1. “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
2. “When you talk about the mental-health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see maybe what the people in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”
3. “I identify more as a Democrat.”
If the Republican party had any principles, any one of these statements, or a hundred others (thousand? million?) would have disqualified their nominee. Sure, Donald Trump’s leaked audio of him boasting about sexual assault to Billy Bush is awful. But it’s not new information. This isn’t shocking.
Granted, I am a man, so I cannot completely internalize this issue in the same manner that women all too aware of sexual assault can. Still, in my mind, this doesn’t change a damn thing about our perception of Trump. He boasted of being able to get any woman he wanted despite looking like the Great Pumpkin’s accountant while having the emotional and actual intelligence of a Breitbart comment section. Is it really that shocking that he acted on this delusion?
The only reason Friday’s revelation is making waves that Trump was dumb enough to brag about committing a felony while wearing a mic is because he finally hit a constituency that the Republicans cannot survive without. Black people? Fuck ‘em, they don’t vote for us anyway. Muslims? HA! Fox News is basically one long Islamophobic PSA. Women? OH SHIT! THEY ACTUALLY VOTE FOR US! CODE RED!!!!
The Republican Party wouldn't have this problem if they didn't believe that their voters are a bunch of rubes who cannot be trusted with facts. The Donald Trump issue is quite literally reaping what the Republican party has sowed. For centuries, newspapers served as the Fourth Estate, providing people with the information they needed to act as a check on the natural tyranny of centralized government.
However, as I touched on in my piece on how the GOP got to Trump, the Republican Party invented new sources of “news” in their attempted evolution away from a party solely based on inheriting the racism discarded by the Democrats. The National Review evolved into a bastion for both reasoned conservative thought as well as some of the most racist bullshit you will ever find. The mainstream media became a target of scorn due to their clear bias. However, the Republican party depicts it as liberal, when NBC, ABC, CNN, etc…exist to serve their corporate masters. Our media is run by an oligopoly, and the groupthink is obvious.
Instead of combating this clear bias on a factual basis, the Republican party retreated to political grounds. The mainstream media wasn't just biased towards its financiers, but against the right. The modern Republican coalition has carved out the center of this nation as their bulwark against creeping liberalism, without any appreciation for the people they attempted to usurp, and now “Real Americans” are “trying to take their country back,” just not with the GOP's guy.
After roaming the acid, amnesty, and abortion wilderness of the 70's, the Democrats didn't become a serious coalition until Bill Clinton coopted the Republican theme of accountability and merged it with the idealism of the left. Prior to 1992, the GOP had begun to create its own echo chamber, but never seriously relied on it as the facts of the matter could still be used to their advantage.
Once Clinton was elected, the Republicans descended into a truly sad state of psychosis. His move towards the center co-opted the remains of the Reagan Democrats, all while managing to keep the far left intact. By 1996, the Democrats relegated the Republicans to a regional party. At this point, the GOP had the choice to regain ground through an ideological argument, or a political one. Whatever their rationale, they clearly chose the latter.
Fox News morphed into a Soviet style propaganda outlet where you can use “socialism” and “capitalism” interchangeably and still get the same message. Matt Drudge revolutionized the internet by establishing antagonistic journalism, but as the Democrats made more gains nationally, Drudge receded to the darkness, opting for cash and clicks over journalism. Every single piece of news coming out of the Washington Posts of the world was derided as “liberal media propaganda.” The value emanating from a 40+ hour journalistic work week now paled in comparison to the REAL TRUTHS propagated by PATRIOTS with bald eagles, American flags, and crosses in their avatars. This dude attracts 2 million listeners per week:
By the time George W. Bush took the oath of office, being a conservative was a matter of dogma, not data. Conservatism no longer relied on an ideological framework, but of “facts” that must be enforced on the real world. A sampling of key doctrines includes the following: Those approving of gay sex must be heathens and people who assert that climate change exists must have a financial/liberal/anti-business agenda and tax cuts always create jobs. Facts all of a sudden became relative. The Atlantic Ocean allegedly rose in the past year according to “experts,” but what does Breitbart, Drudge, etc…have to say about it? Republicans didn’t just create a new universe of facts, they created real world structures that were dependent upon these inventions.
Once Obama gained the Presidency, this alternate reality really took off. The most centrist Democratic politician of my lifetime, a half-white man from Hawaii, morphed into a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi overnight. Now ideology took a backseat; it didn’t matter if the systems matched up with his policy, what mattered was “liberals” ruining everything for “conservatives.” Conservatives constructed an alternate universe subsisting only on opposition to liberalism. But there is an obvious weakness in this due to how non-descriptive “liberalism” has become. Bernie Sanders, who is not a Democrat, now owns roughly 40 percent of the Democratic Party.
Unmoored from their ideological underpinnings, the right drifted even further off the ledge of rationality, as now we see nonsense like Matt Drudge questioning whether the federal government created Hurricane Matthew. Facts aren’t just inconvenient; they never were considered in the first place. Instead of trying to compete against the Democrats on policy, the Republican Party invented an alternate reality-one that only they could occupy. The message was clear: Our supporters cannot be trusted with the truth (either because we think they’re too stupid to handle it, or we know that the facts don’t support our case), so we need to build a cocoon for our voters.
They have spent this entire century demeaning any legitimate source of information as “liberal.” Any ideas that gain traction on the left are derided as “socialism” because the Republican party has yet to define their position on nearly every issue that is not inherently bigoted. Other than topics like abortion, taxes, and using the military to its full capability, can you think of any sincerely held Republican position?
It’s one thing to be a party divided around ideas, it’s quite another to be a fractured one devoid of solutions
Sean Hannity, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of nondescript white men have dedicated their lives to building a bubble for the Republican electorate. The New York Times, Washington Post, and a litany of mainstream outlets have been discredited as “liberal” and “biased” by the masters on the right. So whenever a major story is broken by one of their excellent reporters (like future Pulitzer prize winner David Farenthold), the substance of the story is easily dismissed on the right because the source doesn’t come from their invented sideshow. Ironically enough, now that the Republican party has elected a fascist cheeto, the powers that be need these outlets they have spent the past fifteen-plus years discrediting.
The GOP elite want it both ways. They want an electorate that functions like sheep, reacting negatively to any story that could potentially be positive for the Democrats, while also being smart enough to know when they’re being conned by their own side. The Washington Post dropped a devastating story on Friday that 46 Republicans and counting are using to convince their votes that anyone but Donald Trump would be a superior choice to beat Hillary Clinton.
Unfortunately for these scam artists, Donald Trump caught on to the grift and co-opted their message, all while building his own world within the GOP bubble. Republican elites now need the facts to persuade their voters against self-immolation, but they remain completely helpless after spending this entire century discrediting the outlets they now so desperately need.