The unfortunate result has been that much anti-Trump punditry is simply boring. If the humorists have trouble improving on the joke, we’re the folks tasked with the unenviable task of explaining it. You could read a thousand takes on Sharpiegate, but not a single one of them would approach the near-transcendental, anything-is-possible high you got the first time you saw Trump whip out that lunatic map.
One happy sort has escaped this malaise. In 2019, the last exciting gig in American punditry has become that of the die-hard Trump defender, the plucky individual charged with massaging each gibbering batshit presidential utterance into a narrative in which the cool, collected president wins triumph after triumph over his foes. Here, after all, is work for a master of the craft.
Down this pundit sits at his computer, eager to begin the day’s work; he cracks his knuckles and peruses the day’s headlines, sees the Trump controversy du jour and smiles. Any fool with an Internet connection could toss off 12 reasons in two minutes why the latest scandal is insane, intolerable behavior. But to bring off the opposite impression is a heroic endeavor: The writer must draw on every ounce of his historical and literary acuity, must have any halfway comparable failure of any of Trump’s foes from the past 50-odd years immediately within his grasp, must leave no rhetorical device uninterrogated in his quest to demonstrate that, actually, it’s Trump’s enemies who look stupid here.