The Broken Mirror

Two events in the last 48 hours make it clear, the motto for the MAGA-verse should be, “Don’t watch what we say, watch what we say!”  (No, that is not a typo.)

Event #1:  A remote segment during Friday night’s edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live consisting of interviews with three South Carolina Trump supporters.  Here are excerpts from “Debate and Switch.”  The interview starts by asking each if they would mind if she asks them about things that Joe Biden has said or done.

Interviewer:  What did you think when Joe Biden suggested that Covid could be cured by shining a bright light inside the body?
Trumpster #1:  It is very sad that Joe Biden is clearly a dementia patient.
Interviewer:  I’m so sorry.  I got my notes mixed up.  Can we start all over?
Trumpster #1: Okay.
Interviewer:  What did you think when Donald Trump suggested that Covid could be cured by shining a bright light inside the body?
Trumpster #1:  It depends on what that technology is.

Interviewer:  There are accusations Joe Biden cheated on his wife with a porn star after his son was born, and there’s actually a paper trail showing he paid the sex worker $130,000 to keep quiet about it.
Trumpster #2:   Who did that?  Joe Biden?
Interviewer:  Joe Biden.
Trumpster #2:  And he was making less than $100,000 a year at that time as a senator.  How does he do that?
Interviewer: You tell me.  Would you vote for someone who did that?
Trumpster #2:  Of course not.
Interviewer.  So Trump did do that.
Trumpster #2:  Trump had a fling with Stormy Daniels.
Interviewer:  And paid her $130,000.
Trumpster #2:  And paid her hush money.
Interviewer:  Yes, and you’re voting for him.
Trumpster #2:  I am.  My father had affairs too and I still respect him.

Interviewer:  How do you feel about Joe Biden using bone spurs to dodge the Vietnam draft?
Trumpster #3:  Joe Biden has a problem.  He isn’t an American.  He isn’t a patriot.
Interviewer:  I’m sorry, I asked you about Biden but I meant Trump.  Can I ask you the question again?
Trumpster #3:  Yes you may.
Interviewer:  How do you feel about Donald Trump using his bone spurs to dodge the Vietnam draft?
Trumpster #3:  My brother-in-law had flat feet. I’m sure you cannot go into a military zone like Vietnam with bad feet.  You just can’t do the job.  And it actually impacts the other soldiers.

To be fair, the Kimmel staffer could have spent days working on this project in order to find these three “gems.”  As we know, there are also a few nuts in every box of Cracker Jacks, even ones who would give permission for this footage to be aired on late night television.  Posthumous kudos to Andy Warhol.  It’s amazing what people will do for one minute, much less 15 minutes of fame.

Event #2:  The South Carolina GOP Primary.  Surely, most Palmetto State Trump supporters could not be this unaware.  If only there was a way to prove it.  As legendary sports reporter Warner Wolf would say, “Let’s go to the video tape.”  In this case it is National Election Pool (NEP) exit polls from yesterday’s South Carolina GOP primary.  When voters were asked about the condition of the national economy, 16 percent said it was “Good,” and 84 percent said it was “Not Good.”  They were then asked about their “family’s financial situation.”  The envelope please.

Getting Ahead/22 percent
Holding Steady/60 percent
Falling Behind/16 percent

Really?  Eight-two percent of South Carolina GOP voters are doing okay or better and yet 84 percent think the national economy is in the proverbial dumpster.  Not to mention every indicator of national economic health is performing at a record pace or trending in that direction.

This morning, not a single major newspaper or media outlet reported anything about this case of cognitive dissonance from the NEP polls.  I had to go back to last night’s MSNBC’s election night coverage to find where it appeared once on the crawl at the bottom of the screen.  None of the MSNBC commentators mentioned it during the broadcast.

This does not happen by accident.  No one wakes up one morning and says, “You know, the economy sucks but my family situation is pretty good.”  Those conclusions come from different sources.  You understand your personal financial condition through everyday experiences.  You know when you can and cannot pay the bills, even if inflation is above the target set by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Information about the national economy is provided by outsiders.  And your outside sources are a matter of choice.  I am sure if you asked the 84 percent who think the economy is “not good” where they get their news, a significant majority would be Fox News and Fox Business viewers.  I do not expect the Murdoch media empire to address this “I’m fine but…” anomaly.  Surely, someone in the “liberal press” noticed South Carolina voters were speaking out of both sides of their mouths.  Yet, they said nothing.

Is this going to convert die-hard MAGA voters?  Of course not.  But 2024 is not just about saving America from Donald Trump.  It is also a campaign to expose the irrationality underpinning the MAGA movement.  Certainly, there is someone out there who saw the Kimmel segment and thought, “I’m not that crazy, am I?”  More importantly, they should not have to depend on a late night talk show host or a Sunday morning blogger to point this out.


I rarely defend Donald Trump.  But unlike MAGA world which believes Fox News, NewsMax and OANN can do no wrong, journalistic integrity is important no matter the source.  Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell, who should know better, echoed a story going around that Trump called his wife “Mercedes” during Saturday’s speech at CPAC.  To be fair, Trump was lying about how supportive Melania has been despite the fact she has not been with him in court or on the campaign trail.  Of course, the lemmings in the audience applauded loudly.  Then Trump turned slightly to his left and said, “Mercedes, how about that?”  Even I know that the wife of CPAC president Matt Schlapp and Trump’s second White House Director of Communications is (drum roll) “Mercedes Schlapp.”  And chances were pretty good she was sitting in the front row during Trump’s speech.

I have no doubt there will be a Trump or MAGA PAC ad in which they talk about “how desperate the liberal press is.”  And O’Donnell and others handed him the ammunition to credibly do exactly that. 

Never has this Nate Silver quote been more relevant.  “Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge.”

For what it’s worth.

2 thoughts on “The Broken Mirror

    1. They will not, but Selena Gomez was his guest. And young Latinos may have. It’s not about MAGA voters. It’s about everyone else.

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