Democrats regain the House in 2018, vote to impeach Trump.

Republicans tell Trump this means he has to resign, not telling him that he has to be convicted in the Senate too.

Trump doesn’t know anything and angrily does it.

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Some people still argue that economic uncertainty and Trump’s populism were main drivers of the 2016 result, but Trump has broken virtually every promise on that front and kept all the nativist ones and yet his support among his core has remained consistent. Hmm. My take is that Trump’s populism was mostly a sophisticated way to give the media a “legitimate” angle to cover what was, in fact, a hatemongering campaign in an unusually pure form, and one the media was desperate to have because both sides. (Trump’s an idiot but he does know how the media works, clearly.) This study confirms that yes, it was reactionary social attitudes all along that got him enough votes to win by a technicality. Not saying that nobody voted for Trump because they thought he’d be better on the economy–no doubt most of the people who did thought that–but the detail about how Clinton won white working class who feared for their finances kind of puts a pin in it. The detail about how these folks oppose college funding surprised me–both of my grandfathers were working-class high school-educated whites and revered going to college above all else–but it shows just how much mopiness and a lack of feeling special is what drove Trumpism. Of course, these people will pay most savagely for it.

Incidentally, I saw several of the Times’s infamous sympathy for a Trump voter pieces pop up in their main feed over the past day. It occurs to me that in D.C. and New York there probably are a good portion of anti-Trump Republicans–you know, fans of Jeb! and all that, GOP pros who can’t stand the orange one–but outside of those pockets I don’t think there are very many at all. In my neck of the woods there are Trumpsters and Democrats and that’s just about it. Hiring Bret Stephens, then, was ultimately just the Times staying safely in the bubble. And those pieces smack of trying to get out of it in a not terribly convincing way.

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My wife and I were having a discussion on dumb characters in fiction a few days ago, brought on by our mutual love for Brad Pitt’s lovable dope from Burn After Reading. I actually think it’s incredibly difficult to write a great dumb character. Most of the time this is done it’s an average-to-smart person just limiting their own intelligence, which produces an unconvincing result. The real key IMO is creating a character that is unaware of their limitations, who thinks that they’re average or even smart, someone to whom the idea of participating in a political intrigue wouldn’t seem utterly absurd. My other personal favorites in this respect are Beavis and Butt-head, which is such smart dumb comedy that it fooled a huge number of people into confusing the intelligence of its characters for the intelligence of the content.

What are the chances that we’re living in a Stranger Than Fiction-type world of a hack novelist (with an admitted feel for a certain kind of characterization) with respect to Donald Trump? I’m joking, obviously, but Trump is a near-Shakespearean achievement of a dumb character. Not only does he not know his own limitations but he assumes that everybody else is operating at the same level as him (“Who knew health care was so complicated?”), and that truism-level insights are mind-boggling (“Hey, ever hear the phrase ‘prime the pump?’ I just came up with it.). It’s a fine piece of work. And if this is, in fact, what’s occurring, could the writer in question please just give up already? You’ve proven your point, but you need to work on your plotting.

I think we all deserve this:

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You gotta love that it came from the Russian Foreign Minister:

A reporter asked whether the firing of Comey “cast a shadow” over the talks.

“Was he fired?” Lavrov said in response. “You are kidding, you are kidding.”

I’m sure it sounded even better in the original Russian.

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This was entirely predictable. Indeed, over the past decade we’ve seen plenty of signs that Republicans cannot be our partners in maintaining a democracy, from voter suppression to the dynamiting of norms to the backing of a wholly unfit individual to be president. I’ve seen lots of verbiage out there to the effect that this is a moment of clarity for Republicans but it really isn’t, it’s a moment of clarity for Democrats. I don’t expect it to be the final one, but when this finally does dawn on them, there are really only two options: either create a blueprint for returning to power with the intent of ruthlessly destroying the conservative movement, or start planning for the creation of a new democratic polity that doesn’t include them (i.e. a breakup of the United States). The latter promises to be awful: complicated, expensive and messy, but it’s almost impossible for me to imagine the former being conducted by a party that has long been built on cooperation and bipartisanship at nearly any cost. (I don’t really think that simply winning back control over the government is an ultimate fix either, though that is the short-term strategy: it does nothing to fix the ultimate problem, which is the Republican Party, which would likely win back a chamber or two of Congress during the next Dem president’s tenure and escalate the obstruction and norm-breaking tactics it previously employed.) Again, this is some ways off. But I don’t see any real alternative, and if anyone has any bright ideas, I’m open to them.

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My earlier post was a bit of a final fuck you to a man who I’ve long pegged as a self-righteous narcissist, James Comey. Obviously the news that Trump was looking for reasons for the past week to fire Comey puts it in a different light. I think some of the shrieking overestimates the level to which Comey could be trusted to bring through the investigation into Trump and Russia and I’m not inclined to give him the benefit of any doubt–recall his behavior over Hillary was all about being able to preserve his good Republican card–but ultimately the firing was really not about Comey himself. This must be acknowledged. Whether it was Trumpian panic generally or over something specific we will find out soon enough.

It would be interesting if some Repubs came loose from this but my guess is not many, and if anything Trumpians would love it if the RINOs and Democrats were aligned together against them. I see no reason to presume they have any propensity for putting the country over party and ideology when none has been in evidence so far. I’d like to be proven wrong, but I still believe it’s nuts to hope that Republicans will save us.

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Comey’s been fired. I can’t imagine anyone’s going to be too broken up for his sake. Obviously in retrospect Obama’s biggest mistake, and almost certainly the last time a Democrat puts a Republican in charge of anything meaningful. (If he didn’t want a liberal running the FBI, why not name fresh-out-of-a-job Ben Nelson? He was just as qualified.) That Comey’s final act was bumbling testimony related to EMAILZGATE is sort of perfect.

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