The Snowflake Games
My first premise is that we the people learn about what is happening in Washington, DC mostly from the media. My next premise is that if the press doesn’t think a story is important, the people won’t either. My conclusion drawn from these premises is that if we end up with Donald Trump in the “oval” for four more years, the press and it’s insistence on both-sides-ism will be to blame.
We seem to have three big domestic issues getting attention in the press right now. We have the 2020 election, business as usual with the press in election mode. We have the media unloading on the Democrats for concentrating on investigations of Trump’s misdeeds/possible treasons rather than on policy. Then we have the media’s reports about Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the House investigations.
That all seems to reflect actual events until you look a bit closer. Elections are always given top priority in the political press. But right now, if we don’t want to have four more years of Trump, we have to focus on the “who’s the boss” struggle in Washington. Yes the President is the “boss”, but not in the sense of a CEO of a corporation. His job is to represent all of the American people fairly and wisely, but this President only represents himself (which happens to coincide with the goals of the Republican Party – sort of).
Congress passes laws but Congress also acts as a check on the power of the executive (President). Usually the Justice Department could be counted on to weigh in against excessive use of executive power also, but not in this case. Trump owns the DOJ. These things don’t make for “sexy” stories but they are vitally important to the health of our democracy.
Trump, as we all know, hates the Democrats, not just the ones in Congress, but all of them. Donald is an “either you’re on the bus or off the bus” kind of leader. You either support all he says and does, his every utterance and act, or you become the enemy. When Donald sees an enemy he sees only one strategy, wreak vengeance until you destroy all opposition. There are never two sides to an issue, there is no nuance. There is what Donald thinks and that is the only right way to think. (We see him turning on his own guy, John Bolton, because events in Venezuela did not turn out his way. And he’s not even a Democrat.)
Once you are on the Trump enemies list he will do or say anything to beat up on any one on the list, even if as in this case, his enemy is an entire political party, the Democratic Party. The only problem is that this party represents over 50% of the American people which means that he is also at war with the majority of Americans – a slim majority, but over 50% is still a pretty big number.
How can we run a fair election given our current circumstances? We are pretty sure that Trump will do everything he can to rig the election in his favor. We are pretty sure that he will count on the Russians to help him win even if he can’t communicate with them. They know the drill by now. We are pretty sure that he will pile-drive sincere candidates into the ground and eliminate them one-by-one.
Everyone expects Democrats to perform the miracle of beating a bully without breaking their pearls. We cannot resort to the street-fighter tactics Trump uses because the media will pillory the Democrats who at least try to keep a sense of ethics in governance. I hate the idea of having a very decent slate of Democrats having to face this piece of inauthentic ego-driven criminality while we pretend we are watching a real election.
The Press Determines What’s Trending and They Will be Blamed
How should the press cover this ludicrous sham of an election? The American people need to understand all the ways that this election is anything but a fair and free election. They need all of the outlets of our media that are still honest to explain all of the ways this elections could be rigged, and to keep explaining them in fact-based and persuasive detail because Fox is not objective and it is lying on behalf of Trump. Incumbents don’t even need the kinds of help this President is likely to get in the election.
But then the press will not look objective and the press is supposed to be objective, which is where both-sides-ism comes from. However, in the case where the foundations of our democracy/republic are at stake, an objective press will not serve to inform the people so that they can have a real stake in the outcome of the battle to save our Constitutional government. We will be unable to stave off the campaign to change the balance of power in America by making the executive branch too powerful. In this case, being objective means giving the people the real facts, being a counterpoint to Fox.
Trump has been beating down the honest press. The opinion page of The New York Times is a reflection of the intimidation our press has been subjected to. Trump played on the desire of the Times to act objectively and kept accusing the NYT of being unfair to him. If you follow the opinion page then you are aware of changes, fewer articles about what is going on in Washington, more articles from contributors who are not permanent writers paid by the paper. They are good articles but they diffuse the political energy which should be laser focused on unseating Trump. Perhaps this is about economics, the press is challenged in the days of the internet, but I don’t think that is the whole story. Perhaps it is existential. If we lose a free press in the bargain that will make a Trump victory even worse. But the press is on the front lines here and avoidance will also have consequences.
If the press doesn’t think an issue is important then the people don’t either. So, on TV politics programs when pundits are always quoting polls which say the American people do not see the President’s power grab as an important issue, perhaps they are just insuring that will continue to be the case. Even on a channel that supposedly leans left the message I hear is that the Dems are not responding to the will of the people when they place Trump’s overreach at the center of their attentions. Pundits pound the Dems for not concentrating on policy, although they know that Dem bills that pass the House have nowhere to go. They will never see the light of day in the Senate.
The message that the role of the executive branch in American politics could change forever is not getting through because people are not being told the truth, nor is the issue getting the proper weight in the press. But Fox is downplaying this struggle, saying “poor Trump”, and encouraging people to call Democrats “snowflakes” as if they were feather-weights trying to take on a deadly force, which, for all appearances, seems to be the case.
Turning a serious constitutional war into “the snowflake games” will almost guarantee that Trump wins in 2020 and that the Democratic Party will die a slow death. It guarantees that we will redefine the US government according to right-wing principles and that we the people will gradually learn what a terrible bargain we have been sold. I am sorry to say to the liberal press that for now this is on you. I will blame you for a Trump win in 2020 and for all the decay of our democracy/republic which follows.
Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Anthony Herrara Designs, Wired