When watching an episode of “Saturday Night Live” years ago I remember seeing a skit featuring self-help guru Stuart Smalley, played by future U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, advising basketball superstar Michael Jordan on his problems. When Jordan tried explaining he did not have any major problems, because he was world’s most popular athlete and had just won an NBA championship, Smalley advised, “Michael, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
It was a funny line, because it was easy to envision a lame self-help counselor make a foolish declaration such as denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
Because of the tumultuous political situation in our country I have been thinking of a phrase similar to denial and Egypt, but with a slight twist: “Projection ain’t just for movie theaters.” What certain Democrats have been doing recently is an obvious case of psychological projection: Accusing their political adversaries, the Republicans, of doing everything they have been doing.
In short, psychological projection is a defense mechanism to cope with challenging feelings or emotions. It mainly involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with our own unwelcome feelings. A typical example of this is a cheating husband who constantly accuses or suspects his wife of being unfaithful.
A recent example of political projection is when Democrats accused President Donald Trump for the racial unrest in many of our major cities. Presidential candidate Joe Biden just blamed Trump and his “right-wing militia,” but not antifa or Black Lives Matter, for the looting, rioting and arson plaguing many cities. Biden must think Americans are stupid, because it is obvious the far left of his party is committing the violence. Also, Democrats are in charge of all the cities that are in trouble and have failed to suppress it.
For Biden to fault Trump is the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty. But this isn’t the first time Democrats have engaged in political projection in the age of Trump. They were extremely upset during the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump said he might not immediately accept the results of the election, if he lost. “I will look at it at the time . . . I will keep you in suspense,” he stated when it looked as if he was going to lose to Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, and her supporters in the mainstream media were apoplectic. “That’s horrifying . . . I’m appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position . . . That’s not the way our democracy works,” she stated. She also said, ironically, “Look, some people are just sore losers.” After she lost, it was Clinton and her supporters who did not accept the results, and they tried to do an end run around the election process by urging members of the Electoral College to not vote Trump into office. So, who was the sore loser?
In 2018 Clinton was still engaging in projection as she felt that Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for the governor of Georgia, had been cheated by the Republicans in that race. When it became clear Abrams had lost, Clinton groused, “Had there been a fair election, Stacey already would have won.” Not accepting the results of an election? That’s not the way our democracy works, Hillary.
Clinton is at it again, because in a recent interview she stated, “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances,” if he were to lose to Trump in our upcoming election. The projection continues.
Perhaps the most prominent case of political projection in recent years has to be when Democrats alleged Trump conspired with Russia in the 2016 election. In reality it was not Russia, or any other foreign entity, that interfered with the election. It was a collusion of liberal political operatives, rogue government employees who openly stated Hillary Clinton should win the election, and their allies in the mainstream media. They engaged in a conspiracy against Donald Trump and his campaign.
Possibly the best explanation of how Democrats participated in a conspiracy was detailed in the recent book, “The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History,” written by veteran journalist Lee Smith. I was able to get a copy a few weeks ago, thanks to Congressman Nunes’ family in Sibley.
The plot began in July of 2016 when Clinton supporters in the FBI opened an investigation into Russian infiltration of the Trump campaign, then leaked much of this info to their media allies. However, the bureau did not investigate the Russians, only the Trump campaign. It turned out to be an effort to sabotage Trump the candidate, Trump the president-elect and eventually his presidency.
So, yes, there was a conspiracy in the 2016 election, but it was done by Democrats, not the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians. But don’t take my word for it, read “The Plot Against the President.”
And let’s keep projection where it should be, in movie theaters, not against political adversaries.
Tom Kuiper lives in Sibley. He may be reached at email@example.com.