The Enemy They Created

3 Dec

Over the last couple of days, a surprising number of articles relating to Donald Trump have popped up in my Facebook feed. They tend to fall into two separate categories; the media decrying Trump’s success, including dire predictions of what would happen if President Trump were to be inaugurated in 2016 (up to and including calling Trump an outright fascist) and attempts to understand why Trump, a candidate who refuses to play by the rules, has done so well. Indeed, going by memory, Trump’s campaign has been declared dead so many times that I am tempted to resort to a quote from Blackadder:

Percy: He must be on his last legs by now, My Lord.

Edmund: Yes, but how many sets of legs has that man got?

So why is Trump so successful despite not playing by the rules?

This is my theory, for what it’s worth, based on 20 years of distant observation of American politics.

Over the last 30 years, or thereabouts, much of the mainstream media in the United States has slipped from a position of neutrality to not-so-covertly supporting the Democratic Party. This is certainly true of the older, well-established newspapers and suchlike (as well as CNN, although FOX seems to be largely pro-Republican.) What this tends to mean for American politics, in my observation, is that when a Republican candidate commits a ‘gaffe,’ the gaffe is promptly blown out of all proportion by the mainstream media. The candidate barely has a moment to realise he’s under attack before he finds himself being drowned in negative media coverage.

The unspoken (and poisonous) assumption seems to be that whatever the media considers to be important is important. Republican Candidates, often largely out of touch with the average voter, panic at the thought of losing the media (as if they had the media in the first place.) They therefore grovel and cringe in front of the media whenever a gaffe is exposed, rather than merely brushing it off and continuing merrily on their way. The net result, I think, is that many potential republican candidates tend to get neurotic about the risks of saying something that someone – anyone – might find offensive, grimly aware that the media isn’t on their side and will pounce at the slightest excuse.

Unsurprisingly, they do their best to avoid controversy. This makes them look bland and, if nothing else, out of step with the mood of the country.

By contrast, Democratic Candidates (while often equally out of touch) tend to get an easier ride from the media. Hilary Clinton’s email scandal, going just by what has been proven, is far worse than anything committed by any number of officers and officials who have had their careers wrecked by minor mistakes. Hilary also lied about the connection between a minor video and the terrorist attack in Bengzhi. And the Clinton Foundation seems to be nothing more than a venue for skirting laws regarding foreign monetary donations to American politicians.

And yet, the media isn’t hammering Hilary anything like as hard as it would a Republican Candidate.

It doesn’t take much research to realise just how disastrous this has been for America. In 2007-8, the media largely lined up behind Barrack Obama. Obama simply did not get the level of scrutiny a Republican Candidate would have done, in the same place. Nor did he get the scorn and vitriol poured on Sarah Palin. And, by any reasonable measure, Obama has been the worst President since Buchannan.

Donald Trump, I suspect, has made the very deliberate decision to ignore the mainstream media’s self-proclaimed ‘right’ to pass judgement on his campaign. Trump is far more in touch with the average voter (or at least appears to be) and he is working hard on appealing to voters over the heads of the political and media elites. His obstinate refusal to apologise for anything, as I noted earlier, makes perfect sense. Instead of allowing mistakes to drag his campaign down, the Donald simply keeps going.

And Trump is winning, at least in part, because he’s giving the finger to the elites.

Every society above stone-age technology develops a political elite, a handful of people who steer the government to benefit themselves, rather than the people. This has been increasingly true of the United States; the Washington elites include everyone from congressmen and senators to political journalists and their editors. The rise of political dynasties like the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons is a symptom of a deadly political disease. These elites live in an echo chamber that makes them, quite simply, out of touch with the interests of ordinary Americans. They think, not to put too fine a point on it, that anyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong, but evil. There is no point in trying to understand their enemies because their enemies are wilfully wrong. They see Trump and his supporters, rather than ISIS, as the true enemy because Trump threatens their power.

If you want to argue that Trump would make a poor President … well, I’m not going to argue with you. But really, most of the qualities that would make a good President tend to be incompatible with the qualities needed to get elected. Any reasonable President would understand, for example, that it takes time to produce any real results. Part of the reason Bush had so many problems in Iraq was that he reacted to crisis after crisis, without looking at the bigger picture and taking those problems in stride. But the media wants action NOW!

The job of the media is to present the facts. The American mainstream media (and I include FOX in this) seems to have forgotten this. Instead, it seeks to pass judgement on the candidates, under the delusion that their blessing is what the candidates need. Trump, whatever else he does, may well have done the United States a vast service. Exposing the lie behind the media’s claims will make life easier for future candidates.

24 Responses to “The Enemy They Created”

  1. Rob Godfrey December 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    Maybe Trump would not be getting called a fascist if he didn’t openly read Men Kampf, and base policies on it. Just a thought.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 3, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

      People like you are always calling Conservatives (& I’m not sure Trump is Conservative) Fascists so why should Trump follow your advice?

      • Rob Godfrey December 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

        it would help if they didn’t spout the same hyper nationalistic, xenophobic and militaristic policies as fascists.. I mean come on, if you don’t want to get called a fascist, don’t BE a fascist.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

        None of your type know what fascists are.

      • Rob Godfrey December 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

        Easy, or fascists look at the Falangists or Italian Fascists and you will find militaristic and highly Christian conservative movements, opposed to equal rights for women, equality of the races etc, and spouting biblical morality, like the GOP.

      • chrishanger December 5, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

        Or, in another angle, why should anyone believe that this ‘fascist’ is a real fascist when the media has cried wolf so many times?


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    • Rob Godfrey December 3, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

      or call for all muslims to go on a register and have to wear a recognizable symbol in public…or want to commit genocide against the tribes/families of ISIS fighters, or want to racially profile and harass into leaving the country Hispanics, legal or illegal.

      So if he didn’t want to pursue racist policies, mark out ‘the enemy’ for public attack, commit mass murder, read the speeches of Hitler for inspiration and generally…well be an actual fascist, he would not get accused of being one.

      • Dennis the Menace December 3, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

        He either didn’t say those things or he didn’t say it how you describe it. For example, the whole notion that Trump said Muslims should be issued IDs to present upon demand was never said by him, but was suggested by a reporter instead. Even Snopes (which is not as ‘unbiased’ as claimed) says as much.

        And your use of the ‘racism’ canard also destroys your credibility on this matter. The Dems have the GOP beat on it when they forced Japanese-Americans into cattle cars and relocated them to shitty concentration camps while the mobs of FDR voters looted their homes and businesses that were abandoned, after all.

      • Rob Godfrey December 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

        @dennis the menace that was a shameful episode in history, it’s a shame that the neo nazis and psychopaths all moved to the GOP and now, as racists. rapists and murders have always done, clutch the bible and trumpet their purity. For instance we have David Duke endorsing Trump, we have American Renaissance backing him, we have the Council of Conservative Citizens, we have Occidental Dissent backing Trump, we have VDare backing Trump, we have StormFront backing him. The Daily Stormer backs him (calling his opponents ‘Super-Jews’, which is..interesting)

        So no, calling his policies racist and fascist, when racists and fascists back him to the hilt, and cheer him on, is not a stretch at all.

        Besides FOX news had been their dog whistle for years, now we got a field made up of people spouting FOX lines, the Murdoch Media coup d’etat continues a pace, and may just have blown up in the Australians face.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Once upon a time, I read this “grim-dark” near-future story.

    The bad-guy is approached by a reporter who told the bad-guy that he “needed” the reporter.

    The reporter talked about how he could “make” the bad-guy into a power as well as talking about the “Power Of The Press” to be the King-maker.

    Well the bad-guy told the reporter that his talk about “using the Press” was very good but he disliked the reporter.

    So the bad-guy killed the reporter.

    Sometimes, I feel like that should happened to more reporters. [Frown]

  3. Bob G December 3, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    A fun read on the Trump phenomenon by Scott Adams (yes, Dilbert)

  4. Dennis the Menace December 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Ted Cruz seems to be also adopting some of Trumps ‘flip the bird’ response to media faux outrage and hypocrisy, too. Cruz is very calculating and very smart. Keep your eye on him.

    • BobStewartatHome August 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

      Agreed that Cruz is very smart. But he shifted a decimal place one digit to the right when he calculated the benefit of reverting to a televangelist persona. Worse, he stuck with it after the So. Carolina fiasco where Trump swept the evangelical vote. He’d have been much better off focusing on his conservative credentials and his remarkable skills as a debater. His ground game outside of Texas was deplorably undisciplined.

  5. duncancairncross December 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    My God Chris!

    How can you possibly conclude that a media that is owned by a small number of corporations is biased towards the Democrats?

    The impression I take from a somewhat longer period including four years living and working in the USA is

    (1) The “media” is in the entertainment business – even the “News Outlets” are more about maintaining ratings than “news”

    (2) There is a fetish about “balance” – which results in factual reporting having to be balanced by total bollocks

    (3) Ownership of the media is by mostly the right wing

    (4) The actual workers/reporters are about the middle of the road but definitely left of the bosses

    (5) Facts have a “liberal bias”
    This wasn’t really true until the Bush loonies decided that they could make up their own facts and sneered at people who lived in a factual world

    As far as the Donald is concerned
    He is a monster! – created by the Republican Party
    And he is actually LESS of a monster than any of the others in the Clown Car

  6. Mark December 3, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    Sorry Chris but the republicans don’t get a free pass because the Media is out to get them. We’ve got candidates that run the gamut from openly supporting the killing of gays, advocate forcing women to bear dead fetuses to term (I couldn’t make this shit up Chris), think that Science is a rival religion and pledge to keep it out of our schools, and openly promising to return the U.S. to the Christian Theocracy it used to be.

    From the beginning I’ve predicted that Trump would do well because everyone he’s up against is Batshit Fraking Crazy.

    FOX news is a straight up propaganda machine. They’ve been caught out so many times it’s not even funny anymore. And, yes, they’ve managed to drag most of the other news services into the muck with them.

    • JJ Reuter December 3, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

      By some of these comments I see the koolaid has been drunk in copious quantities. Do not let facts get in the way of a preconceived prejudice. Also, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. If Trump was running as a Democrat he would be way more popular. Bernie showed the lack of intelligence and the being out of touch with reality that guides the average Democratic voter. Reality scares the progressives beyond belief.

      • Mark December 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

        I’m not sure how to take your reply. Nothing I said was my opinion or preconceptions. They are on the record having said and done these things. They are facts.
        Are you saying we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of your Prejudice?

        Also, I never said the Democrats where any better (that’s an opinion).

      • Mark December 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

        I take that back. The comment about FOX is mostly opinion, but based on their long history of being caught lying and making shit up by fact checking groups and the Daily Show..

  7. PhilippeO December 4, 2015 at 4:45 am #

    seconded duncancairncross, the Media in America adhere to “Washington echo chamber”, in many ways this mean 1) addiction to fetish about “balance” 2) adherence to Right Wing Economic View (Trump actually more moderate than other Republican in this, other candidate oppose taxing the rich) 3) Slight Left Wing Social View (this include slight PC attitude).

    Hillary actually very brutally harassed by Media (so does her husband Bill), many unproven accusation get thrown around (White Water, etc ). Clinton email constantly in media despite other cabinet members (including Bush foreign minister) also practice very bad e-mail management, all foreign secretary practically use private e-mail for business. Benghazi is exaggerated excessively, its not only place US office attacked and personnel killed, there are half-dozen other place suffered same fate including in Bush administration. and all proven evidence does show video Do influence terrorist (its even in terrorist own statement, although attack would happen whether or not video happen). Its also rarely mentioned that Benghazi is CIA facilities not State Dep.

    My Opinion is Trump policy is no worse than any other Republican Candidate, his policy certainly didn’t worse than other candidate policies. He even didn’t always adhere to Republican Common Wisdom about tax cut, which make Republican Establishment (read: Rich People) oppose him bitterly.

    Trump popularity seems based on white resentment. he is successful by taking anti-PC attribute thus gaining support of poor white who blame their poverty to immigrant / liberal / african-american.

  8. James Faust December 4, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    I think Chris misunderstands our system. Trump has surged in the polls, however those being polled are the Republican base. This is the group that will choose the Republican nominee. This base constitutes less than 20% of eligible voters in the US. Recent polls show Bernie Sanders beating all possible Republican nominees and Hillary Clinton to boot. These polls represent the entire electorate of the US.

    Trump is a Republican phenomena with popularity among a small slice of the American electorate. He gets a lot of press because of his fact free campaign and outlandish antics. He is without doubt the most entertaining candidate I have seen in my 60 years.

    As a Democrat I hope he is the Republican nominee because he is unelectable in a national election.

  9. misterjonez December 4, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Good work lighting a fire with this one, Chris. You’ve brought out the extremism that is inherent to the Two Party System 😉

  10. CB December 4, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    Spot on summary. You nailed it!


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