YOU GET WHAT YOU REMAIN SILENT ABOUT?
Want to save the
Drain the right-wing
By Catherine Rampell
October 24, 2016
Donald Trump looks likely to get a whupping (or, to use his preferred Yiddishism, schlonging) in a few weeks. Forecasts suggest many of his down-ballot co-partisans will as well.
No doubt, should this expected defeat come to pass, Republican leadership will try to regroup and figure out what went wrong.
If Republicans truly want to save the Republican Party, they need to go to war with right-wing media. That is, they need to dismantle the media machine persuading their base to believe completely bonkers, bigoted garbage.
It is, after all, the right-wing radio, TV and Internet fever swamps that have gotten them into this mess, that have led to massive misinformation, disinformation and cynicism among Republican voters. And draining those fever swamps is the only way to get them out of it.
Further, some fraction — though to my knowledge, as yet unmeasured — apparently believes presidential elections are determined by Instagram followers.
All hail President Selena Gomez!
Republicans and Trump backers didn’t come to these conclusions independently. They learned them from the influential TV, radio and Web outfits whose imprimaturs Republican politicians desperately seek, and whose more troubling content these politicians have been reluctant to criticize.
That’s presumably because many of the crazy conspiracy theories circulated by these outlets served the party’s political interests. At least in the short term.
Claims of voter fraud justified measures that made it more difficult for Democratic-leaning groups to vote, even as they paved the way for a sore-loser candidate to claim he’s about to be robbed of his victory.
Data trutherism — claims that the economy is worse than the official numbers indicate, that polls are “skewed” to favor Democrats, that hurricane forecasts are exaggerated to scare the public into fearing climate change — riled the base, even as it sowed a deadly distrust in any impartial metric of the nation’s economic, political, social or climatological health.
Never-ending witch hunts — against Planned Parenthood, climate scientists, Hillary Clinton — similarly galvanized supporters in the near term but increased bloodlust for punishment of political enemies in the long run.
In other words, Trump is not some black swan, whose unique cocktail of charisma, telegenicism and political fluidity landed him the nomination. His nomination is the product of years of race-baiting, conspiracy-theorizing, expert-delegitimizing right-wing media nonsense, which Republican politicians aided and abetted because it seemed politically expedient at the time. They helped the alt-right create the alternate reality that made a Trump nomination inevitable.
And unless the party establishment grapples with its own complicity in misinforming, misleading and frightening the masses, it’s doomed to field more Donald Trumps in the future.
NOTE: I found this article a rather fulsome and efficient condemnation of the Republican Party. Draining the swamp, however, isn't going to be easy.