Donald Trump, relatable man of the people, beloved of diner customers throughout The Heartland, does not know who is playing in the Super Bowl. And despite his vast experience in pretending he’s an expert on things he knows nothing about, he can’t even hide it.
Asked about his preference in the game, Trump said, “Well, I love them both, let's just say. But I will tell you, some two very interesting teams and interesting players, some really great players. And it's going to be hopefully a great Super Bowl.”
No, this doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Senate Republicans are letting the man off the hook for trying to obtain foreign interference to win an election. His administration is taking food assistance away from people who need it to survive, relaxing restrictions on the use of landmines, accelerating climate change, and so much more. He personally is emboldening white supremacists and rapists everywhere. He embraces authoritarian leaders around the globe.
So his ignorance about who’s in the Super Bowl and his clumsy attempt to hide it is barely even a footnote on the hour in which it became obvious. But it’s also another potent reminder that truly we live in the stupidest time, that this level of ignorance not just about policy but about the basics of U.S. culture can somehow be set aside in the portrayal of Trump as someone whose appeal comes from anything but the vicious bigoted impulses he stokes. No one really thinks he’s likable or just like them or that he knows what their lives are like. His supporters are fervently in love with him, and there’s no possible explanation but the racism and nationalism and misogyny and bullying and, possibly, to a small extent, envy over his crass deployment of the wealth he pretends he didn’t just inherit. That is what it is, and what it is is sickening, but what’s truly gross is the media’s willingness to pretend that his appeal is anything else.