•    Why Not to Mud Wrestle with Trump   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Abstract: 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 (if you don’t miss), Douthat appears to lean slightly toward the position that it is probably not a good strategy for the Democratic Party. What follows is a response to his Warren article and his permissive caveat — “you best not miss.”


    If Elizabeth Warren ends up being the Democrat nominee for president — that will represent the final nail in the Democratic Party coffin. Warren is simply a Clinton clone with eyeglasses. Clinton’s treatment of the ‘issues’ was 80% superficial “incontinent emotive reactivity” and 20% logical, rational nutrient-dense substance, whenever day-to-day ‘events of the moment’ in the news cycle 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 voters on the left because her content-barren generalizations and trivial “incontinent emotive reactivity” translated as mere demagoguery — a pandering strategy nearly identical to Trump’s — orchestrated solely to capitalize on society’s expressed emotional excitement of the moment — their anger, fear and resentment hysteria of the moment — as the news cycle dictated.

    Demagoguery may work for the Trump base of supporters, but it’s a toxic concoction for educated voters on the left. It insults their intelligence. Accordingly, in 2016 Clinton may have broken the all-time record for garnering — the most votes ever cast by voters who resented and abhorred her candidacy and Dem nomination.

    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. She seemed obsessed with tweaking every emotional nerve she could discern in the public’s fickle, hysterical news cycle sentiments.

    If the U.S. media had not succumbed to such emotional 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 emotional proclivities, McCarthyism’s anti-commie hysteria would never have gained so much traction for so long. And . . . if the U.S. media had not been so swept-up in the emotive “inevitiability” and “entitlement” assumptions propelling Hillary Clinton to the Dem nomination, her glaring weaknesses would have been just as obvious as Warren’s. From the ordinary voter’s point of view — in 2016 it looked like the media and the DNC were muscling Clinton into position — not the voters.

    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 merely a female proclivity. And the political right has proven why this is such a dangerous, dishonest and counter-productive proclivity.

    Just look at the exorbitant amount of time Warren has foolishly squandered dorking around with the trivial, wholly irrelevant issue of her alleged Native American heritage (OK, so I’m genetically traceable to Adam & Eve — so what?). It exemplifies her pettiness, her penchant for pandering and her petrified inability to jettison her emotionalism and focus on the crucial substance of important, pressing issues threatening this country’s stability and global standing. Warren is primarily an “appeal to emotions” pandering demagogue and if she becomes the Dem nominee — we are going to be stuck with Trump for another term — BECAUSE — voters on the left are sick and tired of this kind of brain-dead voting option that insults their intelligence. That’s why they gave an un-emotional Obama two terms.

    As a presidential nominee, Warren is a poison pill — not a life-saving pharmaceutical. With her emotionalism, she has inherited Clinton’s astonishing ability to galvanize the political right like no other candidate can. As with Clinton’s mindless email misstep, Warren’s “DNA fiasco” will serve as a lightening rod for Republicans and it will haunt her in damaging ways for the next two years. It has that sleazy, sticky fly-paper quality to it.

    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.

    In his NY Times article Ross 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 primary point of his article, which was easy to agree with, that declared ‘Trump mud-wrestling’ to be, ipso facto, highly inadvisable as a party strategy. The above statement Ross 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 likewise, 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 voters on the political left are so sick and tired of seeing in their candidates — BECAUSE platitudes and pandering generalities insult their intelligence and reek of dishonesty.

    The rise of the religious right-wing political force in this country, as a case in point, is in effect, a manifestation of Republican pandering and exploitation of the emotional sentiments of a religiously dogmatic, anti-science, anti-reason, anti-education demographic that is emotionally hot-wired and super-charged with resentment of perceived “intellectuals” (the well-educated) — solely because Republican strategists drove that wedge, painted that picture and created that alienation — by pandering to their emotional biases, manufacturing diabolical conspiracy hysteria and scapegoating.

    Stated succinctly — When society erupts or descends into a seething, unstable emotional melting pot of extreme fear, anger, resentment and hysteria — 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.

    Dems should not give-up on the idea that ‘truth’ can prevail against ‘falsity’ — on its own merits. Dems should not succumb to the notion that to defeat ‘demagoguery’ they must weaponize the same poison demagogues employ to great affect. In short — Dems should not succumb to the emotional hysteria that beckons them 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 serenity, stability, poise and calm — a kind of “Imperturbable Composure” approach that disengages the hyper-reactive emotional response mechanism.

    If you want to prevent the hysterical ‘herd’ from stampeding over the cliff — one must exude a convincing, deep-seated sense of calm tranquility, confident serenity that permeates the atmosphere with the stability and confidence that comes from knowing that “hysteria” itself is the greatest danger we face and our greater wellbeing depends on our ability to resist the urge to succumb to irrational panic attacks. It’s something Obama was so incredibly masterful at doing.

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

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


    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


          — Related Reflecting Pool, NY Times & Washington-Post Articles —

    “The Elizabeth Warren Fiasco”
    New York Times — Ross Douthat   Wed., Oct 17, 2018
    The possible Democratic front-runner plays Trump’s game – and loses


    “A Fatal Trap-door Facing Democrats”
    Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog   Wed., Oct 17, 2018
    How moderate Republicans could seize the upper hand


    “Did Elizabeth Warren peak too early?”
    By Colby Itkowitz — Washington-Post   Fri., Dec 7, 2018


    “Elizabeth Warren Stands by DNA Test.
    But Around Her, Worries Abound.”
    NY Times — By Astead W. Herndon   Thur., Dec. 6, 2018


    “As her DNA test still reverberates
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s political operation shows fissures.”
    By Matt Viser — Washington-Post   Fri., Dec 7, 2018