Sometimes I think that when Donald Trump says "Make America Great Again", he really means something like "Make America the 1950s Again". You know, that Leave it to Beaver vision of white suburban neighborhoods where kids got into shenanigans, but wives were wearing the dresses and pearls in the home doing random stuff, mostly in the kitchen and the Daddies went to work. It just so happens he's about to start off with a Korean War to get us there...and maybe exhuming McCarthy while he's at it.
Which sets us up for the theme of this TrumpWorld Grab-bag: Mad Men. This isn't the first time I've referenced Mad Men here on the blog, but that was in reference to a small web-consulting outfit that sometimes did some stuff for Republicans--low-key, you might call it, but I like the in-joke name for the advertising side of it.
That wasn't the least bit of the Trump web-advertising dollar (or ruble), it looks like. One of the most fascinating things about trying to figure out what happened during the 2016 campaign has been to just look at social media. Like, Facebook and Twitter posts and ads. The stuff that was all over the place, and we might not have necessarily thought was weird because, like fish, we only get aware of the "water" once we're out of it.
Imagine ads calling Trump our "only viable option", implying somehow that Trump was seeing a reality that no one else did. (The ads at the link are revolting and push specifically racist buttons. They were intended to incite racially-motivated responses.) Or ads that specifically highlighted racial tension regarding Black Lives Matter demonstrations, aimed at denigrating the movement as threatening and violent. Imagine Russian-sponsored ads that basically touted "Anyone but Hillary Clinton". Imagine stories and ads pushed to indicate Muslim support of Clinton at an exactly wrong time.
This is the level of highly button-pushing and divisive rhetoric that we experienced during that campaign last year. It was dangerous, because it didn't just influence elections--it incited people to violence. It incited people to feel more concretely satisfied about either being just a bit white supremacist, or maybe way too liberal for a neoliberal hack like Clinton. This Russian-funded campaign told people it was great to be appalled at people agitating against police brutality and for equal treatment under the law. (Speak up--are you pro-police brutality and actually against equal treatment under the law? Inquiring minds want to know. Because if you also think police brutality is terrible and everybody should get the same treatment under the law, which is what the Constitution says--hey great! Abandon the fucking anti-BLM or anti-antifa shit. Hate acts of violence against people--but don't smear people for their ideals. We are Americans together, just trying to live up to the Constitutional ideals and not actually being overt racists and shit. If you love the Constitution and the Republic constituted by it for which our flag actually stands, you might even consider taking a knee understanding that we are Americans by grace of our founding documents and the ideals contained therein, and not necessarily by place of birth or parentage or ethnicity or even religion--and we all deserve the fundamental protections found in that Constitution our president swore to defend. Even if I swear he doesn't understand it. )
Now, we know Russia paid for these kinds of ads. What we aren't sure about is the level of coordination between the Trump Campaign and their Russian "assist." Some of what we know is pretty well-researched by investigators and is liable to lead to indictments, soonish, for Paul Manafort. (He's also nearly up for a public Senate Judiciary hearing--this would be a good day for me to C-Span and not chill when it goes down.)We know Roger Stone Twitter-bragged about backchannels to WikiLeaks. Now, he's going to pretend he doesn't know anything?
I don't know what this all leads to. I know IRS is now in the mix. Mueller, unlike the rest of us, has Trump's and others' tax returns. That might be interesting.
And then there's Jeff Sessions, who might be just as under threat of getting the sack as Bob Mueller, just saying some stuff about how the Trump Russia investigation is trying to nail people for completely everyday stuff. Does he mean like perjuring oneself at a confirmation hearing kinds of normal things? Like meeting with Russian "diplomats" and not mentioning or actually averting one did not even do so even if it wasn't even the specific question asked?
Anyhow, this TrumpWorld Grab-Bag business still looks like it's going somewhere. And I begin to think about how the principal figures have behaved (like the private email business) and mentally conclude that they might just all be mad men. Angry. Or Insane. Choose your adjective.