This Is Not Normal, October 29, 2018 – November 4, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that a candidate for governor of Georgia canceled a debate in order to campaign with the president and then tried to make it seem as though his opponent had canceled the debate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the same candidate for governor–who also happens to be secretary of state, which means he is in charge of running state elections, which doesn’t seem like a conflict of interest at all–is using his current office to investigate the opposition party for “possible cyber crimes” after he was informed by a third party of a security vulnerability in the elections database (not, importantly, an actual hacking attempt).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is floating the idea of ending birthright citizenship via executive order, which most legal scholars believe is unconstiitutional.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the White House press secretary to say that the president was elected by an “overwhelming majority,” when he in fact lost the popular vote by three million.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a sitting Senator to insinuate, baselessly, that his opponent might be illegally funding the “caravan” of migrants seeking asylum.
  • The president said many NOT NORMAL things in his pre-midterm campaign rallies this week:
    • that he was responsible for the passage of the Veterans Choice program, which actually passed in 2014;
    • that Congress repealed and replaced Obamacare (they did not);
    • that the Democrats will be “raiding Medicare to fund benefits for all of the illegal immigrants that they want to pour into our country” (this is patent nonsense);
    • that the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia wants illegal immigrants to vote (a lie);
    • that he made the vice president call the leaders of the countries where the “caravan” formed and tell them, “We pay you hundreds of millions of dollars a year, which is probably just stolen” (I do not believe that the vice president said any such thing to foreign leaders);
    • that “Nobody’s done more for Christians or evangelicals or frankly religion than I have” (wouldn’t Christians consider this borderline blasphemous?);
    • that the previous administration said there would be no more manufacturing jobs (another lie);
    • “Women women women, I love women, they’re the greatest, I like ’em much more than I like the men” (presented without comment);
    • that only three percent of people released for an asylum hearing go to court for the hearing (it is actually 89% to 94%);
    • that the opposition candidate for governor of Georgia, a lawyer who went to Yale and has served as a leader in the state legislature, is “not qualified”;
    • that if migrants throw stones at the border, “We will consider that a firearm”;
    • that there are twenty-five to thirty million illegal immigrants in the country (his own administration estimates twelve million); and
    • that the  opposition candidate for governor of Florida is a “stone-cold thief”;
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to the media as the “true Enemy of the People”;
    • repeatedly claim that the migrants seeking asylum (which is legal) are “very tough fighters and people” and  constitute “an invasion of our Country”;
    • complain that “So-called Birthright Citizenship” “costs our Country billions of dollars” and “is not covered by the 14th Amendment” (the great majority of legal scholars disagree);
    • attack the Speaker of the House, a member of his own party, for having the temerity to disagree with him on birthright citizenship;
    • tweet “Yesterday in Pittsburgh I was really impressed with Congressman Keith Rothfus (far more so than any other local political figure). His sincere level of compassion, grief and sorrow for the events that took place was, in its own way, very inspiring,” because it has somehow become appropriate to slam local officials four days after a shooting in their hometown; and
    • tweet “Rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads for his so-called opponent on the libertarian ticket. Donnelly is trying to steal the election? Isn’t that what Russia did!?” which sounds like an admission that Russia did, in fact, try to rig the 2016 election (?).
  • “Fake News” came up an astonishing number of times this week, but there were no mentions of the “Witch Hunt,” the “13 (or 17) Angry Democrats,” or “Crooked Hillary.” As always, the president said many nutty things in rallies and on social media; this list is not comprehensive.