Losing the plot

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I would urge caution when it comes to the increasingly fanciful theories that are going viral ahead of Trump’s 1/6 indictment. For instance there’s no actual evidence to suggest that Trump met with Mark Meadows this week. Trump holding an event in a city that someone lives in is not evidence that Trump visited that person. Nor could Trump possibly gain anything by visiting Meadows at this late date, after the grand jury testimony has already happened. Nor would Meadows, who has spent all this time keeping as much distance from Trump as possible, be likely to suddenly let Trump visit him at his home.

It would be Christmas morning for Jack Smith if Trump actually did something this insanely dumb. But again, there’s just no evidence to support the idea that Trump visited Meadows this week – just a lot of online fantasizing while waiting for actual news about the case.

This is actually part of a larger trend over the past week where every fanciful, over the top, unlikely theory you can imagine is now being floated as if it were realistic. That’s because we’re so close to getting actual answers about the case, the people who float fanciful speculation for a living are now worried about how they’ll remain relevant once the real answers are known. So they’re floating even more over the top stuff than usual, as they struggle to get attention.

Meanwhile back in the real world, the actual reporting on Jack Smith’s Trump 1/6 case suggests it’ll be very powerful and devastating but also pretty straightforward. Which is how prosecutors generally operate. You put someone in prison by bringing the obvious safe charges that a jury will convict on, not the kind of “clever” or “aggressive” left field charges that a jury will be less inclined to convict on.

Political Twitter has long been a contest to see who can prove who can be the most “clever” by floating wildly over the top yet laughably simplistic magic wand ideas, or intriguingly dramatic yet highly unlikely interpretations of what might be going on. In Twitter fantasyland, the most intriguing scenario is therefore the most likely scenario.

But in the real world it’s the precise opposite: the most obvious scenario is (obviously) the most likely scenario. It just doesn’t often make for the kind of over the top dramatic climax that we tend to see in the movies.

I would argue that what we’re now seeing play out in the real world is dramatic enough. We’ve been waiting a long time to get actual answers and actual results from actual prosecutors. We don’t need to be distracted with fanciful tales from people who don’t know anything and are dragging us further away from the plot than ever in the name of getting us to pay attention to them instead of what’s actually happening.

Most of the fanciful over the top theories you read on Twitter stop making sense the minute you close the app. Meanwhile back in the real world we’re days or maybe even hours from finding out the real story. Let’s keep in mind that a particular outcome’s odds of happening are not in any way increased by how intriguing it sounds. In reality the most likely outcome is the one that’s most likely to happen.

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