The Monday Morning Teaser

This will be the first Sift posted from our new apartment. My wife and I are still eating off a card table while we wait for furniture to arrive from storage, but I have my desk and computer, and the internet is hooked up, so I’m ready to go.

I don’t usually give much attention to Trump-said-a-bad-thing stories, because he’s always saying bad things. His fans love him for it, so publicizing his over-the-top insults just builds his brand. That’s why my first instinct was to ignore Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic article about him calling American soldiers who died in battle “suckers” and “losers”. I figured the story would be another two-day wonder that soaked up a lot of liberal energy without changing anything. If you loved him, you’d just love him more.

But for some reason the story isn’t going away. The article came out Thursday, and some of the claims broke before that. And it’s still in the headlines. It’s hitting a nerve in a way that Mexican rapists, mocking the disabled, shithole countries, and the other Trump outrages never did. I had to stop and think about why that might be.

The featured article is my attempt to answer that question, and the gist of my answer is that veterans — particularly white veterans from families with a military tradition in the South and in rural areas, the kind of guys who visit the graves of their Greatest Generation fathers who either died on D-Day or nearly did — are part of Trump’s base. So he can’t get out of this with tribalism; it’s his own tribe that he has insulted.

All along, Trump has been like the stereotypic Mean Girl from high school dramas. If you’re part of his in-group, you love how he insults “pencil-neck” Adam Schiff and Crooked Hillary and Pocahontas.  But like everybody in the court of the Mean Girl, you always have to wonder what he says about you when you’re not around. That’s the fear this story pokes at: If you’re Joe Sixpack, charter member of the MAGA-hatters, you may tell yourself that Trump is the champion of men like you. But is he really? When he’s with his real buddies, the other billionaires, does he laugh at what a sucker you are, and how you repeat every stupid thing he tells you?

Deep down, you know he does.

So “Trump Despises His Supporters Too” is the featured post this week. It should be out before 11 EDT. The weekly summary also talks about the role of riots in creating change, the mainstreaming of right-wing violence, what the polls are saying, and a few other things. It should be out by 1.

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  • Jim Mulrooney  On September 7, 2020 at 11:11 am

    I was just stunned this morning when you said “For some reason” the outrage continues surrounding Trump’s insulting remarks about soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country. If you can’t figure that out, you have a problem. Thank you for your past incisive and enlightening reflections, but write a sentence or two correcting your “for some reason” serious faus pas. Sincerely, Jim Mulrooney

    • fmanin  On September 7, 2020 at 11:17 am

      WTF? Doug explains right here in this post why “for some reason” and how he has reflected on the difference with Trump’s other insults.

    • nicknielsensc  On September 7, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      He wrote a featured article about it, eh?

    • Wade Scholine  On September 8, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Let me add to the “WTF” chorus. If you’re not wondering why this particular straw broke the camel’s back, I envy you your obliviousness.

    • weeklysift  On September 9, 2020 at 6:39 am

      That “for some reason” has to be interpreted in the context of all the previous outrages that made little difference, like taking Putin’s word over that of our intelligence services, or talking about all the “very fine people” who marched with the Nazis in Charlottesville.

  • hiltonbill  On September 7, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Happy “housewarming”, Doug.



  • REBA KOCHERSPERGER  On September 8, 2020 at 12:55 am

    Hello– Something happened to my weekly summary, and it disappeared from my inbox before I got to read it. Is there any way you can re-send it just to me? My week won’t be the same without it! Thanks so much, Reba


    • weeklysift  On September 9, 2020 at 6:36 am

      Reba, I’m guessing that you subscribed through WordPress or some other mailing list I don’t control.

  • Wade Scholine  On September 8, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I figured the story would be another two-day wonder that soaked up a lot of liberal energy without changing anything.

    It is a sobering reminder of something or other. I had the same feeling with the Ukrainian military aid scandal… it’s like we’re floating in an ocean of sewage, thrashing aimlessly with no clear hope of saving ourselves or being rescued, when suddenly a majority of people suddenly become enraged about one particular turd that really offends them.

    There’s a common factor of contempt for martial honor, but other examples of that also get met with a collective shrug.

  • frankackerman0617  On September 11, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    A conservative thinker/writer worth reading: Greg Weiner “The Towering Lies of President Trump” NYT

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