Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, amzn.to/2sQBWYL). Professor. Dec. 12, 2019 2 min read

NEWS: Trump Ally to Argue for (Illegal) Third Trump Term on Fox News Program Run By a Trump Adviser

(If you don't think Huckabee got Trump's blessing to splatter this obscene argument all over longtime Trump domestic policy adviser Sean Hannity's TV program, please think again.)

PS/ Understand the game here: if *anyone* dares to note how *dangerous* this talk is, Huckabee and Trump's troll army will just say, "Ha! We were kidding! You got triggered!" because that's *exactly* what someone trying to move the Overton Window would do—play it off as a "joke."

PS2/ So understand that—Democrat or Republican—if you come on a thread like this to tell me Huckabee was messing around, you *don't* understand digital communications theory. Literally *the playbook* is to say as a "joke" what you mean seriously, slowly moving the Overton Window.

PS3/ If the "extra terms" line had been a "joke" as we understood that term in 1965, it would have come up *once*. Ha ha, funny! some would have said. And it'd disappear. This is being brought up systematically over time, in different fora, always as a "joke," to re-seed reality.

PS4/ But it's worse than that—and I usually avoid going into this because digital comms theory bores most people—because this strategy *works* because *some* folks really *do* mean it as a joke. So you can't distinguish the "joke" rhetoric from the Overton Window-moving rhetoric.

PS5/ Remember the use of the "OK" hand symbol? For many alt-right trolls, it *was* a joke. They *aren't* white supremacists. But they kept doing it *after* white supremacists joined in the fun. The result was *more powerful*: you never knew if the symbol was a "joke" or serious.

PS6/ Postmodernism is bad at discussing this stuff; it lacks the metaphysics for it. In postmodernism, there's "no difference" between "joking" about a hand symbol or intending it as a racist trope. But we *need* that difference to discuss how dangerous "drafting" off racism is.

PS7/ So I give a rat's ass if Huckabee is "kidding." He either already supports a third term; is "testing the waters" using Overton-Window theory; or is "drafting" off the unconstitutional, unpatriotic rhetoric of actual radicals to get attention. Either way, NONE OF IT IS FUNNY.

PS8/ This—below—is why we lose. (Not singling this person out—many responded to the thread this way.) Postmodernism says either you're playing someone or being played; it's a dialectic. It *doesn't work that way now*. This is about *slow reality-shifting*.

PS9/ The right response to Huckabee isn't to ignore him, but to say, (1) I recognize you could be playing a million different games here; (2) I don't feel "embarrassed" or "played" to be addressing what you said; [and that's because] (3) *fuck you* no matter *how* you meant this.

PS10/ We gotta wise up. The digital age isn't about avoiding being "played"; that was the TV age. It isn't about avoiding being embarrassed; that was the TV age. The unit of measure in this age is *reality*, and it can be moved a *million* different ways. Recognize *all of them*.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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