Blind Faith In Trump
When you can’t look at the contradictory evidence in politics because it might give you cooties.
I know people who won’t believe what the reporters say in the mainstream media about President Trump. I know someone who says that they don’t publish anything good about Trump in the local paper. I know another who doesn’t believe anything that is said about Trump unless it's published by a right-wing news outlet. They insist that Trump is good for the country, that he’s shaking things up, and that if we just give him another 4 years, everything will turn out alright.
I’ve looked at the good and the bad of Trump. I acknowledge that the press has a negative bias in the news. But the press has a negative bias in all of the news, not just Trump. The good news doesn’t sell. I also see some mild hypocrisy at work here.
Trump supporters loathe the mainstream media for their negative coverage of Trump, but fail to give the mainstream media credit where credit is due: Trump received $2 billion in free exposure during his first campaign in 2016. Really, that mainstream media that you hate was one of the biggest supporters of Trump by virtue of all that free coverage. Had the press treated Trump like they treated Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton would have won. Talk about target fixation.
I’ve looked at lists of the 10 best things that Trump has ever done, written by mainstream and not so mainstream proponents. “He’s building the wall”, you say. Yeah, but what about the animals that live around the wall? “He’s making the economy great again.” Sure, if you want to ignore eight years of progress started by Obama and the mess that Bush II left behind, you could say that Trump built the greatest economy the world has ever seen. The best! “He’s cut regulations!” He’s only making more work for us. The collapse of the housing bubble was due to a lack of regulation and the guys in the C-suite at the banks walked off with tons of money. I don’t see Trump prosecuting any of them, just like Obama, and that’s just finance. The next big coal ash spill will prove my point.
I watched part of Trump’s speech the other night. He spoke more like a monarch than a president. I have serious reservations about using the White House for a political event like the Republican National Convention. Doesn’t that violate the Hatch Act or something like that? This is the thing I’ve noticed the most about Trump supporters. If there is news that Trump broke a law, that’s fake news. But if that same source says something good about Trump, they bat their eyes and blush. The news only goes one way because Trump supporters believe that all negative news about Trump is fake. So I try to balance the news.
Here’s a recent example. On August 28th, Politico ran this article, “Trump pardons Alice Johnson after her RNC speech”. According to the article:
Johnson was serving life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense when Trump commuted her sentence in June 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, who visited the White House to advocate for Johnson’s release.
This is great news, right? The president is doing some great things for African-Americans. I get that he’s doing some good, and I suppose he might even have good intentions. I suppose that Trump might even be sincere in his efforts. But at least if you have the right connections, you can get out of jail. Cool.
Missing from the article is this connection: Kim Kardashian West is married to Kayne West, the not-so-committed candidate for president who can’t get his name on the ballot in most states. You know, he’s the guy who is running for president to drain votes from Joe Biden. That guy.
West and Trump have been in communication with each other for a long, long time, longer than even before Kayne announced his candidacy for president. Kayne West shared his aspirations for the White House in 2015, and he met with president-elect Trump in 2016. Forbes reported that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s alter-ego and right-hand man, met with Kayne West earlier this month. Forbes also reports that in recent months, Kushner and West have had almost daily chats by phone. The Politico article reports Trump saying this about his decision to grant a full pardon to Alice Johnson:
“I just told her. We didn’t even discuss it,” Trump said. “We just — you were out there [at the convention], I saw you in the audience last night, and I asked the folks if you could bring Alice over. And we’re going to give a full pardon. We’re going to do it right now. That means you have been fully pardoned. That’s the ultimate thing that can happen.” (emphasis mine)
Nothing in politics is accidental, right? But Trump makes it look like he made a spontaneous decision to give Johnson a full pardon. “We didn’t even discuss it”. Who’s asking? Given all the correspondence between Kushner and West, it’s not that hard to conceive of a plan to use a pardon to gather some good political will from African-Americans to, um, detract from Joe Biden. A full pardon to allow a political ally to vote in the next election? That entire scenario reeks of campaign coordination. Hey, wait a minute. I thought Kayne West was running against Trump…
So when I see a story about Trump, I look at the good and the bad. I try to weight it out and come up with a net. Giving a full pardon to a woman serving an unjust sentence in prison and to restore her right to vote? That’s nice. Coordinating campaigns? Not nice!
Now it looks like I’m voting for Biden this year. I don’t really like Biden, but I don’t like Trump even more. Both men are 100% products of the culture we have here. Both men claim to want to change the system we have for the better, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Both men are wealthy beyond the dreams of most ordinary people, and they acquired that wealth by virtue of the very system they claim to want to change. I have little faith in either of them, but I have already seen Trump as president and I really, really don’t like what I have seen so far. You know, pandemic. So I’m willing to give Biden a shot at it before Trump makes things any worse.
Trump says Biden will destroy the country. Biden has been in politics for 50 years. While I can’t say that he’s done a whole lot of good, I can say that he didn’t destroy the country, and I think he’s done more good than Trump. I see the same thing by the Democrats when they say that Trump will destroy the country if he gets another 4 years.
You know, to say one candidate or another will destroy the country as president is really an insult to the United States. This nation is bigger and stronger than any president. The system is designed to survive an incompetent president. We got through Calvin Coolidge and George “Dubya” Bush, didn’t we? I’d say that even if Trump gets another four years, we’ll be OK. It might not be very comfortable for some, but we’ll be OK.
Remember, even if he gets another 4 years, he’ll have that time to nominate another judge like Brett Kavanaugh to the bench. That should be enough to alienate the Millennials and the Zoomers from the GOP for a decade or two. I think Trump is doing a great job of dividing the country. That’s how he wins.
So I’m not looking so much at the next president as I’m looking down-ballot. I note that progressives have unseated some very strong multi-term incumbents. I also note that quite a few people on both sides are getting “primaried”, which means that even before they can get to the general election, they lost the primary and cannot run for the same office again any time soon. We’re getting some new blood with younger people and we need that. I must admit that I have more faith in the progressive left than I do in the Qanon right, though.
Every system seeks a state of equilibrium. I think it’s fair to say that this country is far from peace, or balance. But we’ll keep trying to get there. We’re strong enough to get there. The alternative is pretty grim. In the meantime, I will continue to look at both sides of the news in politics.