This is not just sloppiness or indiscipline. The essence of Trumpism is dominance and punishment of those outside the tribal fold. It is probably even wrong to call this a policy of deterrence. It’s a policy of punishment. At the most basic level folks like Miller, Sessions, Trump want to show they are kicking ass at the border, against lawless non-white people. They want to do it and they want to show they are doing it. For them doing it doesn’t matter unless you show it. It’s what a TPM Reader identified as the essence of Trumpism: ‘performative cruelty‘.
...There’s also the matter of channel conflict. Channel separation is a bedrock principle of marketing. You sell the same product to different people at different prices – price discrimination. You sell the same product to different people using different pitches. It all works so long as the channels remain largely separate. Since Trump is more than anything a marketing man the framework of channel conflict is an appropriate way to explain what is happening.
For base Trumpists: family separation for the bad people is simply awesome.
For other pro-Trump Republicans: evil against children may not be okay, but abusing Democrats works. So for them, no defense of family separation as such, but stick it on the Democrats. Blaming the opponents of your policy for policy is perverse, nasty and thus awesome.
For more Middle of the Road Voters: It’s simply not happening. There is no family separation policy. It’s literally not happening at all or if it is happening it’s being forced on us and families were separated under Obama too.
What we’ve seen this weekend is that evil practiced on children, by design, with quotes from senior administration officials floating around saying it’s great was just too much. This created a sort of 10 car pile of contradictory BS answers. It’s awesome. The Democrats made us do it. It’s not happening. And here we are. It is difficult to imagine this policy will survive the week in its current form, given this firestorm. But we should recognize how deeply embedded the need for these actions is in Trumpism. This isn’t a byproduct. Child separation as punishment, on display, was always a feature not a bug.
Monday, June 18, 2018
A Ten-Car Pileup on the Channel Separation Highway:
You have to keep the channels separate, and when you run the government, you can't do that: