Horror-Time Media-Melt On T-Rump Second Term

March 18, 2024

Another start to another work week, and this late-afternoon Monday here in California’s Central Valley finds us edging closer and closer to November and to an election beholding to none in recent memory.

In response to his graphic speech at another lie-infested rally this past weekend — T-Rump described a “bloodbath” in the US if he isn’t elected, and saying some migrants are “not people.” He’s obvious to where he’s coming from, but is it obvious to an extremely large chunk of low-information American voters?

Major angle: How to approach the T-Rump and his nasty-ass fight for a second term. In obvious display, though, unbidden by the MSM is the horror if the Orange Turd is re-elected.
Kurt Bardella, a Democratic strategist, noted yesterday: ‘“In 2016 he was still, in his own mind at least, positioning himself to be beloved by everybody … That’s why ‘Drain the swamp’ was a more populist, appealing message to all sides of the aisle because everyone on some level felt like Washington’s broken, Washington’s left us behind. Now you flash-forward to 2024 and we’re getting a much darker version of Donald Trump, one who seems to be driven by imaginary grievances from the 2020 election. There’s nothing unifying about that message in any way; it’s incredibly self-centred. This is a campaign for vengeance. In a lot of ways he is Ahab and Moby Dick is the United States of America.”

And it’s up to a mainstream media full of shit:

Jong-Fast does it again at Vanity Fair this afternoon, a must-read compilation of the plight of the media in handling the horror of the T-Rump as he campaigns for the White House again — highlights:

So given the possibility of a Trump return to the White House, the media has a responsibility to educate readers and viewers about the threat to democracy, and how radically he could reshape the government and realign US priorities around the world. The challenge is that the public seems exhausted. News fatigue is real. Cable news networks witnessed significant audience declines last year, and Americans largely tuned out the primaries, for which there was little competition amid expectations of a Biden-Trump rematch. The 2024 cycle has been a far cry from eight years ago, when Trump drove eyeballs and helped make the media boom.


The problem in 2016 was Trump getting too much free media. Newsrooms allowed then candidate Trump, and later President Trump, to be their assignment editor, as Politico’s Jack Shafer explored in early 2017. Essentially, Trump would talk (or tweet) about something and the media would follow right behind him. The problem now is not giving Trump enough attention—at least where it concerns his threat to democracy. I’ve noted before how conventional political framing creates a false equivalency that normalizes and elevates Trump’s antidemocratic rhetoric. Biden is a normal, conventional president and candidate, while Trump is not—the minute you compare the two, you elevate the deviation to the norm.

Given fears of appearing partisan, journalists may pause before describing Trump as a danger to democracy. But there they can also turn to any number of former Trump administration officials, from James Mattis to Alyssa Farah Griffin to Mark Esper, who’ll clearly make that point. Then there’s Mike Pence, who says “Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on during our four years.” It’s remarkable that Pence, who, as 2016 running mate, created the permission structure that allowed evangelicals to get in bed with Trump the first time, won’t endorse him in 2024. The Bulwark’s Jonathan Last argued Monday that “Pence should be the biggest story of the 2024 campaign.”

Covering Trump breathlessly and repeating his lies incredulously clearly isn’t the answer. The only way to hold Trump accountable is to be clear-eyed about his authoritarian second-term plans and how he’s aligned himself with autocrats. And it’s essential to hear from the people who have seen his dysfunction firsthand, like those from his former administration who are sounding the alarm about his potential return to the White House. We in the media have to get this right, as the future of democracy—and the free press that goes with it—is on the line.

Meanwhile, another avenue to illustrate the shit-fire reality question from a voters’ perspective:

And better to invoke ‘three‘ years ago instead of four, even if you’re an imbecilic idiot — Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine yesterday:

Despite the many problems with her weird, mendacious response to the State of the Union Address, Republican senator Katie Britt was smart enough not to claim 2020 as the joyous climax of four great years. Instead she asked viewers if they were “better off than they were three years ago,” dating back to Joe Biden’s first address to Congress in 2021. Ah, but that comparison, while it lends itself to the negative case against Biden, does not make the comparative case for Donald Trump’s alleged superiority. So throwing caution to the wind, Republicans will grit their teeth and ask persuadable voters to misremember 2020 as a monument to American greatness that we have sadly lost.

Now it’s true that everything bad about 2020 was not attributable to Trump, and that voters may not necessarily put responsibility on him for the failure to manage a pandemic that baffled us all (though his tardiness in taking it seriously definitely cost lives and should never be forgotten). But nor is Biden responsible for all the ills of the world right now (including some maladies left to him by the Trump administration, like economic volatility and supply-chain problems). Rightly or wrongly, presidents are held responsible for nearly everything that happens on their watch; that’s the big downside to the job of being “leader of the free world,” with all its cool perks like Air Force One and Camp David. If Republicans are going to attack Biden over discontents ranging from gasoline prices to the horrors of war in Ukraine and Gaza, they’ll have to accept that the final year of that magical Trump presidency was quite the bummer. As a matter of fact, 2017 through 2019 weren’t exactly a golden era of good government, but for most Americans conditions of life were better than they became four years ago.

Plus, will T-Rump assume any fault on his part?  Of course — not! Enigma:

Reality, or not, yet here we are once again…

(Illustration out front: Salvador Dali’s ‘Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion,’ found here.)

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