The Monday Morning Teaser

Usually when I take a week off, all hell breaks loose. This time, though, it looks like the only thing that happened was that some English woman died. I didn’t catch the details, but you probably already heard. I hope her family is OK.

Actually, though, there were a few developments: Ukraine suddenly started recapturing territory from the Russians, producing hard-to-evaluate speculation that the Russian army might be collapsing. The new omicron-targeting vaccine was released, and I already got the shot. (You should too.) Republicans keep digging themselves a deeper hole for the fall elections by nominating extreme MAGA candidates and by doubling down on their unpopular ban-abortion strategy. And DeSantis flew a bunch of Venezuelan refugees up to Martha’s Vineyard, for reasons that only make sense inside the nativist echo chamber.

But I’m going to focus on something else: the failure of two big Trump-vindication vehicles — his sprawling lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and anybody who he ever imagined wronged him, and the much-trumpeted Durham investigation. The lawsuit was dismissed (with considerable flair) and Durham’s grand jury has expired without producing any of the high-profile indictments Trump promised. (No “crime of the century” or “high treason”.)

To me, the interesting thing about these two failures is how little they matter to the MAGA faithful. Once, they were going to provide the ultimate comeuppance to Trump’s enemies and critics. But now … oh, never mind. In retrospect, the point was never to accomplish their stated goals, it was to keep the contributions coming in from Trump’s cultists. In that world, it’s important that victory always be imminent, not that any particular battle ever comes out the way it was supposed to.

That grifting pattern struck a chord in my memory: Jesus’ second coming. Specific predictions keep failing, but it’s always just about to happen — so you should send in more money. I think Trump keeps getting away with this because he’s mostly exploiting the same people. That’s the subject of “How the Trump Grift Works”, which should be out before 10 EDT.

The weekly summary — with zero British monarchy coverage — might be delayed a little bit, but should be out before 1.

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Comments

  • Edwina  On September 19, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Your comparison of Trump cultists behavior with that of Rapture Prediction cults is apt. My late daughter said in 1980,studying cults at Rice University, that predictions that failed to occur were reframed as “tests” to reveal true believers, who, as you state, were fleeced more. Cults gonna cult.

  • seawind161  On September 19, 2022 at 9:40 am

    This quote should be etched in stone and displayed prominently:
    “… the point was never to accomplish their stated goals, it was to keep the contributions coming in from Trump’s cultists. In that world, it’s important that victory always be imminent, not that any particular battle ever comes out the way it was supposed to.”

  • Lan Mosher  On September 19, 2022 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for your hard work. It seems to me that we are in a war between realists and idiots. I don’t see it ending peacefully, not with judges protecting criminals by saying law enforcement can’t use evidence. The constitution assume a level of honest critical thinking and integrity that is lacking in at least 70 million Americans.

  • philipfinn  On September 19, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Just a word about the Ukraine situation – I seem to recall that during both the Czech and Hungarian uprisings there was a period in the beginnings where the mostly local or Muscovite recruits were hesitant or even refused to fire upon the native populations with whom they’ve become familiar. You get an order to clear out a street of protesters and you show up to find they all look like your grandmother…
    Then, suddenly, the Muscovites are pulled back, and replaced with strangers who don’t identify with the local population.
    Or is Putin planning a scorched-earth march?

  • Janet Amaral  On September 19, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    Okay, you aren’t a fan of royalty. But the snark was unnecessary. Literally millions of people are mourning. A simple, “It’s the end of an era” would have been far more appropriate.

    • susanmbrewer  On September 19, 2022 at 4:11 pm

      I noticed that too and was surprised; it was both gratuitous and atypical, but clearly intentional since he repeated something similar at his close. Strange.

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