"Let's Not, and Say We Did"
In the storm after the calm, Trump gives away the game.
So, after an unusually quiet weekend, Donald Trump’s Twitter account this morning was suddenly active with a rather, uh, let’s go with “energetic” burst of all-caps exhortations to VOTE! paired with a series of issues, threats, and promises.
One of the more eye-catching ones, which quickly became a pro-Biden meme, was about pre-existing conditions.
The thing is, while this seems from the outside like a slam-dunk argument against himself, Trump long ago learned that there is no downside for him to claim he’s in favor of popular, common-sense ideas that he, his party, and his own administration are actively opposing.
See, for instance, this from the New York Times:
“There is not a single guy or woman who would run for president that would make it so that pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be covered,” said Phil Bowman, a 59-year-old retiree in Linville, N.C. “Nobody would vote for him.”
As ever, Trump remains the funhouse mirror of his party: a grotesquely exaggerated image that nonetheless does not reveal any features not present in the original. The Republicans have long benefited from a general unwillingness of the public to believe that any party would support positions as extreme, unpopular, and just outright unrealistic as what the party actually espouses or holds. Accurate descriptions of Republican actions in office often sound like partisan exaggerations to people who have not been paying attention.
Meanwhile, protecting coverage pre-existing conditions just sounds reasonable. Who wouldn’t believe someone who claimed to be in favor of that? Who wouldn’t be in favor of it?
In the same storm of tweets, Trump’s account tweeted out a promise of a big tax cut, a tactic he also used late in the 2018 election.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrumpBIGGEST TAX CUT EVER, AND ANOTHER ONE COMING. VOTE!
As Jake Sherman notes in the above-embedded Tweet, the tax cut never materialized.
If you dig into the quote-tweets of Sherman, though, you’ll find slews of MAGA voters who refuse to believe it. At least one of them is explicitly conflating the 2017 tax cut bill with the nonexistent but promised 2018 one; it’s possible that some of the others who spoke of increased take-home pay were also thinking of earlier actions.
There was no tax cut to match Trump’s mid-term election year promise, and while last time the GOP did briefly scramble to try to make it happen for him, I suspect this time they will have learned one of the most important lesson of Trumpism: there’s no point in doing something when you can say you did, or that you will.
When it comes to pushing through their ideology or seizing power, the GOP will go as hard as necessary and then some. When it comes to delivering results on things that matter to the people, they’ve become the party of “let’s not and say we did.”
Talk is cheap, and so is Trump.
Luckily for him, his voters are cheap dates.