The Call That No One Talks About
"Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."
This from Daniel Dale today:
As John Mulaney so famously said...
…we don’t have time to unpack all of that.
So I'm going to focus on just one thing, which is Trump's repeated insistence that everyone stopped talking about the call as soon as he released the transcript. In rallies and the like, he'll do improvised impersonations of Nancy Pelosi freaking out when she saw the transcript. In his head, it goes something like this: "That's the call? Why did no one tell me that was the call? It's a perfect call, we've got nothing."
In reality, the transcript only set people talking more. Nancy Pelosi was more bearish on impeachment before the transcript than after. The transcript -- even with the worst bits redacted -- just confirmed what the whistleblower had said and what was already widely suspected.
In reality, Donald would have no cause to go around saying that everyone stopped talking about the call if people weren't talking about the call.
It puts me in mind of one of his less widely-circulated lies about his inauguration: that the rain miraculously held off until he was done. It wasn't exactly a torrential downpour, but it didn't wait for him, either.
Or his claim that no one called him racist before he ran for president.
That one has been widely amplified by his followers, which I think gives us a strong clue to the reason behind this bit of rhyme: it's not a question of if Donald believes it or if it makes sense.
He's dictating reality, with the expectation that his followers will go along with it.
Anybody who balks? Well, if they won't follow him over any bridge, no matter how far, they're not much of a follower.
This is a function of Trump's constant double-downs: it refines his following into the most useful, most loyal, most invested version of itself. He loves posting his approval rating among Republicans, which has tended to inch up over time. It's not strictly because he's becoming more popular with a set group of people. Rather, it's because he's pushing out the people from that set who are not his creatures, body and soul.
Rhetorically, it's a useful point of view ,that nobody is talking about the call any more. It gives believers a reason to be suspicious of anyone who is. Why are they talking about it when it was already settled? You can see this kind of thing in right-wing circles online all the time. There's no discussion about the validity of Snopes... it's been decided that it's biased and no one cites it or trusts it any more.
You could see it a lot during Gamergate. Gators would reply to basically anything that didn't agree with their narrative with quizzical face emojis and blockquote-style replies summarizing what was just said, as though it were patently ridiculous and everybody had agreed so.
> Citing Kotaku?
> Believing game journalists were interested in video games?
Surely you jest.
When Donald says that everybody stopped talking about the call when he released the transcript, it's both strategic and a sincere expression of frustration. He's expressing what he wants to happen, what he wants to have happened already, and he honestly can't believe that anyone is still talking about this call when everyone stopped talking about it as soon as he released the transcript.
He's in the quantum superposition of being proud of himself for having accomplished a masterstroke and being ticked off that his masterstroke didn't work. I mean, it did work, obviously, because he did it. The fact that people are still talking about it -- that it's the subject of Congressional inquiries that he rails against daily -- is evidence that something must be seriously wrong.
If there’s no massive conspiracy against him, why else would all these people be talking about something no one is talking about?
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