May 12, 2016.
It’s not that Trump himself’s an ignoramus. Who knows if he is? Who knows what’s inside his head? Who knows what he’s thinking? Who knows if he’s thinking? As far as I can tell, he doesn't think. He reacts. He appears governed entirely by instinct, appetite, reflex, ego, and whim. Decent people keep expecting him to pay a price for being such a monster of vanity but there is no price to pay. He doesn’t have to think. He doesn’t have to know anything. His voters don’t care what he knows. They only care what he’ll do, what they believe he’ll do---make their lives better by telling everybody they blame for their lives being what they are to go to hell. His winning the Republican nomination didn’t depend on him having to know anything besides the fact that all his opponents were cowards and weaklings who wouldn’t call him on his lies and challenge him on the issues and facts because they were afraid of offending his voters whom they expected to pick up for themselves when Trump faltered and failed---as they assumed he would. Their own vanity prevented them from seeing themselves as the ones more likely to falter and fail.---and because they were telling many of the same lines except they were more careful to try to sound presidential when they lied. Instead they just sounded like typical politicians telling typical lies. And he knew he didn’t have to know anything to bluster his way through debates and interviews because most political journalists don’t know enough themselves to show him up and the ones who do are either afraid of losing him as a interview subject because that would mean losing his audience or they just don’t feel they have the time to pin him down on any one issue and keep him pinned down long enough for them to get him to reveal how little he knows or has thought about the things a president has to know and be always thinking about. Why then should he bother not to be an ignoramus? It’s so much more fun and a much better use of his time to mindlessly tweet away the time between campaign rallies and appearances on the news where he can strut and posture and bloviate to his heart’s content while the suckers cheer and the journalists flatter and fawn.
I don’t know how worthwhile it is to read Krugman on this, except that it’s generally worthwhile to read Krugman on anything. Seems he’s just doing what I’m doing here, venting. He knows no good’s going to come out of it. But it is Krugman. His venting is always smarter, more informed, and better written than most anyone else’s, and even just venting he always has serious points to make:
But before we simply ridicule him — or, actually, at the same time that we’re ridiculing him — let’s ask where his bad ideas really come from…
The important thing to realize, then, is that when Mr. Trump talks nonsense, he’s usually just offering a bombastic version of a position that’s widespread in his party. In fact, it’s remarkable how many ridiculous Trumpisms were previously espoused by Mitt Romney in 2012, from his claim that the true unemployment rate vastly exceeds official figures to his claim that he can bring prosperity by starting a trade war with China.
None of this should be taken as an excuse for Mr. Trump. He really is frighteningly uninformed; worse, he doesn’t appear to know what he doesn’t know. The point, instead, is that his blithe lack of knowledge largely follows from the know-nothing attitudes of the party he now leads.
Here, you can read the whole post, The Making of an Ignoramus, at the New York Times.