Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar wanted to go to Israel, and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to let them in–until Trump intervened. For days the president pressured Israel to block our elected representatives from their visit and Netanyahu’s government went back on its early authorization yesterday and obliged, barring the women from entering.
The outrage from Democrats and some Republicans was swift, bashing Trump for pressuring a Democratic ally to bar our own elected representatives and calling his action a stain on the presidency. Even AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, blasted Israel and Trump for trying to censor access to Israel. Retired Senator Barbara Boxer said, “Trump looks so weak. What is he afraid of?” And Eli Lake of Bloomberg wrote, “By reversing its decision…Israel looks weak.” There are few things Trump hates more than being called weak and yet as the polls continue to go against him and the economy sputters, his desperate tweeting also makes him look weak. (Some of Trump’s recent rambling, babbling Tweets seem truly insane.)
Gail Collins in the New York Times yesterday suggested that another way to “torture Trump” was to point out the diminishing turnout at his Klan rallies:
Trump can’t bear suggestions that he’s not a crowd megamagnet. Every time he gets on a stage, he seems compelled to claim the audience is of epic proportions. The place is packed! Not to mention the masses waiting outside!
Just last night after his Manchester, New Hampshire, rally Trump bragged to reporters that he had “broke the all-time attendance record” but photos then flooded social media showing plenty of empty seats. His desperation to be perceived as popular is yet another sign of weakness.
Weakness is the president’s kryptonite. And it makes sense when you consider his cult of supporters. One way to encapsulate Trump’s supporters would be: people who felt powerless but are now made to feel powerful. As Trump said, “I am your voice.” But if Trump starts to be perceived as weak, his supporters won’t feel so powerful.
This theory of Trump’s cult harkens back to a superb article in the Texas Observer from October of 2016 by Joe R. Lansdale entitled, “Why My East Texas Neighbors are Voting from Trump” where he writes about guns and fear and Trump supporters:
Guns are a symbol of fear, but they are also a symbol of power, a way for the everyday person to feel important and potent, to be a participant in the great game show of life. Guns have replaced the previous religion of Texas, which was football, and Trump is the high priest. Fear sells, and it stimulates. Trump and his cronies constantly tell us, without actual facts, how bad crime is and how evil all foreigners are — especially if they dress funny — and they repeat over and over the false information that the economy is on the verge of collapse and you better build that bunker and stock up, because if you don’t, all you’ll have for protection from the certain rise of crazed liberals is harsh language.
The minute Trump no longer makes his supporters feel powerful, the minute they feel ridiculous or played or vulnerable, Trump is in trouble. It may not happen, but it seems like the aura around Trump is beginning to deteriorate. The stock market is tanking, the China deal is nowhere, our soybean farmers are going bankrupt, and Trump is doing nothing but anger-Tweeting, golfing and ranting at his insane rallies.
So for the time being, let’s focus on how weak Trump is. Let’s focus on his impotent foreign policy and his destructive trade policy. Let’s highlight how sad his rally turnout has become. And let’s point out how desperately weak his Tweets are.
Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”