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Trump’s masterclass

January 4, 2021

Having listened to the entire call between Trump and Raffensperger, what struck me is that it is a masterclass in how those running pyramid schemes, swindlers, cult leaders, and other conmen impress their will on others. They say complete nonsense with nonchalance. (In the call, trump claims his rally sizes and the pronouncements of politicians “prove” he carried Georgia.) They claim to want truth, even as they mouth blatant lies. They have not one explanation, but dozens. Those in their way are the real liars, even just the professional and unbiased investigators doing their jobs. You should be with them, tied by history or party or whatever link they can imagine. You want to do what they are asking, because that will bring you respect and success. They’re not wanting everything they deserve, just a small thing. All they want now is one assent. Others you respect are going along. (Trump claimed that other states’ officials would flip them.) They can’t understand why you’re putting up so much resistance. They ignore contrary facts. And they will repeat this spiel on and on and on and on and on. In confidence, and with tone and fashion that suggests what they are doing is perfectly ordinary.

I encourage young people to listen to that phone call. Ignoring its political context, it is a rare example of how that breed works. If ever you find someone treating you (or someone else) in that fashion, do whatever is necessary to get away from them. Even if that means quitting your job, leaving a support group, fleeing a church, rejecting a lover, divorcing a spouse, estranging a relative. If it requires going to court, don’t believe their predictions and threats. Trump’s team on the election has routinely lost its court cases, because courts require evidence, and give short shrift to conspiracy theories and nonsense. Pathological liars will do you great harm if you let them in. When you recognize one, do whatever is necessary to get them away from your life. Far and permanently away.

Let’s hope this one soon is removed from national politics. Unlike many, I expect Trump will continue to occupy the headlines, even then. His corruption has been broad. We will not know the extent of it for years. He may be in court far more than he wants.

Photo shows Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Lancaster Dodd, The Master. Hollywood typically portrays conmen with far more sympathy than they deserve.

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