If a Republican nominee can win in 2016, then the only Republican who has a chance is Donald Trump. This bold, and hopeless, assertion comes on the heels of the hagiographic crowning of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton, the woman of many ambitions and even more investigations, is being treated by the press as a transcendent icon. Since the nomination, the praise has been constant, adoring, and sycophantic.
In contrast, Donald Trump, after months of delivering blockbuster numbers to the mainstream media, has become the butt of every joke about Republicans. Many opinion makers on the right are saying, “TOLD YA SO!” Well, yes, we all knew this was going to happen. What’s being lost in this schadenfreude is that it would have happened to any Republican candidate and has happened to every Republican candidate since forever and none of them, save Ronald Reagan, did a very good job combatting the pure, white-hot hatred coming out of the press.
Mitt Romney dealt with viciousness from the press about, among other things, a haircut as a teen, Big Bird, and Binders Full of Women. He was stunned by the superficiality and silliness of the criticisms. His shock and awe didn’t stop the criticism from tanking his campaign. Romney, the milquetoast so-moderate-he-used-to-be-pro-abortion, Romney. That Romney was too conservative for the media. He wouldn’t win if he ran again. He’d lose with dignity. Again.
Rubio or Cruz? Well, depending on the candidate, the divided GOP would destroy either one. Rubio’s supporters refused to support Cruz and continue to spit vitriol for no apparent reason except that they can’t get over Rubio’s loss. Cruz supporters are demoralized by a GOP who refused to support the principled hope against Hillary.
Neither man would have won the election. Marco Rubio had the charm and communication skills, but the media is too mendacious. Too mean. Before a Rubio-Clinton matchup was over, Rubio would be portrayed as facile, boyish, inexperienced, sexist, and nasty.
So, Trump. Trump is a man for such a time as this. His glib confabulation and clever turn of phrases married with preening narcissism and utter shamelessness strikes the perfect note in the Barack Kardashian Obama media world that politics now inhabits. Trump can hang out on talk shows, slow jam with Jimmy if necessary, and throw down with the WWE — something I hope he does at Summer Slam.
Trump knows media. That’s why he (rightly) hates them.
The Republican party, for all their dignity, still have no clue when it comes to the vicious pirhannas with whom they insist upon swimming. Donald Trump knows and treats them with the respect they deserve. If he feels like he’s not treated fairly, he does what the Democrats have always done — threatened the media with starving them of his traffic-bringing awesome.
Forget Pavlov, Donald Trump is the B.F. Skinner of behavior modification: the media will be put in a dark box of sensory deprivation should they not comply with his demands.
Conservatives recoil at such behavior. They were disgusted by the Obama administration targeting journalists, spying on them, ostracizing them. It’s censorious behavior. More than that, it’s petty, vindictive and small. It’s evil.
War is hell.
The problem the GOP is having is that they don’t understand the source of their existential threat. They believe that Donald Trump is that threat. They’ve identified the wrong enemy. The enemy isn’t even Hillary Clinton just as it wasn’t Barack Obama.
The enemy is the one defining the terms of the fight, picking the terrain, choosing the ammunition. Hillary and Barack were just the torpedos that the media (and the academic and entertainment worlds) used to forward their ends: a progressive utopia marked by politically correct language and defined by the latest leftist trend that will empower the state and give more control to “smart” people. The enemy is a media hellbent on creating a world of their making and they’re succeeding.
The average people are so stupid, you see. They need to be managed.
Deep down, Republicans feel this way, too. They just don’t like being the one managed by the media, but they are. All the time. Mainline, even liberal Republicans, are lumped in with the too-stupid-to-be-given-choices. The media views hoity-toity Republicans, and Christians, and blue collar workers, and fly-over country people, and breeders, and suburbanites, and gun owners, and white males, with the same condescending disregard. These people need masters and to be controlled.
The GOP doesn’t have sense or self-respect to even acknowledge how the media views them. Here’s some help: The media views you with the same contempt you view Donald Trump.
Donald Trump knows this. He knows how the media works. He knows human psychology. The GOP has problems understanding both.
Republicans undermined their own best chances for the nomination. They misunderstood the electorate’s perspective. They misjudged the times. This is not new.
Maybe, for once, some humility is in order. Maybe Republicans need to sit back and let a media master do his thing. The object of this election should be winning the real war against the real enemy: the media.
Watch and learn, Reince and Mitch and Paul. Punish the media for their biased ways. Lean on conservative media (who, by the way, have always been with you even when you’re feckless and statist yourselves). Keep your base happy. This is a novel concept to the GOP, but it’s one the Democrats know and do well.
The media will portray every idea the Republicans put forth as racist, sexist, homophobic, and close-minded. So, why not go for some truly courageous ideas and trust the GOP Congress to check and balance a blowhard like Trump?
The only thing the Republicans have to lose is losing. Maybe Trump can help them win, for once. It’s not like they were going to win with anyone else.
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