There’s an old joke: A man borrows some dishes and glasses from his neighbor, and returns the next day with a box full of broken dishes. The neighbor immediately runs over and demands an explanation. The first neighbor says, “first of all, I never borrowed any dishes, second, they were broken when I borrowed them, and third, they were fine when I gave them back. It is with these iron-clad arguments that Trump can never lose.
One: Say, “What About?”
John Oliver did a great piece on “whataboutism.” This is a way to deflect an argument by comparing yourself to someone just as bad or worse. Examples might be, “why should I worry about Roy Moore when Al Franken forced himself on a model?” or, “why should I worry about ANYTHING IN THE FUCKING WORLD when Hillary Clinton used a private email server?” There might be room for a nuanced look at double standards between liberals and conservatives, but if you’re not in it.
You know who says, “what about?” Children. Adults suck up the fact that life is unfair, and take responsibility for their actions. I have never once stood in front of a judge and said, “what about other people? Why punish me when other people do it?”
Two: Wait a week
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, showed some cast-iron ovaries when she said, “Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday and the President weighed in…often enough. The Roy Moore story is eight days old, and the President put out a statement during his Asia trip on that.” Wow. The president’s attention span is seven days and he moves on. Unlike, say, how quickly he was convinced by President Obama’s birth certificate and publicly apologized before moving on to his next venture. Or, say, Hillary’s emails. Or, say, JFK.
This is Trump-world, after all. Eight days is like three scandals, two mass shootings and one dead rock star ago. We can’t keep up.
Three: Just. Fucking. Lie.
Trump has certainly not invented, but he has definitely perfected a specific style of lying: Deny the idea of any absolute truth at all. A good liar will tell you the sky is green; a great liar will convince you the sky is green. But, Trump won’t even admit that the sky exists. Not only that, in the middle of telling you that there’s no difference between the sky and the earth, he’ll tell you that he invented rain. The lyrics to the song “Louie Louie” make more sense than what Trump says on a daily basis.
And this is exactly how Trump wins. He has the power, you don’t, and all he has to do is dance around and declare himself the winner. He’s figured out that some places just don’t have anyone to enforce any kind of rules. He knows how to manipulate a system where it’s more important to be first than be right, and he just dances around like a circus performer while the rest of us try to keep up.