I am exhausted. After all multiple head explosions take their toll. And it’s only July.
I try hard to keep up with the current Presidential Campaign. I follow assorted news sites on Twitter and Facebook. I have Google and Yahoo news aggregating sites. I read opinion pieces here and across the web. I have been called an information sponge (and not in a good way) by people who were once in my life and not there now.
Keeping up with the daily wild accusations, defenses, damage control, outright misrepresention of facts and complete denial of reality is getting to be nearly impossible. Too often the headlines seem like they were written by The Onion or Mad magazine. Farce is now a serious political campaign position.
I’m pretty sure any reasonable person and I would start with Donald Trump. So, through the looking glass we descend into the madness of this campaign season.
OK, The Donald.
NBC gave him the reality series ‘The Apprentice.” They projected Trump as an astute businessman. As someone worthy of being lauded for his acumen. This weekly exposure gave him gravtas, and increased the celebrity status he’d carefully cultivated over decades. He never saw a microphone he was hesitant to blather into.
Commercial networks have always been a profit driven enterprise. Hell, this has been the business model stretching back to the earliest days of radio. A couple decades ago they discovered a few things about reality shows. They’re cheap to produce relative to scripted programs. They also, on the whole, bring in high ratings. So there has been a scramble to find a bonanza. “American Idol.” “The Voice.” “Survivor.” “Big Brother.” And “The Apprentice.” All of them made a ton of money. Networks did what they do.
However Trump leveraged this exposure into a billion appearances on Fox News as someone qualified to pontificate on American politics and policy. He famously had a high profile as America’s Baron of Birtherism. He shook that position like a bone with no major blowback by the plethora of actual news organinizations. He positioned himself as an enthusiastic, serious commentator on the positions and policies of a sitting Presidential administration.
Pundits reguarly speculated if Trump would run for President. It was actual news when he declined to run in 2012. The Donald was being treated as a serious potential candidate. All this based on decades of succesful PR. That should have exposed to any reasonable person that our news services were continuing their descent into a world of ratings over responsible reporting. After all the days of Murrow, Cronkite, Brinkley and the rest of Murrow’s boys were long over. In the days of the best, news was news and entertainment was not.
From the day he declared before an adoring press corps and paid “supporters” he’s been allowed to project wild statements and conspiracy theories as if it was serious political election rhetoric.
He wielded wild claims, viciously attacking his primary opponants with lies, distortions and the taunts of a schoolyard bully. Notably the other candidates and news outlets never really called out his scattershot approach to being taken as a serious Persidential hopeful. No one condidered his campaign as political theatre and that was a mortal blow to the semblence of responsible political discourse.
Trump’s bid was called dead time after time as he surged in the polls. The Republican field positioned themselves as alternatives. A couple went to the right hard as they waited to grab Trump’s supporters in the expected meltdown that never came. The GOP hopefuls never saw Trump as the threat he was. When it finally dawned on them it was far too late. He even floated the idea the father of Ted Cruz may have been involved in the assassination of JFK. Cruz struck back and got shellacked in the primary the next day.
The more outrageous Trump became, the higher his poll numbers went. He was a busker bringing massive support into his sideshow. This in itself is reason to question what has happened to the American electorate.
Trump’s continuous use of not being Politically Correct is worn as a badge of honor. There are few segments of the American population he hasn’t attacked.
Mexican undocumented immigrants are thieves, drug runners and rapists.
Mexico is purposely sending the dregs of their society across the border.
All Muslims, no matter their country of origin, are terrorists or conspirators aiding and abetting terrorism.
Hillary Clinton is a criminal.
Gun free zones in any country are suicidal policies.
The press is unfair and out to get him. So any probing questions from a woman reporter is because she had blood pouring out everywhere.
Databases of Muslims because tattoos or gold stars seem to be obsolete.
And so on and so on.
All of this was expected to sink his bid. Instead it increased and solidified his support. He roared through the Republican primaries like a hellbound train shouldering aside his opponents. It finally reached the point when even Ted Cruz and John Kasich saw the handwriting on the wall, leaving Trump triumphant on the smoldering ruins of the GOP.
He promises to scrap treaties as stupid, bad deals which he can renegotiate to a better result. His domestic proposals have been decried by actual experts will result in an economic meltdown not seen since the Great Depression. A wrecking ball with popular support of far too many.
Since he was recognized as the nominee, the Republicans have walked a tightrope of tepid support or outright rejection. Few have embraced him. Rumors of a revolt in Cleveland swirl on the political shows. He seems to have problems finding someone wishing to commit career suicide by being his Veep. The Republicans are trapped in a loop of decrying Trump’s statements and vowing to support the nominee.
Trump supporters are known for violence, xenophobic chants and attacks on the press. In a very recent rally many sounded a chant to Lynch AG loretta Lynch. So if Trump is rejected as the nominee there is a strong possibility of his supporters going off the rails in the streets of Cleveland. It may bring flashback of Chicago in 1968. After all many of Trump supporters have only a tenuous grip on reality.
Donnie’s deflection of support by the Klan and other white supremacists blows the dog whistles of racism and anti semitism like a trumpet at Jericho. His support may be down and he may not get much of a convention bump but he’s a dangerous, unpredictable candidate. His brand of political demagoguery,which seems to be the George Wallace 1968 campaign on meth, has exposed the dark underbelly of American politics to the light of day. He has made it, if not acceptable, something to be winked at.
The Republican presumptive nominee has speculated the Attorney General and Director of the FBI were bribed when Clinton’s email investigation didn’t result in the conclusions he wanted. He has vowed if elected he’d personally see to it Hillary will be indicted. Trump, as usual, shows he has no understanding of how the separation of powers function.
Anytime he is called on some racist or vicious comment, rather than apologize, he doubles down. He doesn’t comment on or seem repentant for fundraising requests to MP’s in the UK or any number of his retweets of white supremacist sites.
A recent example is a meme showing HRC with $100 bills as a background flanked by what seems to be a star of David calling her corrupt. This was a meme lifted of a neo nazi site.
Trump’s response and defense? A star is a star. He cites Disney’s Frozen sticker book as an example of innocence. In Cincy he said he regretted his campaign took that tweet down as he felt it was widespread media racism towards him.
He urges his few surrogates to never apologize. In his rallies he goes off on tangents with rants against the press as being unfair or part of a conspiracy. He has banned reporters or news outlets for daring to not buy his positions as gospel. I know this madness has been spoken of across the political world. One can only imagine if any news organizations other than Breitbart, InfoWars and World News Daily will be present at the gaggle in the WH press room.
I understand I’m preaching to the choir. However I believe these things can’t be repeated enough. Trump is a clear and present danger to us and the world.
Our allies are rightfully concerned about his rise. It may be possible they have plans to curb American power if he is elected. His desire to dismantle NATO as it’s been since the end of WWII has to trouble the members. His bromance with Putin and Saddam must be causing deep concern among our allies. The embrace of the use of nukes after we made it through the Cold War without turning the planet into a smoking cinder reminds the World we are the only nation ever to deploy nuclear weapons in war. Trump stands alone in the world as he supports the spread of nuclear weapons.
Trump can’t be condemned too much or too often. We sane people realize that. The American fascination with a strongman, in this case Trump, a victory is the first bold step to blithely strolling down the yellow brick road to fascism. At least I see it that way.
We stand at the edge of an abyss. Our only choice is to forcefully step back avoiding the fall. Or, like lemmings we embrace the fall.
It’s a long time till November. We can only dread what lays ahead. Then we need to avoid the looming disaster no matter if Trump survives or we face a Kasich, a Scott Walker or a Paul Ryan. We need to unite the Democratic party and preserve the accomplishments we’ve made since FDR. It could actually be the most important election since Dewey’s loss to Truman. This is a referendum on our future no matter who is the Republican nominee.
We need to act accordingly.