Torpedoing Trump

My news-watching habits have changed a lot during this election cycle. I’ve dropped my NY Times subscription, and I’ve stopped paying much attention to evening news, Meet the Press, Face the Nation or This Week. I’ve been watching Democracy Now! for almost fifteen years, but now DN and The Young Turks have become my primary sources, along with progressive sites like Truthdig, Common Dreams and Counterpunch.

I’ve been criticizing Clinton and the mainstream press so much that a lot of my Facebook friends probably think I’m pulling for Trump. Actually I’m appalled that the establishment media is so openly in the bag for the establishment candidate. It was fairly clear that most of the media, including so-called new media, sandbagged Bernie Sanders, declaring the race over long before it was over; now, there is no doubt that they are doing their best to torpedo Donald Trump. He certainly deserves scrutiny, but all pretense of objectivity has vanished and the election coverage has become strictly a matter of competing identity politics.

Richard King discusses some of the reasons in a persuasive article, MEDIA CULPA: JOURNALISTS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRUMP, MANAGE TO MISS THE POINT which he has posted to 3 Quarks Daily:

To observe the rather pompous way that certain newspapers and magazines have broken with their traditional “neutrality” by endorsing Clinton or disendorsing Trump is to see this ideology in action. The implication is that a careful poise of detached objectivity has been momentarily abandoned in order to meet a political crisis the like of which the US has never seen. But there is a difference between “objectivity” and merely acting as the referee between two kinds of conservatism: the Democratic kind and the Republican kind.

King pokes fun at media “self-aggrandizement” but skips over the point that establishment media is going to bat for the establishment candidate. And like the mainstream media, King dismisses Trump’s politics as, “protectionist, parochial, paranoid.” Yes, many of his supporters are protectionist, and yes, they are parochial, but as the joke goes, they aren’t paranoid if someone really is out to get them. America’s hinterland economies have been sold out by the oligarchy in a way that the coastal and urban elites have (so far) avoided. Whether you like them or not, America’s white middle class electorate is actually staring into deep decline, and no longer expect any help from establishment government.

You don’t have to be a Trump supporter to wonder who will get sold out next.

Update: Alternet warns, We Are Ignoring the Worst Dangers of Trumpism at Our Own Peril

History shows that the support base for right-wing extremist movements tends to be primarily the petty bourgeoisie—small businesspeople, professionals at the lower levels—but populism never gets far without the support of large numbers of the permanently unemployed. The official economic statistics would have us believe—and Trump vigorously contests this—that we are at or near full employment. In fact, this is a gross deception, because there are tens of millions of Americans who have given up looking for employment, who for various reasons are not employable in any meaningful sense of the word. Trump claims it is 30 percent of the population, but whatever number it really is, experience shows that it is pervasive, outside a few humming urban centers that give the illusion of high employment. As a matter of policy, the U.S. has not been committed to full employment since the 1970s, as part of the anti-inflationary monetary policy inaugurated by Paul Volcker and carried on by other committed neoliberals.

It is interesting to read bemused articles by correspondents at elite magazines like the Atlantic and the New Yorker, wondering who the Trump supporters really are (as they do after every populist upsurge), acting as though they were writing about aliens from another planet (which they are in a sense, since the elite commentators cannot understand why the Trumpists take such a dire view of the economy, since everything, from their point of view, seems pretty decent, with a 5% unemployment rate, the stock market doing well, and the evidence of their own booming urban areas).

Update: Robert Scheer and Thomas Frank on Democrats’ Shift Away From Addressing Inequality (Audio)

In their conversation, [Thomas] Frank tells [Robert] Scheer how the [Democratic] party has become class-based, now representing primarily the “professional” or upper socioeconomic class. Frank also talks about the Clintons’ role in this shift and why he believes people who might have earlier voted for Democrats are now flocking to Donald Trump.

When Scheer suggests that Bill and Hillary Clinton may not represent a lesser evil—when compared to Republicans—but merely a “different kind of evil,” Frank responds: “You could make the argument that Bill Clinton did things in the 1990s that no Republican would have been capable of doing. … Reagan couldn’t push bank deregulation as far as Clinton did. Clinton did things that Reagan would never have dared to do: welfare reform … [and] NAFTA. George Bush couldn’t get NAFTA passed. … So you start to think that the game that the Clintons play with us, where we vote for them because we have nowhere else to go. … There’s a sort of political economics of how we the voters are manipulated in this situation, and they’re very, very good at playing that game. And so people like you and me who are on the left are captured, basically. We don’t have anywhere else to go. And they play us in a certain way.”

He continues: “I have a lot of friends who say you can’t criticize the Democrats because you’ll just weaken them and then the Republicans will get in. But I say that we can’t give up our critical faculties just because of the ugly historical situation that we’re in.”

Frank also adds that while he is no fan of Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the presidency leaves “no uncertainty in the minds of his listeners, after they’ve sat through one of his speeches, that he is a guy that is gonna get tough with American companies that want to move their factories to Mexico or China or anywhere like that. Left parties the world over were founded in order to give voice to and to help and to serve working people. That’s what they exist for. And those people are now flocking to Donald Trump, who is railing against things like NAFTA. We’re in this situation now where thanks to the Clintons and thanks to Obama, the social dynamics of the two-party system have been … mostly turned on their head.”

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9 responses to “Torpedoing Trump”

  1. saywhatumean2say says :

    Reblogged this on saywhatumean2say and commented:
    it’s an addition. Well it beats my old friend A. K. Hall. ~~dru~~

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jnana Hodson says :

    News media are “biased” toward verifiable facts rather than demented fantasies. Kinder voices are saying simply that Trump is mentally ill. That’s little comfort to many of the rest of us. He’s dangerous, a threat to everything America has stood for.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. trkingmomoe says :

    What you just wrote here is being discussed in many groups on the internet that was involved in helping Sanders campaign. It has been a difficult choice. I know many that are voting 3rd party that live in deep red or blue states. Others that are in swing states are going to vote for Trump. The reason for voting for 3 rd parties is to put pressure on the major parties from the out side by giving the 3 rd parties 5 % of the vote. This election has changed some people on how they view the corporations and the way they are controlling our government. Don’t believe the media when they say Bernie supporters are voting for Hillary. Many are not.

    What I am reading is people knows Trump likes to build things, really big things and put his name on them. That means infrastructure projects with good jobs and he can plaster his name all over the country in exchange for those good jobs. He is going to get tough on corporations that moved their jobs out of the country. People need to be reminded that FDR was part of the patrician class and born into wealth. Look what he put into place for the working class. I see Trump more of a shock jock to the wealthy politicians.

    I am like you. My viewing and reading habits have greatly changed because of the election. I don’t know when the last time I clicked on NYTimes link or WaPo link. I don’t even look at Hufpo. I watch a little local news from time to time if I remember. I don’t have cable anymore but that has been like that for a while because of the cost. I get better programming off the internet. The groups I am with on line have introduced me to a new set of on line sources. I have spent time looking at emails on Wiki leaks. What a bucket of worms that is?

    I normally have a good idea how an election will turn out but this time I don’t. We still have the problem of election fraud to fix.

    You take care and have a nice Halloween.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donal says :

      Thx, Momo. I don’t believe the media when I see their lips moving. I see almost all Trump yard signs, but the polls say he’s losing badly. We’ll see, I guess.

      Like

  4. Frank Modico says :

    There’s no doubt that the two party system is a complete disaster and we are always left with the lesser of two evils.. but giving credit where due, Reagan’s trickle down theory, the decades long Republican hate campaign against anything not white, and the ongoing disaster of the right wing Citizens United.. have more than a little bit to do with the current situation. When your MO is fear, violence ,hatred, religious fanaticism, and complete dedication to the top 1%..seems to me as far as the lesser of the two evils gos
    , any democrat is the evil of heartburn while any republican is the evil of heart attack !! Yes, Obama and Hillary have played the corporate game better than most, but the problems we face now are not due to one black man and one woman in my view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donal says :

      No, it crosses party lines. It is more of a class distinction between what they call the professional class and the working class. As Frank and Scheer discussed (there’s also a transcript), Clinton and Gingrich were just about to privatize Social Security when the Lewinsky scandal happened.

      Like

  5. Lis says :

    I check NYT, WaPo and HuffPo only when they have something to say AGAINST Hillary Clinton, which means I don’t read them at all. Having been a Bernie Sanders supporter, I’m disgusted with Clinton, DWS, the DNC and Donna “Deer Caught in the Headlights on Fox” Brazile.

    I live in a swing state and I made the insane decision to vote Trump. Never thought I’d see the day when I’d register as a Republican again, but — and I know I’ll take heat for this, but what the hell — I’d rather have crazy than corrupt.

    BTW, Trump is slightly rising in the polls this week, and Hillary is going down quite a bit. Did you notice?

    Like

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