Newt Gingrich may not be the best one to say what's going on in Donald Trump's mind at this point. Since Trump didn't leap at Newt's stated wish to be the great brain of his presidency, Newt hasn't seemed to have any role except as a sort of distant gadfly.
For what it's worth though, Newt decided to make some news himself today by telling NPR that, although Trump campaigned on cleaning up Washington -- "draining the swamp" -- he now says that "was cute" but he doesn't want to use it anymore.
It doesn't take inside information to know that. Just look at his choices for cabinet positions. At least three billionaires so far, Goldman Sachs alumni in the top finance positions, the CEO of the largest oil company in the world. Retired generals galore. Seems like just putting more alligators in the swamp instead of draining it.
The question is not what Newt thinks or even what Trump says at this point. Because we know he does not intend to do many of the things he campaigned on. The question is how soon are the Trump voters going to begin to realize that, once again, they have been duped, played for fools, manipulated by Republicans into voting for people who will act against their own needs and wishes. In short, how soon will they realize that Donald Trump has been the biggest and best con artist of them all.
Let's start with what the Trump voters have said that they actually believe -- what misinformation they absorbed from the Trump campaign and how detached from reality they really are. Rachel Maddow recently (MSNBC, 12/9/16) dissected some poll findings from the respected PPP poll, and here's what she found in the polling data that shows what Trump's voters believe:
1. The stock market under the Obama administration has soared. The Dow Jones average more than doubled, from 7,949 to 17,19,614. But 39% of Trump voters think the market went down under Obama.
2. Unemployment went from 7.8% to 4.6%. But 67% of Trump voters believe unemployment increased.
3. By 40% Trump voters believe Trump won the popular vote. Clinton won it by close to 3 million votes.
4. As many as 60% of them believe that millions of people voted illegally for Clinton.
5. This is startling: 29% actually believe that the California vote should not be included in the popular vote total.
Here's Rachel's overall comment:
"I think it shows that even after the election, what Trump voters believe about the world is distinctively different from . . . what is true. And this is an alternate reality that they are in, -- it is weird enough and specific enough that you can't say it just springs from broader misunderstandings or from a broader ignorance on issues that afflict the country. . . .
"[T]his is a specific alternate reality that was created by the Trump movement for a political purpose. And it worked for that political purpose. And now as the Trump administration takes shape, they have to know that they are in power thanks to their voter base that has these false beliefs about the country. False beliefs about the country, false beliefs about the economy, false beliefs about the outgoing president, false beliefs about what California is. In terms of what happens next in our country, it seems important to know this incoming president basically created this fantasy life for his supporters."
So what happens now? Will they realize they have been conned? Taken advantage of? And then what?
PS: I'm using "Trump voters" here to signify that particular type that attended his rallies so enthusiastically. There's another type of voter who may not think highly of Trump but voted for him nevertheless, because we have become so polarized that preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president took precedent over anything else. I'll have more to say about these voters in a later post. The poll stats quoted above, however, were inclusive of all who voted for Trump.