Good morning! Happy impeachment day for those of us who think the President of the United States illegally solicited foreign assistance in an election then lied about it! For anyone reading this who doesn’t think that, um, hi? How did you end up here? I mean, you’re welcome to hang out and stuff but this isn’t the kind of space you usually find appealing.
Speaking of things that Trump supporters like, let’s talk about the letter he wrote to Speaker Pelosi yesterday. You can find it here. It’s a rhetorical marvel, filled with alternating bursts of policy language and tweet-speak using strange rules of capitalization combined into something barely recognizable as a formal correspondence between leaders of a real nation.
And it fact, it wasn’t that.
I’m not an expert in propaganda but you don’t need to be one to understand that Trump released six pages of coded language meant to bolster his base the day before something very bad is about to happen to him. He wasn’t talking to House Democrats. He wasn’t even talking to Americans in general. He was talking to the people who attend his rallies.
The whole letter, particularly the parts where he listed all of the things he sees as accomplishments, is in-group speak targeted at that kind of people who have Trump 2020 flags in their yards. It was meant to strengthen their convictions about the man they voted for. It re-demonized Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats to remind the base to keep hating them. It reiterated the (entirely false) claim that asking the Ukraine for an investigation into a political rival is business as usual. The whole letter was engineered to reel back in any loyalist who might have been thinking “Gee, maybe Democrats have a point.”
It was basically a rally speech printed on White House letterhead.
But that letterhead is a powerful tool. You can tell that’s true because the entire media started talking about the letter as if it were a real and impactful thing when they should have been treating it like the kind of screed a jilted teenager writes to convince himself his ex-girlfriend was the idiot for dumping him.
Part of dismantling the patriarchy has to be calling out its bullshit tactics like this one. Just because a rich, powerful, white man says something, doesn’t make it true. The media treating this is if it has meaning is insulting to my intelligence. That letter, that call-to-fury, to the Trump base has no more inherent gravitas than the comments section on FoxNews. Treating it like it does reinforces the myth that Trump and others like him are infallible and untouchable.
The response to that letter was frankly irresponsible. Trump threw a tantrum meant to solicit cries of “Fuck yeah! MAGA!” from his supporters and the media acted like he dealt a serious blow to the impeachment process. He did not.
The impeachment vote will take place tonight and the US House of Representatives will indict the President for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He can’t unmake that series of events, no matter how hard he tries.