David Frum Profile picture
Author Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy. Read more at The Atlantic. Reach me via https://t.co/vh4Jlp8rdP
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25 Nov
The Nixon pardon did not specify crimes. A Trump self-pardon may be vague too. But now imagine how that reads: "I, Donald John Trump, do pardon myself for any and all crimes I may have committed against the United States, during my presidency and before my presidency."
Whether or not acceptance of a pardon is a technical acceptance of guilt, the act of signing such a statement forms one hell of a self accusation!
Given the uncertainty of the validity of the act, its uselessness versus New York State and other sovereigns, and its excruciatingly self-accusing language - I seriously wonder whether Trump will do it. He may prefer to rely on terrorizing the Biden DOJ to leave him alone-or else
Read 4 tweets
24 Nov
You know what made America great? Sending taxpayer-paid staff in taxpayer-paid vehicles to Ritz Carltons to buy speciality moisturizers for you. THAT's what made America great. Biden's team may have fancy-pants educations, but look at their dry skin! washingtonpost.com/news/energy-en…
You know what made America great? Fake academic credentials, that's what made America great. foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/17/dr-…
This Biden team may be polite and orderly. But do any of them have the heart, guts, and sheer BALLS it takes to earn a federal criminal indictment for conspiracy to kidnap? cnbc.com/2018/12/17/ex-…
Read 7 tweets
22 Nov
On October 20 @WSJopinion editorialized that Biden must answer Trump campaign questions. wsj.com/articles/the-b… Now the same Trump sources are accusing Georgia Gov. Kemp of being bribed by Venezuelan communism. Should Kemp not answer? And if the answer is, THOSE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY
... does that not suggest that perhaps the accusations they were flinging 30 days ago were at least equally crazy?
Will the super-principled conservative talking heads who amplified accusations on Flynn + Hunter Biden just *pretend not to hear* these damning accusations about the Georgia Republican party from the same so-very-credible sources?
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
Whoah, this opinion in Trump v. Boockvar:

"Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise
almost seven million voters."
"This Court has been presented with ... speculative accusation ... unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its
sixth most populated state."
"Plaintiffs have made multiple
attempts at amending the pleadings, and have had attorneys both appear and
withdraw in a matter of seventy-two hours."
Read 20 tweets
21 Nov
Trumpsters are complaining about the Trump transition. Let's open the book by Governor Chris Christie, who headed Trump's transition in 2016-2017, to hear from him. Page 6
More Chris Christie on the Trump transition, p. 6
Chris Christie on who wrecked the Trump transition, from p. 7 of his memoir, "Let Me Finish." hachettebooks.com/titles/chris-c…
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
No more happy talk about the "uniquely American transition of power." Trump presidency and this post-election period confirm that the US is *less* committed to democratic norms - and has *weaker* institutional safeguards for democracy - than peer wealthy democracies.
I asked a German diplomat friend to detail the safeguards against, say, a German chancellor trying to extend her tenure despite losing an election. He replied that such a thing was utterly impossible, he couldn't begin to enumerate the reasons why. And he was right of course.
Nobody wondered, "Will Gordon Brown or Theresa May leave office if defeated?" Ditto the Netherlands, New Zealand, and newer democracies like Portugal or South Korea. Democratic culture is deep, and election law is administered impartially. For all the boasting, not true in USA
Read 18 tweets
18 Nov
"Everyone ... has adjusted to a world in which US influence is declining" - @anneapplebaum in @TheAtlantic
today. To some degree, relative decline is dictated by objective facts. Trump hastened it. theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
During the Obama years, the late Charles Krauthammer declared, "Decline is a choice." That's quite wrong. The Romans never decided, "Oh yes, we could defeat these Goths if we wanted to, but we prefer to let our cities be sacked." Power rests on facts. But ...
... a relatively declining power can mitigate those facts. As European states recognized that they had ceased to be great individual powers after 1945, they created the European Union to join their strengths. Alliance-building should have been US response to China rise. Instead
Read 4 tweets
15 Nov
My latest in @TheAtlantic : the GOP's two paths away from Trump - forward toward democracy, back toward the methods of Jim Crow: leveraging anti-democratic local rule to wield national power theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
@TheAtlantic A last-ditch Trumpist plan to overturn the 2020 election results: beg GOP state legislators in Biden states like Pennsylvania to substitute pro-Trump electors.

This idea was thinkable because GOP had won majority in PA legislature with 500,000 fewer votes than Dems in 2018. 2/x
@TheAtlantic Similar outcomes in MI and WI: GOP had won majorities of the seats with minority of votes.

In the end, the legislators flinched. The idea was illegal anyway. (Little Trumpists care about that.) But it demonstrated ... 3/x
Read 12 tweets
13 Nov
Those of us who have lived in the vicinity of malignant narcissists will recognize Trump's behavior pattern 1/x
Trump has been abruptly and harshly cut off from his source of narcissistic supply. Here's what typically follows such a shock healthyplace.com/personality-di… 2/x
The deprived narcissist

"minimizes social interactions and uses 'messengers' to communicate with the outside."

Read 6 tweets
11 Nov
I think I've found the best yet explainer for Trump and GOP strategy post November 3. They are engaged in a form of play therapy verywellfamily.com/what-is-play-t….
Play therapy is used with children and adults who lack verbal and cognitive skills verywellfamily.com/what-is-play-t….
Play therapy is an effective way for children to deal with anger and loss verywellfamily.com/what-is-play-t….
Read 6 tweets
5 Nov
When do Fox News reporters start being assigned "Biden safaris"?

"Biden's electoral path spanned the country, largely bypassing unpeopled sagebrush to join dynamic city centers and the single-family suburbs that once formed the basis of the Nixon-Regan coalition ..."
"Biden supporters seemingly reveled in Trump's descriptions of them as 'rioters, looters, and Marxists,' seeing it as proof that they were looked down upon ..."
It's a lively genre, ready for a reinvention!
Read 4 tweets
3 Nov
"If there was a flaw in our strategy, it was probably that we forgot that women had the vote."
"If there was a flaw in our strategy, it was letting our campaign staff steal all the money instead of using it for campaign purposes."
"If there was a flaw in our campaign strategy, it was probably failing to deal with pandemic disease while plunging the economy into the worst slump since the Great Depression."
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
When my late father-in-law served in Canadian forces during Korean war, Chinese loudspeakers would broadcast propaganda messages to entice defectors. Years later, he recalled one of them ... 1/x
"Cross over to our lines," the loudspeakers blared, "and we guarantee you will have bread everyday."

The Chinese were inadvertently revealing how miserably poor and hungry their own army was. Bread as a selling point? Really? 2/x
Messaging done wrong communicates weakness and fear.

Weakness and fear is what the Trump twitter account has been communicating all day.

It's bad enough news for an incumbent when he must go negative on an opponent rather than positive on the incumbent's record. But 3/x
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov
"I don't even know where I was on VJ Day-and if it seems remarkable to you that I am unaware of these things, I must emphasize that at a private soldier level you frequently have no idea where you are, or precisely how you got there, let alone why." - George MacDonald Fraser
"War is like that, full of cliches, and of many incidents and speeches that you couldn't get away with in fiction. Later I shall describe how a comrade of mine, on being shot in the leg, rolled on the ground shouting: 'They got me! The dirty rats, they got me!' ...
... I would not use it in a screenplay - and I know what the director and actor would say if I did. But it happened, word for word, nature imitating art."
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov
27 election signs have gone missing in North Topeka, KS, this campaign season: 22 of them Biden signs, 1 of them a Trump sign. But it was the theft of the Trump sign that led a Trump supporter to shoot and wound three people today. cjonline.com/news/20201101/…
A pro-Trump car parade in Richmond, Virginia, today ended in Trump supporters firing gunshots and spraying chemical irritants. richmond.com/news/state-and…
Trump supporters shut down a bridge in NY today and blockaded the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. nbcnewyork.com/news/local/car…
Read 5 tweets
31 Oct
.@natfrum and @beatrice_frum were at this event, recorded the whole thing on video - and were both tear-gassed for being there, @natfrum repeatedly. (He was tear-gassed the first time when he tried to retrieve an elderly woman's wheel chair for her after police tear-gassed her.)
@natfrum @beatrice_frum .@natfrum and @beatrice_frum observed local police deliberately targeting children for tear-gassing, including one as young as maybe five. They also observed police snipers aiming at the wholly peaceful crowd. All on video.
@natfrum @beatrice_frum One of the protesters asked @natfrum if he had ever been in a situation like this before. Nat said, "No. That was my first time being tar-gassed. And my second, third, fourth, and fifth."
Read 6 tweets
31 Oct
Many have reported on Hunter Biden as a rogue relative in the mold of Billy Carter. Here's the New Yorker in 2019. So none of that is news. nbcnews.com/politics/2020-…
The Trump campaign wants to make two further claims.

1) Hunter Biden is not a minor payer like Billy Carter, but a major international scandal even worse than the Trump next generation.


2) Candidate Biden is somehow implicated in this major scandal
And not only does the Trump campaign refuses to provide the proof for the latter claims, but it tells bizarre stories the provenance of the proof.
Read 5 tweets
29 Oct
I don't think it's a coincidence that this group includes no women.
A theme of the Trump years has been *forced choice*. Eg: I favor low taxes and low tariffs. Trump forced me to choose.

Something similar happened again and again with issues of much greater moral consequence than taxes/tariffs. And by forcing choices again and again ... 1/x
... Trump forced many of us in active politics to confront new realities.

Trump put racism, misogyny, cruelty, corruption, authoritarianism on a giant billboard and forced us all to look. Could we accept? Those who said No found themselves in tandem with others who said No. 2/x
Read 9 tweets
23 Oct
Donald Trump's debate strategy was to walk on stage, fling a lot of convoluted accusations at Biden, and expect them to resonate with enough voters to overcome his 10 point polling deficit. Why that was a bad plan, in one chart pollingreport.com/trump_ad.htm
When Donald Trump won the Electoral College in November 2016, still only 42% of Americans regarded him as honest. Since then, Trump's credibiliy has steadily declined to about 30%.

That's a real problem for a strategy that amounts to: "believe Trump, not Biden."
One more thing.

Have you noticed how upset Trump partisans are that they cannot force their Fox News plot lines onto other media?

There's a reason for that.

40% of US adults affirmatively distrust Fox News as an information source.

Read 4 tweets
19 Oct
This is an important story. Trump & GOP are campaigning against "socialism." But Trump has been a consistent advocate of direct govt intervention in/control of economy - with all the disastrous results supposedly free-market conservatives should have predicted, but didn't.
President Trump, Gov Scott Walker, and House Speaker Paul Ryan at the ground-breaking with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou

To advance the project, not only was Foxconn offered huge subsidies - but clean air and water rules were voided too.
Read 6 tweets
17 Oct
Virginia 10 congressional district was Republican for 60 of past 68 years. A Democrat won in 2018. I took a long winding drive through the most rural parts of the district today. Counted 4 Trump signs, only 2 on private property. Dozens of Biden signs, to many to count
... too many to count ...
Also, mask wearing ubiquitous.
Read 4 tweets