Saturday, November 7, 2020

Literary Corner: Mr. Vice President, Say a Few Words


The neighborhood erupted at about 11:30 this morning, shouting and singing and pot-banging, and for a second I couldn't imagine what was happening, even though I had the radio on and the network had broken into "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" with the news. 

I think I'm really starting to accept that it's time to be happy about this, just for its own sake, as Jordan started saying, because it feels like a liberation and a lightening, like a rock rolled off our collective chests, a Happy Day. Regardless of the pain and embarrassment we will continue to feel and the way things won't get altogether better, regardless of what President Biden will or won't be able to do (or even want to do, as some of the young folk wish to remind us), regardless of whether the criminals are brought to justice, regardless what goes down from here on in, it's just a good feeling. We will get over Trump, we will be done with this particular anomaly. We're already over him! Poof! He's deflated, whizzing around the room for an instant and dropping to the floor!

One of the things that's been distressing me since Tuesday is the sense that that isn't happening, the thing I'd been really looking forward to, the moment when his followers would suddenly come to realize that he's nobody, a loser, an ill-stuffed shirt, the moment when they lose their faith in him. 

I'm not sure in any case how much of that passionate love for or spiritual devotion to Trump there really is among the base. In the first place because his actual measured popularity among Republicans as measured by the ABC/Washington Post polling operation really hasn't been that high, as Philip Bump noted in August, and certainly not as high as he's been claiming it was since early 2019, in the imaginary number that's inflated over the months from 93% to 96%:

Strong approval seems to have been mostly stuck in the 60 to 70% range, and even combined with the "somewhat" vote rarely rises much above 80% (I should add the whole thing runs significantly lower than the Gallup figure I usually use).

Of course we've all seen the real devotees, the actual "big strong men with tears in their eyes" who honestly do choke up at the overwhelming sacrifices Trump has undergone for the people, who have been seen mourning the possibility of losing him in advance in recent months, but we've also seen the slightly defensive guy who says "He's done pretty good," and doesn't offer any examples. In this year of exceptionally ferocious negative partisanship they aren't, of course, really so interested in what he may have accomplished as president as they are in who he opposes, and who he "owns", but they know enough about accepted talking-head behavior not to say that, so they praise his actions in that nonspecific way.

I'm still convinced there are many single-issue voters—especially on the subjects of abortion and income tax—who don't really imagine he's done anything about the issue they care about, or think he's more committed than other prominent Republicans, but like the hostility he expresses against the other side; you can't imagine Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz going the full distance of claiming that Democrats want to "hurt God". And the spiteful Beavis and Butt-Head voters I've been obsessed with for so long for whom owning the libs or just generally smashing things is really all there is. But I'm really not convinced the passions for Trump, as opposed to against what he opposes, run that high, and won't be deflated. It just takes longer than it does for a dead balloon.

I think the Republicans are going to have to replace Trump to keep the Trump voters, and they can't. The  juvenile leads really working at it, Cotton and Hawley, obviously don't have the stuff, and the hereditary candidates Junior and Ivanka can't be taken seriously even by their father. The Trumps don't have any money, either, and they're headed on a trip that will take them very close to prison, if not all the way. But the party can't win without them either. 

I'm not ready to leave him alone myself [picking up after the Harris and Biden acceptance speeches, which have left me pretty pleased]. This peroration from his appearance in the pre-dawn of 4 November stands, I think, without a lot of extensive commentary.

All of a Sudden

by Donald J. Trump

I. We Won States

We won states, and all of a sudden,
I said, "What happened to the election?
It's off." And we have all these announcers
saying, "What happened?" And then they said, "Oh -- "

Because you know what happened?
They knew they couldn't win,
so they said, "Let's go to court."
And did I predict this, Newt?

Did I say this? I've been saying this from the day
I heard they were going to send out tens
of millions of ballots. I said exactly.
Because either they were gonna win, or if
they didn't win, they'll take us to court.

II. Dig This

So, Florida was a tremendous victory.
Three hundred seventy-seven thousand.
Texas, as we said. Ohio. Dig this.
Ohio, a tremendous state, a big state,
I love Ohio. We won by eight point one percent,
four hundred sixty-nine thousand. Bigger.
Almost five hundred thousand votes.

North Carolina, big victory with North Carolina.
And so we won there, we lead by seventy-six
thousand votes with almost nothing left.

And all of a sudden, everything just stopped.
This is a fraud on the American public.
This is an embarrassment to our country.
We were getting ready to win this election.
Frankly, we did win this election.

III. This Is a Very Sad Moment And We Will Win

So our goal now is to ensure the integrity,
for the good of this nation.
This is a very big moment.

This is a major fraud on our nation.
We want law to be used in a proper manner.
So we'll be going to the US Supreme Court.
We want all voting to stop.
We don't want them to find any ballots
at 4 o'clock in the morning
and add them to the list, okay?

It's, it's a very sad,
it's a very sad moment. To me,
this is a very sad moment.
And we will win this, and we,
as far as I'm concerned,
we already have won it.

So I just want to thank you.
And I want to thank all of our support.
I want to thank all of the people
that worked with us, and uh,
Mr. Vice President, say a few
words, please. Please.

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