Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Don't Feed President Troll

Four questions to ask yourself before you freak out about Trump's latest tweet

"People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again," President Donald Trump bragged, predictably, on December 24. "AP FACT CHECK: Trump on making Christmas great again," came the even more predictable reply from the Associated Press. This is no way to watchdog an administration, let alone celebrate a beloved holiday.

Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America by mastering the art of the troll, has not to date found his social media equal among the hydra-headed opposition. The president pecks out impotent bluster designed to inflame the haters, and Democrats, journalists, and establishmentarian Republicans take the bait every time.

So instead of firing up the hyperbole machine after each fatuous tweet, perhaps we should work our way backward from the underlying power dynamic, asking ourselves whether the president has the means to convert his latest utterance into real policy change. One might even gently suggest that such a framework should be applied to all American politicians, not just the one who's been the most successful since July 2015.

Trump's illiberal ambitions were thwarted a number of times in 2017. A week into his presidency, the administration issued a hasty and draconian travel ban, barring entry into the United States—including, amazingly, by legal permanent residents who happened to be abroad at the moment—if they originated from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

This was the high-water mark to date for anti-Trump activism. Pop-up legal aid teams swarmed to scores of international airports to help bewildered travelers. Protesters, too, brought the TV cameras out.

Meanwhile, a series of courts issued injunctions against the order, forcing the administration to substantially revise and improve the ban at least twice. (The third version, which includes some non-Muslim countries, doesn't affect legal residents, and is based on considerably more concrete visa-processing information, is still facing a legal challenge, though the Supreme Court stayed a pair of injunctions against it in December.) Institutions, both governmental and not, still matter.

Trump has much more legal authority over who can and cannot come into the country than he does over whether shopkeepers say, "Happy holidays." That's why the first question to ask after any given Trump-blurt is What could the president do right away about this by using his executive authority? As annoying as they are in the moment, a president's comments about the cast of Hamilton being "very rude" to Mike Pence or how such-and-such journalist "should be fired" are neither sticks nor stones.

The presidency, alas, has been accruing tangible administrative power and intangible public mindshare for decades. On foreign policy in particular, we still don't know how Trump will exercise his authority in response to future crises.

But most of the big stuff can't get done without lawmakers. Which leads to a second question when evaluating a Trump statement: What relevant legislation might Congress pass?

The most unpopular president in modern polling history is down to a 51–49 Republican majority in the Senate—a body in which 11 Republicans did not endorse him in the first place. This math helped strangle Trump's awful "border adjustment tax" idea in the crib. Meanwhile, the polls do not augur well for House Republicans. A year from now our primary worry may be what the president has in common with Nancy Pelosi.

A third question that eludes too many breathless commentators is Are there any other constitutional or treaty-based limitations on Trump's stated goals? The president may fervently believe that flag-burners should be prosecuted, but that's been a non-starter on the Supreme Court for three decades now.

All of which leaves the hardest question for last: How might he be changing the political conversation in such a way to make what is currently unlikely possible? Republicans already have very different ideas on international trade and the virtues of Vladimir Putin than they did even two years ago. If Trump is indeed taking a blowtorch to our political culture, the damage to America could be long-lasting.

But as the baseball slugger Chili Davis once observed about then-invincible pitcher Dwight Gooden, "He ain't God, man." No one person, even in a position as inflated as the presidency, can totally reshape something as messy and resilient as America. It's critical to keep your head on straight during an admittedly weird presidency, and not go into full panic mode at every threatening utterance.

Don't want the troll to win? Don't become one yourself.

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  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    (lol) You'd have to shut down the Comments. Trump's goobersquad takes over every page with an article about him.

    ::complains about "Trump's goobersquad, shitposts throughout entire threads::

  • XM||

    Michael Hihn, the biggest troll of the commenting community who wouldn't recognize a civil conversation if it hit him with a truck, has something to say about trolls and Trump.

  • buybuydandavis||

    In bold and capital letters!

  • Sevo||

    wuracituj|2.17.18 @ 11:42AM|#

    I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

    This is what I do... www.onlinecareer10.com

  • damikesc||

    Perhaps the press should just stop flipping the fuck out. You lot seem to be the ones obsessing.

  • silver.||

    I interpreted the article as advising the same thing.

    "So instead of firing up the hyperbole machine after each fatuous tweet"

    Right now it seems the only two viewpoints are "TRUMP IS BAD" and "TRUMP IS GOOD." I don't give a shit what Trump, or anyone, is tweeting about; I'm chiefly interested in what he does, but the conversation is drowned in mud and hysteria. It's like people have a tic where they have to tack on some sort of ad hominem.

    "Well Trump relaxed regulations..... you progtard!"

    "Well Trump is literal Nazi ... you Trumpet!"

    I get it. Everyone's angry. I get full-tilt triggered by frenetic anti-gunners and have to bite my tongue so hard that it bleeds. Some of those people are spectacularly, extraordinarily, heroically stupid ignorant of the facts. But I really try. I'm definitely not going to convince anyone by calling them an idiot.

    Alright I'll get off my high horse now.

  • jeffrey fein||

    One solution to the mass killings in schools is simple -- or at least a major step in the right direction (don't count on "law enforcement". When not incompetent in anticipating and preventing, or arriving too late to be effective, or too cowardly to risk their lives by going after the shooter instantly, rather than waiting until they have assembled overwhelming force, after all this, you have to ask, "Do they even really give a sh*t?" It's so much easier -- and safer -- to just let the guy empty his magazines, and if he's considerate, saving the last bullet for himself.)

    No, the best course of action is to train all school staff in the use of firearms and have them armed at all times. (For obvious safety reasons, the weapons should be of the sort that cannot be fired except by a staff member.) Then a would be shooter would either be deterred, knowing he was facing a firing squad rather than helpless children, or promptly exterminated.

    Of course, that said, don't hold your breath.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America by mastering the art of the troll"

    This particular phrasing leads me to believe Matt is virtue signaling to his more progressive friends so he isn't frozen out of those beltway cocktail parties. Not that the quote is untrue, just phrased in an intentionally unkind manner.

    Don't worry Matt. If you ever make it to Spokane, you're welcome to hang out with my libertarian pals and I. We actually have a number of classy watering holes, and there is the occasional trendy cocktail party.

  • 55||

    So much of human cruelty is committed unwittingly so when an asshole comes along and teases it out and puts it in your face it's hard to resist the urge to not respond to the elephant that's shitting in the room but yes the people who never saw in the elephant in the first place aren't going to smell the shit and will assume your protests are out of order.

  • damikesc||

    So much of human cruelty is committed unwittingly so when an asshole comes along and teases it out and puts it in your face it's hard to resist the urge to not respond to the elephant that's shitting in the room but yes the people who never saw in the elephant in the first place aren't going to smell the shit and will assume your protests are out of order.

    Funny, the Tea Party managed to markedly less bitchy about the markedly less competent Obama administration. And they actually WERE targeted by them...

  • Sevo||

    wuracituj|2.17.18 @ 11:42AM|#

    I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

    This is what I do... www.onlinecareer10.com

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Living on the street, giving hand jobs for crack? M'kay!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America by mastering the art of the troll...

    People hate to consider the possibility that this president didn't hustle his way to where he is any more than the previous ones. There is never any single reason why people collectively vote a particular way, but is there a chance that the majority of Trump voters knew what they were getting and wanted it? Were they so sick of our various establishments and institutions that a troll in their minds was precisely what was required to counter them, to chip away at them, to make them more manageable by the people?

    Right after the election's surprise result, the fourth estate briefly flirted with the idea that PC culture had swept Donald Trump to power. Journalists seem to have rejected that notion just as quickly as entertaining it, perhaps because too much was the idea that partly their own actions could have produced the backlash that produced the Trump presidency. But the president's bully pulpit has been more effectively used by the current president than any since perhaps Reagan. Trump does not need to make new policy or push new legislation to shift the public one way or the other. He only needs to tweet. His greatest achievement - and most lamented - is that he made people feel they could once again express unpopular opinions.

  • Jerryskids||

    If Trump is indeed taking a blowtorch to our political culture, the damage to America could be long-lasting.

    That's a remarkably odd phrase for a libertarian. I don't think for a minute the majority of voters wanted Trump, but it's kinda like terminal cancer patients willing to try any desperate measure to stave off what's otherwise inevitable. Our political culture is progressive almost entirely when you go back to Woodrow Wilson and the idea that society can be scientifically ordered by Top Men applying the right sticks and carrots - government can fix anything and everything if they just try hard enough because human beings are just as easily managed as a flock of sheep. When Republicans believe this nearly as much as Democrats, when the unstated premise of the administrative state is that human beings lack free will, what else is there for a free man to do but urge "burn it all down"? This is what burning it all down looks like when that first match is struck.

  • Jerryskids||

    Only if you believe that libertarians are staunch supporters of the current political culture and are properly aghast at the idea that anybody would take a blowtorch to it. Which it wouldn't surprise me to learn that you do indeed believe.

  • Jerryskids||

    Well, there were seven of them but after Jimmy found out about the earrings it turned out it was blue instead of gray so it wound up costing only about 15 dollars.

  • Mark22||

    If you actually were a libertarian instead of the Marxist slaver you are, you would understand.

  • Brian||

    When did we all vote to ignore the constitution and let the butthurt decide who really wins elections?

    I don't remember that vote.

  • Sevo||

    Brian, Brian, Brian...
    "2) He lost the popular vote"
    See, you're not counting the votes she got as a sophomore for "Least Likable Bitch" and all those other votes she got when she was growing up.
    They count, don't they?
    Hey, Hihn?
    Fuck off, idiot

  • Brian||

    He's proving my point.

    Apparently, the big question is why don't libertarians call Trump out for his anti-liberty policies... while we make every conversation about popular votes, the electoral college, and Russians?

    Gee, I have no idea, but I would guess that there's a big part of the country that wants to avoid having policy discussions, because their worldview can't accept 2016, and keeps beating it like a dead horse, hoping it will just go away.

    Worked great for W.

  • Brian||

    Sorry, but I stop reading when your crazy goes on too long.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He did lose the popular vote, but since the rules of the game make that largely irrelevant there's no need to try. If the rules were different, campaigns might have gamed the election differently. I don't know why people keep bringing it up.

  • Sevo||

    "I don't know why people keep bringing it up."

    I think they keep bringing it up in the hopes they won't been seen as the idiot supporters of that losing hag; you know, she really didn't lose - lose...

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The bottom line is that the DNC rigged their primary to foist an incredibly unlikeable insider on the electorate in an election cycle wherein insiders were toxic. Hillary's nomination was an act of total arrogance by elitists in the DNC, and it backfired massively. They were dismissive of Trump's candidacy, which which was also arrogant.

    If democrats want to be angry at anyone, it should be their DNC masters, not Trump. He won fair and square, and the hag lost. Period, case closed.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The sad thing, though? The runner up to Hillary, who had to be quashed with a rigged process?

    A geriatric red diaper baby.

    The even vaguely sensible candidates were rounding errors in the Democratic primaries. Sure, Hillary shouldn't have been handed the nomination. But nobody who should have gotten their nomination was a contender, and that wasn't rigging, that was the modern Democratic party.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    True, they have no bench. Except maybe Warren, and I'm not convinced she plays all that well outside New England and CA.

  • Mark22||

    Yet, his goobers WHINE that calling out his failed Presidency means refusing to accept that he won

    Failed presidency? Tax reform, SCOTUS nominee, and regulatory cutbacks alone are worth it. He could be doing better on immigration enforcement, but he's trying.

    People like you throwing hissy fits each and every day is a pointless but fun bonus.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Mostly agreed, though the enormous corporate tax cut is going to blow up in our faces as they are also increasing spending.

    He could be in a catatonic state sitting in the oval office drooling on himself for 4 years and be better than Hillary would have been.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    Wait, you mean he's not? I thought it was the drool shorting out his phone that was causing those tweets.

  • Mark22||

    Mostly agreed, though the enormous corporate tax cut is going to blow up in our faces as they are also increasing spending.

    The enormous corporate tax cut was essential; it barely makes the US competitive again with other Western nations.

    I used to worry about the national debt, but I don't anymore. The problem with overspending isn't that it creates debt, it's that the spending per se is dangerous.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Bullshit. The effective corporate tax rate was 1718-% in 2016. US companies are not only competitive worldwide but winning against competitors.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Not really accurate, and overly simplistic. Anyway, it doesn't matter what you think. The cut in corporate tax rates, plus the tax holiday on overseas money will bring back at least a few trillion dollars to our shores.

    MAGA!

  • Mark22||

    The effective corporate tax rate was 1718-% in 2016.

    You're confusing "effective corporate tax rate" with "average corporate tax rate". I.e., the fact that a lot of US corporations got special tax breaks doesn't lower the effective corporate tax rate, it lowers the average corporate tax rate

    Basically, PB, you're saying "we had lots of crony capitalism and corruption, and I liked it that way"! Of course you did: you love cronyism and corruption.

  • damikesc||

    3) He won the Electoral Vote by a mere 29,000 switched votes.

    Apparently, opinions cannot change. Who knew?

    I love that "Hillary was a horrible candidate and a shitty campaigner" seems so lost in your analysis.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It doesn't matter either way. The votes were legit and Trump won. Whether anyone likes it or not, that is a quantifiable fact. No point in anyone complaining about it.

    I also sick of all these absurd statements that Trump is borderline retarded. Given his academic and business history, this is absurd, and those sort of statements are tiresome. Trump says some obtuse things, and is not a great orator. Big deal.

    Trump's policies are hit and miss. I like some of what he's done and dislike other things. Regardless, he is a superior president to his predecessor, and infinitely superior to the hag. It's possible he may en up being the best president since Reagan. Although that doesn't set the bar very high.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Clinton won his first term with only 43% of the vote.

    He would have been president except for the "anti" votes for Ross Perot.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Wouldn't

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Absolutely true. As Perot peeled of republican voters somewhere between two to three times the number of democrat votes he received.

  • silver.||

    There is never any single reason why people collectively vote a particular way, but is there a chance that the majority of Trump voters knew what they were getting and wanted it?

    I agree. Trump rode in on a perfect storm. Some people voted as backlash against insane PC, some voted for the 1-2 SCOTUS justices, some voted because Hillary is one of the most terrifying humans in existence, some people voted because Trump promised them more opportunity, some people voted because the entrenched political situation is dire, etc..

    Because of new algorithms to squash narrative dissent, Reddit has become a full-scale socialist circle jerk, and one section, "Trumpgret," is the favorite child of anti-Trump brigade. I think there are about 5 people total that regret their decision to vote for him. Everyone knew what they were getting into, and I think a lot of people have been pleasantly surprised, myself included. I'm still pessimistic, though.

    ... the fourth estate briefly flirted with the idea that PC culture had swept Donald Trump to power. Journalists seem to have rejected that notion ...

    I believe this, but I can't believe that they don't know that all the bad PR is, at best, useless. He weaponized their bias from the outset. All the continued focus does is deepen the divide between his fans and opponents. So that must be their mission, but I don't really understand why.

    Whatever happened to the notion of, "any press is good press?"

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Trumo isn't the real problem. What fucks us up now is a weak, feckless GOP congress unwilling to do what they campaigned on. For example, if Trump were handed a budget with any kind of logical cuts to it, does anyone think he would veto it? I highly doubt that. Sadly, we have Ryan and McConnel at the helm, and no fiscal restraint in sight.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The Dotard said he didn't support spending cuts, you moron.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    First, don't ever disparage my intellect, as it exceeds your own by several orders of magnitude (you are merely a progtard, and not even a very clever one as they go), second, supported or not, Trump would likely sign a GOP approved bill with reasonable spending cuts.

    So just stop. This is all way beyond you, and we're all very busy here. M'kay?

  • GILMORE™||

    "the election's surprise result,"

    and why was the result a surprise, again?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It was a surprise for me because every poll told me Clinton would win big. I don't know for sure why it was a surprise for the pollsters or the news media.

  • GILMORE™||

    "every poll told me Clinton would win big."

    "and polls never lie, so it must have been the Russians"

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Ironically, had a number of serious pollsters shown Hillary in trouble, the FNC might have galvanized their base better and managed to squeak out a win. Instead they made everyone think they had it in the bag. So democrats who didn't like Hillary stayed home, instead of ho,ding their nose jut to keep Trump out.

  • ||

    It was a surprise because smart insiders didn't think it was possible.

    They're still in shock apparently.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    What's a Hamilton?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    $10, give or take.

  • Sevo||

    So half a Jackson?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    So a halfjackson then?

  • Brian||

    This.

    Trump has a lot of political positions totally at odds with libertarianism. But, we practically never talk about that because we're too busy opining our that TRUMP ONCE TALKED TO A RUSSIAN ONCE OMG HE SAID ITCWAA ABOUR ADOPTION BUT IT WAS ABOUT CLINTARY HILTON OMG COLLUSION TREASON CAN YOU BELIVE IT THIS IS UNPRESECEDNETED!

    No ones interested in having a normal conversation about the president because they're too invested in pretending that the implosion of their political order is an aberration that must be nipped in the bud, never to come again.

  • Brian||

    Go ahead and show me how to have a normal conversation, Hihn.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    For a perfect example of how a normal conversation should proceed on a libertarian website, see Michael Hihn's conduct in this topic.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    Brian, you're perfectly free to talk about how Trump isn't a libertarian without bringing up Russia. Trump sucks in general and for libertarians like me in particular. Why don't you just make those arguments? Go ahead. I've never seen that from you.

  • Brian||

    I'm sorry, I didn't know you were following me.

    I dislike his stance on Mexicans, the deficit, and Jeff Sessions.

    I'm glad he cut my taxes, didn't totally fuck up replacing Scalia, and has a general disdain for regulations. People who don't do a lot of finance may not get it, but the last several years have been one of he most ridiculous regulatory climates ever.

    We can talk more about that, if you want, but if we go WHITE NATIONALISM RACISM!., well , I think you of all people would prefer and actual policy discussion over racism labels.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    You think he's cutting taxes?

    GOP plan will ultimately raise taxes on 50% of Americans, nonpartisan assessment says
    "We're going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas," President Donald Trump said Monday, speaking before a cabinet meeting
    But a nonpartisan tax analysis group said the Senate package would leave half of taxpayers facing higher levies by 2027
    The group also said the proposal would generate enough growth to produce additional revenue of $169 billion over a decade...

    You think Trump did a good job in replacing Scalia?

    His background also includes a dose of pro-corporate, deregulatory libertarianism, as reflected in his close relationship with the billionaire Philip Anschutz, a client turned mentor. A sampling of authoritarianism can be seen in Gorsuch's service in George W. Bush's Justice Department, where he helped craft a proposal for the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo. (The Supreme Court later ruled it unconstitutional.) There's social conservatism, too, evident in his one book, a critique of death-with-dignity laws and physician-assisted suicide. "All human beings are intrinsically valuable," he wrote, "and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong." It's easy to read the book as a coded attack on abortion rights.

    Where's the old Brian who would talk about how The Président was a terrible authorian about 15 months ago. I miss him.

  • Brian||

    Yawn. If you can't have an honest conversation, there's really no point.

    Whatever happens in 2027 is all you need to know.

    Yep.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    Have at it... tell me more about how Neil Gorsuch is a libertarian.

  • Brian||

    I will... as soon as you show me where I started.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    OK, but first can you tell me how much Trump sucks without using the word "but"

  • Brian||

    I did that upthread.

    Jesus, you communists aren't ever happy until everyone is thinking and saying exactly what you want, and none of what you don't want. Explains a lot.

  • ||

    No, communists are only happy until everyone is dead.

  • Sevo||

    "Where's the old Brian who would talk about how The Président was a terrible authorian about 15 months ago. I miss him."

    Yep, of course you do. Anyone who has been watching and has found Trump to be 'way better than advertised and admits that is an ogre to close-minded lefty assholes.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Lefties are close-minded assholes.

    Wingnuts are bigoted, half-educated, superstitious, downscale, gullible, backwaters-inhabiting, authoritarian yahoos who (even worse) attend country music concerts, 'rasslin shows, and revival meetings.

    Where is the hope for America?

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|2.17.18 @ 5:38PM|#
    "Wingnuts are bigoted, half-educated, superstitious, downscale, gullible, backwaters-inhabiting, authoritarian yahoos who (even worse) attend country music concerts, 'rasslin shows, and revival meetings."

    Self-righteous, elitist, lefty assholes are the worst.

    "Where is the hope for America?"
    When do you leave? It'll get better then.

  • Mark22||

    Deregulation isn't "pro corporate".

  • Sevo||

    "Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America by mastering the art of the troll,..."

    No.
    He's there because rational actors looked at the two and figured he was better than the alternative. Fucking idiots like Hihn, Tony and the rest of the lot spend all their time trying to invent reasons other than that, and they are not required: The hag was worse than Trump.
    And while Trump is a blow hard with protectionist bias, he's certainly has turned out to be far more 'libertarian' than about any POTUS in my memory.
    So, yeah, go ahead and keep whining about him; it's amusing, and it seems he enjoys it too. Play 'Hihn' all over the web and air-ways; tell us all how you know better than those idiots who voted for Trump, how he's some sort of monster who could only have gotten elected blah, blah, blah...
    BTW, DeVos is still SoE, we have Gorsuch instead of who knows, regulations are slowing at a record pace, we're no longer part of that Paris money-sucking mess, the Dow's back up to $25K+, and my taxes have dropped...

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Drumpf won because Russian interference boosted his vote totals by just enough in swing states to win the Electoral College (which should be abolished). He was also helped by a biased media that normalized him and exaggerated Hillary Clinton's perceived flaws.

    Drumpf's white nationalist anti-immigration position alone disqualifies him from appealing to any real libertarians. Deregulation? Palin's Buttplug has shown more than once it hasn't helped the economy. Gorsuch? Dangerous right-wing extremist who will be much worse than any Clinton appointee would have been. But whatever. Enjoy what's left of Orange Hitler's reign, because Mueller is rapidly closing in. #It'sMuellerTime

  • Mark22||

    I think as punishment, we should lock you up with them.

  • Mark22||

    Yes, Trump is not Hitler.

    No, but Hihn is a totalitarian prick.

  • Sevo||

    Not sure he's totalitarian, but, well, maybe.

  • Mark22||

    Not sure he's totalitarian, but, well, maybe.

    Well, Marx wasn't explicitly a totalitarian either; Marx thought that everybody would be free once all the opponents to his ideas were eliminated. And Marxists denounce anybody who opposes their "workers of the world unite" ideas as "fascists", "authoritarian", "nationalist", etc. So, just like Hihn.

  • Jerryskids||

    Amen, brother, amen. Even though I am afraid that Trump and his minions might obstruct justice to the point where they might weasel out of criminal charges, I'm heartened by the fact that our paladins of the press will make sure he's brought to justice. If you've got the NYT and WaPo and CNN on your case, exposing your lies and corruption and malfeasance, there's no escape. Just ask Obama - it took them 8 years of relentless scrutiny to bring his reign of errors to an end but by God bring it to an end they did. Trump can't possibly last any longer than 8 years against these speakers of truth to power, either.

  • Mark22||

    Drumpf won because Russian interference boosted his vote totals by just enough in swing states to win the Electoral College (which should be abolished). He was also helped by a biased media that normalized him and exaggerated Hillary Clinton's perceived flaws.

    All true! Of course the "Russian interference" was instigated by Democrats who thought Trump was going to be a pushover, and the biased media normalized him unintentionally as they attacking him on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I wanna subscribe to your news letter!

  • chemjeff||

    he's certainly has turned out to be far more 'libertarian' than about any POTUS in my memory.

    umm wut?

  • Sevo||

    chemjeff|2.17.18 @ 1:31PM|#
    he's certainly has turned out to be far more 'libertarian' than about any POTUS in my memory.
    "umm wut?"

    Too many syllables, jeff? Is that your problem? Or just too stupid.
    Probably the later.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Sure, if you ignore the drug war, military belligerence, superstition-based anti-abortion zealotry, abusive policing, white nationalism, Guantanamo, gay-bashing, race-targeting voter suppression, military spending, militarization of police, Trump probably seems libertarian.

    Or, if you just as dumb as the average wingnut or any ardent Trump supporter.

    Carry on, clingers.

    So far as your lousy educations, shambling lives, bigoted souls, and depleted hick towns can carry anyone, I guess.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Arthur and his cut-and-paste comments.

  • Sevo||

    "...Sure, if you ignore the drug war, military belligerence, superstition-based anti-abortion zealotry, abusive policing, white nationalism, Guantanamo, gay-bashing, race-targeting voter suppression, military spending, militarization of police,..."

    We were discussing Trump, not Obama, you dimwit.

  • gclancy51||

    Ooohhh... nice to see Sevo taken down like that. Such a weak straw man response too - like a true butt-hurt bitch! If I had a hat I'd doff it.

  • Mark22||

    Don't want the troll to win? Don't become one yourself.

    A bit hypocritical coming from Reason, don't you think?

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    The FBI as corporate enforcer:
    "This Short Seller Pressed 'Tweet.' Then the FBI Showed Up"
    [...]
    "Short-sellers aren't known for restraint and decorum, and that goes double on Twitter, where Marc Cohodes vowed to take down a CEO he accuses of fraud. "I will bury the little fella in a shoe box," Cohodes tweeted in October.
    Weeks later, a black Ford Expedition pulled up to the short-seller's Sonoma County ranch. Two FBI agents emerged."
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
    articles/2018-02-16/this-short-seller-
    pressed-tweet-then-the-fbi-showed-up

    A-1 seems a mystery to the FBI.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Freedom of speech doesn't include explicit death threats, dude.

  • Sevo||

    "Freedom of speech doesn't include explicit death threats, dude."

    I'll bet you're stupid enough to think you have a point.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    Look at all the right-wing trolls on a libertarian comment board. Criticize Trump means you bad!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    We all frequently criticize Trump, you traitor. Just not all the time, and not for everything. I've never seen a single person here say he's perfect. I certainly don't think he is. However, he is far better than Obama, and infinitely better than the hag.

  • GILMORE™||

    the Hihn-ratio here has gotten out of control.

    has no one spoken to Mike Alissi?

  • Sevo||

    G, if Hihn didn't show up here, the damage caused by TDS would remain hidden.
    He IS the poster-child for the disorder, and as such, he's providing a valuable public service.

  • Comrade Cosmoturf||

    He is doing exactly as should. You all doing exactly as should.
    Big great plan, you will see.

    Visit in Facebook, don't forget go vote!

    *snicker, snicker-ski*

  • GILMORE™||

    Its amazing to think that people are so stupid that they think that

    "when foreign govts behave exactly like domestic political parties, they're able to control people's minds"

    all the accusations against "the russians"

    (*and for the record; most of the examples of 'russians' are just low-level hackers who originate east of Germany; actual connections to any govt orgs not necessary)

    ... amount to exactly the same behaviors that DNC and GOP engage in *every single time there's an election*

    e.g. 'planting stories in the news, spamming social media, examining voter-rolls to identify groups that might potentially be ripe for exploitation...'

    iow, its "political activity"

    which everyone has done since the dawn of time. but, omg, when some foreign entity does it, its magic and evil.

    when americans do it, its FREEDOM!!!!

    if you are influenced at all by any of it, you're an idiot.

  • Sevo||

    There's going to be some real gymnastics involved in showing why it's illegal for citizens of a foreign country to take a position regarding the candidates for POTUS.
    When I was in China in '07, I heard positive and negative comments regarding Obo, and I'm sure they ended up on the web; not a single indictment!

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    That is precisely the legal analysis one would expect from someone whose legal training involves years of being a socially maladjusted, stale-thinking, third-shift desktop support tech with a diploma from a backwater religious school.

    I suppose it also is possible Sevo is an honors graduate of Liberty, Regent, or Ave Maria law.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    That is precisely the legal analysis one would expect from someone whose legal training involves years of being a socially maladjusted, stale-thinking, third-shift desktop support tech with a diploma from a backwater religious school.

    As opposed to years of being a socially retarded, stale-thinking, swing-shift barista with a bachelor's in grievance studies.

    Carry on, proglydyte.

  • Sevo||

    "That is precisely the legal analysis one would expect from someone whose legal training involves years of being a socially maladjusted, stale-thinking, third-shift desktop support tech with a diploma from a backwater religious school."

    Are you bragging, asshole?
    I kinda figured something like that was your alma mater, but didn't expect you to admit it.

  • Mark22||

    That is precisely the legal analysis one would expect from someone whose legal training involves years of being a socially maladjusted, stale-thinking, third-shift desktop support tech with a diploma from a backwater religious school.

    Which pretty much describes you, doesn't it?

  • Bubba Jones||

    It's double freedom when we do it in Russia.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    I prefer commenters like you that just suck GOP cock.

  • Sevo||

    "I prefer commenters like you that just suck GOP cock."
    And it's such a pleasure to see the scum of humanity, supporter of mass-murderers world-wide, show up to claim 'moral superiority'.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    why don't you two tell us more about how great Trump is. Your sexist comparisons between "the hag" and Trump are truly delightful!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Eat a dick, you pathetic troll.

  • Sevo||

    "why don't you two tell us more about how great Trump is. Your sexist comparisons between "the hag" and Trump are truly delightful!"

    If you were capable of reading, you might have noticed up-thread where I point out that he's less than wonderful, simply better than that hag who lost, along with you, you pathetic excuse for humanity.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    You mean this?

    , yeah, go ahead and keep whining about him; it's amusing, and it seems he enjoys it too. Play 'Hihn' all over the web and air-ways; tell us all how you know better than those idiots who voted for Trump, how he's some sort of monster who could only have gotten elected blah, blah, blah...
    BTW, DeVos is still SoE, we have Gorsuch instead of who knows, regulations are slowing at a record pace, we're no longer part of that Paris money-sucking mess, the Dow's back up to $25K+, and my taxes have dropped...

    I'd say that's "less than wonderful". Yes.

    Hey Brian, here's your chance to tell Sevo that Gorsuch is "less than wonderful."

  • Sevo||

    Gee, lefty asshole's cherry-picked comments Trump don't match lefty asshole's deranged opinions! I guess I'll just....
    Point out the lefty asshole is the scum of the earth.
    You and that hag lost, loser.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Conservatives have been losing in America for at least a half-century, and are destined to continue to be America's losers for another half-century, because backwardness, bigotry, ignorance, and superstition are losing propositions in America over the medium and long terms.

    Or maybe the goobers have it right, and Pres. Trump will rework economic fundamentals to enable socially stilted, half-educated, unskilled, superstitious, downscale, disaffected white yahoos from our depleted backwaters to prosper -- and, because he's Trump, to prosper at the expense of advance-degreed, marketably skilled residents of our successful, modern, reason-based communities.

    Good luck with that, clingers.

  • Sevo||

    "...backwardness, bigotry, ignorance, and superstition are losing propositions in America over the medium and long terms...."

    So the left is losing. Glad to hear it, especially from such an ignorant piece of shit.

  • gclancy51||

    Wow, you're really losing the plot today. This is fun, watching you on the defensive.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I look forward to the day when the rest of the American public starts to wake up to the marxist threat growing within. then we can have a real solution to the progressive problem in this country.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The first question people should ask themselves before freaking out about one of Trump's tweets is: Why an I reading anything on Twitter?

    People do it for entertainment value, at best, right? It's the next best thing to dog-fighting.

    Journalists mostly read it because a) they're lazy and b) Twitter is a never ending source of fresh outrages.

    The rest of us should ask ourselves why we bother. It isn't even social--Twitter is anti-social media. It's a shit-stain in real society's underwear.

    Why stare at shit stains? Why report on them? Why even notice them?

    Kill your Twitter feed.

  • Tony||

    Why don't you ask yourself why you support a president who uses Twitter like a preschooler uses handfuls of poop.

  • Sevo||

    "Why don't you ask yourself why you support a president who uses Twitter like a preschooler uses handfuls of poop."

    Why not try posting something which looks like is wasn't authored by that pre-schooler? Too difficult?

  • gclancy51||

    Another zinger, captain ad hominem!

  • buybuydandavis||

    First question:
    "Why am I reading any of the articles on Reason?"

    Answer:
    I really don't anymore. The comments are more interesting and better journalism.

    This Trump hating article is just such a joke

    Don't Feed President Troll
    Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way
    The president pecks out impotent bluster (Impotent? Ha! I thought he trolled his way into the Presidency? )
    Trump's illiberal ambitions
    The most unpopular president in modern polling history
    Don't want the troll to win?

    So much winning!

  • patskelley||

    It is hecka easy to ignore online trolls concerning Trump, these voices are just noise in the background. The professionals, the media churnalist trolls do the most harm through display of blatant contempt. Anything Trump has done that might actually be good for the country is conspicuously ignored in favor of constant focusing on condemnation of the proclaimed biggest loser. This may not make news "fake" but it sure makes news givers look biased and "unfair" at best, lazy and perhaps locked up in ideology or tied to the all-mighty-dollar at worst. The definition of an Underdog is a person who is expected to lose in a contest or conflict. If nothing else, Americans do tend to sympathize with the underdog.

  • Bubba Jones||

    You want establishment politicians to admit there are limitations to presidential power?

    Your article hangs on this delusion.

  • Bubba Jones||

    We should also remember that this is the same AP that just got trolled by 4chan. Knowingly.

  • Rockabilly||

    There is a way out of despair.

    My girl friend and I were watching The Wiz with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. It's much better than the original The Wizard of Oz. After that my girl friend wanted to watch Xanadu, with Olivia Newton-John, another great musical.

    We've been feeling down since Trump won. The View is no longer fun to watch because Joy and Whoppi are always screaming, which is not want we want in our lives.

    So the above two movies were our antidote to despair.

    We have an idea about a new musical. It's kind of like a rock opera but unlike Tommy you don't have to take acid to enjoy it.

    We came up with the idea of calling it a PoPera. A pop music musical about the 2016 election to be called 2016.

    We wrote a few songs, but they're sad. So we thought watching The Wiz and Xanadu would give us some ideas about a positive song.

    In both movies, Diana and Olivia talked about 'dreaming,' and if you can dream and image you can turn the frown into a smile. From despair to repair.

    So this is our song and maybe you'll like it too.

  • Rockabilly||

    I still can Dream

    Chords are C, Cm7, F

    Imagine Hillary as President
    It's easy if you try
    No Trump in the White House
    Above us only sky

    Imagine all the people living for today
    Imagine government controlling the climate
    It isn't hard to do
    No acid rain or climate change
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the peoples living life in peace

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no guns
    I wonder if you can
    No need to rob or kill
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I dream Hillary in the White House
    And the world will be as one

  • Sevo||

    That's FUNNY!

  • Henry Baker||

    "Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America by mastering the art of the troll..."

    I suppose you'd prefer an INSIDER con man, Welch, you airheaded fucking idiot.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Not going to bother to read it. The author is an anti-American c()nt.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    This is a libertarian site - not a flag waving GOP hick site.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I'm relatively new here, but it seems to be a right-wing hick site with a fetish for socially awkward conservatives in unconvincing libertarian drag.

  • Sevo||

    "I'm relatively new here, but it seems to be a right-wing hick site with a fetish for socially awkward conservatives in unconvincing libertarian drag"

    Well, with any luck you'll take your lefty self-rigtheous bullshit back where you came from.

  • Mark22||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland: I'm relatively new here

    You are. You're also a leftist troll, so why don't youjust go back to HuffPo, Jacobin, or the Worker's Daily and leave us alone? You're not fooling anybody here.

  • Sevo||

    "You are."
    I doubt it. Pretty sure it's just one more lame Hihn sock.
    He keeps hoping his idiocy will be accepted if people just didn't know who is posting, as if people object to him personally rather than laughing at the stupidity of his claims and the comedic presentation of his posts.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    He could also be PB or AmSoc.

  • ||

    lol.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    CON MAN! I love it!

    Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America

    Perfect description and what I call him every day.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|2.17.18 @ 2:11PM|#
    "Perfect description and what I call him every day."

    "Losers in Denial"
    Turd, author

  • jeffrey fein||

    "Meanwhile, the polls do not augur well for House Republicans."

    You mean the polls that assured everyone that Hillary was going to be the next president?

    2016 was the first battle of the Second American Revolution. 2018 will be the next battle, concluding with a similar result.

    The Dem party is a twitching corpse. HRC administered the coup de gras when she declared the white working class "Deplorables". They will never vote Democrat again. The hard-left Bernie progressives will be likewise thoroughly unenthusiastic. They know the Democratic party is in reality a phony, pandering, Republican-lite party. And the minority community is not as stupid as the Dems suppose. They want a piece of the American Dream and they aren't going to get it from the party of Wall Street Neo-liberalism.

    The GOP old guard foot-draggers and "Never Trumpers" will be swept away, while Trump Republicans and Democrats willing to work with Trump will be elected overwhelmingly in swing states.

    2018 may be a mid-term election, but the standard notion of low turnout will be replaced by a furiously energized Trump support tsunami. The entire country sees the effort to destroy Trump by the Dems and the Deep State for what it is, and come November they will storm the polls and confirm what they declared in 2016: Trump is their choice to reclaim for them ownership of their country.

    There is a reason for this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    2020 (not 2018) will be a Democratic wave election. The country will be sick of Trumponomics, we are due for a major cyclical recession, and gerrymandering is the only reason the GOP holds the House currently.

    Top German Diplomat: 'We No Longer Recognize Our America'
    Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has slammed the "America first" approach of President Donald Trump's administration, saying that close U.S. ties with a strong European Union are as much in Washington's interest as they are in Europe's.

    US News and World Report (today)

  • Sevo||

    "Top German Diplomat: 'We No Longer Recognize Our America'
    Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has slammed the "America first" approach of President Donald Trump's administration, saying that close U.S. ties with a strong European Union are as much in Washington's interest as they are in Europe's."

    Yep, if the US taxpayer won't defend Germany, who will?

  • Sevo||

    BTW, turd, just a hint. A German claiming the US is 'his America' is one reason I'd rather not keep propping up failed lefty states in Europe.

  • Mark22||

    Top German Diplomat: 'We No Longer Recognize Our America' Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has slammed the "America first" approach of President Donald Trump's administration,

    A fat dimwitted socialist and failed politician with a popularity below 20%.

    If Trump is pissing him off, then Trump is probably doing OK.

  • ||

    Exactly. Shorter Europe: They don't want to give us money. They're thinking of Americans first! Monster!

    It's like saying to a parent, how dare you think of your kids before our school and community!

    Idiots.

  • ||

    Yes, Americans should worry about what the Germans are saying. What's this fetish about propping up what Europeans think? Germany has its own messy affairs to attend to with that idiot Merkel.

    Germany: Go clean your room.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    My response to a Trump tweet is usually to marvel at the half-educated, bigoted, downscale, economically inadequate, stale-thinking yahoos who love him.

    Then I am grateful that my children get to compete economically with those goobers, and that the society built by America's great liberal-libertarian alliance helped me overcome a bigotry-, backwardness-, and poverty-infused childhood.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|2.17.18 @ 2:51PM|#
    "My response to a Trump tweet is usually to marvel at the half-educated, bigoted, downscale, economically inadequate, stale-thinking yahoos who love him."

    My response to one of your posts is to marvel that such a fucking ignoramus is capable of typing.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    The Mythology Of Trump's 'Working Class' Support

    The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. ... It's also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    he exit polls have asked voters to describe their 2015 family income by using one of five broad categories, ranging from "under $30,000" to "$200,000 or more."

    Favorite tactic of those lying with statistics: family income is used here, not individual income. A working-class family has a higher family income than an upper-class childless millennial college student.

  • Sevo||

    "Favorite tactic of those lying with statistics: family income is used here, not individual income. A working-class family has a higher family income than an upper-class childless millennial college student."

    Did you read the link or just vent your ignorance?
    "The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That's lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it's well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It's also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both."
    Notice that the claim is they are equivalent comparisons.
    Perhaps they are lying, but you need to show that before you blow off about irrelevancies.

  • Mark22||

    Perhaps they are lying, but you need to show that before you blow off about irrelevancies.

    The lie is in the misrepresentation of "working class" as "poor". If you're a traditional working class family with kids, your income is likely quite good. The median household income for married couples with kids in 2015 was around $131000 for whites and $113000 for blacks.

    Median household incomes for Democrats are lower not because of more working class support, but because Democrats attract lots of single households and lots of people depending on government largesse: students, unmarried single moms, welfare recipients, people on disability, etc. These groups are not "working class", they are simply government dependent. If they became working class (i.e., take on traditional working class jobs and lifestyles), they would quickly get out of poverty.

  • Sevo||

    ^ this.
    If you are 'working poor' with an U/E rate where it is, you are not trying.
    The M/W imbeciles will continue in their efforts to make sure black and brown kids can't find jobs, but it's 'for their own good', don't-cha know. They are dedicated to proving they are 'concerned' and the kids not getting jobs are just a matter for those idiot libertarians.
    I'm guessing the "!!!!!!!!!!$15!!!!!!!!!!!" idiots will claim responsibility when the economy under reduced regulatory load (OBO, right turd?) keeps climbing

  • Mark22||

    The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. ... It's also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

    The typical Democratic supporters are a large population of very poor people (including college students and single mothers) and a smaller population of very rich people.

    The typical Republican supporters are married couples with solid blue collar or white collar jobs; that includes much of the working class.

    The reason this confuses you is because you misidentify "working class" with "poor". The working class is solidly middle class these days because anybody with a typical working class career will make a good income. Democrats are supported by the "non-working class".

  • Mark22||

    Then I am grateful that my children

    A great degree of wishful thinking there. No woman will touch you unless there is rape involved.

    half-educated, bigoted, downscale, economically inadequate, stale-thinking yahoos

    You feel right at home in that demographic.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Half this thread is Hihn and his socks talking to himself. "A" for effort. Mary used to do that.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    The other half is all these Trump and GOP dicksuckers claiming to be libertarians. What to do.

  • Sevo||

    "The other half is all these Trump and GOP dicksuckers claiming to be libertarians. What to do."

    And a good portion is scumbag supporters of mass murderers trying for social acceptance.
    And losing, loser.

  • silver.||

    "Half this thread is Hihn and his socks talking to himself. "A" for effort."

    :(

  • Sevo||

    C'mon...
    Hihn can get a metal in the 'Special Poster Olympics'. He is 'special'.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Do we know if he's the real Hihn, or one of H&R's weird stalkers using Hihn's identity? I have no idea who Michael Hihn really is, but it beggars belief that a grown man would use his public identity to act like such a fool, for no real reason.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Do we know if he's the real Hihn, or one of H&R's weird stalkers using Hihn's identity?

    It's not really Hihn--I've seen his comments on other blogs, and he's not the hysterical and unhinged doofus as he supposedly acts here. His comments are well-reasoned and rather anodyne.

    It's likely just Mary Stack of Fort Worth, Texas, given the same poasting tics we've seen with rectal and White Indian when she was LARPing as a luddite--repeating the same comments and links ad nauseum, using sockpuppets to respond to her own comments, etc.

  • MasterThief||

    I have no clue who the "real Hihn" is to begin with (is he supposed to be a famous thought leader?). This commenter is pretty obviously progressive (whether parody or sincerely so) yet claims to be libertarian whilst arguing against most libertarian principles. It's pretty clear that he isn't just a libertarian with TDS, but lacks such principles in the first place.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Since none of the Hihn comments refute any of the others, then that would mean the real Hihn does not comment here anymore (Assuming your theory is correct).

  • ||

    Still better than Hillary. And Obama.

  • ||

    "...Trump, an outsider con man who hustled his way into the most prestigious insider job in America..."

    Nice piece of trolling right there Matt. It really fished in the usual ignorant left-wing trolls as well as new ones! Congrats.

    Lyle Lanley really pulled a fast one there, eh? Hooo-nellly!

  • Azathoth!!||

    I guess Reason wants the troll to win then?

    Because they can't seem to stop talking about every idiotic tweet as if it's news.

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