The Unending Circus of 2017 and Conservative Media
Well, here we are on the eve of another round in the circus. The appeal has worn off since 2015: the rides are beginning to rust, trash is everywhere and most of the circus goers are either inebriated or vomiting everywhere. Yet, here we are again: the one place we’d promise wouldn’t be a regular experience for the American people.
How did this happen?
Most know what is going on by now. Donald Trump, Jr. accepted a meeting through a mutual acquaintance with a Russian lawyer on the premise said lawyer had information on Hillary Clinton that would help Trump Senior’s campaign. Regardless of what happened at that meeting, the fact that Trump Junior was willing to meet with an alleged representative of a hostile government for the purposes of getting illegally-obtained information to use against his father’s opponent ignores all moral convictions we conservatives have preached for the past eight years and that’s before we even get to any legal questions. Instead of being roundly condemned, the already fragile conservative factions was shattered with pro-Trump loyalists and die-hard Republicans teaming up against Constitutionalists and, to be fair, Trump skeptics, to debate the exact definition of ‘intent’ and ‘collusion’.
It’s almost like we’re arguing over what the definition of ‘is’ is…in that it is the exact same thing.
I would love to sit back and blame it all on the apparent Patient Zero: Donald J. Trump. In a 2016 Primary filled with the conservative cream of the crop, he decided he wanted the spotlight and did everything in his power to take it. In a Presidential race that could’ve literally been won by my left shoe, he was able to convince much of this country that he was their best, if not their last, hope. However, I can only lay the full blame at the President’s feet on one conditions: that he managed to convince the American people by himself.
Do not worry. This isn’t an, ‘I told you so’ post. With the latest news of Donald Trump, Jr. flirting with the kingmakers in Russia, the time for ‘I told you so’ has passed. No matter what you think of Trump Junior’s actions, we cannot ignore the reality that a foreign, hostile government is actively working to undermine the credibility of the American Presidency. Our national interest and security aren’t under threat; it is under active siege right now. So, for now, preserving our republic means focusing on who really handed Trump the Oval Office…and as much as the Democratic Party wants to pretend otherwise, it wasn’t Vladimir Putin.
I said previously that I can only blame the President for our current state IF he managed to convince the American people by himself. The fact is, he didn’t. He had help from a multi-billion dollar media complex spanning print, radio, television and in all corners of the Internet. Yes, hundreds of hours were spent by the mainstream media conglomerates to give Donald Trump all of the air time and attention he could ever want, but even more was spent in the conservative media complex to ensure that the GOP coalition didn’t break.
For eighteen months, millions of people heard well over fifty hours a week of content in Trump’s favor. First it was to sell the image of the master tactician and businessman carved from his years of playing one on The Apprentice. Then it was spent reminding Americans of every questionable action and opinion from Hillary Clinton’s thirty years in the public eye. Yet that still wasn’t enough. In the final months of the 2016 election, there were still a good number of conservatives on the fence and no amount of Democratic/Independent turnover would make up the difference if the people on the fence stayed home.
That’s when the final sell happened and the push began to make Trump’s biggest negative a positive. Yes, Trump wasn’t a conservative or even a Republican; but that was a good thing! His ignorance of the causes and beliefs of the American right-wing made him malleable. That meant that if he had the right people in his ear, then he would administer in a way that conservatives would approve. And who would the right people be? Talk radio, Fox News, and the ring-wing Internet sphere (Breitbart, Daily Caller, etc.). And why not? They were the ones who helped Trump get this far after all. He owed them, at the very least, a seat at the table. And as long as the right people held that seat, a Trump Administration would avoid the madness the naysayers predicted it would be!
It worked. The bulk of those on the fence pulled the lever for Trump and catapulted him into office. For the most part, they didn’t trust him or even Congress to help guide him. They trusted the media figures and right-wing commentariat that told them they would keep Donald Trump focused and advance a conservative agenda. They hoped that despite their doubts, the very media they’ve trusted to endure eight years of the Obama Administration would guide the President into rebuilding a weakened America and they’ve failed. Worse, they haven’t even tried to keep their word.
Instead of reining in Trump’s worst impulses, they’ve fed them. They’ve exchanged pushing for sound conservative policy for a public sideshow as members of Congress openly jockey for the President’s favor: often in vain. Halfway through the first year of Donald Trump’s first term, most if not all his legislative ideas are DOA. His campaign apparatus turned political organizations are now openly gunning for Congress’ most ardent constitutionalists for not professing sufficient zeal for the President. There is no guarantee anything of substance will be done by 2018: let alone 2020. The Middle East is being redrawn in front of our eyes. Russia is at the doorstep of the heart of Europe. And here we are being dragged by the ankles into another sideshow whether we like it or not.
Sooner rather than later, the American Right will be done with this madness. And when they finally pull themselves together, the first issue to address will not be Donald Trump; because he is and always was just an attraction in this insanity. No, the first issue will be the aloof conservative media complex. The preening dilatants that assume they’re better than the rest of the media because they have an American flag backdrop on their television broadcasts, know at least the first sentence of the Constitution and push the NRA over the ACLU. The first order of business before deciding if Trump kept his promises is if the conservative media kept theirs. And as of July 12th, 2017, the answer to that question is a resounding ‘No’.