After the FBI cleared Hillary Clinton once again late yesterday, Donald Trump did not permit this inconvenient new set of facts to knock him off stride. Instead, he effortlessly converted it into more evidence for the argument he’s made all along — the system and the election are both rigged, and any Clinton victory in this election will by extension be illegitimate.
“You have to understand, it’s a rigged system,” Trump said last night, after FBI Director James Comey advised Congress that the newly discovered emails will not change the FBI’s recommendation against charges. “And she’s protected.” Trump also dismissed the possibility that the FBI had examined the emails in such a short time: “You can’t do it.”
In so doing, Trump laid bare the core of his whole argument for the presidency. But he also revealed that in the end, Trump’s own argument, objectively described, constitutes the strongest possible argument against electing him.
I’m going to attempt to demonstrate this with a chart — it is below — that, I believe, objectively captures the sum total of Trump’s arguments, and why those arguments, taken on their own terms, compellingly demand a vote against him.
At the heart of Trump’s case for the presidency lies two components. The first is a hyper-exaggerated narrative of national decay and decline — skyrocketing crime, rotting inner cities, decaying factories, a festering terror threat from within, a border that is being breached by dark hordes of invaders. The second is the notion that our elites are both fecklessly responsible for that perilous state of national decline and too corrupted to fix it — they’ve rigged the system against you, undermining American sovereignty to enrich themselves, while allowing American identity to be degraded by immigrants who are at best parasitic and at worst a lethal threat.
But Trump’s diagnosis runs deeper than that. His argument is not simply that elites are ripping you off from above while enabling those subgroups to rip you off and threaten you from below. Rather, the truly pernicious component of Trump’s argument is that our institutions and our democracy have themselves grown so hopelessly corrupted and compromised that they are no longer even capable of arresting and turning around that decline via conventional democratic processes. The only outcome that can change this state of affairs is electing him president. Any other result would only confirm that our system has been so corrupted that it is fundamentally no longer capable of producing legitimate political outcomes.
Trump sometimes expresses this idea explicitly, and sometimes implicitly. But it is the thread that runs through everything he has been saying and promising for months:
Full story in article.