Whatever you might think of David Frum, he does seem to have the number of the phenomenon called Trumpism especially as it is now trying to save itself before the retreat to the bunker.
Like Trump’s tweets, diversion and distraction are the gonads in his bag of tricks. Diametric opposites and misdirection are the propaganda tools for Trump. Trump(ists)can swap new lies for old ones in his deranged worldview.
Trump’s open vassalage to Russia can be both affirmed and denied by MSM, much like the Mueller Report stopping short of indictments like the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion. Frum shows us the strange pivoting by Trumpists as COVID-19 reveals more Trump post-impeachment incompetence and the hundreds of thousands of deaths on the horizon.
The personalities on Fox News executed a similarly abrupt and total pivot on March 13, 2020. The Washington Post produced a stark before/after anthology of the same hosts saying precisely opposite things a few days apart.
Yet the many weeks of denial have had their effect. An Economist poll released March 18 found that only 38 percent of Fox News viewers took the virus seriously, half as many as among MSNBC and CNN viewers. For Trump’s sake, Fox risked the lives of its own audience.
Like the old Moscow-line Communists, the upholders of the Trump party line now need an excuse for their long history of denial and deception. They insisted it was not Trump’s fault that he, and they, squandered precious weeks and that his administration is suddenly dithering and failing. No, no, Trump's failure was China’s fault! Did video evidence contradict the Trump party line? They accused anyone who recalled the truth of repeating Chinese propaganda.
The Trump party line swaps new lies for old. Whereas once the ideological enforcers called concern over the virus a hoax, now they say that it’s a hoax to remember they said it was a hoax.
Trump wants Americans to call the novel coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” Trump’s new slogan aims at two goals.
The first goal is to shift blame away from Trump’s failures and onto China’s. This goal is very unlikely to succeed. We all saw Trump’s catastrophic misjudgments inflict their toll in real time. It was not the Chinese Communist Party that decided to host a cash-for-access party at Mar-a-Lago for Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend on the weekend of March 6–8, when a responsible president would have already begun modeling safe behavior….
No, Trump won’t succeed in shifting blame.
It’s the second goal that could succeed. By revving up hate among their supporters against China, Trump and Fox can redirect those supporters’ rage from the dangerous target it might otherwise find: the trusted political and media figures who lied and lied and lied to them, exposing those supporters to disease and death for their own crass ends. Hate China, not me!