From Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect <[email protected]>
Subject Kuttner on TAP: Could Trump’s Derangement Cost Him the Nomination?
Date January 22, 2024 8:05 PM
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**JANUARY 22, 2024**

On the Prospect website

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Roe v. Wade at 51
So much
bad, so much good, so much old, so much new ... BY FELICIA KORNBLUH

The Problems With Biden

He has to dig himself out of three holes if he has any chance to beat

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Big Ag and Big Oil Team Up to Lobby for Clean Energy Credits

A coalition of companies like Cargill and Chevron hired new
lobbyists as it works to convince policymakers that so-called
'renewable natural gas' should get government subsidies. BY DAVID

Kuttner on TAP








**** Could Trump's Derangement Cost Him the

Nikki Haley has astutely made Trump's impairment an issue. Let's see
how it plays.

Like you, I worry that we could soon be governed by a raving madman who
could bring the end of the American republic and maybe World War III as
well. But in the past few days, evidence of Trump's deepening dementia
and Nikki Haley's willingness to make it a campaign issue actually
gives me some hope.

If Haley can hold Trump to a 10- or 12-point win in New Hampshire
tomorrow, the contest for the Republican nomination is far from over.
And the more that Trump campaigns, the more his cognitive impairment
will be in evidence. This will not scare off the MAGA hard core, who
would vote for Trump even if he were drooling, but that's not the
entire GOP electorate.

After Trump confused Haley with Nancy Pelosi and blamed Haley for
failing to properly handle Capitol security in the attempted coup of
January 6, 2021, Haley, age 52, did something very sly. She bracketed
Trump with Biden as two old men who are not "mentally fit" to govern.
And she did it in a way that almost sounded compassionate.

"My parents are up in age, and I love them dearly," she said. "But when
you see them hit a certain age, there is a decline. That's a
fact-ask any doctor, there is a decline."

Yes, Trump has always sounded unhinged. But if you watch his campaign
events, or read transcripts, the deepening decline is floridly clear.
The Pelosi confusion was not a one-off. Trump free-associates and blurts
out whatever pops into his consciousness. Here's Trump, at an event
January 17
accepting Vivek Ramaswamy's endorsement:

By the way, you think you have cold weather out tonight? That was 40
degrees below zero. I said, "Don't worry about it, we're in a car."
Oh, really? If you had to walk like 15 feet from the car to the door, it
was a very, very troubling experience. Your net worth will skyrocket as
soon as we come in or as soon as it's known that we came in.

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Say what?

I've been reading a lot about the 1930s, and the synergy between an
angry electorate and raving dictators. In that era, deranged lunatics
came to power because the political mainstream failed and orthodox
economic remedies made things worse. Right up until the 1932 election,
the anti-Nazi governing coalition despite deep recession was pursuing
austerity economics. Hitler took power in January 1933.

It was as if the people, who supported a madman like Hitler, themselves
went mad.

Something similar explains Trump. A large fraction of the American
electorate feels ignored, passed by, and condescended to. Their
grievances need to be taken seriously, and the neoliberal center bears
much of the responsibility for the rise of the MAGA right.

That said, there is increasing evidence that Trump is more of a
psychopath than even the dictators of the 1930s. As Haley makes this
more of an issue, so will the media. And Trump, for once, will be on the
defensive on an issue that is up close and personal.

If Haley should defy the odds and win the Republican nomination, that
would present a very different sort of formidable challenge for Joe
Biden. That's a subject for another day. First, let's see what
happens in New Hampshire.


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