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New Yorkers Reject Trump-- A Born & Bred New Yorker-- So What's Wrong With The Rest Of The Country?


"Dictator For One Day" by Nancy Ohanian

When Trump descended that escalator for the 2016 election, most Americans only knew him— if at all— from a (un)reality TV show. But not New Yorkers. New Yorkers had been reading about him in the local media and hearing him on radio for decades. They knew exactly who he was, even if few other people did. And in the election, Trump did abysmally in the places where he was best known. Support for the hometown boy? Not even close.


  • Manhattan- 9.71%

  • Brooklyn- 17.51%

  • Queens- 21.76

  • Bronx- 9.46%


New Yorkers understood the gaslighting and Trump’s other forms of psychological manipulation… even if the folks in Iowa, Kansas, the Dakotas, and even rural parts of blue states had no idea— still have no idea— of what was hitting them. Both the New York Times and Washington Post looked at that yesterday. A trio of Post reporters attributed his win in Iowa to psychological warfare. They wrote how the Trump campaign’s early goal “was to get into DeSantis’s head. They attacked him for wearing heeled boots because they believed he was insecure about his height. The pastry chef at Mar-a-Lago began making high-heeled chocolate cowboy boots to serve to guests for dessert, a lawmaker who visited Trump said. They knew DeSantis could be a messy eater, prompting an ad attacking him for allegedly eating pudding with his fingers on a plane. They knew about how he liked to fly private, his love of playing luxurious golf courses, his enemies in Florida and his personality quirks— including that he often avoided interacting with others. 


“If you didn’t know DeSantis, you’d think he was the conservative second coming in 2022,” one of these people said. “But those of us who really knew him, we knew better.”
Trump’s team knew what people who worked for DeSantis shared among themselves: The social media network once called Twitter could get the boss’s attention, in the same way Trump aides had used cable news appearances. The governor was known to follow certain reporters online, including local Florida bloggers.
“He was obsessed with Twitter and what the conservative influencers thought— he was always scrolling to see what those people were saying— so we tried to use them against him,” one Trump adviser said.
The campaign started social media battles with Roe, hoping to drive a wedge between him and DeSantis. Sympathetic provocateurs also got in the game, elevating obscure issues, challenging the governor from the right and insulting DeSantis aides.
“The whole macro strategy from the beginning was to bait them into fights that were not important,” said one of the agitators, Alex Bruesewitz, an online consultant who works with Trump’s son Don Jr. and spent his personal time taunting the DeSantis team. “They lower themselves to respond to a Twitter troll, and that is a terrible thing to do.”
DeSantis himself usually did not respond to the attacks, but people close to the former governor said he grew frustrated with them. Another adviser pushed back. “There’s not really that much you can go after him on when it comes to policy and results… So, you know, they turned to the personal,” said one DeSantis adviser.
Others in the Florida governor’s orbit came to view the attacks as a growing burden, subconsciously wearing down voters, in the same way Trump nicknames like “Little Marco” and “Low Energy Jeb” stuck in 2016 for Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
“They were trying to run a policy campaign,” a former DeSantis staffer said of the operation. “And they’re assuming that normal voters are like policy wonks and technocrats. That’s not how normal voters think, and the Trump people got that very intuitively.”
Also key to weakening DeSantis was taking away his perceived stronghold of Florida, where he had come to dominate, with a 20-point reelection victory in 2022. Trump and his advisers took particular glee in having dinners, plane flights and other public events with Florida lawmakers.
Trump flew in several Tallahassee Republicans to walk with him at the Iowa State Fair. In total, Trump’s organizations spent more than $23 million attacking DeSantis, matching the more than $24 million spent by Haley, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Trump’s supporters on the ground in Iowa eagerly parroted the attacks on DeSantis. “They’re like baby birds; they eat whatever’s stuffed in their mouth,” said Matt Wells, an Iowa activist and county chair for DeSantis.

Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman examined a very different aspect of Trump’s psychological warfare— how he directs it against the public, rather than against his opponents. “After a White House term that often consumed the national psyche hour by hour— stirring his supporters and panicking his critics with each wayward post and norm-busting impulse, culminating in the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021— some Trump-fatigued members of both parties and the political press seemed at times to be wishing him away, as if media oxygen alone had sustained him the last eight years… David Axelrod: ‘Once again, his feral genius for shaping a story of victimhood and commanding his base was underestimated.’”


The two reporters noted that Trump “did not have to speak much to keep his base with him. And as a candidate over the past year, the more he talked about the 91 criminal charges against him, the more Republicans returned to him. Democrats are keenly aware that for all the attention paid to Trump’s indictments and his voluntary visits to some of his civil trials, his plans for a new term and his incendiary statements are far less visible to the general public. Some in the news media were reluctant to direct their audiences to Trump, especially shortly after he left office, for fear that it would only amplify his lies about his election loss. Privately, some on the left lament that Twitter’s suspension of Trump’s account— after the Jan. 6 attack— served only to remove him from view. Since 2016, both Republican and Democratic leaders have often agreed that it helps Democrats to have Trump at the political fore. His failed re-election in 2020 became, in large part, a referendum on his rampaging tenure. The 2022 midterms, a disappointment for Republicans, came after a drumbeat of congressional hearings about Trump’s conduct on and around Jan. 6, a kind of rolling television series— with videos produced by a former television executive— dedicated to what House members called his crimes against democracy.”


Axelrod noted that Trump, after a primary season in which his top-polling rivals have tiptoed around him, is preparing to face President Biden, “an opponent far less reticent about attacking.”
Democrats are plainly hoping that Trump’s abundant legal peril will remind voters once more of the chaos that has often trailed him. Biden has signaled his plans to highlight Trump’s efforts to subvert his loss in the 2020 election, invoking the attack on the Capitol and Trump’s revisionist history of what happened.
But it is unclear whether Trump’s trial on federal charges stemming from his efforts to remain in power, which is currently scheduled to take place in March, will occur before Election Day as he challenges the validity of the indictment. And absent a trial, the Biden team’s ability to focus public attention on the events of Jan. 6 is far from assured.
Polling has captured the degree to which Trump has been speaking mostly to Republicans to date— and shaping their thinking about the violence that followed his 2020 loss. A recent Washington Post-University of Maryland survey showed that far fewer Republicans blame Trump for the Jan. 6 attack than did in 2021. More than two-thirds of Republicans said it was “time to move on.”
“The overwhelming majority of Americans are aware of Trump’s legal troubles, and a significant number say that a conviction would have some bearing on their vote,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist. “But absent the spectacle of a pre-election trial and adjudication, it’s not clear that awareness is enough in an environment where the former president polls stronger than either of his previous elections.”
As a candidate in Iowa, Trump was often conspicuously outworked by his competitors. He showed little interest in changing or modulating. It did not come close to mattering, at least not in Iowa, and his court appearances often created their own sense of motion, despite having nothing to do with actual politicking.
And so Trump— who detests little more than being mocked, who delights in little more than doing the mocking— found on Monday an early-state validation that eluded him eight years ago, when he lost in Iowa (and insisted falsely that the caucuses were stolen from him).
But even back then, he seemed to grasp something that many others came to realize much later. In a 2016 speech in New Hampshire, just before his first primary win, he observed: “A lot of people have laughed at me over the years.”
“Now,” he said, “they’re not laughing so much, I’ll tell you.”

It’s serious stuff though. As David Frum wrote yesterday, the outlook for democracy looks grim. The GOP, he wrote “is signing up for the ride, knowing exactly what the ride is. is signing up for the ride, knowing exactly what the ride is. Pro-Ukraine senators are working to elect a president who will cut off Ukraine, knowing that he will cut off Ukraine. Pro-NATO senators are working to elect a president who will wreck NATO, knowing that he will wreck NATO. Many top Republicans have been hoping for a way out of their Trump dilemma. That’s why Nikki Haley has raised tens of millions of dollars and Ron DeSantis has raised hundreds of millions. It’s why, even now, more than half of the Republican senators have not endorsed a primary candidate… That heralds potential disaster for American allies, for the United States’ standing in the world, and above all for the invaded democracy of Ukraine.The risk is apparent already from House Republicans, who have blocked Biden’s request for emergency aid to Ukraine, to Israel, and to border enforcement for nearly 100 days, since October 20, 2023.


Frum ends with a haunting question: “What kind of people are Americans, anyway? Trump has made clear, without illusions, that his ballot issue in 2024 is to rehabilitate and ratify his attempt to overturn the election of 2020. He is running to protect himself from the legal consequences of that attempt. But even more fundamentally, he is running to justify himself for attempting it. In 2016, Trump opponents warned that he might refuse to leave office if defeated. In 2024, Trump himself is arguing that he was right to refuse to leave office when defeated, and he is asking Americans to approve his refusal. If he should return to the presidency in 2025, we have no reason to expect him to leave in 2029. So maybe the issue on the ballot in 2024 is not a choice at all, but a much more open-ended question. We know who Biden is. We know who Trump is. Who are we?”

3 Comments


Guest
Jan 17

Are prosecutors "progressive" because they seek to uphold the law? I don't think so. However, now in our political climate, things have become so warped that anyone decent with character in support of the law, the Constitution and democracy is labeled a liberal/progressive.

Well, as Truman once said, any results moving in the direction of American progress and liberty, such as women's right to vote and civil rights, has been accomplished by so-called radicals and progressives. Huh. Recent voting has shown that support for women's reproductive rights and control of their own bodies is ubiquitous in the USA, not political or "progressive" per se. No labels required.

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Guest
Jan 17
Replying to

VEEERY well said.


Labels are applied by those who don't want whatever it is... and are facilitated by the profitized media who knows they'll sell a lot of ads by being assholes about all of it.


But the problem, as it has been for many decades, is that so few actually WANT to uphold the law and defend the constitution.


Of the 160 million or so who may vote, only a few over a million (0.7%) will actually vote FOR upholding law and the constitution... since the democrap party has refused to do so for several decades and counting.


a sure recipe for a nazi reich shithole.

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Guest
Jan 17

Frum asks pertinent questions about "Who ARE we". Perhaps he should do some introspection and ask "Who am I". Frum did some not insignificant work amplifying the vector toward the reich himself. He is among many, like your heroes cheney and kinsinger, who had epiphanies well after they had already rocket-boosted that same vector for many years... and it was also far too late to change it.


The question I keep trying to ask of non-nazi voters is the same. You have remained loyal to YOUR party that has proved, without exception, to be indifferent, at best, to you and your concerns as they serve their investors faithfully. You have blithely accepted the investors' naming your candidates for you (j…


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