression; they resemble Hitler as much as they try to pin that on others who are innocent of such derision.

    6. Imagine believing that a young human’s temporary dependence on external provisions means she is therefore not human and killing her is moral.

    7. Do you even know how strong of an imagination you'd have to have to imagine a Right-winger caring about a fetus or a baby? There isn't enough imagination in the universe.

  5. The rich aren't monoliths, Bob.
    Just because Weinstein is rich, doesn't mean he cares more about tax breaks Republicans will give him, than he does about democracy.

    1. She. Farhadian Weinstein is female. Somerby rarely attacks male cable news experts, unless they are black and/or gay.

    2. Identity. Civil people use pronouns to avoid misgendering people, which is disrespectful to them. The assumption that anyone competent must also be male is kind of sexist too.

  6. "How "disconnected from reality" are such disordered players as Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell and Michel Flynn? We bring no expertise to that question, and neither does Farhadian Weinstein. For that reason, we'd be slow to assume that we actually know what these disordered players, including Trump, may have believed and thought."

    So, Somerby clings to his belief in Trump's delusions, moving the goal posts from Trump's individual belief to that of his associates (who helped him put across the Big Lie), and insisting that if Somerby himself doesn't have personal expertise in verifying Trump's knowledge, then he (Somerby) cannot agree about what Trump knew and when he knew it. In other words, Somerby is never going to agree that Trump knew he lost and that he was perpetrating a fraud on his followers, with the help of this named crew.

    The rest of today's essay is aimed at impeaching the messenger, who is only one of many people who now believe Trump is guilty of fraud. Because if this NYC prosecutor can be shown to be too rich and too connected, then Trump must surely get the benefit of the doubt, no matter what testimony was presented by the 1/6 Committee. And this is how Somerby reasons these days!

    Somerby is never going to agree that Trump is guilty of anything.

  7. "Alas! People like Farhadian Weinstein have "messaged" our tribe in recent years. She strikes us as a good, decent person. Others in this blue tribe leadership cadre sometimes strike us as perhaps a bit less fully sincere."

    And Somerby never worries about the sincerity of the red tribe. His purpose on earth seems to be to sow doubt and mistrust about liberals. Our leaders are less than fully sincere. (Somerby can divine this, even though he cannot tell whether Trump is sincere or Rudy is sincere, he knows about those blue tribe leaders!)

    1. How about the sincerity of those who testified for the 1/6 Committee. Is Somerby magically able to assess their sincerity too?


  8. "STORYLINE / NARRATIVES / NARRATORS: Does Donald J. Trump know that he lost?"

    Hmm. But did he lose, dear Bob?

    You sound so certain; but since you're definitely less informed (and more misinformed) than The Commander, does it mean that in fact you're the one "disconnected from reality"?

    1. Tali Ferhadian is an Iranian drone. The democratic elites are using her to lose an election. Vladimir Putin is using Iranian drones to lose a war.

    2. The Commander being Biden?

    3. Hmm. But did he lose, dear Bob?
      He did. I am glad I could clear this up for you.

  9. No one really knows who won the election. There were too many irregularities.

    1. Where did this current flock of conservative trolls come from? Notice how they seem to be increasing? And Mao supposedly slept in today, yielding his spot to these obviously red tribe gnats. A suspicious person might call that coordination of effort.

    2. There were no irregularities. However, irregularities, even if they existed, do not equate to election fraud.

    3. There was nothing irregular about Republican voters coming out in droves to vote for the guy who gave corporations and the rich a HUGE tax break.
      Now, if they had come out to vote for a guy who gave reparations for slavery, that would be highly irregular.

  10. "These narrators have been doing what narrators gotta do—they've been selling us Storyline, Narrative, Script."

    Farhadian Weinstein interpreted the 1/6 Committee evidence from a prosecutor's perspective. Somerby has entirely ignored all of the evidence, in favor of evaluating the credibility of a cable news guest. But what about the evidence presented by the committee? Somerby doesn't discuss it at all. It is as if it doesn't exist.

    Somerby refers to the factual evidence presented by witnesses (mostly Republicans) during the 1/6 presentation as "storyline, narrative, script." But is that what this is? Was it storyline when Trump instructed the military to blow up our foreign commitments ahead of Biden's inauguration by immediately withdrawing from Germany, Somalia, Afghanistan? Did anyone make that up? The military testified that it was a very bad idea. Was that narrative and storyline too? Does Somerby disbelieve our military leaders too? He would need to, in order to dismiss that piece of evidence against Trump.

    And there were several admissions by Trump that he had lost described by witnesses, talking to various Republican staff members. That was testimony, not some cable host talking to an audience. It came from the mouths of Republican appointees speaking under oath. But Somerby has chosen not to believe them either, and dismisses all of this evidence as script, storyline.

    And what exactly is "narrative," if not the chronological recounting of events as they happened? Does narrative mean that something is made up, untrue? No, narrative is not necessarily fiction but also includes history. And if everyone says the same narrative, is that because they are not fully sincere or are they perhaps drawing from the same recounting of events revealed by the 1/6 Committee, based on testimony by numerous witnesses, corroborating by other witnesses and by emails and texts and phone calls and memo.

    Somerby is choosing to create his own alternative reality. He tells us plainly that he will not believe anything against Trump, no matter who says it or how much evidence is presented. And that makes him no different than any other red tribe member living in Trump world. And no, this is not how liberals think, so his claim to blue tribe membership is the most "not fully sincere" part of today's essay.

    1. For once I agree with you. There is much stronger evidence to suggest Trump knew he lost than there is to suggest the contrary. The fact that Trump continues to SAY he won means absolutely nothing, because Trump is a lifelong liar and con-artist. I think Bob is so invested in his own narrative about Trump being "disordered" that he is giving much more weight to Trump's simply SAYING he won than he is to all of the evidence suggesting that Trump knows better.

    2. Edit: "he is giving much more weight" should be "he is giving far too much weight"

    3. In 2016 and 2022 Trump proclaimed the elections will be rigged but he will accept the results if he won. .,Now much of his party is running in that fashion. Does this have the potential to destroy the Country? Sure. But to allow Bob to make Trump’s faith in his beliefs the issue
      is abet Bob as he aids this
      intellectual violence. It is Bob who
      must now be judged a very sick

  11. Sydney Powell is hot.

    1. She has hot flashes.

    2. If you mean she's a hot mess, then I agree.

    3. It's probably just global warming.

    4. I want her now.

    5. It isn't nice to mock a good decent person like Sydney.

  12. "Both Democrats and Republicans have largely coalesced behind their own party’s congressional candidates. But the poll showed that Republicans opened up a 10-percentage point lead among crucial independent voters, compared with a three-point edge for Democrats in September, as undecided voters moved toward Republicans.

    The biggest shift came from women who identified as independent voters. In September, they favored Democrats by 14 points. Now, independent women backed Republicans by 18 points — a striking swing given the polarization of the American electorate and how intensely Democrats have focused on that group and on the threat Republicans pose to abortion rights."

    Women must be finding out about the Democrat child abuse agenda and initiatives like the one in Virginia that would prosecute them for not "affirming the gender" of their child which means drugging them and cutting off their genitals.


    1. "Now, independent women backed Republicans by 18 points [...] and on the threat Republicans pose to abortion rights"

      Meh. There's no such thing as "abortion rights".

      ...and, by the way, there's no such thing as wimmin either; just ask Ketanji Brown Jackson, the smartest liberal in the world by far...

    2. Where are your figures coming from? They are not from the Harvard/Harris poll being discussed by Drum and Somerby -- they didn't recruit or question any independents -- just Republicans and Democrats who were evenly split in their sample. In the survey, abortion was referred to as "women's rights". Please cite a source showing that supposed lead among Independent voters.

    3. Never mind, I found the NY Times article.

    4. Notice how well the liberal mainstream media's NY Times supports the left with articles about their dismal chances in the coming midterms. Right at the point where Dems are encouraging their voters to send in their ballots! And the NY Times isn't even subtle about giving a boost to the Republicans.

    5. I've heard the media described many ways in my life. "Liberal' is the most ridiculous.

  13. "At any rate, our tribe has turned to this power elite as the source of our political wisdom. "

    No, a cable news show presented this person as an expert and "our tribe" watched the show. But the source of our political wisdom was the hearings themselves. We watched Nancy Pelosi do what Trump should have done, as she tried to get help for besieged capitol police. We watched the testimony of Republican staff members about what Trump did while watching the riot on TV. We have heard the evidence for ourselves.

    Meanwhile Somerby says he cannot make up his mind but he just knows, in his heart of hearts, that the prosecutor must be wrong because Trump is a good, decent person. Today Somerby is the one with his fingers in his ears, shouting "I can't hear you, dammit!" Because if Rudy is deluded then maybe Trump is too, despite the admissions to various staff that he had indeed lost the election, but didn't want the people to know it.

    1. Dems best just prepare for defeat at this point.

    2. Defeat? In an election?
      How does that even work?

  14. Somerby has never faced the evidence that Trump was using his Big Lie grift to extort money from his followers, money that went toward personal uses and not to fund lawsuits contesting election results. Somerby will not face the fact that Trump has been using his stint in government to line his own pockets. Over the weekend, a vice president of Truth Social claimed that Trump has been milking that venture for personal benefit, trying to divert money to Melania, Donald Jr. and Eric. Somerby has never thought about the Big Lie as one big con. And that is a much more likely explanation for why Trump persisted in a delusion that no one else supported except the marks sending in money to keep Trump in office.

  15. How fully sincere is Somerby about believing Trump's big con? About as sincere as the check he receives for conning the rubes here every day.

    1. Yes, it is very hard to believe that Bob isn’t being paid off at this point.

  16. "Donald J. Trump knew all along that he lost the election! We can't say we're totally sure about that, and things just go downhill from there."

    This proves that blinders aren't just for horses but for asses too.

  17. Bob's just saying he's never seen anything about Trump that would make him think he's lying.
    OTOH, Bob's a lying Right-winger too.

  18. Poor bob. He's never seen a grifter before.

  19. Bob Somerby is a good, decent person, but he's disconnected from reality.

  20. This post comes from a blogger who used to criticize the “mainstream” media for intently focusing on polling and the “horse race.”

    Somerby has now become the thing he hated.

    Couple of observations:

    “A brand-new survey from Harris/Harvard strongly suggests that the GOP will win control of this House next month.”

    Actually, the poll says this:


    It’s 50-50.


    “With November approaching, voters are swinging toward the GOP. Or at least, two major surveys report this.”

    Apparently, only these two polls are relevant.

    On the other hand:

    “Fox News poll (in field Oct. 9-12) has Dems +3 on generic congressional ballot.”

    1. Some of these polls are equally sampling Republicans and Democrats and then surprised when the election comes out a dead heat. They should be modeling demographic characteristics of a specific location if they want to make predictions about election outcomes.

    2. Historically, the 2022 election should be a red wave, on that cycle of what happens in mid term elections. Anything less than a red wave is a huge win for Dems.

      In 50 years, Republicans will be limited to small pockets in mostly rural areas of the country, and society will quickly improve. Unfortunately we have to live in the times that we live in.

      In 1850 things looked bleak for Black people, obviously America is still ruled by racism today, but 50 years later Black people were at least no longer chattel slavery (obviously excepting those in prison).

      But let's be real, there is doom to add to that gloom of waiting 50 years - in the intervening time Republicans will prevent any mitigation of climate change, so in 50 years life will be quite difficult dealing with the consequences of climate change.

  21. Would any serious person claim Bob is not now simply running his own version of Trump’s “deep state” con? He has no counter argument, just smear. Bob bottoms out here, with the sad promise he can go even lower.