Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ My author website is here: www.terikanefield.com/ Nov. 03, 2018 3 min read

(Thread) Trumps wrecking ball: Lies & victimhood

“Trump doesn’t seem worried to me,” a friend said. “It’s like he has a trick up his sleeve.”

He does have a trick: But it isn’t hidden. It’s in full view:

Lie. Ratchet up the race-baiting—then blame others and be the victim.

1/ When asked whether his rhetoric creates violence, he pointed to the media and “You’re creating violence by your questions.”

When humans commit atrocities, the perpetrators of violence often believe they are the victims.

2/ From Snyder👇Trump's trick is to fill the public sphere with fiction, then blame the other side—the Democrats or journalists.

From Jason Stanley and others: When the dominant culture began to lose its dominance, it sees itself as the victim.


3/ When Andrew Jackson ignited the rage against native Americans which resulted in the Trail of Tears, he cast the white man as the victim.

In his view, the white man WAS the victim. Native Americans stood in their way of taking what was rightfully theirs—the land and wealth.

4/ In Mien Kampf, and all his life, Hitler cast himself (and Germany) as the victim of Jews and others.

Would-be right wing authoritarians start with the lies.
Have you noticed that Trump's has stepped up the lying? http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/wapo-trump-made-1-419-in-7-weeks-leading-up-to-midterms-1360618051603?v=raila& 

Notice the NATURE of the lies:

5/ To justify setting up tent camps for asylum seekers, he says 3% show up for hearings; the actual number is about 93%.

In an outrageous race-baiting anti-migrant ad, he accuses Democrats of allowing a cop-killer into the country.

6/ He said a black female Yale-educated lawyer serving as Georgia’s state House of Representatives is “not qualified” to be governor.

He said black candidate Andrew Gillum is a “thief.”

7/ The lies speak to what Trump and his supporters see as an underlying truth:

Blacks and immigrants are taking what rightfully belongs to the “real” Americans.

The lies serve several purposes.

The stream of lies keeps his keeps his opponents busy playing whack-a-lie.

8/ Facts slip away from the public sphere. There is only fiction—about the nature of immigrants and non-whites.

As an added benefit: people are so busy disproving the lies, nobody has time to focus on facts: Like Trump’s years of tax fraud, business fraud, TrumpRussia, etc.

9/ But this is a side benefit. This isn’t the point.

The point is to so undermine factuality and torpedo the public sphere that Trump can NEVER be held accountable.

For more on why his followers eagerly fall in line and believe his see my Slate article:

10/ Scholars Hahl, Kim, and Sivan explain why his followers believe even lies that defy logic/  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003122417749632 

People who want to destroy the “political establishment” willingly embrace a liar because they understand that the lies serve a destructive purpose.

11/ And yeah. The political establishment = the government.

In the view of Trump’s supporters, the government that gives rights to immigrants and minorities over “real” Americans is not a legitimate government and must be smashed.

If this sounds unAmerican, recall this:

12/ For most of American history, ‘we the people’ referred only to white men.

Paternalism envisioned a structure with white men at the top, and women who were members of minorities at the bottom.

This whole diversity thing is relatively new.

13/ Trump's lies form the wrecking ball that can destroy the "political establishment" and inoculate Trump from accountability for his actions.

Here's how.

Trump’s approval is about 42%.

14/ If all those people believe what Trump says, factuality and hence rule of law is not possible.

Think what that means:
It won't matter what is in Mueller's indictments.
Jury verdicts won't matter. (All Trump has to say is that some jurors were Democrats.)

15/ Jury verdicts don't enforce themselves. For that matter, the Constitution doesn't enforce itself. It works because enough people want it to work.

No constitution or set of laws can hold up if enough people no longer want them.

16/ If brutalities or violence occurs at the border, Trump will cast himself as the victim and Democrats or journalists as the cause.

Make no mistake. Trump is cynically and deliberately using a set of techniques for seizing and holding power.

17/ As Trump's showdown with Mueller approaches, can expect him to keep ratcheting up the lies and claiming he’s the victim of nefarious plots to bring him down.

Right Wing authoritarian leaders throughout the world watch and learn from each other.

18/ Most recently, Trump watched Bolsonaro come to power in Brazil using exactly these techniques.
The techniques and strategies are effective. And easy to use.

It's so much easier to destroy than to build.

19/ Elsewhere I've talked about the solution. Thanks, Mari, for the summary:

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Become member.