Dana Millbank writes: The need to deal Trump a humiliating defeat has a sociological basis in the “degradation ceremony,” in which the perpetrator (Trump) is held by denouncers (officeholders and others in positions of influence) to be morally unacceptable, and witnesses (the public) agree that the perpetrator is no longer held in good standing.
Psychologist Wynn Schwartz, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, explained to me that what’s needed to have a successful degradation of Trump is an epic defeat. “If it is lopsided enough,” he said, “you don’t have critical masses of people who feel disenfranchised” or “who feel justified in saying that it was stolen.”
But if Clinton’s victory is narrow, the degradation ceremony fails, because a large chunk of the population feels swindled and remains loyal to Trump. “The margin matters a lot,” Schwartz said.
Trump’s recent actions — talking about a “rigged” election while laying the foundation for a Trump TV network — suggest that he will attempt to defy the degradation ceremony that a loss typically confers. Hence the importance of a landslide.
Arizona would offer an ideal rebuke. Carolyn Goldwater Ross, granddaughter of the conservative icon, introduced Obama on Thursday by saying, “I come from a long line of Republicans and I’ve stayed independent. . . . But this time it’s different.” She submitted that Trump violates her grandfather’s “basic values.”
Apparently, many Arizonans agree. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant icon and Trump backer, is trailing his Democratic opponent by 15 points in polling by the Republic. The newspaper endorsed Clinton, its first embrace of a Democrat for president in its 126-year history. Arizona’s junior Republican senator, Jeff Flake, is an outspoken Trump critic, its senior Republican senator, John McCain, has been attacked by Trump, and former Republican attorney general Grant Woods has endorsed Clinton. [Continue reading…]