So many chickens coming home to roost at the Mar-a-Lago that the hen house isn’t big enough. Poor Donald Trump has been finding ways of postponing, deferring or otherwise mortgaging the legal safety of his future self that he’s become a kind of one-person Ponzi scheme in which one set of shenanigans is paid off by a pyramid of further shenanigans.
This week the FBI “raided” his Florida home/business apparently to capture Whitehouse documents that probably should have been in the Whitehouse. The inevitable reaction from the right was this was a politically partisan persecution of the person of the previous president. “Unprecedented” was the word being used, which I guess is true but then Trump is an unusual sort of ex-President. Voices on the right were also treating it like it was the first shot in the civil war they kept threatening us all with.
Ever since Trump announced his run for president in 2015, I’ve been taking the temperature of the right by looking at the most convenient sample I had to hand: the writers previously known as Evil League of Evil aka the former Sad & Rabid Puppies.
The reaction to the news of the FBI warrant on Trump was not immediate. I group reactions to events on the right into three types.
- Instant consistent rage or excitement – straightforward events where it is obvious to everybody what the right is going to feel and say about things.
- Anger/excitement but they are initially confused as to what it means. For example, during the January 6 attack on the Capitol there were competing narratives between the rioters being noble patriots and it all being a false flag intended to discredit the right. Eventually, the narrative settled on it somehow being both at the same time.
- Little initial reaction until everybody has worked out what to say. This is where they were with the Trump/FBI warrant. There was an initial pause in some quarters partly because Trump’s star has faded but also as a way of playing down the significance of the event. One way to treat the “raid” would have been to claim it was just a distraction by Biden and should be ignored. Instead, the narrative settled on outrage.
Anyway, time to have a lock at our panel of research subjects:
“I was fairly salty on instapundit last night, on the subject of the idiotic raid on Trump’s place, but you know, that is easy. This is much harder, because I have to give a more reasoned opinion. And all I can say is, SERIOUSLY? Am I really living in a novel? Because Sad Puppies really was foreshadowing for our greater National troubles, only you know, it can’t work int he macro world as it did there”https://accordingtohoyt.com/2022/08/09/speaking-of-bad-plots/
I’m always up for a Sad Puppies/US Politics parallel, so here’s Hoyt’s longer explanation of how the two connect:
“And part of the issue is how they define us. And how they justify what they want to do to us. As in Sad Puppies (And we’ll Psakircle around to that) they can only imagine we oppose them, not because we have substantive reasons to disagree with them or because their ideas are crazy, don’t work and are totally out of contact with reality but because we’re all old white males who feel our supremacy (which hasn’t been true for fifty years, if it ever was) in science fiction threatened, and so we are lashing out. For this to work, we must all be rich and famous and OLD white males. Even when we obviously and literally aren’t, which started the whole joke about the white Mormon male with a great rack (since a few of us obviously aren’t. And some of us aren’t any of those.) But for their ideology to work we MUST be that, and so that’s what it is in their heads. (Remember they also believe if they think something hard enough it will be true.)”https://accordingtohoyt.com/2022/08/09/speaking-of-bad-plots/
I think “old” maybe a new elaboration on this theme from Sarah Hoyt. Either way, the point, shrouded in a strained analogy, is that for Hoyt the “raid” is just persecution designed to wind up the right.
Onto, John C. Wright, who is a former lawyer.
“The private residence of the leading political party opposition of the current illegal regime occupying the White House has been raided by the FBI, acting as the regime’s private Gestapo.”https://www.scifiwright.com/2022/08/trump-raided-by-feds/
I’m not sure what “private” is doing there. If the analogy with the Gestapo made any sense (it doesn’t) it would still be the regular public Gestapo surely? I quibble when there’s more to say:
“The excuse for the FBI to enter the home, break open safes, and plant evidence is even more flimsy and absurd than the excuses used to promote the Russia Collusion hoax, the Ukraine Phonecall hoax, the January Capitol Trespass hoax, and countless other investigations mounted against Trump and his family. Pardon me if I do not dignify the excuse by repeating it or rebutting it: my lawyerly soul recoils in disgust.”https://www.scifiwright.com/2022/08/trump-raided-by-feds/
Wright’s lawyerly soul has not stopped him from asserting the grounds for the FBI warrant was flimsy despite Wright actually having no idea at the time he wrote that what the warrant actually says. However, in good news for those of us sceptical about the efficacy of law enforcement, Wright has made a sudden ACAB conversion:
“The FBI and other intelligence agencies must be defunded, dismantled, abolished. Every Republican politician unwilling to call for abolishing the FBI must be primaried and thrown out of office.”https://www.scifiwright.com/2022/08/trump-raided-by-feds/
Very lawyerly. This is all Wright working up to the idea that the “raid” (not really a raid at all by all accounts) was an intentional provocation of the right — an outrage so that some on the riot would react violently thus giving the tyrannical monsters in Wright’s imagination to crack down on everybody.
“You haven’t done Brad yet!” OK, OK. These days Brad is on Twitter because he kept getting banned on Facebook. This is part of a general trend of what we might call moderation-shopping. Many on the right abandoned Twitter in 2015/16 after the site began taking half-hearted action in the wake of Gamergate. In 2021/22 many have returned to Twitter after Facebook moderation increased but also after various right-wing Twitter alternatives flopped.
Brad’s contribution is to re-quote Andrew Yang and then add his own wisdom:
“The best possible thing for the (D)s to do, with Trump, was to just leave him alone. Let Trump be Trump, and wait. But no. The (D)s have been so eternally and deeply offended by Trump, he is the itch they cannot scratch, and every time they *try* they just amplify Trump’s signal”https://twitter.com/BradRTorgersen/status/1557360681426374660
And wait for what exactly? Brad was endorsing quasi-centrist Yang who has offered a weird kind of argument for a special Trump immunity:
“I’m no Trump fan. I want him as far away from the White House as possible. But a fundamental part of his appeal has been that it’s him against a corrupt government establishment. This raid strengthens that case for millions of Americans who will see this as unjust persecution.”https://twitter.com/AndrewYang/status/1556987104219090945
It’s a principle that in effect would give legal immunity to anybody who has lots of easily enraged fans. That would be great news for K-Pop stars who want to steal classified US government records I guess but not a sensible approach to government or law.
Brad also has some rewriting of history to fit in:
“The Overclass in D.C. *should* be asking themselves, “What mistakes are we making to cause a majority of voters to hate us so much that they will turn to a gruff, uncouth, hot-mouthed showman like Donald Trump?” But this would require more maturity than the Overclass can spare.”https://twitter.com/BradRTorgersen/status/1557002698737995782
Trump has done many things but he has never managed to win the support of a majority of US voters and never will.
Meanwhile, the OG Sad Puppy is also on Twitter explaining how angry everybody has become because of law enforcement enforcing laws.
“The vibe I’m getting off of rank and file normie Republicans today is that they are PISSED. Even the mushy moderates are freaked out. Only Twitter NPCs like this Cuba style bullshit. I think in their hubris the Democrats just fucked themselves even worse than they were before.”https://twitter.com/monsterhunter45/status/1557104249321824256
Correia raises Brad’s bar with retweets. Instead of the muddled Andrew Yang, Correia goes for the appalling Tim Pool. Pool attempts the rhetorical Hillary manoeuvre in defence of Trump:
“Hillary is fundraising off of admitting she did worse than what Trump is accused of This is the perfect example of democrat double standards She is gloating that she is above the law and knows democrats will give her money for it”https://twitter.com/Timcast/status/1557009500527378433
Pool is never worth listening to but I find this quote illustrative as it helps explain some of the (slightly) delayed rage on the right. What is really angering the people of above, all of whom were to some degree opposed to Trump back in 2015 (and saw him as dodgy and dishonest back then), is that so many, many people were delighted by the idea of the FBI searching Trump’s home. It was a small quantum in terms of consequences for Trump but it inevitably caused a lot of delight from the right-of-centre to the actual left. Nothing makes the modern US right angry quite so much as the non-US right looking happy.
I’ve left one out. Vox Day was an early adopter of Trump enthusiasm. Day’s love of Trump faded when Trump refused to declare martial law and impose a dictatorship but he still has a soft spot for him. Day’s response was to post the bulk of Trump’s own press release. However, he did add this comment to his own post:
“This is a really bad sign for the continued existence of the United States as a unitary political entity. The primary requirement for the peaceful transition of power is to always permit the previous office-holder effective immunity for his actions in office, however they might be deplored by the office-holder who succeeds him, and to leave him alone.”https://web.archive.org/web/20220810202306/https://voxday.net/2022/08/08/the-raid-on-mar-a-lago/
For those who have forgotten, Day was a long-time proponent of prosecuting the Clintons and also a promoter of the Qanon conspiracy theory.
Is this the beginning of the end for Trump? Well, almost everything is the beginning of the end for Trump. You could use that phrase for his whole career. It has made some people very unhappy but they, self-admittedly, also were people who got very upset that the wrong rocket-ship books were getting the rocket-ship trophies.