This year hasn’t been a great one for polling, data operations, or vaunted GOTV efforts. If it had been so, then Hillary Clinton would now be president-elect. So much conventional tactical analysis (much of which I accepted) has proved erroneous.
There’s no gain, and much harm, in focusing on the tactical now. Even if one were to overcome the deficiencies of previous analyses, tactical considerations matter little at the moment, and won’t matter much in the next two years or so. Where one places the chairs, how one sets the table, and whether someone wins an upcoming state or local election (as a supposed portent of something) is mere banality.
One reads that Trump’s transition team is filled with backbiting and disorder. Yes, of course: did one expect otherwise? His claims to competency were a confidence game, and what one sees now is like a an imitation of a mafia family’s squabbles. (Not an actual mafia family, perhaps, but more like the kind one would see on B-grade television show or film.)
The fitting critique of Trump, apart from upcoming elections or single events, is a substantive, principled, ideological one. Before one builds a house, there are blueprints to draw, and materials to ponder and collect. We’ve years of critique and rumination ahead, and deep rumination is more than a consideration of which cog fits where in the Trump wheel.
It’s the grinding and direction of the wheel that matters. Trump’s rise to federal power is not an abomination because of small matters of style, or even larger ones of self-promotion; Trump’s an abomination because he’s a mediocrity, a liar, and a bigot (in order of moral severity, from least to worst failings).
In fact, that’s probably the easiest way to describe him, a description the Ancients would have understood well from their own observations of human nature, without need to consider an unconscious mind or complicated psychoanalysis: mediocrity, liar, bigot.
Such a man can, and will, do much damage, but his early fumbling will scarcely be the half of it.