Personality disorder

It’s been fascinating to listen to Nevada Republican leaders describe the reasons behind the shellacking they received on Nov. 6. The state chair, Michael McDonald, claimed the election was stolen by the Democrats’ “shenanigans.” He said “fingers on the scale” allowed “too many people” to vote, echoing President Trump’s absurd assertion of massive voter fraud featuring immigrants who went out to their cars, changed shirts and marched back into the polling place and voted again. Confronted with zero evidence of voter fraud in Nevada, McDonald later backtracked, saying he wasn’t serious and never dreamed anyone would take him at his word. He now says he submitted his resignation directly to the president who rejected the gesture, asking him to stay on, although it’s hard to see how the election could have been much worse for the Republicans.

Assemblymember John Ellison from Elko also endorsed the “too many people voted” theme as the underlying cause of the GOP’s defeat. He told the Elko Free Press that “outside factors” influenced several unspecified races, stating “I’m unhappy with interest groups that piled that amount of people together to get them to the polls.” In other words, get out the vote efforts are suspect only when they motivate Democratic-leaning voters. But when more people vote, Republicans lose, which is why the GOP is so focused on making it more difficult for poor and minority voters to register and vote.

Mark Amodei, our hapless U.S. House member in Northern Nevada, told the Nevada Independent that it was “political polarization” combined with the Democrats’ superior turn out the vote operation that produced Nevada’s blue wave. He expressed surprise that the churning economy was overlooked by voters who should have given Trump and the GOP the credit for their improved quality of life. Amodei, like most Republicans, insists on pretending that the tax cuts, which benefited corporations and the already wealthy, were equally helpful to those of us in the middle on down who aren’t experiencing much economic improvement, just the soaring cost of housing and roads clogged with traffic.

He also blames the media for being “too focused” on Trump’s personality, arguing that we should ignore his verbal excesses, i.e., lies. Amodei brushes off the President’s “personality” as an unimportant problem, using it as a synonym for Trump’s outrageous behavior. It’s another GOP talking point: Trump just embellishes and exaggerates, he doesn’t really lie. It’s called personality.

But Trump’s words and actions continue to be very dangerous and immoral. Last week, he again declared there was no climate change crisis, panning his own administration’s annual report, the National Climate Assessment, released on the Friday after Thanksgiving in an effort to bury its extremely negative findings. Trump then showed he still can’t distinguish weather from climate, tweeting during an East Coast storm: “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

I felt like tweeting back, “You can’t possibly be this ignorant”—and yet, he has repeatedly demonstrated he is.

Trump also told the world he doesn’t believe the CIA’s report that the Saudis murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite a brutal tape of the crime. And he further undermined our country’s rapidly diminishing record on human rights by tear-gassing vulnerable women and children waiting at the border to apply for asylum. Even Ivanka could hardly believe it, although she later tried to excuse it.

Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin rejects the Republican fables about Trump, writing “The moral nihilism inherent in this Republican defense of Trump (i.e., nothing he says matters) is indicative of the intellectual and moral rot that has destroyed a major political party.”

But Amodei and the Nevada GOP aren’t worried about Trump. It’s just his personality.