Whiner Trump Really Is Emulating Nixon
July 29, 2016

Hey, Donald, do you want some cheese with this whine?

Trump on Dem attacks: 'I take it a little bit personally'

While trying to take the barrage of Democratic National Convention attacks against him in stride, Donald Trump admitted in an interview with Fox News aired Thursday that he cannot help but "take it a little bit personally."

"Well, they don't all hit me, but some of them do. And they try to hit you as hard as possible. And it's mostly false stuff," Trump said in an interview with Brian Kilmeade on "Fox & Friends" that was taped Wednesday....

Shrugging off criticism, Trump remarked, "I get it. It's the way it goes. It's called politics." ...

"You're not taking it personally?" Kilmeade asked.

"I guess I take it a little bit personally," Trump responded. "You can't let it get you down. You have to go out."

I know that Trump has lifted talking points from Richard Nixon:

Branding himself as “the law-and-order candidate,” Mr. Trump in recent weeks has exhorted voters to stand with the police, much as Nixon encouraged “the non-shouters, the non-demonstrators” to stand with him.

What started, a year ago, as an occasional borrowing of Nixonian phrases -- like describing Trump voters as a “silent majority” -- has turned into a homage. “It’s literally plagiarism,” said Kevin Mattson, a professor of history at Ohio University who has written a book about Nixon. “I was taken aback by that.”

And I know that Trump's convention speech was consciously modeled on the one Nixon gave in 1968:

... Donald Trump's campaign chairman said Monday the presumptive GOP nominee will model his convention speech after that of Richard Nixon's in 1968.

Paul Manafort, Trump's top aide, said the real estate mogul will embody the spirit of the nearly 50-year-old speech....

"The Nixon 1968 speech -- if you go back and read that speech -- is pretty much on line with a lot of the issues that are going on today. And it was an instructive speech," Manafort said at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg.

But here's Trump picking up on another Nixon trait: self-pity. From the Checkers speech to the 1962 gubernatorial concession speech to his presidency and post-presidency, Nixon wallowed in self-pity, while pretending he was too tough to succumb to it. Bafflingly, it helped him appeal to voters who wanted a tough guy as a leader.

The voters in Nixon's base felt sorry for themselves as the world changed around them in ways they didn't like. That's happening again with the Trump base. You'd think not being a complainer would be something these silent majorities would value -- y'know, traditional virtues and all -- but I've watched Barack Obama keep his cool for years in the face of abuse and Trump fans aren't impressed. I guess they prefer a whiner because a whiner mirrors their own self-pity. Trump is giving them what they want.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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