A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Facebook about how, if the Mueller probe didn’t produce an indictment to validate the long-standing belief among the #Resistance that Trump was a puppet of Putin, the whole thing would prove a disaster for said #Resistance. A friend of mine commented that even if Trump were exonerated by the Special Counsel, many people might not believe him because he had said he was innocent so many times prior. It’d be like the boy who cried wolf.
Except, the situation he described was more like a person accused of murder who pleads not guilty. Then, after a trial finds said person not guilty, people say, “Well, why should we believe you now, when you’ve been saying that all along?” It’s a strange objection, as presumably the person accused of the murder had genuine inside information on the facts of the case, and didn’t himself need to wait till the end of the trial to find out if he’d done it. Besides, it wouldn’t at that point be a matter of believing the accused, but of accepting the outcome of the trial.
More than that, it strikes me as a nice demonstration of the way in which unconscious projection is key to ideological possession. This, because the boy who cried wolf model will exactly describe the #Resistance, should the Special Counsel not find the collusion that has long, and repeatedly, been asserted as established fact.
Such had been the point of my original post. It seemed to me entirely obvious, and beyond political dispute. It wasn’t that I was saying that Trump is innocent. I was only saying that, short of a genuinely relevant indictment, the Democrats will have destroyed a huge amount of what little credibility they have left. It would be exactly a boy who cried wolf situation, with the Dems as the boy, and collusion as the wolf.
But, by the power of narrative preservation – which keeps the good guys good and the bad guys bad – my friend had turned it around, so that the sensible people of the town still wouldn’t believe Trump was innocent, even if he was vindicated by the investigation. And this, because he had said he was innocent all along.
Of course, my attempts to explain how that made no sense whatsoever were fruitless. No one likes their religion questioned, and especially not if they don’t know they have one. As I have written previously, #Russiagate is fundamentally a religious creed, a morality play that purports to explain why bad things have happened to good people.
I mention this so as to get at a more general point about how deeply projection figures into the religion of #Russiagate. Expressed most generally, this might be seen in the fact that the Democratic party complaining about a ‘rigged’ or ‘meddled with’ general election, is the same party that had done its best to predetermine the results of its primary. One step deeper still, is the hypocrisy of the United States complaining about violations of the sanctity of an election.
Then, there’s the parallel between the charge that the Trump campaign cultivated relationships with Russian intelligence to get “dirt on Clinton” and the fact that the Clinton team picked up the tab for Michael Steele to continue working his contacts within Russia for any and all dirt on Trump.
Then there’s the somewhat more counter-intuitive parallel between the Russian deep state (i.e. the Kremlin) and the American deep state (i.e. the Swamp), as expressed by the apparent coordination between the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration’s Justice Department.
Then there’s the parallel between Trump’s ties, and debts, to Russian oligarchs and the Clinton Foundations ties to oligarchs around the world.
In sum, the idea that Trump is a creature of international oligarchs who colluded with the Kremlin, while possibly (and in some ways, I think, very likely) true, perfectly parallels the realities of the Establishment manifested in the Clinton campaign.