[If Republican presidential candidate Donald] Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.
“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”
He then placed a Trump mask on his face and posed for pictures.
“Warnings of conspiracy stoke anger among Trump faithful,” Matt Viser and Tracy Jan, Boston Globe, October 15, 2016
It is a profound shame that mainstream-media entities cannot clearly state that Trump’s remaining supporters constitute the least tolerant segment of the United States population without being accused of so-called “liberal bias” or the other right-wing myth, “cultural elitism.” When the Fourth Estate won’t acknowledge clear facts, something has gone very wrong in our society.
Is it really “liberal” or “elitist” to note that Trump’s supporters–the folks who think Clinton is a junkie because Trump tells them so–believe the proverbial six impossible things before breakfast? Or is it simply stating the facts?
Remember how the right-wingers got all bent out of shape in 1968 when Walter Cronkite suggested that the United States was unlikely to win the Vietnam War? Lost in that faux-outrage is the fact that Cronkite told the truth about America’s chances of victory in Vietnam. The right’s contempt for Cronkite is a classic example of conservative hypocrisy, as Cronkite’s remarks were, in their purest sense, “pro-life.” (After all, 58,000 Americans were “aborted” in that war.)
As Salon’s Heather Digby Parton noted earlier this year, it was in 1968 that the mainstream media became unreasonably nervous about offending the same kinds of Americans who believe Trump can make America great again:
[That year] began the decades-long self-flagellation by the media (and the cynical exploitation of it by the Republicans) wherein it was assumed that the most misunderstood and underserved people in the whole country were salt-of-the-earth white folks nobody ever thinks about. Except that it’s anything but the truth. Every single election cycle since 1968 the press has been obsessed with this mythical Real American who is always angry, always frustrated, always railing against the so-called elites because they allegedly only care about the racial minorities or the women or somebody other than them. Then we end up with a mass soul search in which we all come to understand that the key to the election is to address these people’s grievances.
In those early days it was referred to as “The Silent Majority” of Richard Nixon, which Donald Trump has unoriginally revived. Since then, pollsters have come up with slogans to target certain demographics (NASCAR Dads and Waitress Moms are two examples), which the press then uses as symbols of this Real America, representing the breathing heart and soul of the country…
During the ’80s, the ecstatic canonization of these voters was overwhelming, with political reporters rushing to their enclaves in various parts of the heartland like anthropologists in search of lost tribes of the Amazon. They would sit down in diners and cafes and listen raptly to white men in cat hats talk about how the country is going to hell in a handbasket because we can’t afford to keep giving handouts to foreigners and people who won’t work. Sound familiar?
A compelling case can be made that mainstream-media entities bear responsibility for the rise of Trump because they refused to acknowledge that these Americans were, well, wrong. In the name of not choosing sides, mainstream-media entities chose sides.
It is not “liberal elitism” to declare that those who think chasing Mexicans and Muslims out of the country, repealing Obamacare, rolling back civil rights protections and cutting taxes for billionaires will lead to widespread prosperity are factually off-base. It’s basic common sense.
Trump made it this far because he understood that mainstream-media entities would not call stupidity by its name. He made it this far because he understood that there are millions of Americans who still, after all these decades, don’t understand that the Right–all of it–is a hoax, a scam to separate suckers from their money and their dignity. He made it this far because he understood that there are plenty of citizens who will fall for the simplest of cons–and that the Fourth Estate won’t even attempt to tell those citizens that they are just marks for the con.
The marks will continue to be played for suckers even if Trump loses by a significant margin. They will continue to demonstrate their limitless intolerance. They will continue to attack elected Republicans they regard as not being hateful enough. They will continue to denigrate our democracy…and they will continue to slow down our march towards progress.