Trump did not learn the lessons of Watergate

As we await what seems to be the inevitable new indictment of serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT), this time on concerning involvement in the January 6, 2021 riot, another major development is that Special Counsel Jack Smith has filed an update to the indictment filed earlier on SSAT’s treatment of confidential documents at Mar-a-Lago. One additional charge is that they now seem to have the Top Secret document that SSAT was waving around in front of people who did not have the security clearance to read it.

“Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump says at one point, according to the transcript. “This was done by the military and given to me.” …

“Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump says, according to the transcript. “They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”

Trump continues: “All sorts of stuff – pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this.”

The other new item in the indictment is that of covering up a crime and it charges a third person Carlos De Oliveira, who seems to be a low-level employee of SSAT’s Mar-a-Lago resort, with involvement with it.

I doubt that serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) pays much attention to history, even of the period that he lived through, because he seems to have forgotten important lessons from the Watergate scandal that resulted in the resignation of president Richard Nixon in 1974. One is that it is not the crime that necessarily brings you down, it is the attempted cover up because that act demonstrates that you knew you had committed a crime. The second is don’t try to destroy evidence, because that rarely works. The third is that if you do try to destroy evidence, don’t use bunglers. And the fourth is for God’s sake, beware of recording devices!

Those familiar with the Watergate saga will recall the major role played by the tapes that contained recordings of conversations in the Oval Office. When Judge John Sirica ordered that tapes covering crucial conversations be handed over to the Special Prosecutor and the congressional committee that was investigating the affair, the audio tapes that were delivered had a mysterious gap lasting 18.5 minutes during crucial conversations.

Pressed for an explanation, Nixon’s fiercely loyal personal secretary Rose Mary Woods said that she had accidentally caused the erasure. It turns out that the system was such that it was not easy to do that and it involved the use of one hand and one foot simultaneously. When she was asked to demonstrate how it might have happened, that resulted in what became known as the ‘Rose Mary Stretch’ that was immortalized in this famous photo.

What was worse, forensic analysis of the tapes showed that the the period of the erasure covered not just one occasion but had been done multiple times, making the idea of an accidental erasure even more highly improbable. White House counsel John Dean later testified as to what one of the erased conversations might have involved.

The tape incident, Dean says, showed that Woods had intimate knowledge about the Watergate scandal. Dean remembers the day he warned Nixon about the cancer on the presidency and told Nixon the Watergate burglars wanted hush money:

“The president said, ‘Well, how much will it cost?’ and I said, ‘It’s gonna cost $1 million.’ And the president said to me, ‘Well, John, I know where we can get that.’ As soon as I left the office, he went in to see Rose Mary and ask her if she had any money. It got picked up on the taping machine.”

I read through the updated indictment that Smith presented and the relevant pages that describe the events are 27-30 (paragraphs 74-87) with the new indictment counts 40-42 on pages 49-53 (paragraphs 111-120).

The Special Counsel told SSAT’s lawyers on June 22, 2022 that they wanted to see the security footage of the storage area where some of the confidential documents had been stored. The next day SSAT (who was at his Bedminster Club in New Jersey) called De Oliveira at Mar-a-Lago and the following day sent the other indicted person, his valet, Waltine Nauta to Mar-a-Lago. The two of them walked through the tunnel where the storage room was, checking out the location of all the security cameras.

De Oliveira then asked an IT person (identified only as Employee 4 but whose title is given in paragraph 80 as the Director of Information Technology at Mar-a-Lago) that ‘the boss’ wanted to delete the contents of the server that contained the security videos that showed them moving boxes of confidential documents before the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. Employee 4 said that he did not know how to do that or even if he had the right to do it, and recommended that they ask a supervisor of security for SSAT’s business organization about it. [UPDATE: Employee 4 has now been identified.]

Although it is not clear from the wording in the indictment whether any of the tapes were erased or were only planned to be erased, given that the FBI and the grand jury received surveillance footage showing the movement of boxes out of the storage area, it looks like at least part of the surveillance footage was not deleted.

SSAT has denied that he ordered that the recordings be deleted, responding in his usual calm and measured way.

But it looks like the Special Counsel has the testimony of Employee 4 that De Oliveira asked him to do so and is likely to use that to put pressure on De Oliveira to give testimony to that effect. The fact that De Oliveira lied to the FBI is something that is also routinely used to threaten people with stiff punishments if they do not cooperate.

In either event, it is very damaging to SSAT since one tries to destroy evidence only if one thinks that one has done something wrong.


  1. johnson catman says

    I think his addled “brain” is incapable of learning anything at this point. I hope it will be demonstrated to him that his illegal fascist dictatorial-wannabe actions have very real consequences, and those actions earn him a lifelong orange jumpsuit to match his idiotic skin paint. I would be relieved to NEVER hear him speak again.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I lose track of the interminable nonsense of US political campaign timetables: can someone remind me of when it is that Trump will be officially confirmed as the Republican candidate for the next election? In other words -- how long does he have to run out the clock before he becomes, temporarily at least, effectively even more untouchable than he already is?

    It occurs to me also to repeat something I said in late March:
    Here’s a challenge:
    Instead of crowing about this can’t be good for him, how it’s a disaster, how his base is ebbing away and so on — instead of all that — make a firm prediction, right now, of two things:
    1. whether Trump will gain the Republican nomination
    2. whether the number of people who vote Trump in 2024 will be more than 70 million.

    I’ll stick my neck out now and say “yes” to both. Is anyone prepared to go on record now as saying either of those things won’t happen? Be interesting to look back in 15 months or so…

  3. billseymour says

    sonofrojblake, most presidential primary elections will happen in the spring of 2024, the Republican convention will happen in July, and the general election will happen in November.

    Thanks to a bit of googling, I’ve just discovered that the legislators in my red state have ditched presidential primaries in favor of caucuses.  This will all but guarantee that Trump will get Missouri’s votes in the Republican convention since caucuses are a complicated process that only the most ardent supporters of particular candidates will put up with.

  4. flex says

    @3, billseymour,

    Your pessimism isn’t necessarily justified. Having participated in a number of caucuses when I was in politics I can say that they are generally more highly structured and regulated than open voting. Generally only the precinct delegates get votes at the bottom levels, and only people who are familiar with party organization will become precinct delegates.

    The question then becomes who has taken the time to put themselves on a ballot for precinct delegate, because they are elected positions (usually only getting a few votes, but they only need 1 vote if they are the only person on the ballot). I doubt many of the more out-spoken trumpists understand the caucus process or have become precinct delegates themselves.

    If a precinct delegate does skip a caucus, the chair can ask if other people from that precinct are in the room, and they can become precinct delegate for a day. That would be an avenue for trumpists to get a vote in the caucus, but if they haven’t been preparing for this caucus at the last election they likely won’t have a vote.

    The Republican party in Missouri could well be aiming to direct their delegates to the national convention toward another candidate using the caucus system. It is a more complicated process, as you say. But complex does not mean that only the most ardent supporters will attend, complex parliamentary rules can also make it easier to exclude an otherwise popular, but unelectable, candidate.

    I don’t know Missouri politics at all. My experience has been in Michigan politics, so your assessment of the Republican party bosses is probably more accurate than mine. But I wouldn’t count on them automatically supporting Trump. The party bosses know that if Trump runs it will encourage democrats to vote, and encourage independents to vote for democrats. Putting Trump on the ballot will likely depress republican chances down-ballot. The bosses do not want that. But again, you have a better sense of what your state party will do, my comments are only to indicate that moving to a caucus process isn’t necessarily a recipe for trumpism.

    They call candidates getting an voter boost from a popular presidential candidate of the same party as ‘riding the coat-tails’.
    What do they call it when an unpopular presidential candidate creates a slump in votes for members of the same party? “Pushed over the cliff”?

  5. flex says

    @2, sonofrojblake,

    Technically, he couldn’t pardon himself for any federal charges until Inauguration Day, in Jan. 2025.

    It would be interesting if he was elected in Nov. 2024 whether the justice department would halt those cases, or try to speed them through the system. IIRC, If he is found guilty for treason that removes his eligibility to serve in any federal office, even if he was elected president. Again, IIRC that restriction is explicit the Federal Constitution, and it would be hard for SCOTUS to find it unconstitutional.

    Trump cannot directly halt any state-level proceedings, but states may voluntarily put cases on hold.

    It would be funny if he is elected, but never sworn into office because he was found guilty of treason. Funny in a black humor sort of way. Something for the history books.

    My prediction?

    Trump may get the Republican nomination, I’ll give that a maybe. There is a lot of time between now and then, and even during the convention things can change. I’d give it about a 60% chance today, but I may change my mind in a month.

    Trump getting 70 million votes in 2024? No. If he is the candidate he will be unlikely to break 50 million.

  6. JM says

    Trump gets the nomination? Not taking a bet on that. Trump is the favorite right now but his position is a house of cards and could fall apart. He only looks strong because there isn’t another candidate popular with Republicans.
    Trump gets 70 million votes if he is the nominee? That I would bet against. I don’t think a lot of Trump voters will switch sides but I do think they will stay home.

  7. JM says

    There is one notable difference between Trump and Nixon. The coverup that got Nixon booted was him trying to cover for the criminals working for him. Trump has no loyalty to the people working for him. He has sacrificed many to separate himself from various crimes. His coverup was to protect himself for his own blatant violation of the law.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    @flex and JM -- respect for sticking your necks out and making a prediction. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. What I *hope* happens is Trump does get the nomination, his voters stay home (recall his numbers went UP in 2020 compared to 2016, to the second highest popular vote EVER), and Biden wins handily. But as you said, a lot can happen between now and then…

    (There’s a saying: “a week is a long time in politics”. Last October in the UK we revised that down to “an HOUR…”.)

  9. billseymour says

    flex @4, I attended a precinct caucus many years ago, probably back in the early ’90s.  IIRC, it took several hours; and only about a hundred or so folks showed up.

    It started out with an explanation of what the process would be; then there were speeches in favor of several candidates (this was to select Missouri’s deletates to the Democratic convention); and then we got into groups of folks who supported each candidate.  Folks in groups that were too small (I forget the percentage) had to move to another group.  There were a couple of iterations of that which took a while.

    Once the groups got settled, each group selected one of their number to be a delegate to the congressional district caucus.  Presumably, that would be a repeat of what I’d just gone through to select the delegates to the state caucus which would then select the delegates to the convention.  That seems pretty complicated to me.

    I was briefly one who might be going to the district caucus; but one of us pointed out that, since I was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service at the time, going past the precinct caucus might violate the Hatch Act.


    Trump may get the Republican nomination, I’ll give that a maybe.  There is a lot of time between now and then, and even during the convention things can change.

    Yep, we’re still a long way away.  I wouldn’t lay any odds yet at all.

  10. robert79 says

    “They presented me this – this is off the record”

    I dunno, but it seems quite on the record to me.

  11. Holms says

    #4 flex “…popular, but unelectable, candidate.”
    What does that mean, in a system where popularity = electability?

    Trump seems a virtual guarantee for the nomination for me. No idea about the general.

  12. John Morales says


    Holms, the proper quotation is “an otherwise popular, but unelectable, candidate”.

    (Not the same thing due to the conditional)

  13. billseymour says

    I have to agree with Holms @12:  electability is determined by the election, not before.  Whenever I hear the “electable” argument, I figure that it’s just a self-fulfilling prophesy by somebody who wants to poison the well for some candidate they don’t like.

    I still remember a “Politics Monday” segment on The PBS Newshour back when Bernie Sanders was still a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination; and Amy Walter could hardly construct a simple declarative sentence without some version of “electable” in it.  It wasn’t even subtle.  Indeed, I’d describe it as shameless.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Employee 4 said that he did not know how to do that or even if he had the right to do it…

    Other reports have it he claimed not to have the rights to do that, meaning in geekese the authority within the security system’s levels of control; think of it as not knowing the necessary password.

    As if a Trump™ minion cared half a whit about ethics, other people, or legality!

  15. John Morales says

    A distinction without a difference, John.

    Obviously not for you, Holms. Not even after I’ve pointed it out.

    BTW, there can be no such thing as a distinction without a difference. 🙂

  16. John Morales says


    So, you think existential propositions and universal propositions are distinct but that there is no difference between them.

    Ah well, let’s have some fun.

    So. Specifically, you think that the proposition “popular, but unelectable, candidate” and the proposition “an otherwise popular, but unelectable, candidate” are distinct, but that they are not different.

    In fact, you obviously think that they are the very same proposition, so that you can elide the conditional part without changing the semantics.


  17. flex says

    I will clarify.

    I was writing about republican politics and Trump’s popularity within the republican party which may lead to his nomination. He is popular in the republican party.

    He is not electable in a general election.

    Consider this. Trump lost the 2020 election before any of the court cases, depositions, were filed against him. Trump lost the 2020 election before it was clear that he treated national security information as if it was owned by him. Trump lost the election before the he asked the Georgia governor to “find” votes for him.

    All that came out after the election which he lost.

    Trump is a polarizing figure. The reason Biden’s numbers were so high wasn’t because Biden was a great candidate, but because Trump is so hated by so many people.

    Since the election we have seen:

    Trump asking Georgia officials to rig the results of the election, his team make an attempt to coerce other legislatures to throw out the popular vote in each state and select electors (some state republican parties actually did select electors and tried to get the legislatures to authenticate them, all of which failed), and he and his team actively participated in an insurrection. Those actions will cost him votes, there are now many more republican and independent voters who will vote against him or just sit the election out.

    Further, by retaining, and refusing to return, classified documents, many known to be on a military subject, Trump has alienated a large portion of previously supportive active duty or veterans. The blasé treatment of classified information will be seen as a betrayal of the military. Pretty much everyone who has been in the military knows that the reason many of those documents are classified is to protect them and their fellow soldiers. That is a lesson drilled into you during your time in service. Trump could have returned everything without a fuss and no one would have known. In fact, he would have been forgiven for taking them in the first place, people recognize that sometimes mistakes like this happen and the professional thing is to correct a mistake as soon as possible. Trump not only refused to return them, he announced that he didn’t have to. That grates against all the military training about security. Training which everyone in the military has taken. This case has probably lost Trump most of the votes of people who have served in the military.

    I don’t think the business practice cases, the Stormy Daniels case, or the defamation cases will have a large impact, but they will have some. Those cases could also, possibly, encourage some people to vote for Trump rather than push people away. I know that’s not a pleasant thing to suggest, but we’ve seen prejudices bring out some pretty bad behavior.

    But the insurrection and the documents case have definitely cost Trump votes, and all that occurred after he lost the election. That’s why I say he wouldn’t break 50 million if he ran again, and he would depress republican results down-ticket. Popularity in a party, if you didn’t get that from the context my apologies, does not make a person electable in a general election.

    And all that’s not even mentioning the Trump voters who have passed away, either from Covid or just because their life-spans have terminated.

  18. John Morales says

    Heh heh. The idiom exists, the reality does not, since a difference is necessary for a distinction to be made.

    That was a feeble effort, Holms.

  19. Tethys says

    The latest indictment over the insurrection has resulted in another criminal trial, and four new crimes added to his list, with the Georgia case expected to result in an indictment any day now.

    He did not win the popular vote in either of his attempts, so I highly doubt he has a snowballs chance in hell of getting the GOP nomination.

    He has excellent odds of getting fitted for an orange jumpsuit and a lovely cell in Florence.

  20. Holms says

    The idiom exists because it is sometimes necessary to point out to argumentative types that their specific argument makes no difference to the actual thing under discussion -- a useful function.

  21. John Morales says

    Yeah, but in this case, it’s not applicable even as that.

    “A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things where no discernible difference exists.”

    See, “otherwise popular” is not the same as “popular”, and some of us can discern it. Similar to how “otherwise healthy” is not the same as “healthy”.

  22. sonofrojblake says

    @Tethys, 24:

    He did not win the popular vote in either of his attempts, so I highly doubt he has a snowballs chance in hell of getting the GOP nomination.

    You’ve obviously not thought through how this works, unsurprisingly.

    Winning the popular vote in a Presidential election requires him to be more popular among AMERICANS than ONE Democrat. Winning the GOP nomination requires him to be more popular among REPUBLICANS than about fifteen or so OTHER REPUBLICANS.

    Can you see the difference there?

    Can you see how irrelevant his election performance was to whether he gets the nomination? You don’t like him, but you don’t matter, because you’re not a Republican. (You’re… you’re not, are you?) You seem to be forgetting the hordes of people who do. Specifically the sixty three million who voted for him 2016, and more worringly the ADDITIONAL eight million who turned out for him in 2020, even after everything that had happened in the previous four years. You “highly doubt” THOSE people would be daft enough to make him their candidate again? Whence this certain confidence in the common sense and decency of Republicans?

  23. Holms says

    You can call the distinction relevant if you like, but it remains that there is no difference that is relevant to the question I asked of flex.

  24. John Morales says

    Holms, it’s unfortunate that you don’t get the difference.
    Let’s recapitulate.

    #4 flex “…popular, but unelectable, candidate.”
    What does that mean, in a system where popularity = electability?

    It means that Trump is not a popular, but unelectable, candidate — rather he is an otherwise popular, but unelectable, candidate.

    But since to you both are exactly the same proposition, it’s a distinction that makes no difference. To you.

    Thus your plaintive and ignorant question about what it means.

    (Ostensibly, anyway. Again, the elision from the quotation is indicative for me)

  25. John Morales says

    PS re “the question I asked of flex”

    I refer you to #20, which is informative, being a rather direct and comprehensive clarification. How you imagine it’s still an open question is left to speculation.

  26. Holms says

    Yes, flex clarified what he thought the distinction was in #20. Which is what I asked him to clarify in #12. As it happens, I don’t find the answer persuasive; per my point in #12, electability is popularity. Equal to, not merely approximately. He meets the criteria needed: 35+ and American born; everything else is popularity.

    Big line between electability and popularity for some, apparently.

  27. Tethys says

    Oh look, so of rojbkake is being a rude asshat. Oddly, he thinks not winning the popular vote twice means the opposite. Never mind that the last election had a majority of GOP members voting for Biden. Apparently all the indictments are magically going to make them nominate the criminal they voted against last election.

  28. flex says

    @31, Holms,

    Okay, well that’s a little different question, about what the difference is between electability and popularity.

    But to clear a little of the brush out of the way. Trump is popular with people who will nominate and back him as their candidate for president. Those people, and Trump, identify themselves as republicans, and so Trump has a chance of being nominated. Trump is not popular with other members of the republican party, and most independents, and almost all democrats. Therefor, he might get the republican parties nomination, and based on recent statements from republican party leaders I think the odds have fallen to 50-55%. But because is he not popular with people outside of his base, his likelihood of being elected president again is extremely small, basically zero, as judged by me at this time. Thus, he is not electable. I hope you understand what I am saying, I’m not asking you to agree with it. I like to think that I’m an informed citizen, aware of what is going on around me, and I draw my conclusions from what I learn. But I have never considered myself an infallible prophet.

    But to your question about popularity and electability. I do draw a difference, although it isn’t a big line.

    So let’s try it this way. Can you imagine someone popular, who you like, whom you wouldn’t personally vote for? Why? The chances are that you think that person wouldn’t be able to perform the job well. You are likely to not be alone in your assessment that they couldn’t do the job well, and if there are enough people who share your opinion they are then not electable.

    For example, Dwayne Johnson is currently enjoying an enormous popularity. He may even deserve it, he seems like a nice guy (I really couldn’t say as I don’t really follow entertainment news). Is he electable?


    If enough people, which you can learn through polling, don’t think he can perform the tasks of the office he is running for, then he is not electable.

    Electability isn’t just popularity. Popularity can be a large part of electability, but not all of it. Electability also changes depending on the office a person is running for. As an easy example, Mitch McConnell is popular enough in Kentucky to be elected Senator, basically until he dies. But would he be popular enough to run for President? Probably not. Further, I don’t think there is anyone who would doubt he has the skills to be President, which may encourage some people to vote for him even if they don’t like him.

    On the flip side H. Clinton was probably the most experienced politician to run, in terms of actual experience at that level of government, since H. W. Bush. I know there were people who didn’t like her, but voted for her because she had that experience. And yes, H. Clinton both won the popular vote, and there were people who voted for her simply because she wasn’t Trump. There is no one reason why people vote for a specific candidate, and even a single person can have multiple reasons.

    Now, the counter-point to my position is that popularity appears to out-weigh all the other factors which may be present in the characteristic of electability. That popularity is such an important part of electability that a Venn diagram comparing the two would completely overlap. I acknowledge that viewpoint, and I can’t even prove it’s wrong.

    But, at the same time, when I consider electability, it’s in terms of:
    -The office being sought
    -The skills of the person
    -The ability of the person to raise money to run
    -Their popularity with the party bosses, and then,
    -- Their popularity with the public

  29. Holms says

    #32 Tethys “…the last election had a majority of GOP members voting for Biden.”

    #33 flex
    I was asking the same thing both times, but I suppose the wording was terse the first time around, making my point less clear. Anyway. Starting with the party nomination, you state your reasons for thinking his nomination chances have fallen: other Republicans have made statements opposing him. My response to this is ‘so what’. Have you no recollection of the election he won? Republican leaders were mocking and criticising him starting with that goofy descent down the escalator. Yes, right from the outset, many of them were opposed to him… and were greatly surprised and dismayed when his schoolyard manner won him enormous support from a voting base they suddenly realised was packed with lunatics.

    Remember when Trump went to town the appearance of whatsisnames wife, the blobfish looking guy? That man responded with justified anger and criticisms of Trump that were actually insightful and correct. And then when Trump obliterated him, he grovelled in a way that would fill me with shame if it had been me. Or Chris Christie, who also criticised Trump sharply and accurately. When his bid crumbled, he was reduced to following Trump around like a lugubrious basset hound. Repeat for every other candidate that opposed him; he beat them all by flinging shit and almost to a man they shamelessly debased themselves at his feet so to speak.

    So, I think your reasoning behind giving that low chance of nomination is lacking in memory. For my part, his nomination is all but a forgone conclusion -- only something like a stroke will stop it.

    As for the general election, I wonder if we are talking past each other to a degree. I can certainly imagine people that are popular for various reasons that I would not dream of voting for if they became a politician, but we aren’t talking about my criteria or yours or any other single person, we’re talking about the aggregate will of the American voting population. And I submit all voting is a popularity contest, whatever the question being asked.

    If the question is ‘who is the best singer’ people will choose their answer based on their own preferences; if the question changes to ‘who is the best rock singer’, each person’s selection criteria might change, but the basic process is an appeal to popular opinion in either case. Voting for national leadership is another question, and you will apply your own selection criteria to it and so will I and the next person and… but regardless of our varied selection criteria, we are being polled and the person elected will be whichever candidate is the most popular to the voting population.

  30. John Morales says

    Have you no recollection of the election he won?

    That was in 2016. We are in 2023.

    Have you no recollection of the election he lost? That was in 2020.

    First time, he lost the popular vote but won the college.
    Second time, he lost the popular vote by a greater margin and also lost the college.

    First time, he was a political unknown, a hope to many naive voters, considered a clever businessman. Promised stuff, people believed the promises.
    So, he got elected.
    Second time, he was no longer a political unknown, and he had a political record.
    So, he lost. Got excited about losing, caused some problems, but he lost.

    Third time? Well, by then he’s been indicted thrice and impeached twice and sued and so forth at the very least.

    So, my prediction? If he is the runner (remarkably, quite plausible) then he will lose the popular vote by even more, and the college by even more.

    He’s been revealed as a loser.

  31. flex says

    @34 Holms,

    you state your reasons for thinking his nomination chances have fallen: other Republicans have made statements opposing him.

    Well, kind of. I mentioned that, but the reasons I gave, in post #20, was that there are two very important things which occurred after he lost the 2020 election. He, possibly advised by his flunkies, attempted an insurrection. I don’t think he had a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding in that insurrection (who thought attacking the capitol building would actually do anything?), but he tried, publicly failed, and is viewed by many as a person who tried to retain power in the USA by chicanery and force. There are others who probably see him as weak because he failed. These actions have cost him supporters for a 2024 bid.

    I also mentioned something which I think is very important but generally underappreciated. Trumps disregard for national security was known even while he was in office, but when he was President there were excuses to forgive him. People recognized that he had the authority to declassify information, even if people were unhappy with him doing so. But once he left office, anyone who deals with classified information, or has dealt with classified information in the past, and that includes a hell of a lot of people, were appalled at his not only retaining classified information once he left office, but when told to return it he refused. There are a lot of authoritarians in that group of people. Authoritarians who care less about people than the process. They are generally conservative people. They do not speak out much, but they will vote, and they will vote against someone who was caviler with state secrets. Trump alienating the authoritarian vote was probably his stupidest move.

    Those are the main reasons why I think he has lost voters. I also see that the republican leaders have started to repudiate Trump, and it looks to me like they are taking actions to have greater control over the primary process. That cannot be good news for Trump.

    Voting for national leadership is another question, and you will apply your own selection criteria to it and so will I and the next person and… but regardless of our varied selection criteria, we are being polled and the person elected will be whichever candidate is the most popular to the voting population.

    I think I understand your point. I think we have slightly different understandings of “popular”. You include adjacent traits which people use as, as you aptly put it, selection criteria. I narrow my understanding of “popular” to exclude those adjacent traits which are used to determine suitability. I don’t think either is an incorrect approach, and it is certainly worthwhile to reach a clarity of understanding of our different approaches to the same concept.

    I’ll have to ponder on whether your view is superior to mine, or if both perspectives are worth considering when engaging in similar discussions.

    Please forgive any excessive verbosity or unusual choice of language. I’ve been enjoying an evening with relatives, and I’m quite inebriated at the moment. I’m actually rather proud of the supper I cooked for them. The grouper was cooked to perfection, the lemon-caper-coconut milk sauce was sublime, and the gazpacho for starters was excellent. I think it was the best meal I’ve ever cooked. But I’ve had a lot of wine, on top of the cocktails.


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