Trump launched his 2020 campaign tonight. Not much has changed since 2016.

Trump Tulsa

Earlier this evening, Donald Trump started his campaign with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is rising. Most of those who did attend the rally were not wearing masks. With the exception of U.S. Senator James Lankford, none of the politicians Trump asked to stand and be recognized–Senators James Inhofe and Tom Cotton, Representatives Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, and Elise Stefanik, and Governor Kevin Stitt–were wearing masks. Six of Trump’s rally staff tested positive for coronavirus this week.

The millions of attendees that Trump promised this week did not show up. It looked like he had a decent crowd in Tulsa’s Bank of Oklahoma Center (BOK), but it was much, much smaller than what the Trump team estimated. As I watched on television (C-SPAN), I saw a lot of empty seats. Trump and Mike Pence had to cancel an outdoor speaking event today because no one came.

Trump chose to say nothing about the country’s race problems. He did not bring-up George Floyd, Juneteenth, the country”s racial unrest, or the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. His silence spoke volumes.

I live-tweeted and retweeted the rally

This is what we mean by Christian nationalism. Pence uses this verse all the time and applies it to the United States. I wrote about the way the Christian Right uses 2 Chronicles 7:14 here and here. Russell Moore has a nice piece on this here.

Much of the material in the link above comes from my discussion of “law and order” and Nixon in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

For those who can’t access the link in the above tweet, you can find it here. During the speech, Trump continued to extol his two Supreme Court justices, although he did not mention either of them by name. Readers will recall that we also looked at the Bostock case this week from the perspective of religious liberty and historical thinking.

I would love to know what was going through the mind of James Lankford during this rally. He does not seem like the kind of guy who likes these kinds of events. As we noted earlier this week, Lankford was behind Trump’s decision to move the Tulsa rally from June 19, 2020 (Juneteenth) to June 20, 2020.

Here is what Americans think about how Trump handled, and is handling, the coronavirus. His lies, mistruths, and partially true statements (at least before April 9, 2020) about the pandemic have been compiled here. The Associated Press reported that Trump “wasted” months before preparing the country for the virus. One could make a good case that Trump’s “America First” policy was to blame.

It is hard to pick the most disgusting thing Trump said tonight, but the above statement would be near the top. It reveals the inner-workings of Trump’s mind. Only a narcissist, who interprets everything through the lens of how it benefits his ambitions, would say publicly that there is a political downside to coronavirus testing.

The last five tweets cover the darkest moments of Trump’s speech

As noted above, Trump said nothing about race in America or Tulsa. Yet he spent a considerable portion of the speech talking about this:

John Gehring nails it. Court evangelicals, cover your ears:

Great observation from Kedron Bardwell:

Let’s remember that in 2016, Trump announced a list of  Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society judges. Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were on that list. Trump’s promise of a new list, of course, is a direct appeal to the white evangelical base. Trump knows that evangelicals vote for a president based predominantly on his or her promises of conservative Supreme Court appointments. Gorsuch’s majority opinion in the Bostock case will not change anything here. Trump is hoping this strategy will pay off again in November.

Matt Lewis may be correct, but I am pretty sure Trump will give it his best shot.

If you can’t read the link in the above tweet click here.

Here Trump seems to be making a statement about the self-interested nature of humanity and his constituency’s inability to rise above such selfishness. He is essentially saying something like: “I dare you to place your morality and what is right over a strong economy.  You don’t have the guts.” It all reminds me of his “I can stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” line.

For more on John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, click here.

And the campaign has begun!

Revolutionary-Era Political Satirists Make Saturday Night Live Look Tame


Over at History New Network, Andrew Wehrman, a historian at Central Michigan University, discusses the role of political satire in the 1760s and 1770s.

Here is a taste:

The cartoon-like representations of Donald Trump and his advisors Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and perhaps especially Steve Bannon on Saturday Night live point to a crisis of constitutional authority perhaps not seen in American popular culture since America’s first constitutional crisis during the tense decade prior to the American Revolution. Americans have developed a familiarity with the President’s advisors — their characters, agendas, and foibles — similar to the way in which Americans made sense of Great Britain’s policies prior to the Revolution. Saturday Night Live’s depictions of Trump’s narcissistic know-nothingness, Sean Spicer’s weaponized podium, Conway’s “alternative facts,” Ivanka Trump’s complicity, Jared Kushner’s speechless power-grab, and, of course, Steve Bannon’s ominously skeletal grim reaper, harken back to early fears that constitutional checks and balances do not protect a nation from nefarious advisors, ministers, family members, and interlopers.

While the policies, issues, and people differ greatly, these representations echo with the ways in which political satirists in the 1760s and 1770s warned colonial Americans of an impending constitutional crisis. Just as Americans point at Steve Bannon’s influence for the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement or the “Travel Ban,” colonials did not initially rail against King George directly, but rather his ministers, especially the dark, sinister, and now largely forgotten Earl of Bute.

Read the rest here.


Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History Through Political Cartoons

Political Cartoonist Walter McDougal (HSP)

Here is another great teaching resource.  It comes from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  Tamara Gaskell explains:

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the launch of a new digital history exhibit. Politics in Graphic Detail:  Exploring History through Political Cartoons features historic political cartoons that have been annotated, transcribed, and encoded in XML following Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5 guidelines. This exhibit is a product of HSP’s Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, a two-year project funded by the NHPRC to enhance to enhance discoverability and description of collection items, particularly of graphic materials, and encourage content-sharing and linking among fellow institutions and scholars.

You can visit the digital exhibit site at the following address:

TEI documentation for this project is available at
To learn more about the HINT project, check out our project page at

Launch Event:  On Wednesday September 16, 2015 (6:00-7:30pm), the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) will host an event to premier the digital history exhibit, Politics in Graphic Detail:  Exploring History through Political Cartoons.  The digital exhibit will showcase a new open sourceimage viewer and historic political cartoons that have been encoded in XML following Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5 guidelines.  Please join us on September 16th at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as project staff will discuss and demonstrate the features of the new site. This will be followed by a document display featuring political cartoons, including original Thomas Nast artwork, and a reception.  Please register for this free event at

American Antiquarian Society: The Place To Go For Historic Political Cartoons

“King Andrew (Jackson)” from the collection of the American Antiquarian Society

Check out Lauren Hewes’s post about the cartoon collection at the AAS.

Here is a taste:

AAS holds a comprehensive collection of political cartoons produced in the United States between 1764 and 1876.  The separately published American cartoon collection holds over 600 examples of caricatures, satires, and political subjects (European Political cartoons are housed separately).  The collection includes everything from very early cartoons relating to the establishment and operation of the federal government (including a cartoon comparing Jefferson to Washington – unfavorably (see right)), to slanderous depictions of local politicians.  The cartoon collection is widely used by a variety of scholars and collectors looking for evidence of historical activities, trends, and motivations.

The Society’s collection is included in our main online catalog with brief records for each cartoon (some better than others), which include the artist’s name, the title, the publisher, date, and a short description of the image.  Subject headings such as “War of 1812” or “Slavery” are helpful, but not having full descriptive text is very limiting.  It was decided in August of 2012 to set up the cartoons as a side project for our digital photographer to work on “as time permits.”  It has taken nearly a year, but the images are now all digitized and linked to our catalog record.  You can now easily see images relating to the campaign of 1840, the Mexican-American War – from the Mexican side of the border – and the Civil War.  Each image can be enlarged so that all the words in the various speech bubbles are legible and details are easily understood. (Click on the links above for the catalog records of the examples shown below.) These scans can also be downloaded for teaching purposes and used in PowerPoint presentations by students and scholars alike.