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Trump Is Smearing Joe Scarborough Because Republicans Reward His Bullying

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The United States is in the midst of its worst economic catastrophe in 90 years, and its deepest public-health crisis in more than 100, and the president is laser-focused on the co-host of a morning cable-news talk show whose audience, about 1.1 million daily viewers, equals less than one third of one percent of the population.

Indeed, to put the matter more precisely, the president is focused on investigating a 20-year-old murder that Trump wishes to falsely pin on Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough. Trump has tweeted about the case four times since the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. It is, to say the least, a strange issue to focus on given the circumstances. Even if his claims were true, there are far more important issues than investigating a two-decade-old murder charge.

This is not a shrewd messaging gambit. It does, however, follow a certain logic.

Obviously a wise and strategic president would not be doing this. The sane strategy for maximizing Trump’s reelection odds would be to manage the public-health response to the pandemic while taking advantage of a Democratic Congress willing to spend almost unlimited sums to pump stimulus into the economy.

But “sane” left the building a long time ago, and Trump is left in a world of second- and third-best strategies. In place of effective governance, he is counting on partisanship to polarize the race, keeping it close enough that he can eke out another win by demonizing his opponent. A........

© Daily Intelligencer