The Trumpian Conundrum

One can spin discourse in every conceivable manner; however, when the context makes the discourse patently obvious any attempt at trying to circumvent it is patently stupid. Unless, of course, one is Donald Trump. This is the context for Trump's latest foray into the world of "whatever I say is true" so let's try to deconstruct Donny one more time. Somewhere in his North Carolina speech, Donny went off the rails:

"Lower electric--lower electric bills, folks. Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick...(CROWD BOOING) If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know. But -- but I'll tell you what. That will be a horrible day. If -- if Hillary gets to put her judges -- right now, we're tied. You see what's going on. You see what's going on? We tied because Scalia - this was not suppose (sic) to happen. Justice Scalia was going to be around for ten more years at least and this is what happens. That was a horrible thing."

Owing to Donny's lack of discourse management and his ignorance of the English language, one sees that Donny's penchant for equivocation is painfully apparent. He began by talking about lowering electric bills, but immediately transitioned to the Second Amendment. The fact his Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz has said that Trump has an attention span of about three minutes is corroborated in these two sentences alone. Donny is incapable of managing to stay on point since he is a victim of a pathological type of stream of consciousness. Unlike Faulkner, Trump has no clear notion of where those words come from (The Voice of God, perhaps) nor how to put them in an effective sentence. He uses the word "abolish" incorrectly. The word "abolish" comes from the late Middle English: from Old French aboliss-, lengthened stem of abolir, from Latin abolere 'destroy.' So, she can't essentially abolish something especially when it's a Constitutional amendment since abolishing the Second Amendment cannot be done by Presidential fiat nor by the Supreme Court. As with anything that has to do with the Constitution, to do that would mean a resolution would have to pass through both houses of Congress that received a 2/3 majority vote, and which was then approved by 3/4 of the states. In other words, Trump really hasn't read the Constitution especially Article V and he should take Khizr Kahn's suggestion and borrow his copy.

Trump then goes on another stream of consciousness detour in which he states the line that no Trumpian sycophant wants to deal with which comes immediately after her authority to choose (her nominee) for the Supreme Court: If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know. The Trump spinners from Giuliani to Hannity have all come up with some of the most creative ways to deconstruct those lines none of which have any merit. Trump is not encouraging the Second Amendment folks to "get out the vote." No, there's nothing in those lines that would even hint at that notion. Not only that, the fact there have been numerous occasions on which a President has nominated and had confirmed a "conservative" judge only to have that judge vote for something "liberal" is apparent even as recently as Judge Roberts' decisions let alone Nixon's appointment of Harry Blackmun.

Regardless, Trump's default mechanism is his constant use of the rhetorical device known as apophasis wherein the speaker or writer brings up a subject by either denying it, or denying that it should be brought up. Though Trump doesn't know what that is or means or where it comes from he uses it as part of the stream of consciousness sojourn his mind often takes. It's a bit like taking mescaline without the long-term side effects. So, at the tail end of there's nothing the people can do he adds the bit about the Second Amendment people. The allusion is patently obvious and one doesn't need to be a Sharron Angle aficionado to figure that out. Trump is clearly advocating the assassination or attempted assassination of the President of the United States. It is not, as Paul Ryan suggested, "A joke gone bad." A suggestion that if Clinton were elected a Second Amendment aficionado should take up arms and attempt to murder her? A joke gone bad? One can attempt to spin the line anyway one wishes, but the context is patently clear.

Trump then goes on to give the audience a Cliff's Notes version of the Supreme Court vacancy by talking about Scalia and since Donny is smarter than everyone else on the planet he knows that Scalia still had another decade to live. Perhaps, Scalia would still be on the bench at the age of 90, but it doesn't matter because whatever Donny believes in is fact. As any Seinfeld devotee knows, this disease is also known as the "George Costanza Effect." Trump continues with: "So now look at it. So Hillary essentially wants to abolish the Second Amendment. Now, speaking to the NRA folks - who are great - when you - when you -- and I'll tell you, they endorsed me. They endorsed me very early. My son's a member. I'm a member. If you - we can add I think the National Rifle Association, we can add the Second Amendment to the Justices - they almost go - in a certain way, hand in hand. Now the Justices are going to do things that are so important and we have such great Justices, you saw my list of 11 that have been vetted and respected."

In classic Trumpian manner, he effectively repeats himself and then digresses to the NRA which has absolutely nothing to do with what he initially set out to discuss; namely, lowering electric bills. But this kind of discourse, flawed as it is, is successful because of Trump's audience. Apparently, no one in the audience is actually listening to any part of his discourse and trying to analyze or question what he says in any substantive way. They are listening to the buzz words he mentions, regardless of the dysfunctional way in which he uses them, and respond to whatever sounds appealing at the moment. In other words, there is no critical thinking here, folks, just the need to acclaim whatever sounds right and that's not only a flaw in the way his audience thinks, but, more important, a flaw in the way their "leader" thinks.