Epistemic Sunk Costs, Political Bankruptcy, and Folding Your Tent and Slinking Away: The Approaching End of the Trump Grift?
I see this as a sign that it is all starting to break. Why do I think so? Because I see this as John Holbo's concept of epistemic sunk costs and debt http://crookedtimber.org/2018/06/13/epistemic-sunk-costs-and-the-extraordinary-populist-delusions-of-crowds/, as Nils Gilman's edge of political bankruptcy
were: "Trump is awesome!", "Trump is crude but effective!", "Trump is accidentally playing eleven-dimensional chess!".
but a while ago they shifted to: "At least Trump is owning the libs!" and "We are transferring two trillion dollars–roughly 1/10 of the total value of the stock market–to the superrich, raising our own taxes, poisoning ourselves, and putting Hispanic children in cages, but it is worth it because it owns Jewy people in Scarsdale and Santa Monica."
and now they are: "It is all the liberals' fault! Mitt Romney was a nice guy! Because liberals would not vote for Mitt Romney, we had to vote for Trump! Yes, he is awful, but it is all the liberals' fault!".
That is what this is:
We tried statesmanship. Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain? We tried propriety–has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney? And the results were always the same. This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.
I don’t find anything “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper” about Barack Obama’s lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party. I don’t see anything “dignified” in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover your tracks. I don’t see anything “statesman-like” in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent. Yes, Obama was “articulate” and “polished” but in no way was he in the least bit “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper.”
The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s. To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale... It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one–the violent take-over of the universities–till today. The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.
With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America’s first wartime president in the Culture War. During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming. Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today. Lincoln rightly recognized that, “I cannot spare this man. He fights.” General George Patton was a vulgar-talking… In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank. But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum then, Hitler and the Socialists would barely be five decades into their thousand-year Reich.
Trump is fighting. And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!” That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics...
We won't get into the fact that the George C. Scott-as-Patton at El Guettar quote from the movie Patton is "Rommel, you magnificent bastard" while in actual history the U.S. knew that Rommel was back in Germany and von Arnim was commanding the Nazi Panzerarmee Africa...
The thing to note is that when you are no longer saying "We are the good guys, playing fair"—when you are saying "we are cartoon villains now! we have looked into the abyss, and the abyss has looked into us!" you are on the edge of folding your tent, slinking away, and pretending it never happened.
John Holbo's concept of epistemic sunk costs and debt in a nutshell:
The comfortable option is to buy it all–the more so, the more ridiculous it threatens to be. There is nothing uniquely Trumpian about epistemic over-investment. But Trump does seem to have a Too Big To Fail talent for locking folks in, by deliberately getting them deeper and deeper in epistemic hock. Do you think it’s deliberate? Trump knows he gets his base to buy huge, ridiculous lies–things that don’t even matter–just so, when he says the next ridiculous thing, they have to buy that, too? Is it a deliberate group-bonding strategy?...
Nils Gilman's edge of political bankruptcy in a nutshell:
What we're seeing with Trump's current political strategy is something very similar to the maneuvers of a corporation pulling out the stops to delay the inevitable coming bankruptcy.... What's holding him together at this point is only that he has managed to put almost all the GOP electeds in DC in his debt.... Trump's defenders are facing a kind of political analog to the old adage that if I owe you $5, that's a problem for me, whereas if I owe you $5m, that's a problem for you. It won't end well for them...
And so I am actually hopeful: Paul Krugman: "It's not only the elected officialswho, by surrendering to Trump out of expedience, have now tied themselves to his catastrophe...
...Trump voters are also trapped by the enormity of his awfulness. For a Trump voter, to admit that he's corrupt, that he conspired with a foreign power and is now that foreign power's stooge, and that he consistently betrays those who backed him, would be to admit that you were a fool for supporting him in the first place. It will take a lot for people to get there, although I predict that a few years from now, when you ask people whether they voted Trump in 2016, the vast majority will say they didn't...