Trump, The Not-Just-April Fool

Tomorrow is April fools Day, which raises the question: how many fools are there? (Does the apostrophe go between the l and the s, or after the s?)

Among the many, many detestable things that Donald Trump and his “best people” have done is shake my former faith in the good sense of most Americans–and increase my estimate of the country’s percentage of fools.

If the last two years have taught me anything, it is that approximately a third of Americans are unable or unwilling to recognize stupidity and incompetence when they see it. I’m not talking about bad ideas, unworkable policies or even the venality and self-dealing that has characterized this administration; I’m talking about the special blend of arrogance, ignorance and limited intellectual capacity that Trump demonstrates anew every day.

Take these remarks reported by The Hill.

Trump touted at an event in Ohio that the U.S. was the largest producer of crude oil and natural gas in the world. He suggested that would not have been the case had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election.

“Hillary wanted to put windmills all over the place,” he told workers at a tank factory in Lima, Ohio.

Trump then mimicked a man telling his spouse to “turn off the television” when the wind doesn’t blow in order to save electricity. The joke was reminiscent of a similar line he delivered earlier this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference in which he derided the Green New Deal.

“Put the windmills up, and watch the value of your house if you’re in sight of a windmill — watch the value of your house go down by 65 percent,” he said Wednesday. “Wonderful to have windmills. And solar’s wonderful too, but it’s not strong enough, and it’s very very expensive.”

How incredibly dumb do you have to be in order to believe that if you use wind power, its availability will be intermittent–that when the wind isn’t blowing, the energy isn’t available? Does he really think the enormous growth of wind power use would have occurred if that was the way it worked?

Has he ever heard of batteries?

And solar is not weak and “very expensive.”One megawatt-hour of solar-produced electricity in North America currently costs $50, compared to $102 for coal-originating power, according to new analysis.

Alternative power generation is much cheaper now over the lifetime of a plant than when working with traditional fuels like coal, according to a report by investment bank Lazard.

I’ve posted before about this administration’s war on science; much of it is being waged by former lobbyists who’ve been installed at the EPA and Department of the Interior to protect the bottom lines of fossil fuel interests. Those officials probably know better and simply don’t care–maybe they have grandchildren who don’t have to breathe air and drink water.

But I don’t think Trump does know better. (One of the reasons I never thought he actually colluded with Russia is that he lacks the mental capacity and self-discipline for collusion–he was simply Putin’s useful fool.) Trump is a walking, talking illustration of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effectis a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.

I think that is a perfect description of Trump.

The more important question is: what explains those Americans who–two years into this disastrous Presidency–still support him and cheer him on? A lot of it, of course, is simply racism/white nationalism. He hates and fears the same people they do, and in return, they’re willing to overlook the fact that he is an embarrassing idiot. But some of it may also be attributable to their own Dunning-Kruger effects.

Either way, the rest of us need to get off our duffs, soundly defeat him and them in 2020, and begin to reclaim and rebuild our country.

Otherwise, Fools Day won’t just be in April.


  1. Loathing the people (fools) “who support and cheer him (Trump)” on accomplishes nothing. Are we to believe people have changed or their true character suddenly revealed?

    I think not. They are reacting to the corruption of our economic and political that has occurred before our very eyes. That must be the focus of our efforts.

  2. We make a huge mistake thinking trump is a fool. He is pandering to people who like pro-wrestling. He is telling them what they want to hear, while dismantling the government that protects them. This is not stupidity but a concerted effort to turn our republic into an oligarchical dictatorship. We do our country a disservice dismissing trump as a fool. We need to recognize him and his wealthy enablers as the threat they truly represent. They are not stupid. They are working a plan and that plan will turn the rest of us into desperate surfs.

  3. The man may be a primping, posturing fool, but he recognized that fear is the most useful item in a politician’s toolkit. The opposition must be united by the time the election rolls around. If our favored candidate isn’t the nominee, we must put the primaries behind us and move forward.

    BTW, I love Mayor Pete.

  4. More dangerous than trump are the plutocrats that own the media or can afford to pay the media to keep pushing their dangerous lies and conspiracy theories that keep the idiots out there fearing the good people.

    We have got to figure out a way to stop the Kochs, the Mercers, the Murdochs, etc. etc. who are controlling our government at both the state and federal levels. They have turned our country into a complete corporatocracy for their corporate welfare.

  5. John Neal. If your last sentence is correct, how do you explain the behavior at Trump rallies? Why weren’t those traits so blatantly displayed in the past?

  6. “Are we to believe people have changed or their true character suddenly revealed?”

    Pascal; I assume the above sentence from John Neal is the one you referred to with your question. The answer is simple; until Trump’s racist, bigoted public outbursts, rants, name calling and lies freed them from Politically Correct restraint – their behavior was unacceptable to the general public. It has now become a political way of life because the American preside supports and encourages their support of racism, bigotry, name calling and lies. A vicious circle of hatred.

  7. You wrote, “The more important question is: what explains those Americans who–two years into this disastrous Presidency–still support him and cheer him on?” That baffles, and frightens, me as well. Trump engages in a perpetual war on “truth”. Hopefully his opponent in the next election will make that a focal point of the campaign.

  8. Trump’s message echoes the anti-renewable-energy comments repeated nationwide. In spite of these spurious unscientific arguments, states of TX and KS have erected large wind farms, VA on a military base has a large solar energy array, and RI since 2006 has the 30 MW Block Island offshore wind power generation facility.

    Offshore wind — especially along the coasts — has the potential to replace all fossil and nuclear power generation, in the exact location of large U.S. population centers.

    Notably, Mr. Trump lost the battle he vigorously fought to block erection of offshore wind power generation in sight of his Scotland golf course. He will also lose the battle against U.S. offshore wind power.

  9. The apostrophe should follow the s.

    I have given up on psychoanalysis of Trump followers driven, as they are, by racism, victimhood etc., since even if our analyses are correct, that does little to nothing in how to end their influence on the future of America and its now teetering democratic idealism. We the (I hope) sane have such people outnumbered (so far), and I see my mission as a citizen to beat these people at the polls. That will not erase their sense of victimhood and contempt for the so-called elite but it will give us back the political power to stop this slide into some form of authoritarianism and an opportunity to strengthen our democratic principles and institutions.

    The following will sound like a liberal cliche to many, but I think the upcoming election, considering where we stand at this moment, is the most important election we will ever have, an existential exercise in correcting an invasion from within (and assisted from without), and that we dare not shirk the fight to save our democracy. So to the ramparts!

  10. Trump is the King of Fools with many subjects. That makes him a useful fool for plutocrats. He’s a symbol for supremacists of all kinds and therefore useful to the enemies of the future.

    What will end his rein is unified voting Democrats.

  11. If I were Trump I’d be worried very much about the Koch-types who are managing his puppet strings. Exactly when will they decide that their agenda requires Trump’s martyrdom. The assassination of Trump would propel all sorts of white supremacy/theocratic new policies in exactly the same speed and sureness that the assassination of JFK brought Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Trump must be ousted BEFORE he is martyred.

  12. I will let another author say what I think:

    As Jonathan Cook wrote on CounterPunch last weekend:

    “Russiagate has been two years of wasted energy by the left, energy that could have been spent both targeting Trump for what he is really doing rather than what it is imagined he has done, and targeting the Democratic leadership for its own, equally corrupt practices…But it’s far worse than that. It is not just that the left wasted two years of political energy on Russiagate.

    At the same time, they empowered Trump, breathing life into his phony arguments that he is the anti-establishment president, a people’s president the elites are determined to destroy”
    Further commentary by Paul Street:
    Every hour of CNN and MSDNC broadcast time given to Moscow-mad Rachel Maddow’s collusion and conspiracy cargo cult has been an hour of widely viewed political news and commentary spent avoiding numerous bigger problems around which the aspiring fascist leader Trump has behaved in profoundly dangerous ways:

    Sexism, racism, nativism, gun-violence, voter suppression, white-nationalist terrorism, classism, plutocracy, civil rights violations, civil liberties rollbacks, militarism, hyper-masculinism, and, last but not least – the biggest issue of our or any time – the unfolding capitalogenic climate catastrophe. Trump has been making all these things worse.
    CNN and MSDNC are looking puked out. The long awaited Mueller Report has not delivered President Agent Orange’s head on a platter. If more of the Mueller Report is issued I am sure CNN and MSDNC will analyze it word by word, paragraph by paragraph like some written form of the Zapruder film.

  13. I don’t see how known Russian interference with our Presidential election can be ignored by any honest national politician.

  14. While these comments are all interesting and unlikely to change any of his supporters’ views, the damage being done goes on unabated.
    45% of those polled most recently back him and his very obvious agenda. They are aggrieved, angry and vengeful, none of which lead to rational critical thinking. Nor do they seem to see a future that may well be their children’s worst nightmare. Much as they would like to turn back time to the willful fantasy they remember, it won’t happen.
    In the meantime, DT has handed yet another gift to Putin and Xi by cutting off all aid to Central American countries already in crisis. Where does he think the politicians in those countries will turn for support now? The Chinese have shown a decided lack of concern for human rights in Africa where they routinely provide infrastructure to facilitate their insatiable need for resources. Russia has already moved to support Maduro in Venezula and will certainly look for further ways to place themselves into the Carribean militarily as well as accessing resources for themselves. Once those alliances have been made and are functioning, the U.S. will have little to counter them.
    He may be a fool in the worst sense of the word, but those who do nothing to refute him are the bigger fools. Sad to say, they are close to being half of all voters.

  15. Pete:”I don’t see how known Russian interference with our Presidential election can be ignored by any honest national politician.”

    Pete,keeping hope alive for a New Cold War. At this point continuing to clutch the (way past its sell date) security blanket known as Republican Daddy Robert Swan Mueller III is sad and comical.

    When Trump is re-elected,you can thank yourselves for emboldening him. Russiagaters deserve every derisive salvo thrown their way.

  16. Fool, yes, as are others around him. Madman, certainly. Every time an old series with real footage on Jim Jones and Jonestown is shown, the comparison is more and more obvious. Oh, it’s there all right! The base buys in totally and would (and did, for Jones) die for him. If you’re not concerned enough by now to get to the polls in ’20, you’re just not paying attention. I agree with Gerald that the apostrophe should follow the ‘s’.

  17. Pascal and JoAnn,

    In response respectfully.

    I’m simply not writing off a third or so of America as irredeemable racists fools. I think if we place more focus on the structural problems that give rise to grievance and hatred, we have a better opportunity for change than these endless ad hominem attacks on Trump supporters.

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