On reflection, I have decided that Trump’s press conference was an unalloyed victory for those of us who seek to delegitimize him and neuter him politically. Why? Because it was a shambles, a chaotic disaster. The details are unimportant. All that matters is that he looked ridiculous, small, out of control. Only policy junkies like us pay attention to the details. To the general public, appearances are reality [also to neo-classical economists, but that is neither here nor there.] Remember, this is still eight days before he is inaugurated!
The press will obsess about the confirmation hearings, about what Jeff Sessions says, about what Rex Tillerson says. But none of that will change anything at all. Trump will get his cabinet. With a Republican Senate, how could it be otherwise? But Trump starts out with a disastrous favorability rating [37% in the latest poll], and salacious, unprovable, almost certainly false rumors circulating about his behavior in Russia. Things will not go better for him, because he is constitutionally unable to control the behavior that makes him look foolish.
From time to time, Trump will give thoughtful, moderately literate speeches written for him by his flunkies, but they will not change his image because they are cognitively dissonant – they conflict with the impression people have of him, and hence will be forgotten.
Will he be impeached? No. Will he quit? Of course not, he will be making money from the presidency. But will he succeed in carrying into law his appalling policies [to the extent that he actually has policies]? That remains to be seen. We have an opportunity, if we organize coast to coast, to block him. We even have an opportunity to win House seats and State legislative seats in the off-year elections if we start working now.
Do not despair. We have just begun to fight.