Even as Donald Trump continues to come off as so senile in his public appearances that it’s obvious he can’t put a coherent thought together, the words he’s stringing together have become more and more aggressively fascist. The media, and anti-Trump activists, have been quick to condemn Trump’s fascist words. The trouble: they’re not his words. And this controversy is merely giving Trump cover when it comes to his senility.
It is almost painfully obvious at this point that the Donald Trump we see in public is incapable of putting together coherent fascist thoughts. This is a guy who’s so senile he doesn’t know how many World Wars we’ve had. He so senile he doesn’t know where he is half the time. He’s so senile he thinks Barack Obama is the current President.
Trump is not cognitively capable of being involved in writing his speeches at this point. This becomes obvious when he continually gets confused over what he’s trying to read off the screen, as if he’s seeing the words for the first time and doesn’t understand them. Nor is there any chance whatsoever that Trump is writing the aggressively fascist diatribes that are being posted to his Truth Social account.
It’s plainly obvious that, in a last ditch effort at distracting everyone from Trump’s senility, his handlers are putting increasingly fascist language into his mouth. That way everyone is so busy condemning him for being a fascist, they’re forgetting about the fact that he’s plainly senile.
It’s not the most inventive strategy. But it gets the job done, because Trump’s handlers are aware of two things. First, calling Trump a “fascist” or calling him “Hitler” won’t change anyone’s view of him. He said and did brazenly fascist things the entire time he was in office. Everyone already has an opinion about whether he’s a fascist, and whether it’s disqualifying. You’re not accomplishing anything at this late date by “sounding the alarm” about Trump being a fascist. Come on.
Second, it’s intuitively obvious that you can’t be a fascist and be senile at the same time. A fascist has a specific, evil, and villainous point of view about the world. A senile person has no coherent views about the world and is essentially speaking at random. So when you’re telling people that Trump is “more fascist than ever,” you’re unwittingly telling them that Trump isn’t senile. In other words, you’re giving Trump cover. You’re helping him.
During Obama’s first four years, right wingers and Republicans obsessively tried to label him a fascist, a dictator, you name it. But none of it stuck, because persuadable voters in the middle always dismiss that kind of language as hyperbole (whether it is or not), and Obama won reelection by five million votes.
When Trump lost in 2020, it wasn’t because he was seen as a “fascist.” It was because persuadable voters in the middle had come to see him as an inept, aloof, lazy, easily distracted, unserious bumbler who wasn’t fit for the job. That’s why he lost reelection by seven million votes.
Now, on top of his disastrously inept and unserious track record in office, he’s been criminally indicted in four jurisdictions and he’s senile. Nothing is more disqualifying in the eyes of persuadable voters than a candidate who’s so far gone cognitively he doesn’t even know where he’s at.
Donald Trump’s senility is a death knell for his political viability. It’s the end of him. It would be the end of anybody. The only reason it hasn’t finished him off yet is that the media is so hesitant to acknowledge Trump’s senility, because they don’t want him finished off yet. And the only reason the media gets away with ignoring Trump’s senility is that we’re giving them cover by yelling “Trump’s a fascist” instead of yelling “Trump is senile.”
Trump’s senility is the biggest gift you could ever hope for in politics. The Republicans are seriously looking at actually nominating a guy who can’t make a speech without letting everyone see how far gone he is, who can’t appear in a debate at all, and who’s going further downhill in the cognitive department by the day. It would be an unbelievable gift to us if they nominate this senile man in 2024.
Yet even as the Republicans are trying to hand us the gift of a fully senile nominee, we’re blowing it. We’re being incredibly dumb about this. We are pissing away the biggest advantage we have in all of this. Trump behaves in senile fashion, and we say no, he’s faking it to try to get off the legal hook. Trump reads fascist words off a script that he doesn’t understand, and we say he’s not senile, he’s a fascist!
And don’t get me started on how Trump keeps revealing that he thinks Obama is the current President – giving away just how overtly senile he is – and we keep giving him cover by insisting that he’s doing it to try to equate Biden with Obama. What is wrong with us? Why do we keep giving Trump cover like this? Why do we keep assigning a coherent strategy to his every senile incident? Why do we keep trying to prop up an opponent who keeps falling down?
It’s almost like, after so many years of battling this monster, we can’t let go of it. We don’t want to accept that he’s simply gone senile. We don’t want it to be over that easily. We make up absurd rationales to explain away his worsening senility. We want him to still be at his fighting weight so we can keep doing serious battle with him. After all these years we have PTSD from fighting against him, and we can’t accept that it ended in such a non-dramatic way as him simply going senile.
We’ve got to stop doing this. Donald Trump’s senility is the political story of 2023. It’s the biggest political gift we could ever hope for. And yet we keep trying to find ways to throw away that advantage, just because we psychologically don’t want him to be the pathetic confused helpless blob that he’s become.
But we’ve got to get over that psychological hiccup, because Donald Trump’s senility is our ace in the hole. It’s even more valuable than the fact that he’s going on criminal trial before the election. His senility is a knockout blow. When is our side going to stop goofing around and become willing to throw that punch? Donald Trump is senile, and he confirms this every time he opens his mouth. This should be the thing that our messaging is based on, because it disqualifies him in the eyes of every persuadable voter. Trump is senile. Everything else is secondary at this point.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report