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A Presidency Consumed by Pettiness

By fixating on his election victory, Trump may ensure it's his most impressive accomplishment

Last month Donald Trump interrupted his own comments on Republican health care legislation to marvel once again at the victory he had won six months before. "I'm president!" he exclaimed. "Hey! I'm president! Can you believe it, right?"

Trump's comical obsession with his own electoral accomplishment is at the root of his current political troubles, including investigations that will hobble him for months, even if they ultimately find no criminal wrongdoing. By constantly revisiting his unexpected defeat of Hillary Clinton and insisting that everyone acknowledge how amazing it was, he may ensure that nothing he does in the White House will be nearly as impressive.

After the election, Trump called his victory a "landslide." It wasn't. As political scientist John J. Pitney Jr. pointed out, Trump's share of the electoral vote ranked 46 out of 58 presidential contests.

Trump said his feat was still impressive because, as he put it last week, "it's almost impossible for the Democrats to lose the Electoral College." That is not true either. If anything, Republicans have a slight advantage in the Electoral College, because Democrats are more concentrated in certain parts of the country and therefore tend to waste more popular votes by far exceeding the threshold needed to win a state.

Trump said he would have won the popular vote were it not for "the millions of people who voted illegally." Nearly every study of the issue has found that voting fraud is rare, and there is no evidence that it happened last year on the scale suggested by Trump.

Even the ridiculous spat over the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration was a proxy for the debate about how big his victory was. By insisting, contrary to photographic evidence, that something like 1.5 million people showed up, Trump was again suggesting that the official tally on Election Day underestimated his popular support.

All of these Trump-generated tiffs were counterproductive distractions from the president's avowed policy goals. But none compares to the ongoing controversy over the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the presidential election, which Trump has magnified because he cannot abide any implied diminishment of the achievement he commemorates by handing election maps to White House visitors.

Trump calls the FBI investigation, which includes possible ties between his campaign and the Russians who hacked emails that made Clinton look bad, a "witch hunt" and a "taxpayer-funded charade." After he fired FBI Director James Comey last month, he admitted that the Russia investigation was a factor, lending credibility to the charge that he was trying to obstruct justice.

"When I decided to just do it," Trump told NBC News, "I said to myself...this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won."

Last week, after Comey cited that interview in his Senate testimony by way of explaining his dismissal, Trump returned to the theme. He told reporters that Russia's election meddling "was an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election that some people think they shouldn't have lost."

Trump is understandably upset about the unproven claim that his associates had something to do with the Russian operation. But what really gets his goat is the suggestion that he would not have won the election without Russian help.

The president was annoyed when Comey publicly acknowledged in March that the FBI was looking at possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign. But he also was angry when the FBI director testified last month that felt "mildly nauseous" about the possibility that his investigation of Clinton's sloppy email practices as secretary of state helped tip the election to Trump.

Both comments irked Trump because they cast doubt on the credit he deserves for the "landslide" that wasn't. If he cannot manage to contain those feelings, his presidency will be consumed by his own pettiness.

© Copyright 2017 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  • buybuydandavis||

    A Presidency Consumed by Pettiness

    The projection is strong with this one

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'm not sure how that makes him stand out from the pack.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    But none compares to the ongoing controversy over the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the presidential election, which Trump has magnified because he cannot abide any implied diminishment of the achievement he commemorates by handing election maps to White House visitors.
    Its Trump's fault that TDS has spread like wildfire because Trump will not give in to lefties?

    Trump was elected because voters hoped that he would not give in to the lefties.
    Trump was elected because he said he would try and dismantle some of the bloated government.
    Trump was elected because the establishment is so corrupt.

    The left is upset that Trump is exactly who he was in the campaign and cannot be controlled by lefty means. The media cannot control him. Protests cannot control him. The establishment cannot control him.

    And yet he has nominated Gorsuch, advocated privatizing ATC, submitted a budget cutting some federal bureaucracies, EO to force agencies to repeal 2 for 1, successfully limited illegals entering the USA, and best of all beat Hillary when she was predicted to have 20 points on him.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Trump has been a total failure as measured against candidate Trump.

    No tax reform, no Muslim ban, no job growth beyond the norm, no border wall, no energy independence, no trade deals by the deal "master", no GDP increase.

    But he is still the master bullshit artist, Con Man and liar, no doubt.

  • Sevo||

    Poor turd!
    Hey, turd! You LOST, loser!
    Hahahahahahahahahahahhaha

  • JuanQPublic||

    "No tax reform, no Muslim ban, no job growth beyond the norm, no border wall, no energy independence, no trade deals by the deal "master", no GDP increase."

    Even those of us who dislike Trump as president have to consider this laughable. He hasn't even been in office for 6 months.

    Along with calls for impeachment, a "Russia investigation" fixation that oddly began when the DNC was shown to have colluded with Clinton and big media, bizarrely looking back at George W Bush with fondness, and working to shut up speech by claiming that "hate speech isn't protected", the Democratic establishment is hemmoraging registered voters, along with the GOP.

    It's almost as if Democrats are trying to lose in 2020. Instead of proposing any policy that abides by principle and offers a serious alternative to GOP policy, let's just keep tallies on Trumps achievements and react to his every move (because it worked so well for the 2016 election.

    Yeah, that'll show 'em.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    "It's almost as if Democrats are trying to lose in 2020. Instead of proposing any policy that abides by principle and offers a serious alternative to GOP policy, let's just keep tallies on Trumps achievements and react to his every move (because it worked so well for the 2016 election."

    This strategy worked well for the Republicans.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Who's your dealer and what does he or she charge for your drugs?
    I can wait until you come down from that high.

  • Tony||

    He thinks he's a master bullshit artist, but he kinda sucks at that too.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    And no Obamacare repeal.

    Dismal failure.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    After Trump brushes of every lefty attempt to slow him down, he is still getting the agendas pushed thru. You don't know that because you don't get Trump's newsletter and the media is too busy covering TDS stories.

    Trump will go down as one of the better presidents who dismantled some government right under the noses of the media.

  • Michael Hihn||

    After Trump brushes of every lefty attempt to slow him down, he is still getting the agendas pushed thru.

    Name ONE.

    Trump will go down as one of the better presidents who dismantled some government right under the noses of the media.

    HE'S ALREADY MADE OBAMACARE MORE POPULAR THAN EVER ... TWICE AS POPULAR AS HE IS!

    The biggest success since General Custer at Little Big Horn!!!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Trump was elected because his opponent;

    * Insulted his supporters, thereby guaranteeing that every single one of them would turn up at the polls

    * Effectively stole the nomination from a popular challenger, making it likely that his supporters would stay home on election day unless she motivated them

    * Failed to motivate much of anybody

    * Had just been through a political scandal in which she escaped prosecution largely because she is a Washington insider, and which made her look like either a criminal or an idiot

    In a similar vein, if Trump wins reelection in 2020, I believe it will largely be because the voters are sick to the teeth of the anti-Trump hysterics and will turn out to say a vigorous "Fuck You" to the Democrat power structure

  • JuanQPublic||

    The Democratic Party and establishment is in crisis, they lost the presidential election to an incoherent reactionary, and they're actually doubling down on every aspect that makes their party unpalatable to the growing number of independents, who now comprise over 40% of the electorate, and party defectors who voted for Sanders.

    Either the Democratic Party is that out of touch with the country, or they simply don't care as long as the Pelosis and Schumers retain their offices.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump's reelection will not be because he slowed government growth of new regulations, got Gorsuch appointed, slowed the influx of illegals, reduced regs to get a coal mine reopened, approved the Keystone pipeline, etc?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    best of all beat Hillary when she was predicted to have 20 points on him.

    That's being saved.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Hopefully you don't forget it next time.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    In other words, Trump's presidency will be consumed by his own pettiness. And so will we all.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You know what's comical?

    Writing a piece about how the president is consumed by pettiness when the press is obsessed with his tweets.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    ^This. I still sometimes wonder if Trump is really petty, or if he's just playing the press. Either way the press shouldn't snap so eagerly at the bait.

  • ThomasD||

    They think they are umpires. Declaring that Trump cannot win the game they want him to play.

    The jury is still way out on Trump's presidency, but a verdict has been reached in the matter of the fourth estate.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The jury is still way out on Trump's presidency,

    But not on his total lack of moral character, or his obsession with total bullshit., or his total lack of ego.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Clearly much of what Trump does is purposefully yanking on their chains.

    Remember the "pledge to vote", where they held up their hands to pledge, and the Press leaped at the bait and called them all Nazis?

    I call it "troll whistle" politics. Opposite of dog whistle. You troll the enemy by saying things that only *they* can hear, making them go berserk and appear insane to sane onlookers.

    I need another word for that Christian move he pulled. He said something in obvious allusion to Christianity, but which sounded objectionable if you didn't catch the allusion. Of course, the MSM didn't catch the allusion, and went full retard over it, and looked like fools to the mass of Americans who understood the allusion.

    Funny, that is *actually* dog whistle politics, where the usual dog whistle politics are simply Leftist projection of bad intent on the Right, which the Left can supposed hear as well, because they can hear the racist dog whistle too, though supposedly they aren't racists. Those cretins can't even get their propaganda metaphors right.

    Trump gives the Left what they *want* to hear in ways that make the Left make fools of themselves to everyone else.

    It's beautiful.

  • JuanQPublic||

    I couldn't have said it better.

  • Tony||

    Pay no attention to the things he says, it's not like he's Lady Gaga or anything.

    Six months in and we're already at this sad, desperate stage of Trump defense: he's a moron with no self-control, what are you gonna do?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Ken Shultz, congenital authoritarian ass-kisser, laughingly claims that Trump's tweets are "petty."
    The President's intentional public statements are ... meaningless? ... as meaningless as Trump? ... As Shultz?

    The President aso claimed -- to a nationwide TV audience (not a tweet) ... that his loyal suck-asses would stand by him, even if he shot somebody to death ... in public ... with witnesses.

    It would be unfair to judge all of Trump's cult as being THAT wacky .... but Shultz is proud to be so! PROUD!

  • buybuydandavis||

    that his loyal suck-asses would stand by him, even if he shot somebody to death ... in public ... with witnesses.


    Only Rosie O'Donnell

  • Michael Hihn||

    Thanks for proving my point!

  • buybuydandavis||

    that his loyal suck-asses would stand by him, even if he shot somebody to death ... in public ... with witnesses.


    Only Rosie O'Donnell

  • Michael Hihn||

    Thanks for proving my point!

  • ||

    Can it be the left and all the hysteria around him, Jacob, kinda puts Trump on the defensive?

    Oh, gee. *Only four charges* of voter fraud in 2016! Win!

    I find it unfortunate to focus on the number he claims (as if politicians never over state anything, right?) as a possible deflection there was fraud. Even if it comes short of the 3 million (5?) he claimed, and it turns out Hillary did indeed get 800 000 how does him being off by the amount somehow diminish garnering 800 000 votes through fraud?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....m-nonciti/

  • Michael Hihn||

    Ummm, It was nearly TEN million who voted against Trump.
    Hillary needed a mere 80,000 votes in three states ... not 800,000.
    Trump was nominated by a mere 35% of REPUBLICAN votes -- which is 35% of 1/3 of the electorate.
    57% oppose him now, and only 34% of voters approve of the job he's doing.

    But his goobers can only screech, "He won the election." So did Carter and Obama. (lol)

  • ||

    Canadian example time!

    Back during the 1995 referendum there were allegations the Parti Quebecois were committing fraud by refusing legitimate ballots for the most inane reasons (i.e. the marking of a check or 'x' exceeded the circle thus negating its validity). Naturally everyone didn't want to believe this in a sane, functional and upstanding democracy!

    Lo and behold, there was.

    Food for thought.

  • Michael Hihn||

    So when will you start?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Naturally everyone didn't want to believe this in a sane, functional and upstanding democracy!
    Lo and behold, there was.

    No ... there was not. But Trumpsters are suckers for every conspiracy on the planet!

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Dead thread-fucking......again, Hihnfection?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Dumbfuck AGAIN calls me a thread-fucker .... when his is 12 hours later!
    Pathetic, but what else from a thing who BRAGS about feeding migrants in a log chipper. (Trump's cult are kinda wacky that way)

  • Rebel Scum||

    Is he so petty as to shut down open air federal parks and memorials during a gov't "shutdown"?

  • ThomasD||

    That wasn't petty. That was mean spirited, vindictive, abusive of liberty, and an affront to the actual owners of the properties.

    So, in that sense, consider 'petty' to be a vast improvement.

    Not to say that it couldn't be better...

  • Mark22||

    All of these Trump-generated tiffs were counterproductive distractions from the president's avowed policy goals

    As a libertarian, anything that causes the president to reach fewer policy goals is generally a good thing.

    Trump still seems to be pretty effective at rolling back regulations and appointing conservative justices.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>>All of these Trump-generated tiffs were counterproductive distractions from the president's avowed policy goals.

    Sometimes, people just talk shit.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Frankly I'd prefer that he spend the next 4 months having a one man self congratulatory circle jerk over defeating a deeply unlikable opponent in an idiotic popularity contest than actually attempting to "govern." Would that all presidents be as petty and stupid.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    *4 years*

  • Tony||

    Until your paycheck is affected, that is.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Toenail dead thread-fucking with a hihnfection......lololol

  • Michael Hihn||

    Migrant Dumbfuck Log Chippper accuses others of fucking a dead thread ... when the dumbfuck bully posts 12 hours later! lololol (and sneer)

  • BearOdinson||

    Republicans have a slight advantage in the Electoral College, because Democrats are more concentrated in certain parts of the country and therefore tend to waste more popular votes by far exceeding the threshold needed to win a state.

    Jacob links to an article that provides no evidence, just a broad statement about how Ds are spread out. Whether or not the electoral college provides an edge to one party or the other is simply opinion. And the fact is, according to just about everyone in the media, it was impossible for Trump to win the electoral college. In fact, a more likely scenario was discussed in which Hilary won the EC while Trump won the popular vote. The fact that Trump won all of the background states is an example of the exception proving the rule.

    I know that since 2008, places like RCP were always giving the edge to the Ds, because just NY+CA gives the Ds an automatic 84 Electoral votes. Include the almost automatic MN, NJ, MD and we already have 118 votes, and nary a D candidate has to campaign in these states. There is no comparison to states that are essentially automatic Rs.

  • BearOdinson||

    Besides, Jacob's statement is arguing a different question. His statement may or may not be true that Ds tend to waste more popular votes (although there is no evidence presented for this position). Using this logic, any votes for the winner in any given state, above the minimum needed to win, are also wasted votes. Trump won way more states by smaller margins, then Clinton. If an R barely wins most of the battleground states, while the D dominates in NY, NJ, CA etc. this equally could be evidence of an astounding victory for the R, not that he was the likely winner.

    And that is EXACTLY what Trump produces. An astounding, unlikely victory.

    Is Jacob arguing that any other Republican would have done BETTER against Hilary in PA, OH or FL?

  • ThomasD||

    I've read the article twice, and can't really tell if Sullum is attempting to make any sort of cohesive argument.

    Of course, the one he's skirting, but not making is the case for a 'strong' leader...

  • Michael Hihn||

    A string leader means ... favored by 34% of the electorate ... opposed by 57% .... who had nearly 10 million votes cast AGAINST him ... and won the Electoral College by fewer than 80,000 votes in 3 states.

    (snorf)

  • Qsl||

    Adding-

    We've already seen a gradual shift of red states to purple as demographics change. I mean how come the unfairness of the EC didn't rear its ugly head during Obama's elections where it would seem all the racist, misogynist basket of deplorables would have had even greater cause to get out the vote?

    All of this gnashing of teeth just reads as sour grapes, as if flyover country should be the fiefdoms of the coasts. Meanwhile, the very obvious fact that Ds have become repugnant to large swaths of the country, even with the constant badgering of the media, the presumed moral superiority, and the greater total numbers.

    You don't get new voters by appealing to your base (something libertarians haven't learned either).

  • Tony||

    Democrats by every possible measure are more popular than Republicans. Why should Bumfuck Alabama get to decide federal policy for New York? It goes both ways. Except the people in New York are smarter.

  • Qsl||

    Because it's not bumfuck Alabama, it's bumfuck Texas, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, Louisiana, Arizona, South Carolina, Indiana, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, Utah, South Dakota, Georgia, Wyoming, Kentucky, Nebraska, Missouri, North Carolina, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, AND Alabama.

    "Except the people in New York are smarter."

    Apparently not smart enough to read how the Electoral College works. And not nearly charming enough to convince the rest of the country there should be a change.

  • Tony||

    When you as a resident of a small state have the governing power of 60 Californians, you don't need bother being convinced.

  • Qsl||

    Which is exactly why we are discussing President Clinton right now.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Another partisan goober. (yawn)

    the very obvious fact that Ds have become repugnant to large swaths of the country,

    Even more than the Donald? (smirk)

  • x'); DROP USER Tony;||

    God, most of y'all will twist yourselves into crazy shapes in order to keep Trump's cock firmly down your mouths.

  • Africanis||

    Pointing out the obvious isn't dropping down to your knees Tony boy, that is your usual position at the Democrat glory hole. Trump is petty, but lets not pretend the opposition to him isn't just as bad! He fights back and they can't stand it! The NYTs and some other news org got placed a few rows back in seating and cried about it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That's not Tony. It's another bully -- like you -- trying to ban opposing views.

  • Orf||

    A more wrong-headed, ignorant essay I have never seen than this absurdity evolving from the vacuous mind of Sullum.

  • marshaul||

    "Evolving"?

    You're trying to speak above your ability. It's cute.

  • Tony||

    Maybe I missed it, but in all these insult-hurling comments I have yet to read an actual defense of Trump as president other than cynical bullshit like "As a libertarian I'm glad he's incompetent!"

    So anyone want to say something positive about Trump?

  • Michael Hihn||

    About Trump, nothing positive is possible.
    He does advocate a tiny number of positive reforms, but his assholery makes them likely impossible.
    Meanwhile, Rand Paul continues his father's legacy - humiliate and destroy the libertarian movement.

  • Tony||

    I cannot fathom what Rand Paul is up to.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Trump's assholery is what has made any actual pushback against the Marxists possible.

    You cheer for the ineffectual Washington Generals, and the ever ridiculous Libertarian Party, stroking "muh principles" to ecstasy in glorious, endless, noble defeat.

    I'll take the guy who can eke out a victory and actually push back the Progressive Theocracy an inch.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Trump's assholery is what has made any actual pushback against the Marxists possible.

    It's crackers to slip a rozzer, the dropsy in snide.

    You cheer for the ineffectual Washington Generals, and the ever ridiculous Libertarian Party, stroking "muh principles" to ecstasy in glorious, endless, noble defeat.

    You're FULL of shit ... AND buried in 1000 tons oif it/

    I'll take the guy who can eke out a victory and actually push back the Progressive Theocracy an inch.

    While sucking up to the Christian Taliban --- you, Trump and your ilk are just different authoritarians. And eager to be brainwashed.

  • Amogin||

    The minority president wishes to be recognized as the greatest politician who ever lived. The problem is that he isn't and rather than accept his victory as the tarnished thing it is- he wants eveyone to cheer the conquering hero. His victory is no more tarnished that George W Bush or Rutherford B Hayes. Both men went on to govern as the presidents they were chosen to be. By constantly calling attention to the shady aspects of his victory, this president makes it unlikely that he will accomplish anything substantive. In 2020, if he's not impeached first, he will still be crowing about his great success and trying to reproduce it.

  • Johnimo||

    The left is consumed with government and the power it provides for the completion of their "agenda." Trump is a populist boob, with some good and some bad ideas. His good ideas (cutting some government programs, appointing Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and getting out of the Paris Climate Agreement) are driving the left insane. For them, bigger government is an article of faith.

    Look at healthcare: it's unsustainable and everyone knows it. The left doesn't care, though. They only want to buy votes by promising everyone everything. They're unified in their desire for bigger government, while the conservatives and the libertarians are fractured on almost every issue. Thus, the left is angry and Trump is the focus of that anger, some justified, most of it just unrealistic expectations of government largesse.

  • Ned Netterville||

    If he can be proud of the way he was elected, by saying anything he thought would win him votes regardless of his words being devoid of truth, then he will be proud of doing nothing as president. Narcissism is its own reward.

  • The Pessimistic Shrink||

    True enough, but that in his mind, "doing nothing" cannot exist. He will do the best and the greatest. Because narcissism is its own reward.

  • The Pessimistic Shrink||

    In the '70s, the psych / self-help concept of the "inner child" came on the scene. The idea was (and is) that we have ungrown child parts within our adult psyche. There were cute slogans about the "care and feeding of" one's inner child. My clinical perspective has always been different. I don't believe that people HAVE an inner child. I believe we ARE our child self, and our adult character is just window dressing. My theory is absolutely proven in Donald Trump.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Shrink.......hahahahahahahahaahha.

  • Budbug||

    Well, you're right in that Trump's Presidency is TRYING to be consumed by pettiness, but articles such as this, and ALL of the desperate, petty ploys by the reality-denying Left (and their RINO lapdogs, and their MSM propaganda puppets) are all failing miserably, and they do nothing more but continue to drive the stake further into the heart of the vampire that is Progressive Ideology. Keep up the good work!

  • Michael Hihn||

    Ummm, is that why your idol is opposed by 57% of the electorate ... and supported by 34%?
    Pity the fool.

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