Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Critics of Today's Political Environment Need to Stop Blaming Trump

Critics of today's destructive political environment point the finger at President Donald J. Trump as the culprit.   That would be wrong.  Trump is a symptom of today's current political climate.  He is not the cause of that climate.

Trump pictured with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov yesterday.
Before Trump was elected President, he was a failed, dishonest businessman.  Banks would not loan
him money and the people of New York City considered him to be a joke.  The only success Trump ever personally achieved in life, before being elected President, was his reality show, the Apprentice, in which he pretended to be the successful businessman he never was in real life.  Even that success was fleeting as the show's ratings took a dive the last few seasons and was on its way to being cancelled when Trump bailed.

Candidate Trump warmly accepted, even publicly solicited, help from Russia to win the 2016 election.  As the 2020 election approaches, President Trump has decided he is going to try to cheat again, this time by using his office to coerce Ukraine into giving him political ammunition against Joe
Biden, his probable general election opponent. (He also China for dirt on Biden and Elizabeth Warren, another potential general election rival.) In the process, Trump has put Ukraine's future and America's national security at risk. Trump clearly does not think he can win an election without foreign interference and, given his anemic approval ratings, he may be right.

For anyone who has followed Donald J. Trump's career, his transgressions in office do not represent new behavior.  Trump has always been extremely dishonest (some would call him a pathological liar), incompetent, selfish, immoral, ignorant, and completely uneducated about about the issues.  You could walk into any downtown Indianapolis building after business hours, find a janitor cleaning toilets and that person would be better suited to be President of the United States than Donald J. Trump

As I write this, the U.S. House is moving forward with impeaching President Trump.  The two articles drafted by the Democratic leadership are for abuse of power for Trump using his office (not using past tense because those efforts continue to this very day) to coerce a foreign power to help him with his re-election efforts and obstruction of Congress for blocking any cooperation with the probe into his actions.  

People need to stop blaming Trump.  President Trump is operating exactly as he did when he was pretending to be a successful businessman. Instead blame the enablers, people who helped elect such an unqualified disgrace to the highest office in the land and then decided he should never be held accountable for his actions.

Those enablers include members of Congress.  You could count on one hand the number of Republicans in the House and Senate who think that what Trump is doing with Ukraine is perfectly fine. If President Obama or a President Hillary Clinton pulled the stunt Trump did, you can bet that GOP members of Congress would be unanimous in supporting impeachment.  But those Republicans have decided to put their their own electoral interest (which requires blind, unwavering loyalty to Trump) ahead of what is in best for the country and the Republican Party.  Regarding the latter, make no mistake about it, the GOP will pay a very high price for being on the wrong side of history.

While Republican elected officials who look the other way are a problem, the worst enablers are members of the so-called conservative media (a term I loathe as many long ago stopped acting like real conservatives) who have decided that honesty and integrity in our politics no longer matter. All that matters is Us v. Them, i.e. tribal warfare.  If our side does something, it is by definition is right.  If the Democrats do it, it is not only wrong, it is evil.

Many members of the conservative media decided to throw away their intellectual integrity to go all in on Trump not because they believe in him, but supporting Trump is the only way to get the audience needed to stay on the air  I am talking people like Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin...the list of these sell-out television and radio personalities is endless.  But the Trump effect on the conservative media is not just is local as well.  Here in Indianapolis, we have WIBC "conservative" radio hosts such as Hammer and Nigel, Tony Katz, and the Chicks on the Right.  Probably the worst Trumper locally though is Chicks' producer and WIBC guest host Rob Kendall who never lets actual facts get in the way of presenting Trump talking points.  While the aforementioned media types seem to be just playing a role as Trump supporters to collect a paycheck, one gets the sense Kendall actually believes the propaganda he spouts.

The Trump-worshiping conservative media has created an echo chamber of alternative facts and conspiracy theories that shield Republican voters from reality.  When conservatives want the latest news, they turn on FoxNews and watch hosts Hannity, Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, none of whom feel compelled to be balanced, or even factual, in discussing recent developments.  But as bad as the Fox News and radio hosts like Limbaugh and Levin can be, it is even worse when those conservatives turn to social media.  Twitter and Facebook offers even more outrageous "facts" and conspiracy theories than the more mainstream commentators could ever muster. 

Regardless of the information source, the approach is always the same: provide the audience tuning what they want to hear so they come back.    It doesn't matter if it is not factual.  All that matters is whether the audience is being fed what they want to hear so they will come back. The truth be damned.

Stop blaming Trump.  Blame the people who made a Donald J. Trump possible. They are the ones who need to be held responsible for today's toxic political environment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trump has been a test for Christians. Would they still live by the values taught in the Bible if the Devil in disguise offered them something they wanted? The answer is a resounding no.