You fucking idiots in the mainstream media. The Rude Pundit, among others on the left and the right, warned you from the start that a Donald Trump campaign for the presidency was going to wreak havoc upon the landscape. But you didn’t listen. Or you put your fingers in your ears and La-la-la’d yourselves as the ratings and page views soared. And now look what you’ve done. First you pretended that Trump was a buffoon and that his candidacy should be treated like another TV show. Then you fell on your fainting couches when Trump said his racist and sexist shit. And then you acted shocked when he continued to lead polls and win primaries and caucuses. Now, with actual violence occurring regularly on small and larger scale at his rallies (or cancelled rallies), you wonder how this could have happened.
What a fucking joke. After decades of giving a winking pass to conservative rhetoric and actions that, under any reasonable examination, would be considered extremist, after treating demonstrable lies like they are facts deserving of discussion (like welfare queens, Willie Horton, Swift Boat vet allegations, and birther nonsense), citizens are comfortable to wallow in ignorance as long as that stupidity hard-on is massaged and not slapped down. And that’s on you, all of you, and not just Fox “news” and the conservative blogosphere, which flourished because, in the wake of the success of Fox, in particular, you cowered, flinched, and said, “Uncle” to the false god of “balance” instead of “truth.” You are active accomplices, if not outright enablers, to the rise of Trump. And your failure to call a lie “a lie” is your shame.
By any measure, Donald Trump is a huge fucking liar. Right now, his lies are so blatant that there can be real, recorded violence at his campaign stops and he can actually say, “There’s no violence.” He can be on video saying that he wants to punch someone in the face and then claim that he doesn’t condone violence. But to anyone who has followed Trump for any length of time knows that he is a fucking liar about just about everything in his life.
Here’s an anecdote from a 1997 New Yorker profile: “Last fall, after Evander Holyfield upset Mike Tyson in a heavyweight title fight, Trump snookered the [New York Daily] News into reporting that he’d collected twenty million bucks by betting a million on the underdog. This prompted the Post to make calls to some Las Vegas bookies, who confirmed—shockingly!—that nobody had been handling that kind of action or laying odds close to 20-1. Trump never blinked, just moved on to the next bright idea.” What does that say about a person that he’d lie about a bet and not give a shit when he’s caught in the lie? It means that he pays no price for lying, ever. So of course he can lie about whatever the fuck he pleases because the truth doesn’t matter to him.
And because we exist in a media environment where even the biggest liars, the biggest racists, the people who are consistently wrong about everything (looking at you, Bill Kristol) are still given a place on major media outlets to spout their lies, hate, and wrongness, it doesn’t matter to anyone that Trump lies with the alacrity of a man who brags about how he got a blow job at a whorehouse like he’s a big stud. As Ed Koch’s deputy mayor said, “I wouldn’t believe Donald Trump if his tongue were notarized.”
There was a point, early on, when it would have been so easy to take down Trump. If, say, some resources were devoted to getting information on his business dealings, on the victims of Trump University, on his real worth, on the people who he’s rolled over, on his ongoing temper tantrum of a life (he once attacked Leona Helmsley in pretty much the same way he attacks Obama or Marco Rubio). It might have worked early on, when his candidacy was still in its infancy and could be smothered with a pillow. But it’s just too fucking late now. He has evolved to have impenetrable armor, and while it is still unlikely that he will win the presidency, what he’s unleashed in American politics will not go away easily. Jesus Christ, Trump claimed that a protester that tried to rush him was a member of ISIS, a blatant falsehood. He brushed that off like lint from his ugly-ass suits.
The Rude Pundit has conservative Facebook friends in his Clark Kent world. One of them posted this weekend a defense of Trump in the wake of the Chicago rally debacle. He said that Trump spoke with “grace” and “compassion” for the protesters when he said they needed jobs (even though the rally was in the evening and hence after work for most people, as well as being at a college campus not three miles from where a significant percentage of the largest Mexican population in the U.S. outside of Los Angeles lives). The Facebook friend, a former high school pal, said that Trump cancelled because he was worried about people getting hurt. Of course, the FBF also said that the protesters were “crashing our party,” which has all kinds of connotations that just make a person queasy. In a previous Facebook post, this same old friend said that the GOP better get behind Trump, that he is a plumber cleaning a clog of shit out of the pipes of democracy.
You really think anyone with that kind of blind, threatening faith in a candidate is going to be persuaded by anything at this point? Trump’s own campaign praised Trump for “really good management and leadership under great pressure” in the aftermath of Chicago. Truth is a joke.
We’re fucked until the general, and probably well after, no matter if Trump wins or loses. The violence at the protests, and Trump’s implicit threat that he’s going to send his goons to Bernie Sanders rallies (let’s not even get into his baiting of Sanders by playground-chanting, “Bernie”), these are features of the Trump campaign now. At some point, maybe he’ll be arrested for inciting a riot, but we know how that will end up.
For what to do now, honestly, the point has been made that Trump rallies can be shut down or at least disrupted. But Trump wants the violence there. He will leverage it to his advantage to work up his followers, just like he’s manipulated the yahoos through his entire career. The best thing that anyone can do right now is actually very easy in concept and very difficult in execution. Make Trump boring. Turn him into another politician, not a martyr. Lies can no longer be countered by truth and facts. Cut that shit out.
The entertainment value is all. We need to come up with a way to get the ratings down so low that the show is cancelled.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on March 14, 2016, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.