Saturday, February 23, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He started rewriting the history of the 2018 midterm elections.

Trump has kept an unusually low profile today, even by the standards of his visits to the Florida vacation home where he spends two or three days out of most weeks in the winter. But he did make an interesting claim on Twitter: "There is far more ENERGY on the Right than there is on the Left. That’s why we just won the Senate and why we will win big in 2020."

Of course, how much "ENERGY" one political party has relative to another is subjective, and Trump is entitled to his opinion—even though it's probably colored by the fact that he may need to retain the presidency in 2020 simply to avoid being criminally prosecuted for another four years. 

But the 2018 midterms aren't the best evidence. Republicans picked up seats in the Senate that Democrats had been swept into during their successful 2012 presidential year, but far more Americans voted for Democratic Senate candidates than for Republican candidates. Democrats got about 45.2 million votes, while Republicans got about 39.3 million, for a difference of almost 7%.

In fairness to Trump, Senate popular vote totals don't reflect the entire nation's "ENERGY," since not every state had a Senate election (and some, like deep-red Mississippi, had two). But the total votes for the House do cover the entire country. In the highest-turnout vote for the House in more than a century, Democrats got 9.8 million more votes than Republicans, for a margin of 8.6% and a gain of 41 seats.

Trump has a long history of ignoring, self-deluding, or simply lying about how popular he is. He claimed—and may even have believed—that the massive Women's March protests held after his inauguration were not about him. Trump also continues to insist that Hillary Clinton's popular vote victory was the result of literally millions of illegal votes somehow cast by unknown millions of co-conspirators, exclusively for her (but not in states that would have mattered), and without leaving a single shred of evidence

Why should I care about this?

  • Past a certain point, self-delusion becomes pathological.