Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy is setting a dangerous precedent after he threatened military intervention to quell protests around the country, but the left-wing’s overreaction to every controversy during his time in office has made everyone too jaded to care.
Donald Trump is a joke. There is no rational reason to believe that he’s fit to hold office – however, he’s not Hitler, and people need to stop comparing the two.
There are probably a million things I can say about Donald Trump to prove that he’s irrational, immature, egotistical, uninformed and just plain dangerous. But I’m not here to argue about Donald Trump’s merits or competency. That’s a bit too obvious.
Rather, I’m going to explore, firstly, why Trump got elected in the first place and, secondly, the critical failures of the media (and specifically left-wing media) to cover Trump’s tumultuous first (and hopefully only) term in office.
So how did a massive portion of the American public deem it acceptable to vote for an objectively reprehensible man with multiple allegations of sexual assault lodged against him, a long history of fraud, bankruptcy and financial crimes, intolerant rhetoric and who looks like an orange wearing a really bad wig? More so, how did they do it directly after electing their first black president – twice?
The answer is a fairly simple one, which was never properly addressed. Even in “the land of the free”, which is commonly conceived as the most successful democracy in history, people are sick of the political rot, of corruption, of corporate control over Washington and, basically everything that Hilary Clinton is the walking, talking, virtue-signaling embodiment of.
Barack Obama was supposed to completely change that status quo and in 2008 he ran on that “Change” slogan which energised the entire world. Yet, from the very first day Obama took office, it was business as usual. One could lambast Obama for his failures or defend him for the things that happen behind closed doors that we never see or because Obama lacked support in the House and the Senate, but taking that route is also moving away from the point.
The result is that Americans lost whatever faith they had in the system entirely, and Trump was the “shoot from the hip” kind of person that would truly shake things up in their minds. Beyond that, the global financial crisis was and still is fresh in American memories. People are struggling, economically. They’re losing their jobs to automation and their skills are becoming outdated, they’re struggling to get credit, are drowning in student debt. It’s not an easy time to be a working class American, or a working class citizen anywhere, really.
And Trump co-opted Obama’s 2008 populist rhetoric – the same populist rhetoric that propelled a socialist, political nobody, Bernie Sanders, into the public conversation in 2015/16 when he almost beat Clinton to the Democratic nomination. Through that Democratic primary, Sanders was completely screwed over by Clinton’s political machine. It was meant to be the greatest political upset of all time, but the rules surrounding Super Delegates stole the nomination from the incredible campaign that Sanders ran and captured the imagination of an entire country.
And Trump decided to make the same promises about bringing back jobs, reforming the healthcare system and alleviating economic hardship. He made promises that he wouldn’t keep, but, in the end, Hilary Clinton was beaten in the greatest political upset of our lifetime. Her machine couldn’t make her less repulsive to the entire population, despite relentless attempts from celebrity after celebrity.
So in January 2017, Trump was sworn into office on a rainy day (which according to him wasn’t rainy) that felt almost surreal. Ever since then, from making suggestions to nuke hurricanes and saying that nobody ever knew that islands are surrounded by water (big water), to lie after lie after lie, Trump has been on the verge of starting World War 3, has endorsed a potentially dangerous drug as a miracle cure for COVID-19, his healthcare bill was dead on arrival, he lost the House to a blue wave in the 2018 mid-term elections, and he’s currently overseeing both a global healthcare pandemic, with 100,000 bodies to show for it, while most of what’s left of the population is storming the streets.
However, what he did this week is far and away the worst thing he’s ever done, when he tear-gassed peaceful protesters to clear the way for his short walk to a church across the road from the White House for a photo opportunity. Then, there was the moment when he threatened to send the military into his own country. The greatest thing about America is its First Amendment, the enshrinement of freedom of speech in their constitution, which includes the right to protest.
The problem, however, is that the so-called “left media” (which is actually Neo-liberal centrist media) has covered every single Trump controversy ad nauseam. Everything including an oval office filled with Big Macs, Kanye West rants and the Russiagate crisis – accusing Trump of colluding with Russians and Twitter-bots to win the election– has made headlines in the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, Huffington Post and everyone that is supposed to be a massive, credible publication. Outside of that, there are only the publications singing Trump’s praises, like Fox News and Breitbart News.
So we find ourselves in a situation where people either believe everything that Trump does is brilliant or that everything he does is Nazi-esque – no middle ground, no nuance and no shades of grey. So, even the people who should be outraged at Trump for his disregard for the First Amendment (which is a big, big deal), are equating this slippery slope to a military dictatorship to a misspelled tweet.
People have become jaded and Americans should be protesting about something even bigger than the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They need to take to the streets to defend their democracy right now. Forget Black Lives Matter, forget All Lives Matter; if Donald Trump is able to send the US military into cities around the country to suppress protests, no lives will matter anymore.