Wednesday, June 2, 2021

This is the way Trump's blog ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. So also ends his hope for reinstatement. 'This entire line of thought is stark raving mad.'

Two Trumpy Topics (with apologies to T. S. Eliot.)

With anti-election crusade, Trump reportedly has an endgame in mind . Trump has reportedly told associates he hopes to be “reinstated” to the presidency by August. This entire line of thought is stark raving mad.

It was unsettling to see former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn appear at a right-wing gathering over the weekend and endorse a military coup in the United States. Asked about Myanmar’s coup, the retired Army general specifically said, “I mean it, it should happen here.”

But a day earlier, attorney Sidney Powell appeared at the same event, and as the Washington Examiner noted, she went down a similarly outlandish path.

Attorney Sidney Powell, who is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for spreading allegedly defamatory claims about the 2020 election, insisted on Saturday former President Donald Trump could “simply be reinstated” as president and fill the rest of President Joe Biden’s term.

To the delight of attendees, Powell specifically declared, “It should be that [Trump] can simply be reinstated, that a new inauguration date is set.”

Remember, Powell was a member of Donald Trump’s hapless legal operation late last year until she was fired for pushing conspiracy theories considered so hysterically ridiculous that the then-president’s other attorneys showed her the door. Nevertheless, by late December, Powell was making frequent trips to the White House. Axios reported at the time that in the West Wing, there was a “consensus” that Trump was “listening to Sidney Powell more than just about anyone who is on his payroll, certainly more than his own White House Counsel.”

My concern is that the former president continues to do exactly that. The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman noted this morning that Trump “has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated” to the presidency by August. The reporter added that the Republican “is not putting out statements about the ‘audits’ in states just for the sake of it.”

There’s no shortage of related data points, which in isolation are easy to look past, but are more alarming when considered in context.

In late April, for example, Trump spoke to a small group at Mar-a-Lago and sounded like a politician who expected assorted partisan “audits” to tell him what he wanted to hear. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump asked soon after, “This appears to be Trump at Mar-a-Lago telling his customers that the bizarre Arizona recount will be the first domino to fall in apparently somehow undoing the election?”

The Times’ Haberman noted soon after that Trump had told people the Arizona audit “could undo” the 2020 presidential election.

Two weeks later, the former president issued another written statement filled with more election conspiracy theories, arguing, “If a thief robs a jewelry store of all of its diamonds (the 2020 Presidential Election), the diamonds must be returned.” In context, the Republican was making it sound as if power had been taken from him improperly, so he expected power to be returned to him.

Last week, he also celebrated a poll showing most Republican voters “believe Donald Trump is the true President.” He added, “I always knew America was smart!” (In his mind, there is no meaningful difference between the beliefs of the GOP base and the beliefs of the nation at large.)

In case this isn’t painfully obvious, there is literally no scenario in which Trump will return to the White House unless he runs and wins again in 2024. The election cannot be “undone.” The former president cannot be “reinstated.” This entire line of thought is stark raving mad.

But to assume that Trump recognizes the reality of the circumstances is almost certainly a mistake.

A few weeks ago, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters, “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election…. I think that is all over with.” Wouldn’t it be great if McCarthy had been right?

Trump tried to sell one more thing - an outdated blog, viewed by few.

Trump’s underwhelming blog ends with an embarrassing whimper. Team Trump said his blog would “completely redefine the game.” That’s not at all what happened.

Lately, as part of my routine news consumption, I’ve checked Donald Trump’s blog to see if he’s published anything related to voting rights or election systems. This morning, however, the former president’s blog wasn’t there.

I assumed Team Trump was having technical troubles. As CNBC reported this morning, that wasn’t the problem.

Former President Donald Trump’s blog — a webpage where he shared statements after larger social media companies banned him from their platforms — has been permanently shut down, his spokesman said Wednesday. The page, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” has been scrubbed from Trump’s website after going live less than a month earlier.

Jason Miller, a top aide to the former president, confirmed to CNBC that the blog “will not be returning.”

To fully appreciate why this is an amazing end to an unfortunate story, let’s review how we arrived at this point.

After Trump was forced from the major social-media platforms for violating their terms of service, the Associated Press reported in March that the Republican was planning to unveil his own social-media platform “in two or three months.”

Jason Miller told Fox News at the time that the former president was poised to “completely redefine the game” with his new tech initiative.

It was against this backdrop that Fox News reported on May 4 – not quite a month ago – that Trump and his team had launched a new “communications platform,” powered by a “digital ecosystem” created by Brad Parscale, the former president’s former campaign manager.

Right off the bat, there was an obvious problem: the new “communications platform” was little more than a rudimentary blog, utilizing technology that’s existed for many years.

A week after the blog went live, NBC News reported that things were “not going well” for the former president’s online home, with weak traffic and little reader engagement.

Two weeks later, the Washington Post reported that the blog was failing so badly that Trump was sliding into online “irrelevance.” The article added, “Since the blog’s launch … online data shows relatively few people have paid attention.”

At a certain level, this didn’t come as too big of a surprise. After all, at issue was a former president with an unimpressive blog, utilizing outdated tech, which apparently didn’t even allow for clean paragraph breaks. Of course its traffic was weak.

But the context made matters worse. For one thing, Team Trump said his online presence would “redefine the game,” which, as his blog disappears after less than a month, obviously did not happen.

For another, Trump is supposed to be overseeing a legion of obsessive followers who eagerly await his every thought. Evidently, these supporters continue to hold the former president in high regard, but they couldn’t be bothered to check out his underwhelming website.

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