Did you know in 2016 how bad Trump really is?

A native New Yorker who grew up reading The Village Voice, had read the Spy Magazine that had Trump as a crying baby on the cover in the mid '80s and really just had had enough of that asshole over 20 years ago, so no not surprised at all how bad he is. I am a bit surprised at how utterly stupid he his. He’s Peter Griffin stupid. Wow.

I knew Trump would be this bad; I didn’t know that many people would still stand by him the way they have. I was cynical but hoped that they would eventually see what we see. Some do and have awakened, but frankly, far too many people support him even now. I never had faith in Donald Trump, but I had at least a sliver of faith left in some of his supporters and the country as a whole.

That faith is going down the drain.

Yes, it was really obvious that he was an awful human being in 2015 or 2016. But also, I’m amazed that anyone voted for him rather than the highly qualified Democratic candidate.

I knew of him since the 1980’s, and was less than impressed. I thought he was an awful person who would do really, really horribly as president. Yet in my wildest imaginings I did not think he’d be this bad.

I think I nailed the essentials of Trump in 2016 when I first took in his debate performance. Ignorant, incurious, shallow, shameless, willing to tell any lie to cover up those defects.

I went wrong in exactly 4 places:

  1. I thought it might be one-off. I couldn’t believe anyone could be so comprehensively stupid and bad all the time.
  2. I thought he would get overwhelmed and quit earlier, not realizing that even a total moron can survive as president with enough craven enablers.
  3. I definitely thought he’d start a war he couldn’t get out of. I failed to note the totality of both his moral and physical cowardice.
  4. I thought he’d pull off some big deceptions when his popularity tanked. Specifically I thought he might fake a high-profile conversion to Christianity. I did not anticipate that Christianity would make a high-profile conversion to Trump. I did not realize that shallow-meaningless gestures like waving a Bible in front of a church would be as much as they’d ever ask of him.

In general I couldn’t predict the specific ways Trump would be bad, but I think I saw the exact character flaws that would eventually result in all the bad things he’s done.

Some basic survival instincts.

I said on my Facebook page early in the morning of 9 November 2016: “Congratulations, America. You’re voting in the political equivalent of a 419 scam.”

Yep, like many others, I expected a total mess of a presidency but also that it would not be so stupidly bad and that at the very least there would be some visible pushback from “the adults in the room” even if he ended up prevailing. I guess it took someone like him to discover that not only is the only thing holding back a President a sense of public decency, but that “the base” doesn’t care about a sense of public decency.

Which tells you something about how the mindset of “the base” shifted in just 8 years. From “we’re getting screwed, this is bad” to “we’re getting screwed, let’s have it be everybody!”

Well, that, and get two (soon to be three) conservative Justices onto the Supreme Court, whom they feel will work to overturn Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.

I knew he was pretty bad but then he went out and campaigned in a way every day that told us categorically that he was even worse. It was amazing that, as Elmer observes, that so many of our fellow citizens liked his bigotry and assholery.

I thought he wouldn’t win because he was just too absurd.

That said, when he did win, I sort of figured some combination of 3 things would have happened, none of which actually did.

  1. I figured that the GOP apparatus would sort of constrain him and more or less channel him into acting presidential, or at least set his cabinet and appointees up with long-time conventional party functionaries.

  2. He’d get tired of it and be a sort of absentee President, letting Pence and the cabinet sort of do their own thing.

  3. The GOP as a whole would serve as a check against his wilder enthusiasms, and that he’d be more or less THEIR tool, rather than the other way around.

I had NO idea that somehow he’d remake the party into a personality cult, and that the Republicans across the board would enable him and defend him, even to the point of dismantling our political norms and mores, and in the face of deeply unethical and shady behavior that got him impeached.

I’ve been saying this the whole time. When you’re from this area, you know what an ass he is. We’ve been exposed to Trump for many decades.

I had no idea, either. :frowning:

Sure. However, I don’t consider any of those to be failures, but malevolent actions. Sure, maybe you can give the initial response to COVID-19 as a failure, but subsequent actions–like deliberately scuttling plans because it would save more people in blue states than red states–are pure malevolence.

Even though I called him evil, I just really did not fully grasp how evil he was. Not even hearing why New Yorkers hated him was enough for me to anticipate this level of evil.

Contra National Review, the Republicans were never great as individual thinkers, they were always going to become some sort of cult. It could just as easily become a religious cult or a sex cult or a cross-stitching cult, but Trump offered a TV-certified personality, so they became a personality cult.

In the coming years I expect they’ll become a cult of buying shoddy aluminum siding, or of falling for car-warranty scams over the phone. They’re mental children with no natural defenses against bullshit.

I think I had about an 80% understanding.

The original sin of the Trump Administration is the absolute, complete failure of Donald Trump to attempt to learn the needs of the Presidency. It has happened in our nation’s history where untried, unproven people must rise to the challenge of being president, and their record is mixed; Chester Arthur and Harry Truman succeeded, LBJ, Calvin Coolidge and John Tyler had a mixed legacy, Andrew Johnson was a pretty serious failure.

Most of this came before the Vice President became a major figure in government (Walter Mondale was perhaps the first ‘Super VP’ with a portfolio), but there were perhaps days at best for the VP to take command.

Trump made no effort to understand or learn the needs of the Presidency. No attempt to pivot to the center, to be president of all Americans. This is far worse than I’d really considered possible–even a pathological lying narcissist does want to be loved and adored, and that motive can very well turn into achievements and actions to earn that love from as many people as possible.

While the freaking COVID Pandemic was always a dim possibility, Trump also took the unthinkable act of screwing around in this crisis, when all he had to do is listen to the experts and claim credit for their successes.

I knew Trump was going to be bad. I didn’t know he was going to be THIS BAD. Not that knowing would have changed much–I voted against him in 2016 and was lobbying friends and family to do the same.

I will add to my list of failings, I childishly believed the talk of “adults in the room” who would channel Trump’s impulses.

Trump had many failures, but that wasn’t one of them. The old-guard Republican institutionalists, the ones who see themselves as balls-and-strikes centrists with no agenda, revealed themselves to be utterly inadequate (and likely unwilling) to rein in a horribly bad actor like Trump.

I have a habit of speech to say that Trump is a wizard at corrupting people. This is not exactly true, many people have a seam of vulnerability that they are willing to trade their integrity to protect. They were always ready to be corrupted, but they did not foresee a Trump whose only mission is to find and exploit those vulnerabilities. I expect when the pressure came, they probably complained and protested a bit, but every fucking one of them fell in line like good little toadies.

I concur with nearly everything above, but I had no idea of the degree of Trump’s stupidity. I never thought he was a candidate for Mensa, but I just had no idea… He is truly breathtaking.

The man can’t even pull off the things he claims to want to do. Build the stupid wall. I mean, it’s stupid, but if you’re going to build it, then get on with it. He can’t pull it off. He had the resources to deal with the pandemic and totally screwed it up. And he screwed it up, by getting involved in it. Like Blue_Max said, all he had to do was take credit for all the awesome people on his team. He couldn’t even get that right.

Yes, and there are posts on the SDMB to prove it. I was honestly afraid he’d start World War III; if anything, I am relieved he has not yet been AS BAD as I feared in that regard.

I knew how bad he was when he rode the escalator down to a cheering crowd of paid actors. I feared he would be more competent at doing bad stuff than he has turned out to be. I was not surprised that his base would stick with him. I live surrounded by his base. I first began to see how truly awful they would be early in Obama’s first term when Obama gave a nationwide address to school students, to be broadcast to schools, and people were keeping their kids home lest they be exposed to the President Of The United States urging them to study hard and stay in school. My “conservative” relatives were beside themselves. That’s when I began to realize that reason wasn’t a guiding principle to the RWNJs.