Shortly after President Barack Obama was sworn in as president in 2009, the now-defunct print edition of Newsweek ran, as its cover story, an article by Jon Meacham declaring us all to be “socialists” now.
The country was on the verge of passing $1 trillion of stimulus spending. According to that piece, the people had spoken — Keynesian economics had triumphed over Reaganomics. Elections have consequences and it was time we accepted this new era of European-style big government.
As is the case with a lot of these think pieces, that sensational headline was a bit of an overreach.
That era of big government lasted only two years. Enough Americans came out to the polls in 2010 to force Congress to change hands and the government remained divided until the end of Obama’s presidency. That was at least a halt in the country’s lurch toward European socialism.
As a sort of an intellectual exercise, let’s play Meacham’s game. If the election of Obama is grand enough for Americans to be painted with one broad stroke, surely we can do the same with the unlikely election of Donald Trump.
How about, “We’re all populists now”?
If you take the words of Obama on Trump literally, then we’re not all ideological — rather, we’re pragmatists now.
However, if you listen to the media and aggrieved election protestors, one would come away believing we’re all “white nationalists” now, hence the “not my president” chants. (Disclaimer: He actually is your president, no matter what you say.)
White nationalists? Really?
It’s a strange phenomenon. With the exception of the 2000 election, which dragged on until January because of the close vote in Florida, the heated rhetoric that fueled the presidential election dies down in mid-to-late November.
Sure, the news cycle continues with the speculation and announcements of who will be in the president’s Cabinet. But things cool off and the news shifts from the blow-by-blow of a presidential campaign to the holiday season.
Instead of a TV news segment or newspaper story about what influences someone’s swing vote in flyover country America, we get a Thanksgiving recipe or something about the best toy or gadget gift ideas for Christmas.
That’s just not the case this time. It’s gotten uglier and nastier since the election. Trump’s win, which was obviously disappointing for most reporting the news from major media outlets, has created an even more toxic environment than before.
It has gotten nastier. It has gotten more petty.
Hurt feelings, OK. I can accept the emotional response to the election as a reason for this. But beyond that, what is the point?
Take Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick to be U.S. Attorney General. The media and the Left are currently on a crusade to convince the nation that Sessions — who has been a U.S. senator for over two decades and most recently ran unopposed — is apparently a Klan-sympathizing white nationalist. And all you people in Alabama who have voted for him overwhelmingly in four elections, you’re racist as well.
Last week Axl Rose, front man for the band Guns N’ Roses, declared in a tweet, “Good people don’t listen to, acknowledge, nominate or elect people like Senator Jeff Sessions.”
Rose didn’t arrive at that conclusion on his own. Likely instead, it is just what he had been convinced to believe from watching the news. Sessions ran unopposed in 2014, but in 2008, running against Vivian Figures, 1.3 million Alabamians voted for him.
That’s a lot of people to discredit. Also, someone might want to tell Axl Rose that a lot of people who still feel compelled to rock 1980s Guns N’ Roses T-shirts in 2016 probably voted for Trump.
None of this is likely to end anytime soon. Trump, his Cabinet picks and his voters will continue to be maligned.
It’s not clear what the end goal is here. Is it some sort of long game critics in the media think that they can play until the midterm and next presidential elections?
“If we call people who vote Republican racist, then they’ll vote for us next time.”
At some point you reach the law of diminishing returns. One of the lessons that was supposed to be learned is how out of touch the elites are with the rest of America.
Even if you concede Trump lost the popular vote, there are still nearly 62 million Americans who did what the media and Left say is truly unimaginable, unsettling and disgusting — they (gasp!) voted for Donald Trump.
Be warned. This will continue. For everything Trump does, there will be multiple analyses decrying the decision as horrible.
What they’re missing is that the law of diminishing returns will kick in. Every time the charges of “racist,” “anti-Semite” or “white nationalist” are thrown out there, they become devalued. At some point over the next four years, people are going to look around and say, “None of the things we warned about happened.”
Some will probably tell us not to believe our own eyes. Trump voters are the bad ones, even though the people presently protesting are engaging in acts of vandalism and violence. There will be more of that to come.
After a couple of years of telling Trump voters who voted for Obama in 2012 and 2008 they’re racists, and after commissioning polls that were not at all accurate in this election, the credibility in these once-respected institutions is not going to be there anymore.
They’re digging their own graves.
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