His speech was so disjointed

Trump wants to beat up electric cars.

He has long claimed electric cars will “kill” America’s auto industry. He has called them an “assassination” of jobs. He has declared that the Biden administration “ordered a hit job on Michigan manufacturing” by encouraging the sales of electric cars.

And on Saturday, after ticking off a litany of false claims about electric vehicles, he spoke about slapping a “100 percent tariff” on cars manufactured in Mexico but imported into the United States. “And you’re not going to be able to sell those cars,” he said. “If I get elected. Now if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a blood bath for the whole. That’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a blood bath for the country, that’s going to be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars.”

It’s a metaphor, of course, but metaphor choice can be very instructive. It’s not without interest that he likes using violent metaphors. (I think I probably do too, but then I’m not running for president.)

Jennifer Mercieca, author of “Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump,” noted that in his weekend speech, Mr. Trump jumped from complaining about the failure of the United Auto Workers to endorse him to making claims about the auto manufacturing industry leaving the United States for Mexico to the blood bath comment and then back to car sales.

“Because his speech was so disjointed it makes it difficult to know if he was threatening the U.A.W. workers, the U.S. auto manufacturers, or the nation as a whole,” Ms. Mercieca said. But, she added, “In a sense, it doesn’t matter because Trump was threatening all at once.”

Ms. Mercieca, who teaches communications at Texas A&M University, called Mr. Trump’s rhetoric a strategy of “ad baculum,” which is using threats of force or intimidation to coerce behavior.

It’s the crudest form of rhetoric there is, so of course Trump likes it. He’s the Platonic essence of crudity.

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