Blame everything on Trump.  Your car won’t start?  It’s Trump’s fault.  Your dog threw up in the living room?  It’s Trump’s fault.  The media have lost their collective mind.  That’s definitely Trump’s fault.  And the blame game seems to get worse by the day.  Every politician who won office this past November won only because of Trump.  Likewise, every politician who lost this past November lost only because of Trump.  Trump has turned Occam’s Razor—the idea that the explanation that requires the least speculation works best—into America’s favorite philosophical principle.  Medical schools once taught students to zero in on the simplest diagnosis via the adage, “When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.”  Today in Trump World one can only imagine the bizarre diagnoses doctors dream up when, confronted with the hoof beats of illness, they think Trumpitis, and not the common cold.

My October issue of The American Historical Review felt lighter than usual when I lifted it out of my mailbox recently.  I joked to myself that perhaps Trump had torn out some of the pages.  The roughly 300-page quarterly journal published by the American Historical Association arguably ranks as the premier venue for research articles and book reviews by academic historians.  The journal’s editor, Alex Lichtenstein, writing in his regular column “From the Editor’s Desk,” assured readers that the issue’s weight had indeed changed as a result of new paper stock.  After some comments directed at Luddites like me about the perils hard-copy publishers face in today’s digital age, Lichtenstein employed “Trump’s Razor” to blame the flimsier paper stock on—who else?—The Donald.

I’d like to think that the editor of the nation’s foremost academic history journal would be more circumspect than to get swept up in today’s Trump-induced moral panic.  But Lichtenstein proved himself to be no different than CNN anchors, Hollywood stars, or the angry Kamala Harris supporter you bumped into, all of whom are happy to assign Trump the role of universal prime mover.  Lichtenstein luckily caught himself, even as he hypocritically tossed raw meat to the Trumpivores: “Initially, I was inclined to attribute our sudden paper crisis to Trump’s tariffs,” since the patriotic journal farms out its printing to a production plant in Canada.

Like most historical explanations that require more than reflex assessments, the change in paper stock “turned out to be both more complex and more interesting than yet another unintended consequence of the Trump administration’s shoot-from-the-hip trade policy.”  What a surprise to Senators Warren, Booker, and Sanders.  It just so happens that several factors in addition to President Trump’s tyrannical trade proclamations have punished paper prices.  As more journals like The American Historical Review have moved online, demand for paper has declined.  As a result, paper companies have closed plants to reduce excess capacity.  Nonetheless, other factors have still managed to drive up pulp prices, such as increased demand for paper hygiene products, more commonly known as toilet paper, from China.  Mr. Lichtenstein’s knee-jerk accusation against Trump ended just shy of a capital conviction after some rudimentary investigation, a crucial methodological step academic historians expect of their professional brethren.

If only Mr. Lichtenstein had spent as much time vetting the articles in the October issue.  With valuable column space devoted to such burning historical inquiries as “Homoeroticism in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Acts, Identities, Cultures,” a thoughtful “reappraisal” of John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century, readers were left to wonder why the paper stock issue got any column space at all.  Conversely, important book reviews, like those of Mark Z. Christensen’s The Teabo Manuscript: Maya Christian Copybooks, Chilam Balams, and Native Text Production in Yucatán and Jutta Gisela Sperling’s Roman Charity: Queer Lactations in Early Modern Visual Culture, might have been overlooked thanks to the editor’s need to explain to his readers that, for the first time since Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, something truly horrible was not the President’s fault.

Even Trump’s Cabinet has gotten in on the blame culture.  Defense Secretary James Mattis begged forgiveness for the military’s use of insensitive nomenclature in calling President Trump’s recent troop deployment to the U.S. southern border “Operation Faithful Patriot.”  Trump, always at fault, had started it all when he sent American soldiers to defend against his much-hyped “caravan” of Central American invaders.  The military apologized for its intemperate language, admitting Operation Faithful Patriot carried too many “political overtones,” unlike its apolitical forerunners such as 1989’s imperialist “Just Cause” invasion of Panama or 1994’s pointless “Uphold Democracy” fiasco in Haiti.  The logic of culpability works thusly: Those valiant operations aimed to spread democracy and make the world a better place; Trump’s Operation Faithful Patriot sprang from the evil mind of someone who (still!) promotes nationalist policies like America First and the right of a nation to defend its own borders.  Therefore, blame this imbroglio on Trump.

Not content to let Mattis do all the finger pointing, Rep. Anthony G. Brown, a Democrat from Maryland who served as a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War, took his own brave leap into the Blame Trump abyss.  According to Brown, “When you give a soldier a real mission, you have less of a morale problem, even if it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving.”  Perhaps Brown was privy to the “real mission” behind the Iraq War, a modern-day crusade the rest of us were told had to do with WMDs or a nasty dictator or something else really bad that threatened the continental United States.  Although Brown’s buzzing over Iraq in his chopper had nothing to do with the defense of our own nation’s borders, the congressman took the further, rather hypocritical liberty of warning us patriotic Deplorables that “when you send a soldier on a dubious mission, with no military value, over Thanksgiving, it doesn’t help morale at all.”

Let’s set the record straight.  American troops spent their 15th Thanksgiving in Iraq this past November and their 18th Turkey Day in Afghanistan.  Just as he overlooks those immoral quagmires, the Maryland legislator feels duty bound to lament the unappetizing turkey and soggy yams American troops suffered through on Thanksgiving while stationed along the imaginary U.S.-Mexico border.  Instead of defending South Koreans from their malnourished brothers to the north, or Okinawans from . . . Godzilla? . . . American troops will be protecting the taxpayers who pay their salaries on their very own homeland, where Little League baseball games, farmers’ markets, and PTA meetings all create a distinct culture worth defending.  But it’s Trump’s fault they didn’t eat with their families back home on the fourth Thursday of November 2018.  Trump’s Razor explains it all.

Leon Trotsky’s bodyguard in Mexico, Harold Robbins, reported that his murderous revolutionary boss once told him, “Everybody responds in a different way to an argument.  But everybody responds in the exact same way to a red-hot poker.”  American society today has turned that phrase on its head.  When confronted with political arguments like immigration, tax rates, or foreign relations, the 63 million 2016 Clinton voters all howl “It’s Trump’s fault” as their lackeys in the media, Hollywood, and university faculty ranks support them in refrain.  Trump has become a red-hot poker, guaranteed to evoke spasms of anger from all those who hate him, a subset of the larger population known as Prius Fans.  They blame Trump all they want now that accusing the Russians has become both fruitless and passé.  President Trump has unwittingly transcended racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, trans- and homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and all the other so-called structural explanations the left clings to as its all-encompassing theory that explains everything.  The Donald has now become the left’s favorite new scapegoat, but never forget Karl Popper’s warning that “a theory that explains everything explains nothing.”