The deeper and longer we have been immersed in the Trump sinkhole, the more vexing and confusing it has become for many of us.
My most recent exposure to that reality came with the preliminary results of my recent mini-poll asking what other people were thinking as the Mueller probe is winding to a conclusion.
My instinctive assumption was that many people were likely to see that moment as the beginning of the end for Trump, or the end of the beginning. But almost everyone, I thought, would see Mueller’s report as a major turning point, whether for good or bad.
But the array and dispersion of answers from most people proved both my assumptions wrong. Most respondents to my admittedly unscientific survey don’t appear to believe that the conclusion of the Mueller investigation will make much difference at all.
Sadly, it seems to me that can be due to only one of two things.
Either people (who virtually all indicated their disdain for Trump) credit him with more resilience, brilliance and slipperiness than appears on the surface.
Or, they are so tired of being disappointed as each new horror failed to disappoint the MAGA base – and Congressional Republicans – from their moral slumber that they have either truly lost all hope or are trying to protect themselves emotionally from the next assault.
Whichever is correct, the current state of mind indicated by the poll sadly helps and contributes to Trump’s staying power.
Big polls still indicate that about 40 percent of the American people support Trump, and about 90 percent of Republicans. That means roughly two out of every five Americans or almost every other person you see in a crowd backs a President most of the other 60 percent believes to be some combination of evil, inept and insane. How can so many Americans see virtually the same thing so very differently?
What are those folks thinking?
Are they more racist than most Americans? Stupider? Do they resent that the country does not appear to understand or appreciate them? Can they possibly believe that isolationism will improve their overall lot in life?
Sadly, neither pollsters nor analysts have found any good rationale for those and similar questions. Many believe that the blind loyalty of the MAGA crowd augurs poorly for democracy.
But my own poll takers may perhaps have similar problems to confront: It’s not at all clear, for example, how limiting ones hopes and expectations advances changes people clearly want to see.
There are two possible answers: one is they may fear retribution, if things stay or get worse. The other is they are tired of being wrong for so long that they are setting their expectations so low as to certainly be right!
There is a final possibility that one shudders to consider: it may be that the 60 percent – that is, the rest of the U.S. population—simply has not caught up with Trump’s wholly different view of the world, and we are just plain wrong about the future. Trump, in his craziness, may see things that many of us either cannot, have not, or refuse to see.
I will not deal with that possibility in this blog, because I believe so clearly and strongly that it cannot be true. Capitulating could lead to a national phobia.
One way of putting the question (free from Trump himself) would be to assume that if Trump were like Romney, in character, temperament and demeanor, it might be reasonable to pause and think. But, with Trump’s long history of being wrong so often, except very lucky in his selection of parents, coupled with his endless lack of candor and honor, it requires an extreme leap of faith that simply cannot exist.
So where in heaven or hell are we?
The Trump phenomenon is truly mysterious, and it has a curious hold over an amazing share of our diverse population.
Most of the alleged ‘facts’ underpinning his beliefs and policies have proven to be wrong. Those that undermine his beliefs and policies are, of course, fake.
A sane person does not ‘seek’ the Nobel Peace prize. They seek peace for its own sake, and for the sake of the world, not as a trophy to display in their clubhouse.
Breaking the bonds of the US with other democratic societies while kowtowing to Putin does not make any sense in the real world.
Still the laws of gravity and human behavior are well enough established that the non-Trump believers among us should stiffen our lips, raise our chins and be prepared for a long slugfest before we can move on to the other new and unexpected challenges from a highly uncertain future!