Republicans are “building the idiocracy, one word salad at a time” in their attacks on impeachment.
“Idiocracy” is the title of a 2006 comedy which, French notes, is set in the fictional, dumbed-down America of the future — where President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho rules over a drought-stricken, miserably stupid nation. In real life, Trump’s defenders are actively trying to build the idiocracy for the sake of defending him.
If you follow social media in the age of Trump, you’ve likely noticed a pattern.
- When there’s a report of an alleged Trump scandal, there’s often a brief pause on MAGA Twitter and in MAGA Facebook.
- One set of defenders waits patiently for the media overreaction, ready to pounce on the first blue checkmark who goes too far or misstates the alleged facts.
- Another set waits for a credentialed or credible person to toss a word salad for Trump — granting them a ‘well akshually’ fig leaf that they can trot out as a talking point online.
Examples of such pro-Trump talking points include claims that he has “a constitutional right to confront the whistleblower” in the Ukraine scandal and is the victim of an attempted “coup” by Democrats who are seeking to overturn the 2016 election results. While the “overturn the election results” talking point is common among pro-Trump Republicans, it is supremely ridiculous.
If Trump is impeached and convicted — highly unlikely — it doesn’t ‘overturn’ the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton won’t be president. Every one of the laws, judicial confirmations and regulations enacted during the entirety of Trump’s term would remain in place.
Trump supporters throwing around the term “coup” aren’t even using it correctly.
A coup is an unlawful, often violent seizure of power. Impeachment is a constitutional process that can’t succeed without the affirmative votes of, first, a majority of the House, and then, a supermajority of the Senate — and every person voting is a person who won an election, also according to constitutional process. Impeachment isn’t the dissipation of constitutional government, it’s the exercise of constitutional authority.
Another talking point among Trump’s idiocracy is the claim that under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Trump has the right to confront the whistleblower — a claim that is ludicrous because the Sixth Amendment deals with criminal prosecutions, not an impeachment in Congress. Even Steven Calabresi, a conservative legal scholar who teaches law at Northwestern University, has referenced the Sixth Amendment to defend Trump.
The scope and reach of the Sixth Amendment has been extensively litigated, and it most assuredly does not apply to the House’s impeachment inquiry. One can certainly make a good-faith argument that maintaining the whistleblower’s anonymity is unfair, but to argue that it violates the Sixth Amendment is simply and plainly wrong.
And there you have it . . . a few examples of how Trump’s supporters are using lies and bullshit to maintain the idiocracy . . . the 35% of voters who will vote for Trump even after he murders someone on 5th Avenue in front of the TV cameras.