You Can’t Prove A Negative

Everyone knows the old adage that “you cannot prove a negative.” Can anyone prove that there haven’t been space aliens in the custody of the US government? No, because there really is nothing anyone can do to offer up satisfactory proof that it never happened.

Donald Trump is a master of the “negative proof accusation”. Ted Cruz’s family had something to do with Kennedy’s assassination? How can Cruz prove that this is not true. It is impossible. The same for many of Trump’s other accusations during the campaign.

Once he because president, the tables turned when he was accused of collaborating with the Russians to win the election. How can he prove this is not so? Worse for him, several of his trusted advisors were proven to have interacted with the Russians during the campaign (i.e., they admitted it) making it look more likely that it happened.

What does Trump do? What he has always done when he gets in a hot spot. He changes the subject, goes on the attack and accuses Barak Obama of a no-no. And of course, Obama cannot prove that he did not do it, because as Trump knows, you cannot prove a negative.

The problem for Trump is proving a positive. That can be done. And if people start proving things against him that hurt, he might not be able to keep coming up with negative accusations to deflect the bad news. Actually, that is incorrect. He will always be able to come up with these, the issue is whether anyone will listen anymore.

He has one more card up his sleeve though. When Trump gets caught doing something that he ostensibly shouldn’t, he turns the tables and claims that what he is doing is actually very crafty and smart. When he finally admitted that he was not paying taxes he immediately claimed that it was a smart move.

If his collaboration with the Russians is proven, my guess is that Trump will retort that:

  • We (the US) always do it (meddle in elections) – why shouldn’t the Russians?
  • The Russians are not getting any special favors – look at how disappointed they are in some of our policies
  • It was smart – I took advantage of the Russians’ help to win and now I am not giving them anything back

His supporters will probably accept this. The question is whether the Republicans in Congress buy in as well.