•    Why Not to Mud Wrestle with Trump   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    By-Line: As a Democratic Party Strategy — Is Mud-wrestling with Trump a Promising Strategy? That is the question this article addresses. This article is a direct response to a Wednesday, October 17, 2018 New York Times article by columnist Ross Douthat, entitled “The Elizabeth Warren Fiasco.” In that article, Douthat squarely addresses this question and he comes to the conclusion — “There is an obvious appetite on the activist left for a candidate or candidates willing to take on Trump on his own brawler’s terms. But if you come at him that way, you best not miss” Despite this apparent ‘allowance’ for mud-wrestling with Trump, Douthat for the most part correctly takes the position that it is not a good strategy for the Democratic Party. What follows is my response to his Warren article and his permissive caveat — “you best not miss.”

    To: Ross Douthat — NYT Columnist
    Re: “The Elizabeth Warren Fiasco”

    If Elizabeth Warren ends up being the Democrat nominee for president — that will represent the final nail in the Democrat Party coffin. Warren is simply a Clinton clone with eyeglasses. Clinton lost the 2016 election because her treatment of the ‘issues’ was 90% “incontinent emotive reactivity” and only 10% logical, rational nutrient-dense substance, whenever day-to-day ‘events of the moment’ called upon candidates to state their position on the issues. Her knee-jerk responses were always emotional content-barren generalizations like “I’m against racism.” And she incurred the disdain of many on the left because her content-barren generalizations and “incontinent emotive reactivity” translated as mere demagoguery — a pandering strategy nearly identical to Trump’s — orchestrated solely to capitalize on society’s expressed emotional anger, fear and resentment hysteria of the moment. Demagoguery is what gave Hitler and McCarthyism traction and put those people in office.

    I voted for Clinton. But it was the ugliest, most disgusting, reprehensible, most gruesome vote I ever cast in 50 years of being a devout Democrat. What a horrid, regrettable choice we had to make.

    Warren and Clinton seem determined to reinforce the negative, unfair stereotype commonly imposed on women — namely that THEY allow their emotions to eclipse and occlude their rational, logical faculties. Trump and the political right have conclusively proven that this sexist stereotype is actually a ‘human’ proclivity, not just a female proclivity. And the political right has proven why this is such a dangerous, counter-productive proclivity.

    If the U.S. media had not succumbed to such proclivities, the post-9-11 Iraq War drum-beat hysteria would never have gained any traction. If the U.S. media had not succumbed to such proclivities, McCarthyism’s Anti-commie hysteria would never have gained so much traction for so long.

    What felt so good and so comfortable and reassuring about Obama was that he was so emotionally stable and calm — a kind of “Imperturbable Composure” as Buddhists might put it. It was absolutely impossible to lure him or maneuver him into an emotive reactionary response or mental state. Obama stuck to the facts and measured his comments so they couldn’t be weaponized for emotional exploitation. For some reason, since he left office, the whole world seems to have become emotionally unstable — in the extreme.

    Ross, in your article you wrote: “There is an obvious appetite on the activist left for a candidate or candidates willing to take on Trump on his own brawler’s terms. But if you come at him that way, you best not miss

    This statement betrays the entire point of your article, which I fully agreed with, which declared ‘Trump mud-wrestling’ to be, ipso facto, highly inadvisable as a party strategy. The above statement you made is actually false. It is indisputably clear that it does not matter whether you hit or “miss” when attacking Trump. The immunity Trump enjoys is virtually identical to the immunity Sen. Joe McCarthy had through most of the 1950’s. And in line with this analogy, that ‘immunity’ will last until the mindset of the general public morphs and mutates into a new form that lies outside the protective immunity shield — which means — outside of the emotionally charged atmosphere where emotion-baiting, hate-mongering and fear-mongering are so effectively and abundantly spawned. Hyper-emotionalism is a favorable and necessary environment and prime breeding ground for the opportunistic demagogue. The demagogue’s sole strategy is to fan the emotional flames — to give rise to discontent. And those who agree to wrestle in the same mudpit are also demagogues — who believe demagoguery is a legitimate instrument for influencing public opinion. And THAT is precisely what many on the political left are so sick and tired of seeing in their candidates — BECAUSE platitudes and pandering generalities insult their intelligence.

    Stated succinctly — When society erupts or descends into a seething, unstable emotional melting pot of extreme fear, anger and resentment — this creates an environment that is amenable to pandering political opportunists’ efforts to exploit and capitalize on that emotional discontent. And that environment confers on those manipulative opportunists an “immunity” from frontal attacks. This immunity manifests as “emotions that have an immunity against logic and reason” — i.e. — “emotions that blame logic and reason for their deplorable plight.” Emotions ARE immune to logic and reason. So upping the dose of logic is futile. And upping the dose of emotionalism merely strengthens the viral infection.

    This is the blueprint for the Hitler era, the McCarthy era and the Trump era.

    We should not give-up on the idea that ‘right’ can prevail against ‘wrong’ — on its own merits. We should not succumb to the notion that to defeat ‘evil’ we must weaponize the same poison evil uses against ‘good.’ In short — We should not succumb to the emotional hysteria that beckons us to ‘fight fire with fire.’ The way to fight fire is to create an environment that is unfavorable for combustion.

    So what would undermine this Trump ‘immunity’ so that reason and logic can prevail? An Obama-like emotional stability and calm — a kind of “Imperturbable Composure” approach that disengages the hyper-reactive emotional response mechanism.

    And what left-wing candidates manifest this emotional stability? The names that quickly come to mind are: Michael Bloomberg, Jerry Brown, Mary Jo White (U.S. Atty. So. District of NY ’93-’02).

    Ironically — we need Obama even more NOW than we did 10 years ago.


    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


          — Related NY Times Article —

    “The Elizabeth Warren Fiasco”
    The possible Democratic front-runner plays Trump’s game – and loses