Friday, March 18, 2016

If Right Wing Radio and Karl Rove Had a Baby...

It would be Donald Trump.  For decades now right wing radio has jumped on conspiracy theories and out-right lies about Democrats and the Democratic Party.  (Even going so far as to calling it the Democrat party as an attempt at a slur).  Throughout that time they have nodded to sexists, xenophobia and with the rise of President Obama overt racism.  Their lack of respect for this President played out not only with the people who vote for Republicans but also among elected officials.  We saw massive disrespect for the Office of the President from Congress and others in offices at all levels.  Republican social media pages were often full of birther nonsense and of course healthy doses of racist jokes that looked like they got their hands on the Minstrel Show Joke Book made famous in an episode of the Little Rascals.  But it goes back further, to the great and terrible Lee Atwater, may he rest in peace.  His brand of cut-throat campaigning was tinged with ginning up the fears of the white work class in a way that led to things like the Willie Horton ad of the late 80s.  But he also was able to play the inside the beltway media creating the fiction of a left-wing bias in news that has stuck through today.  As we moved through the Clinton years, the terribly handled election of 2000 and the new age of the post 9-11 world others filled the gaps.  Fox News and the proliferation of new right wing media darlings led to misinformation and made politics seem more like a sporting event than having any real consequences.  I don't fully exonerate the left.  Both sides would back their person or party regardless of what they did, to a point.  But the right was always far more forgiving of violating their principles.  We should only look at the difference in the way the Democrats and the Republicans responded to Anthony Weiner and Mark Sanford.  Both violated their marriage vows, Weiner in the cyber world and Sanford in the real one. Both were forced to resign.  But today Weiner can't get elected dog catcher and Sanford is in the Senate.  Oh and Weiner broke no laws, while Sanford used state funds to hide and travel with his mistress, lied to state officials as to his whereabouts when he left the country with his mistress and of course blamed other people.  So if you want to play tit for tat, be careful, the GOP, who want to be the family values party, is not only hypocritical they are down right vulgar about it.

But back to Trump.  Trump spent a great deal of the last 8 years building media relationships while telling us all lies about President Obama's birth.  Let's remember he claimed to have surprising evidence uncovered in Hawaii by private detectives.  Today when asked about he says that is all in the past.  He groomed the character he continues to play often bringing in new hate and fears over the years.  All the while being a cherished guest on Fox News and MSNBC.  I remember years ago the Morning Joe program, which has been labeled Morning Trump since June, because of the lapdog attitude of the hosts and many guests on the show, Trump was having cameras follow him when he went to vote.  I think they gave up after the third polling place he went to wasn't his.  He didn't know where to go to vote.  Of course no one asked if he had voted in the last few years, they made fun of New York City in the segment because, you know Liberals.  But it was telling.  Today Trump appears, often via phone, on the show and rarely gets challenged for his idiocy and a few times there is a staged bit of anger by the hosts, but in the end they kiss and make up with them calling him Mr. Trump and saying how great his is.

But now the landscape has changed.  Early in the campaign Trump was hitting a lot of the sweet spots of the right and many were loving it.  A few intellectuals on the right recognized Trump's act, as well as many more on the left, but they were chastised.  Soon the good television that was Trump's pro-wrestling style campaigning got many not only on the right but in the mainstream media to follow him, give him free media and legitimize him.  They cheered when he took out weaker candidates or those who couldn't handle his school yard bullying.  All the while his policies or lack there of meant nothing to those who dutifully gave him a forum to promote his high school student council style promises to the American people who found him refreshing.  And by refreshing it seemed to mean that if he were our leader they can once again be openly bigoted, racist or worse.  And the worse has come.

Violence at Trump rallies has become so normal that it is a surprise when it doesn't happen.  We have seen supporters egged on by Trump attack protesters or people who just appear to be different.  Trump is even threatening violence could break out if the convention doesn't go his way.  He has become the Golem that the right created and can't control.

So  now right wing radio, realizing that Trump could now be the standard bearer for the Republican party are on the attack.  The problem is that it is likely too little too late.  Like many things you can't combat the fervor around Trump with facts.  People don't care about the facts.  You see we live in a culture that has been trained to react emotionally and Trump is pure emotion.  It doesn't matter to his followers that he is a fraud, often times a failure, that his policies make no sense and do the opposite of what he thinks they will do.  It doesn't matter that he has contradicted himself in the same speech, TV segment or debate.  His followers are used to it because that is what the right wing noise machine has built as their brand.  It is amazing to think people didn't see this happening.

I will say that I did not think the smart people on the right would let this get this far.  I did not think that Trump would be given cover by the likes of MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times.  I did not think that when the votes started to be cast in Iowa and New Hampshire that the segments of the party that usually vote a person that didn't share their values.  But it happened.  Old Two Corinthians and I like all the Bible Trump who I dare say wouldn't know God's grace from Grace Kelly got the Evangelical vote.  Think about that.  It does tell me many who self-identify that way are hypocrites but how do they think this vulgar man would be their hero in Washington.  Then there is the white working class, Trump's victims many times over in his business dealings, who flock to the billionaire as a hero when he has never cared about them as a group.  There are many more examples.

So those on the right who are shaking in fear at the prospect of a Trump nomination, you made this guy your own through your reckless embracing of emotion, hate and lies over the course of several decades.  Now the bed is made and you and Trump will have to crawl in it together.  I am not sure just how awkward you will make it but Cleveland is going to be an amazing event this summer unless you can change the narrative moving forward.  In the meantime, as you now pile on to this awful person you made important in your party, keep in mind moving forward who you will promote into the future.  Our country is built on the idea that we will have a diversity of opinion and positions.  Working in concert we can make the best out of blending both and arguing it out.  For many we just want the country to be better moving into the new century.  We are the strongest nation in the world and one who still, I believe, offers hope despite the institutional issue that attack certain types of people.  We are better than putting forth a Trump to be our leader.  He should have been a non-started.  If you do stop him, great, but be careful who comes next..  Let him be your cautionary tale.

The Current Has Been Torn Away

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