Yesterday, Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone claimed that his political opponents hate the president, the U.S., and even God. Of course, the implicit message here is, “They think you’re stupid. I respect you. So vote for me.” It’s the kind of shameful political tactic that pulls other people down, yet appears to work.
The assertion is ludicrous on its face, so the obvious question is, why does such political gimmickry work?
I suppose it works because we’re inclined to think stupid things, especially when it appeals to our sense of outrage, victimization, or resentment. Making the other guy out to be evil makes people feel good, despite the banality of the emotional response.
If you’re ever tempted to fall for this kind of manipulation, Vera, stop and think. What the person is really trying to get you to do is be stupid. Being stupid might make you feel good. It might make you feel superior. Or more patriotic. Or whatever. But stupid is stupid. Try to do better. Be better.
It’s pretty clear that Russia meddled in our last presidential election. And the elections of other democracies. Now I’m not for taking the high road. Goodness knows the U.S.A. has meddled in other countries’ elections. And worse (such as government-sanctioned assassinations). That said, I don’t think it’s something we should overlook or excuse either. After all, we are a democracy. If the integrity of the electoral process is compromised, that which underpins the system collapses. So, yes, it’s a big deal, and it’s something we should address in an aggressive manner.
Yet our president isn’t the least bit bothered by Russia’s interference. Which raises the obvious question: Why not?
I think there can be only two possible answers. First, he’s not bothered by it because it worked to his favor. And, as everyone knows, it’s always about what is best for Donald J. Trump. We have a president who puts nothing — absolutely nothing — above his own personal interests. So he may not be bothered by the whole Russia affair because he was helped by it and expects to be helped even more in the future.
The other possible explanation is that the Russians have something on him. That would explain a lot. In effect, Putin could bring him down by the disclosure of information that revealed Mr. Trump did something that even his more ardent supporters would have a hard time excusing.
So which is it? Explanation # 1 or # 2?
I have no idea. Of course, it could be both. And it could be something entirely different. But it’s unlikely.
P.S. If Trump refuses to answer the special counsel’s questions, his refusal would suggest explanation # 2 is the right one.