David Roberts @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Aug. 13, 2019 2 min read

I really hate the discourse about "who can take on Trump," like he's some big, scary monster. He is a sad, flailing fraud, a serial failure enabled by crooks & plutocrats. Mock him. Pity him. But don't "take him on" by trading insults, it grants him too much credit.

People take Trump seriously because other people take him seriously, like a dystopic version of the Peter Sellers movie Being There. His opponent should ride the emperor-has-no-clothes theme relentlessly. It's what most terrifies Trump -- that people will regard him as a fake.

If you go back through Trump's rhetoric, you find a recurring theme, a narcissist's ultimate fear: they're laughing at us. China. Iran. Foreign cos. Elites. Media. Someone, somewhere is laughing at me... er, us, and it's got to stop. Everyone must take me... er, us seriously!

Trump is a yokel from Queens who has spent his life desperately trying to impress the swells in Manhattan. It is his life quest, and it is doomed to failure. His rage at "elites" is barely concealed envy & yearning. No matter his power, they still laugh at him.

His is the quest of every authoritarian (be it husband, boss, or president): to silence or exile everyone who laughs at him, or might laugh at him, so that *everyone* takes him seriously ... as though that, were it even possible, would fill the gaping maw inside him.

Point is, Trump is not some intimidating tough guy. He's soft as cotton candy, a coward, an emotional & intellectual toddler who's been protected from his serial failures by a rigged system. Nobody would talk about how courageous they are to run against a toddler.

Debating a toddler doesn't require courage so much as patience & focus. The toddler will scream & throw his own feces around. But every childcare worker or parent knows the worst thing you can do is engage a toddler on his own level. "No YOU'RE the poopy-head!"

The way to expose Trump as an overgrown manbaby is to treat him like one. I could see Warren or Harris or maybe even Buttigieg pulling this off, but I have trouble envisioning it from Biden, who's more of a YOU'RE-the-poopy-head type. Sanders I really dunno. Anyway. </fin>


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