July 11, 2017
Yascha Mounk wrote for Slate's The Good Fight about whether the Trumps are political masterminds.
Though the facts of the sordid matter may not constitute treason in the legal sense, there can be little doubt that historians of our turbulent times will regard Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort as traitors.
Even as the evidence of Trump’s incompetence has piled up over the past months, some of his most ardent critics have steadfastly regarded him as a master manipulator. When he sent out tweets that had Republican allies running for cover, they cast them as brilliant exercises in distraction. And when he let Putin talk him into the absurd idea of a joint task force on cybersecurity, they jumped to the conclusion that he was one step away from rigging the next election. It is nearly as though, in their minds, Trump was a master of the occult, imbued with magical powers.
The latest series of baroque blunders from the Trump camp exposes how absurd this was. The fact that the Trumps did not take the most basic precautions to conceal their intentions—and appear to lack any coherent strategy for containing or responding to the slow trickle of revelations about their malfeasance—once again betrays the depths of their incompetence. So another set of conclusions has now become incontrovertible: Donald Trump is not playing three-dimensional chess. He does not appear to have a master plan for subverting American democracy.