Thank Rupert Murdock.
Hell you can thank all the carnival barkers.
You see, there’s been a lot of speculation about what produced the narcissistic wreck of a candidate we see in Donald Trump. It goes without saying that Republicans blame Obama—and that’s a good place to start.
You see, that no good Muslim, Kenyan socialist is responsible for all that’s wrong in the world. Lost your job? Obama. Climate change? Nothing more than an Obama conspiracy. Benghazi? Well, it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault now—but before that it was Obama’s. He’s going to take your guns, institute Sharia Law, ban the Bible, and turn this country into a bunch of watermelon and fried-chicken-loving communists!
It all sounds pretty absurd, but make no mistake, ALL of those things (and worse) have been said about our President on Fox News and Right Wing Talk Radio nearly everyday for the past eight years. And in point of fact, that is what produced Donald Trump (who, not to be outdone, recently said that Obama was the founder of ISIS).
The lying and dishonesty. The misinformation. The irresponsible and constant slanderous speculation. The omission of news challenging the Republican/conservative world view. The ongoing demonization of Democrats, liberals, women, Latino immigrants, Muslims, and African Americans. That is what produced Donald Trump.
Take the lie he used to launch his now infamous assassination pitch to those “second Amendment folks” a few weeks back. It’s a common refrain for Republicans: Democrats (read: Obama/Clinton) are going to take your guns away—they’re going abolish the Second Amendment by God! And their base believes it: just ask anyone who’s argued with a gun nut. I’ve argued with too many, and no matter how many times you state categorically that you DO NOT want to ban guns, they return to that point again and again.
But it’s a lie, pure and simple. No mainstream or reasonable Democratic candidate for any office has ever said that. Hillary Clinton hasn’t, Obama hasn’t, Biden hasn’t, Bernie hasn’t, Elizabeth Warren hasn’t, Nancy Pelosi hasn’t… I could go on, but you get the point. No one has said that: it’s just a flat ass lie. And yet, Republican politicians, Fox News, and Conservative Media constantly repeat it in order to scare dumb, gun-loving voters into electing Republicans.
That’s how we got Donald Trump. Because for at least the last 20 years—but perhaps back as far back as the Reagan revolution—Republicans have used lying, dishonesty, and misinformation as fundamental tools to advance their agenda. Indeed, lying, dishonesty, and misinformation are inextricably linked to the modern Republican/conservative zeitgeist; pretense and dissembling is an integral of their moral makeup—the ends justify the means. And this has led to Trump in two specific ways:
1) The Republican base doesn’t recognize truth based on whether or not something actually happened or is true—instead, they recognize truth based on whether they identify with or trust the person/ group of people saying something. So when Donald Trump lies on any number of issues (unemployment, crime, seeing thousands of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after 9/11), it doesn’t matter. As far as the Republican base is concerned, what Trump says must be true because he’s on their team.
It’s also why Trump gets away with offering basically zero in terms of policy proposals. He’s going to make American great again, damnit, and that’s all his fan club cares to know. Policy analysis, details, facts? They don’t get them on Fox, so why the hell would Trump need them now?
2) Even more frightening is that Republican voters have been trained by Right Wing Media to discount EVERYTHING they hear that runs contrary to what Republican politicians say or whatever dark currents are rushing through conservative media’s spin on current events/reality. So CNN and MSNBC and the rest of the main stream media can run actual tape of Trump saying something and then later saying something else—a lie, and then direct proof it’s a lie—and it’s still not Trump’s fault in the eyes of his followers, because they’re trapped in the idea that it’s all bias from the supposedly liberal media (another trap in itself).
Q: But what about the racism, misogyny, and bigotry against groups like Muslims—why doesn’t that shock more Republicans into realizing Trump is a bad person who’s unfit for office?
A: Because they hear it all the time on Fox News and Right Wing Media (thought to be fair, a lot of them were probably racists to begin with—see Nixon’s Southern Strategy).
Hell, anyone who speaks Spanish and has brown skin is a drug runner with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” according to Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Now, he didn’t just make that up—that’s the story Republicans are told everyday by screaming shills on conservative talk radio. Should we really be surprised then, that Donald Trump launched his campaign with a similar rant calling Mexicans rapists and criminals?
As for Muslims, look no further than the attacks on Khizr Khan (father of deceased American soldier Humayun Khan) and his family by people like Sean Hannity and Roger Stone, who said: “If you look at Mr. Khan’s background, he is an advocate for Sharia. Sharia law oppresses women, oppresses gays, kills Christians. This is a violent, oppressive ideology, which Mr. Khan very clearly shares. He is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Lies, of course, but it doesn’t matter. According to Fox News and Right Wing Pundits, all Muslims are dangerous terrorists hell-bent on killing Americans and instituting Sharia Law.
And then there’s #BlackLivesMatter, a movement repeatedly smeared as a “hate group” responsible for “killing Americans” by Fox personality Bill O’Reilly and the rest of his prime time cohorts. But that’s fine, because in the eyes of Republicans, most black people are thugs, addicted to drugs, incapable of maintaining normal family life. Hell, according to Trump, being black in America necessarily means that, “you’re living in poverty. You’re schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth is unemployed…” Blatantly racist, but a point of view that’s been pushed by Fox and others on the Right for years.
And that’s why we have Donald Trump. He’s telling conservative voters exactly what they want to hear, which is exactly what they’ve been hearing for years in the Right Wing Media. It’s racist, bigoted, and sexist. It’s anti-gay and anti-woman. It’s world view that’s utterly at odds with reality.
And it’s a big loser, especially in the long term. Think about the massive damage Donald Trump has done to the Republican Party’s image—he’s brought racists into the mainstream, while at the same time demonstrating that the party of Elephants is more than happy to nominate a complete buffoon for President. And no matter how fast they spin shit or how many lies they tell, Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing Media can’t paper over that truth.
So here’s the message Republicans and conservatives need to hear loud and clear if they ever want to regain some respect as a legitimate political party: stop fucking lying. Stop with the climate change denial. Stop concocting fake crises like “cops are under attack” or blowing shit like Benghazi way out of proportion (do you know how many Benghazi’s there were under Bush? No, you don’t because you watch a fake fucking news channel). Stop producing dishonest undercover videos attacking Planned Parenthood—just a reminder: the people who made that shit were charged with crimes because what they did was so underhanded. Stop pretending that you can cut taxes, expand the military budget, and pay down the debt all at the same time. In fact, stop peddling trickle down economics, period. It’s a fucking joke. Oh, and no one is coming to take your fucking guns. No one is going to abolish the Second Amendment. Stop it.
More importantly, stop watching Fox News and listening to the lies of Right Wing Media. They don’t make you smarter or help you in any way whatsoever. All they produce is anger and fear. That’s it.
Instead, how about actually creating policies that will help ordinary Americans? How about telling the truth? How about the “intellectual honesty” you always crow about? How about that? Seriously.
Because this country can’t afford another Trump. And frankly, neither can the Republican Party.
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