Worst Case Scenario

Published: February 26, 2020

By Jim Lichtman
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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

In his 1922 book, Public Opinion, journalist and political commentator Walter Lippmann “…argued that modern mass communication created ‘pseudo-environments’ that thwarted the ability of the average citizen to make political judgments based on facts.”

To say Lippmann was ahead of his time is a master understatement, but even the keenly perceptive Lippmann could never have foreseen a tweetaholic in the White House who daily channels the anger, resentment and prejudice from a small, but electorally consequential segment of the population who feels disenfranchised, backed by Republicans who used to stand for something but now stand for Trump.

So, they have all thrown in behind their fake savior in chief, a man who continues to feed all that anger to appease his constituent base.

It doesn’t matter that dairy farmers in Wisconsin – one of the president’s key states – is showing a rise in bankruptcies due to the Trump administration’s trade and tariff policies.

It doesn’t matter that the president criticizes the analysis of 17 intelligence agencies. It doesn’t matter, because he simply replaces the director of national intelligence with another of his “acting” loyalists who will not only suppress any attempts to protect the integrity of the upcoming election but jeopardizes the safety and security of the country.

It doesn’t matter that Trump’s hand-picked attorney general, William Barr, intervenes in cases against friends of the president, effectively nullifying equal justice under the law, no matter what legal argle-bargle comes from Barr’s assertions.

And it sure doesn’t matter if more than 2,688 (and counting), former U.S. attorneys, trial lawyers, and other Justice officials – in an unprecedented open letter – call for the resignation of Barr for flagrantly politicizing a Justice Department that’s supposed to stand for the many instead of the one – whether it’s used to reopen cases to possibly overturn convictions against the president’s friends, or used to attack his enemies, the result is the same, it’s an authoritarian nightmare.

Never mind the deceit and lies that grow daily from this president.

Never mind that he announces to the world that the U.S. has nothing to worry about concerning the Coronavirus. It is “under control” and will “go away,” contradicting the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, [who] “told reporters Tuesday the agency expects to see community spread of the disease in the U.S. ‘As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,’ Director Nancy Messonnier said. ‘It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in the country will have severe illnesses.’ ”

Meanwhile, the most serious virus thrives in the White House whose disease of division and disgust is actively spreading within government agencies headed by loyalists who will ultimately weaken us as a country.

Nonetheless, supporters continue to show up at rallies relishing his derisive words, and ad hominin attacks pointed at anyone on the other side or anyone who is not a “loyal” disciple of the church of Trump, including two Supreme Court justices, recently.

When Trump attacked a justice who ruled against him in 2018 calling him “an Obama judge,” Chief Justice John Roberts reprimanded the president:

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Is it any surprise that Trump is so paranoid that he is actively purging his administration of anyone he deems disloyal?

Will those same supporters pay any attention to a warning that Russia is “conducting brazen operations aimed at spreading disinformation, exploiting lines of division in society and sowing doubt about the integrity of U.S. elections and the ability of its leaders to govern effectively,” Time magazine reports (Feb. 24).

“David Porter, an assistant section chief with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, accused Russia… [of engaging] in ‘information confrontation’ aimed at blurring fact from fiction, eroding American confidence in democratic institutions and driving wedges into society’s fracture lines.

“ ‘The primary objective,’ Porter emphasized, ‘is not to create a particular version of the truth, but rather to cloud the truth and erode our ability to find it, creating a sentiment that no narrative or news source can be trusted at all.’ ”

Russia wants to watch us “tear ourselves apart,” Porter bluntly said.

Do we really want to continue down a path that weakens us as a country?

Do we really want to continue to be led by a narcissistic, self-serving bully of a man whose wife, who rails against bullies, has no influence even as he tweets his basest impulses?

Short of another war, this is the worst-case scenario. Are we going to ignore it?

This is not a political question. This is a deeply moral question. It’s about what we stand for and who we aspire to be.


  1. Thanks for stepping up and forward, Jim with your strong statements.
    I continue to shake my head back and forth so much that I need an chiropractic adjustment. Yes, this is a moral situation and we need to get people out to vote!

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