Trump is redefining the concept of a gaffe out of existence

Matt Yglesias points out that a non-fascist politician saying the kind of thing Trump says once would be big news, while Trump’s saying it all the time is just normal. He’s made us numb to how horrifying he is.

(Up to a point. Just a few hours ago I thought of the fact that he calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” and was appalled all over again.)

Donald Trump went on CNBC this morning, and, over the course of a wide-ranging interview, once again reminded the world of the most fundamental fact about his candidacy — he doesn’t really seem to understand any aspect of American public policy.

Benefitting as he often does from a cable news format, he was allowed to ramble and dissemble across a variety of topics — including who sets interest rates, how monetary policy impacts the economy, and how his own money is invested, finding time for a racist personal attack against a rival politician.

I still have trouble believing this is happening. He’s so ignorant and so unqualified and so bad – he’s such a bad, mean, cheating, lying, thieving, exploiting, bullying ratbag, as well as a racist and sexist. If you drew up a list of pros and cons it would be literally all cons. I don’t know of one single thing there is to admire or like about him.

Seriously. Stop. Take a breath. Now imagine if Mitt Romney had run exactly Mitt Romney’s campaign but then suddenly in mid-September went on television and called Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas for no reason. It would have been huge.

This year, basically nothing. Trump being kinda racist is a dog-bites-man story. After all, just yesterday Donald Trump Jr. shared a white nationalist meme on Instagram. Trump lies all the time, so that’s not a big deal. In fact, he lies frequently about the essential core of his foreign policy, and his business dealings pose such obvious and flagrant conflicts of interest and ethics problems that lying about his stock holdings doesn’t seem like a big deal. And of course Trump doesn’t understand what he’s saying when it comes to monetary policy — monetary policy is complicated and obscure and Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about on any other issue either.

Yet NPR, for example, is reporting on him as if he were an ordinary candidate.

[T]he truly scary thing is that Trump is redefining the concept of a gaffe out of existence. It turns out that if you just boldly repeat something often enough, it goes away as a story. We’ve become numb, as a society, to what Trump is doing. In the process we’ve normalized casual racism [and] intense personal insults as an approach to politics, and completely decentered the idea that elected officials should grapple with difficult policy questions. Half the crazy things Trump says or does barely merit a mention on Twitter, much less the front-page coverage they would have merited in previous campaigns.

We’re doomed.


Comments are closed.