Deaf to the Truth, Blind to the Facts: Those Divorced from Reality Don’t Care About Michael Flynn

It’s almost as though it didn’t happen.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Michael Flynn affair is the harsh reality that a significant portion of this country simply does not care about Flynn’s acknowledged amorality and Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. They’re addicted to “news” outlets that are downplaying or denigrating the story. They’re still kneeling at Trump’s altar, still viewing him as their warrior against all things diverse, all things secular, all things progressive. They probably think the guilty plea is “fake news.”

Decades ago, men like Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh set out to achieve this dark victory. These men apparently believed that Richard Nixon would have gotten away with his crimes if he had a media machine behind him–and other Republicans would be able to get away with the worst sort of malevolence if they had the power of propaganda at their command. Their goal has been realized. Their dream is our nightmare.

The MAGA-maniacs will never care about what the Mueller investigation ultimately reveals. When your aim is to hold back the forward motion of history, truth doesn’t matter.

At this point, believing that Trump loyalists will ever wake up is like believing that Trump himself will one day “pivot” and become “presidential.” Those loyalists will be out in force in three years: regardless of how disappointed some of them may be in Trump, regardless of how high their taxes may go up due to the Republican tax “reform” scheme, regardless of how much pain and suffering they will experience in their personal and professional lives after one term of Trump, they will still turn out in force to back their man, lest a despised liberal replace him in the White House.

Ask yourself: at the end of the day, how many of the folks who demonstrated such grotesque gullibility on November 8, 2016 will turn around in four years and vote for, say, Democratic presidential nominee Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris or Gavin Newsom? How many of the folks who voted for the similarly incompetent George W. Bush in 2000 turned around after his disastrous first term and voted for John Kerry in 2004? I thought so.

Tribalism is simply too powerful a force in our politics. The same tribalism that makes Alabama Republicans stand behind alleged sex fiend Roy Moore will make the MAGA crowd line up once again behind Trump in 2020 (assuming he’s not impeached and removed from office by then). Trump loyalists will continue to dig in their heels, continue to believe that the “Deep State” is out to get their hero, continue to scorn the Fourth Estate.

As Aaron Mak observes:

For commenters on r/The_Donald, a subreddit home to some of President Trump’s most outspoken online supporters, the news that Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to FBI agents in the Russia investigation is a red herring.

Though the media have been focused on the plea and its implications for the White House, the president’s Reddit fans are largely preoccupied with a San Francisco jury’s decision on Thursday to acquit Jose Zarate of most of the charges associated with the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle.

Trump had reviled Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, during the presidential race, using the shooter’s multiple prior deportations and nonviolent felony convictions as proof that U.S. border policies were not stringent enough…The popular posts that do mention Flynn are rife with whataboutisms redirecting the conversation to Clinton, Obama, and, most notably, Zarate. Indeed, posters see the fact that Flynn will plead guilty while Zarate was acquitted of most of his charges as a perverse turn of events. A popular post on the subreddit reads, “**Flynn Guilty but 7 time Murdering Felon Not Guilty**.”

If Friday’s r/The_Donald threads are any indication, Kate Steinle’s death will continue to be a focal point for this contingent of the right, while Flynn’s case will merely be a springboard for further shaming enemies on the left.

So long as Trump continues to beat up on African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and progressives of all colors and creeds, his fanboys and fangirls will stand by him and stand up for him…tearing this country down in the process.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.