Monday, 23 January 2017
Trump the Unpopular Populist
I was going to make a joke in my piece about the inauguration (coming up later) about Donald Trump trying to tell us about the reality of the size of the crowd and about the weather. But then that is exactly what he did do. He tried to tell us that the crowds were four times larger than they actually were and that it didn't rain. In this new era we are in a special era of mendacity and delusion. On Saturday, his first full day of governing, Trump had a busy day of signing executive orders beginning the dismantling of Obama's already shaky legacy. He also visited the CIA at Langley, an organisation he recently compared to Nazis. Never a man to let such facts get in the way of his insincerity he thanked the spooks for their work before spending the majority of his time, in front of a hallowed memorial, talking about himself.
Whilst there he took the opportunity to rail against the media once again, this time for their dishonest reporting of the crowds that saw his inauguration. This, according to Donald, who is clearly an expert on crowd size estimation among his other many and various talents, was clearly over a million and not the 250k most estimate it to have been and which can be clearly demonstrated by looking at pictures of recent inaugurations. The one last week had clear and large gaps.
You don't have to be an expert in crowd size estimation (there are such people, apparently) to see that the pictures of Friday's inauguration, when compared to Obama's 2009 inauguration, which was of the order of 1.8 million, quite clearly show it to have been much smaller. Acknowledged experts have concurred at this and indeed the Metro system has confirmed that the numbers using their service on Friday, at 11am, were much lower than those recorded in 2009. The numbers using the Metro, which is a definite number and not just guesswork are: Bush: 2005: 197k; Obama: 2009:513k; Obama: 2013:317k and Trump: 2017:193k. Thus the numbers recorded last Friday were similar to those who attended George W Bush's second inauguration in 2005, an inauguration that took place after a controversial war. Why Trump is in denial about this is a mystery. He did not win thanks to some massive upwelling of popular support. He won narrowly in a divided country, by the skin of his teeth, on the electoral college only. He lost the popular vote massively. So why did he think, in what is a Democrat area he lost to Clinton, that he would get crowds as large as Obama did?
But more importantly, on a day when there were surely more important things to talk about for a new president, did he and his Press Secretary engage in rants about dishonest media reporting when the media had barely talked about it prior to their raising it? Did Trump really think that he is popular? Has he not seen his own historically low poll ratings? And what do numbers attending an inauguration matter anyway, unless you have a narcissistic personality disorder and a thin skin? If it is this easy to rile the president then is it possible that we are heading to a world of trouble? We laughed when Kim Jong Un was furious about that crap film made about him a couple of years ago. Now it's only a matter of time until the president declares war on Saturday Night Live and has Alec Baldwin sent to Guantanamo.
Oh and Donald also managed to try to lie about the weather. According to him it only drizzled a little right at the beginning when in reality it continued for several minutes. We could see it on TV, Donald. He then claimed, ludicrously, that it rained heavily just after he finished speaking. This did not happen. Donald, you see, thinks he is God. This is the man who is now the most powerful man on the planet and in charge of the nuclear codes. Like a modern day King Canute, he thinks the rain stops at his command. Could anyone persuade him to go for a bathe in the sea?
You have to question the sanity of a man who is in this level of denial and apparently considers that he can tell people what they can see with their own eyes. This is not media lies, these are demonstrable facts that Trump got really furious about and blamed on the media. Trump has not been swept to power on a huge and popular surge of popularity. He is an unpopular populist. And he is ruling in a democracy. People are allowed to disagree with him. Presumably, given his denial of what happened on Friday he has also edited out the huge protests against him on Saturday. These were at least 3 or 4 times larger than the crowds that gathered to see him being sworn in. Or did we imagine that too?