JRL NEWSWATCH: “Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole; The Mueller Report won’t soothe a paranoid frenzy to undo the 2016 election” – City Journal (New York)/ Paul Starobin

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“The idea of irascible Donald Trump as a compliant tool of the Kremlin in Moscow – some sort of clandestine agent or asset … has always seemed off-center. Who has ever been able to control him … Does Trump seem capable of keeping secrets, following orders, or maintaining the strict discipline required of a double agent? … to sober minds, it should come as no surprise that the [Mueller] final report … supports no such conclusion. … as summarized by Attorney General William P. Barr in a letter to congressional leaders … [it] found no conspiracy … to fix the 2016 election …. exactly what Trump has been saying, in his mantra of “no collusion” …. Surely, then, it’s time for a reckoning …. White House* * *  [C]ontrary evidence … was not hard to find. … The root explanation for the belief in a compromised Trump lies elsewhere than partisan politics, and a good place to look is the classic essay by historian Richard Hofstadter, ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics,’ … in the November 1964 issue of Harper’s. … identify[ing] a recurrent pattern in our political life, going back to the republic’s early days. … ‘I call it the paranoid style,’ he explained, ‘simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy ….’ … [H]e took pains to say, he was not speaking in a clinical sense of ‘men with profoundly disturbed minds.’ Rather … ‘the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people ….’ … ‘Trump as Kremlin man’ now can be added to these dubious annals. … The paranoid style, which can include an inability to live with complexity and ambiguity and an intolerance for adverse outcomes, is characteristic for its resilience. … A vindicated Trump, for his part, can be expected only to heighten the conspiratorial mood of our times. …”

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