Two pundits opine on CNN’s “Town Hall” with Donald Trump and adoring fans. I’ll be writing on (among other things) slightly less topical Trumpiana bright and early tomorrow.
It’s never Trump’s — not on this score, not on any other, not when a jury rules against him, not when voters pick someone else to be in the White House, not when he’s indicted, not when he’s impeached, not when he’s impeached a second time, not when he’s caught hiding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, not when he’s caught on tape.
He was grilled about such a tape, the one after Election Day 2020 that has him ordering the Republican secretary of state in Georgia, which Biden narrowly won, to overturn that result by finding him more votes.
“I didn’t ask him to find anything,” Trump insisted, incorrectly. “I said, ‘You owe me votes.’” Whew! I’m glad that’s cleared up.
[S]omeone like Trump doesn’t change. His self-infatuation precludes any possibility of that.
[W]here CNN went wrong was in the audience it assembled, a generally adoring crowd who laughed heartily at Trump’s jokes, clapped lustily at his insults and thrilled to his every puerile flourish. When several of them had their turns at the microphone, their questions were air kisses, which is why Collins had to keep stepping in to slap Trump around with her own. The contrast — her righteous firmness, their star-struck flaccidity — was disorienting and repellent. Between now and November 2024, we’re in for a stranger and scarier ride than in any other presidential election in my lifetime, and there’s no telling how it will end.
Frank Bruni, Trump’s ‘Stupid,’ ‘Stupid’ Town Hall.
In defense of CNN’s audience assembly, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (13th Amendment).
How, in the face of that, are you going to persuade non-Trumpists to subject themselves to this ordeal? My next pundit even admits that he hasn’t “watched a media appearance by former president Donald Trump in real time for several years.”
But he reconstructs afterward:
Unless he’s felled by an act of God, Trump is going to be the Republican nominee …
Trump’s still got it. “It” is the instinctual capacity to display dominance and mesmerize the Republican electorate with effortless, highly entertaining displays of contempt for (longstanding but fast-waning) norms of political conduct, the hollow earnestness of mainstream media personalities, and, yes, truth itself.
The former president is imbecilic on policy, a moral cretin, a pathological narcissist—everything his media critics (including yours truly) have thrown at him for nearly eight years now. But he is also a world-class demagogue—one of the greatest in history. He was born to do this, and he’s going to keep doing it until he drops. Given his age, he could drop at any time. But if he doesn’t? I’m sorry, but he’s got the nomination locked up.
[H]ere’s the thing: The country is not just deeply divided; it’s extremely narrowly divided. Trump is going to win the GOP nomination, and when he does, he will be the beneficiary of our polarization, which puts anyone with a pulse within striking distance of the White House.
[B]iden looks and sounds like a doddering old man and Trump (sorry) doesn’t.
Because the Republican majority in the House is already succeeding in making the Biden family (if not (yet) the president himself) look as sleazy as the Trump family. (Mainstream journalists will only be able to ignore the story for so long.)
Damon Linker, The World-Class Demagogue Returns.
A couple of thoughts on this.
- Is it always the case that those who are immune to a particular demagogue look on in sheer incredulity at those who fall for him/her?
- Are we to the point where a conscientious Christian can implore God to fell Trump?
Update: I added a paragraph to the Linker quote, inadvertently omitted originally.
For all its piety and fervor, today’s United States needs to be recognized for what it really is: not a Christian country, but a nation of heretics.
Ross Douthat, Bad Religion
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One thought on “Two pundits on the “Town Hall””
I don’t know about praying for God to smite Trump. But Jonah Goldberg was refreshingly blunt: “Barring some last-minute conversion, his soul is lost.”