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Neuroscience explains how ‘dead-enders’ may finally turn on Trump — as conservatives eventually turned on Nixon

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Journalist and historian Rick Shenkman thinks President Donald Trump’s supporters may eventually turn on him, just as he finally stopped backing Richard Nixon.

Shenkman, the founder of History News Network, stuck with Nixon through Watergate and right up until two months before his August 1974 resignation before he had enough, and he’s been haunted ever since by his support for a corrupt president, he wrote for The Daily Beast.

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“I didn’t support Nixon out of ignorance,” he explained. “I was a history major at Vassar during Watergate and eagerly followed the news. I knew exactly what he’d been accused of.”

Shenkman remained a “dead-ender” because he’d already made up his mind, and nothing his “liberal” classmates told him about Nixon’s perfidy could change his mind — and, in fact, only deepened his support.

“I didn’t want to admit I was wrong (who does?),” he said, “so I dreamed up reasons to show I wasn’t—a classic example of cognitive dissonance in action.”

Shenkman described a psychological study from the 1950s that showed how subjects reimagined their own experiences to explain away their own unease at getting duped, and he recognized his own “mental gymnastics” during the Watergate era.

Other neuroscience research shows how people ignore evidence that conflicts with their existing viewpoints, and scientists are beginning to unravel the ways emotion influences political decisions.

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“If the researchers are right that populists are mostly angry, not anxious, their remarkable stubbornness immediately becomes explicable,” Shenkman said. “One of the findings of social scientists who study anger is that it makes people close-minded. After reading an article that expresses a view contrary to their own, people decline to follow links to find out more information. The angrier you become, the less likely are to welcome alternative points of view.”

“That’s a powerful motive for ignoring Trump’s thousands of naked lies,” he added.

Shenkman remembers feeling angry for months over Watergate — and not at Nixon, but rather at his liberal critics, and the president fed that anger.

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But eventually that anger gave way to anxiety, he said, after Nixon’s attacks grew tiresome, and defending him became harder than abandoning him.

“If I am right about the circuitous path I took from Nixon supporter to Nixon-basher,” Shenkman said, “there’s hope that Trump supporters will have their own Road to Damascus epiphany. Like me, they may finally tire of anger, though who knows. Right-wing talk radio and Fox News have been peddling anger for years and the audience still loves it.”

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‘A coward and a commander’: New Lincoln Project ad contrasts Trump with James Mattis

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On Friday, the conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project released a new attack ad against President Donald Trump — this time using the criticism of his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and comparing and contrasting their leadership ability.

"This is the story of a coward and a commander," said the ad's narrator. "The coward Trump dodged the draft. Jim Mattis led American troops for forty years. While a frightened Trump hides from protesters in a deep bunker firing off tweets, Jim Mattis does what he's always done: Leads. While Donald Trump angrily attacks, General Mattis' words deserve to be heard by every American."

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NFL Commissioner Goodell apologizes for league’s indifference to players’ protests against racism

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On Friday, CNN reported that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is acknowledging his organization turned a blind eye when his athletes took a knee to protest racism and police violence, and issued a formal apology.

"We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," Goodell said in a newly released Instagram video. "It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality."

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Maxine Waters calls for Trump’s Cabinet initiate the 25th Amendment ‘before this would-be dictator takes us all down’

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for Donald Trump to be removed from office on Friday.

"Is there one brave member of Trump’s cabinet who would move to initiate the 25th Amendment to remove him from office?" Waters asked on the president's favorite social networking platform.

The 25th Amendment would allow Vice President Mike Pence to ascend to the presidency if a majority of Trump's cabinet declares "the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

"Now is the time to save our country before this would-be dictator takes us all down!" Waters warned.

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