Photo: The Miller Center, Creative Commons License 2.0

CNN's Chris Cillizza continued his impressive record of wrongness yesterday with a column explaining that nobody has to like Donald Trump all that much for him to be reelected in 2020. That's because Cillizza has discovered the secret to Trump's popularity: Trump supporters don't mind that he's a jerk, and they wouldn't necessarily even want to have a beer with him. But, says Cillizza, "when it comes to actually getting stuff done for America, there's no one better."

NO ONE better? NO ONE better. We just wanted to repeat that, to make sure we heard ourselves right the first time.

What has Donald Trump actually accomplished, apart from signing a huge tax cut designed by other people, appointing judges chosen by other people, and starting a trade war? Oh, you see, those ARE the accomplishments, says Cillizza, who acknowledges that's largely a matter of opinion. For the "gets things done" claim to work,

you have to believe that Trump has actually achieved results for American during his first term. His backers would point to tax cuts, a re-orienting of America's role in the world community, changes in trade policy and the overhauling of the federal judiciary.

"A re-orienting of America's role in the world community" is, we suppose, one way to frame abandoning our allies and cozying up to dictators, sure.


The big problem here is that Cillizza is so taken with the idea that Donald Trump is a jerk but he gets things done that he never really examines it beyond that very short list. But while he tries to make the case, he sure does tie himself into some fancy knots! First, he says it doesn't really matter whether Trump's supporters or detractors buy it, but instead whether undecided voters believe it and are willing to give Trump another term.

Since we're now three months into Donald Trump doing virtually nothing about a pandemic that has now killed over 90,000 Americans, you might think that central failure would play a role in Cillizza's assessment. It does, but only as a seemingly minor roadblock to Trump's ability to run on his "accomplishments":

[The] case was easier to make three months ago, when unemployment was low, the stock market was soaring and Trump could credibly take credit for all of it. Now, because of the massive effects of the coronavirus -- and the shutdowns used to deal with its spread -- that economic case is significantly weakened.

That's literally the only framework in which Cillizza mentions the pandemic. Hell, he doesn't even mention Trump fans' willingness to believe he's handling it masterfully. Instead, Cillizza clings to the idea that people voted for Trump in 2016 because he was the candidate who promised "change," without ever mentioning what that "change" was (it was taking back America from the scary black man).

Cillizza is so intent on not noticing Trump's appeal to white racial resentment that he even misses what was really being said in the James Woods tweet he claims inspired the column. Woods didn't say dick about Trump getting things done for America. Instead, he said he stands with the lout for an altogether different reason:

Did you see the part in there where woods says Trump "gets things done for America"? That's entirely in Cillizza's imagination. It's not that Trump supporters overlook his rough edges because he gets things done. For one thing, plenty of them LOVE the rough edges, because isn't that edgy and lib-triggering?

But the real attraction of Trumpism has little to do with whether his policies work. It's enough that Trump hates the same people his supporters do: the welfare bums, the Chinese taking our jobs, the illegals. And those snooty European "allies" who don't appreciate us. Also those know-it-all "experts." Even if the policies don't bring back jobs, restore American prosperity, or even slow the death toll from the worst pandemic in a century, they like to believe Trump is fighting the people that piss them off, and that's all that matters.

If Cillizza had actually been paying attention to Woods, he'd have had the makings of a better column. But he's not paid to pay attention. He's paid to do whatever this is instead.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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