How Trump plays the longstanding calculus of major US elections

Cory Doctorow at Pluralistic:

There’s something seriously cult-creepy about the maso-fascism of Trump’s GOP, where deliberately inhaling virus droplets is a sign of loyalty and being hospitalized for exposure after a Nebraska rally is a badge of honor….

… the crowds of stranded vulnerable people after Trump’s Georgia rally last night, hitching rides with strangers in sealed vehicles, huddled on the ground for warmth – they must have suspected this possibility….

It’s a Trumpian innovation: not just frightening your base with boogeyman tales about the other guy, but also inspiring them to eternal cultlike loyalty by performatively abusing them, even killing some of them. That may scare some off, but the remainder are bone-loyal.

If you’ve stuck by your guy after he invited you to a ratlicking party and then left you to die of exposure at the end of a lonely country road; then no rape scandal, no tax return, no unjust enrichment leak will budge you from your position.

Biden’s gains are coming from Republicans who are sick of Trump, not Democrats who sat out the 2016 election but decided to cast a vote this time around.

The Dems who sat out 2016 and plan to sit out 2020 are turkeys who are done voting for Christmas, no matter how bad the other guy is.

“The other guy’s worse” electoral strategy was always going to reach a breaking point. Eventually, politicians have to offer us something to vote for, not against.

Winning elections requires pleasing the super-rich while “terrifying the base into turning out by pointing out how awful the other guy is,” what with all the other guy’s kissing up to the super-rich.

A feature of this equilibrium is that the unfitness of the other side is a gift to your own side. The worse Trump is, the more establishment-friendly the Dem candidate can be.

Also: Trump charged the US $3 for each glass of water served to state guests at Mar-a-Lago.

Remember the 2016 campaign when Trump kept telling us that

a) The government was hopelessly corrupt, sending vast fortunes to gouging profiteers and beltway bandits; and

b) He knew how it worked because he was really good at it?…

Trump’s critics are careful to document his lies, but they’re less vocal about his truths. When Trump said that the US government was a grift, he wasn’t lying. When he said he knew how it worked, he wasn’t lying.

When he said that the political establishment was playing the people for suckers, he wasn’t lying….

Four years later, he’s proved himself right, over and over again, and whatever happens this week, he’s unlikely to face meaningful consequences for his crimes.

Businessman Trump charges the US exorbitant fees for hospitality at his resort, and President Trump signs off on the invoices. A nice racket!