Joe Scarborough Is Adorable Defending ‘Original Trumpism’ (VIDEO)


MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough blistered the paint off of Steve Bannonism today, arguing that it is somehow separate from Donald Trumpism.

The analysts and pundits on today’s edition of Morning Joe gawked at the power of Breitbartism, which is basically Jeff Sessionsism, which is really to say white nationalism. That whole border wall and mass deportation dance was always implicitly about reversing demographic reality — and by extension, preserving a right wing political reality to partisan benefit.

That turn to the right, Scarborough acknowledged, is exactly what’s killing Trump in opinion polls. But he’s still convinced that Bannonism and Sessionsism and white nationalism are not the default isms of Trumpism. Of course they are, in fact, one and the same impulse towards nativism, as we know from all the reporting on the origins of all these -isms in our politics. Bannon and Sessions cut the mold that Donald Trump filled, not the other way around.

Scarborough blames Bannon for the president’s turn away from centrism, then invites the centrists on his panel to invite Trump towards bipartisanism.

Mark Halperin wondered at the multiplicity of -isms, which is a fair criticism, because the president’s hard right turn is really not about -isms at all.

“Trump’s only ideology is applause,” New York Times reporter Frank Bruni said. “Trump, by nature, might be ill-equipped to operate as president,” Mike Barnicle suggested.

They were more right than Joe was, so everyone moved on to the topic of infrastructure spending. The panel agreed such legislation would be a much better use of Trump’s political capital than Muslim bans and health care bills. Surely “infrastructure” is the original Trumpism, the winning issue in white America! Surely he can recapture the “bully pulpit” with an easy infrastructure win!

But in a later segment, TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs said that the number being floated by the White House is $200 billion in new spending, which is about a trillion dollars short of what America actually needs for rebuilding the last century America, much less creating a next century America. The Republican majority will oppose some elements of Trump’s agenda, such as public broadband, on basic principle.

Trump reportedly wants to target his tax cuts for pre-privatized public works programs such as toll roads and bridges, which does not even address most of America’s critical infrastructure deficits. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin even avowed that tax reform would restore Trump’s populist luster.

According to Gibbs, Trump seems to think he can make up the mileage with regulatory reform, which is not how you build “great” anything, since all great projects require a great deal of planning, standardization, and input (see: highways and bridges).

So from Trump’s mouth, as from Bannon’s and Sessions’s mouths, “infrastructure” simply means more of that “deconstruction of the administrative state” that Joe and his entire panel detest about Bannonism. It’s not going to do what they seem to all think it does. It’s certainly no “pivot,” that magical moment when Donald Trump suddenly acts like a normal president for once. He’s not one, and never was.


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