We hear a narrative about how the Democrats have lost their way and the misdirection of their message to voters was the cause of Trump winning the presidential election in 2016. Then it’s said that the Democratic Resistance Movement against Trump won’t be enough for them to win the midterm elections in 2018 and the presidential election in 2020. Or we hear that the Democrats have become a party that focuses on diversity issues and aren’t providing the middle and working class with any answers for their loss of traction in the economy and the marketplace.
As Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor during the [Bill] Clinton administration would say, “Rubbish.”
What has the Democratic Party done?
The facts are that the moderates and progressives of the Democratic Party have been and continue to be supportive of the working people of this country. Over the past 80 years, they created Social Security and Medicare and supported civil rights. They’ve supported women’s rights, gay rights and children’s rights. They support public education, livable minimum wages, equal pay for men and women, and programs for the poor, the elderly and the infirm. They’ve also attempted to create affordable health care for all. Then, we have President Obama and the Democrats’ successful efforts to salvage the economy and the auto industry in 2008.
Hillary Clinton, had she been elected President, had binders full of thought-out programmatic proposals that she would’ve introduced into legislation. These proposals were intended to assist with job creation and other programs—programs that would’ve focused on improving the lives of people who’d been devastated by the greed of Wall Street that brought about the 2008 recession. So much for the Democrats not addressing the needs of the middle and working class!
Hacking and distribution of emails
Adding to this inaccurate narrative about the Democrats, the media focused on the hacking and distribution of emails that were acquired from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The unreal details of this one area alone demonstrate the bizarre variety of news coverage during the presidential election process in 2016:
- First, the CIA reported that the DNC was hacked by the Russians, who were intent on undermining our democratic process (as they have in European countries), especially the election of Clinton. This was essentially an act of war on our country and way of life.
- Then, the CIA reported that the hacked emails were given to Julian Assange, who was living in exile in London to avoid arrest in Sweden. Assange released emails, whether authentic or not, at strategic times to keep the Clinton campaign off-balance throughout the campaign cycle.
- These leaks took attention away from Clinton’s focus on the issues that impacted the average working person’s needs, and forced her to spend time responding to the email charges.
The combination of all these aspects of Clinton’s “email scandal” demonstrate the utter bizarre nature of this one feature of the 2016 election process—which, unfortunately, is now being treated as an aspect of the “new normal.”
Trump being Trump
- An inflated sense of his own importance: “I know more than the generals,” and “I’m the only one who can solve our problems.”
- A lack of empathy for others: as demonstrated by his behaviour in relation to the Khan family and his recent verbal abuse of Jeff Sessions.
- His vulnerability to the slightest criticism: We’ve seen that, when Trump is criticized, his response is to attack others mercilessly. His Tweet tantrums are an example of this. His outpouring of anger is immature, inappropriate and lets everyone know that his attention isn’t on issues that really matter, like those of national interest.
Trump also uses provocation as a way of gaining attention. “Look at that face; who would vote for her?” he said, in reference to Carly Fiorina. He seems to enjoy creating firestorms around himself as a way of feeding his need to gain attention and watch the consternation of others.
His lying, along with his denial that he’s lying, reflects a tendency that makes it impossible for anyone to take Trump at his word. His promise to Carrier Corporation to keep jobs in Indianapolis, when those jobs are actually being moved to Mexico, is just one example of his self-serving untruthfulness.
His desire to have anything passed by Congress regarding health care, so he can sign something to look like he’s a winner, is another example of his self-serving focus. To hell with it if what he signs removes millions of people from the health care rolls!
Having to relate to Trump-being-Trump behaviour constitutes another layer of distraction that Clinton had to address during the campaign.
In essence, in addition to fundraising, Clinton had three major areas of focus during her presidential campaign:
- Her proposals that would assist citizens by meeting their needs.
- Hacked emails that were intended to embarrass her.
- Trump’s behaviour.
This appears to be the assumed new normal if Trump runs again, if Russia interferes with our elections again and if hacking into records continues to be a common practice.
The Fourth Estate
As the essential Fourth Estate, the media fails miserably to challenge such behaviour. Rather, the media presents the behaviour as news and attempts to explain what’s going on.
Instead of doing this, our media needs to call what’s going on exactly as it is:
We can’t live, as a democracy, if we’re being fed lies and misinformation.
- Russians were interfering with our election process, and that fact alone should nullify the results of the vote. It still needs to be proven that there was collusion between the Russians and Trump’s campaign.
- Anyone who attempts to use hacked information—especially someone who was given emails by the Russians, and is living in exile to escape being charged for a crime in another country—should be ignored.
- Any candidate who demonstrates the behaviours that Trump has exhibited needs to be deemed, from the outset, as unfit to run for office.
We can’t live, as a democracy, if we’re being fed lies and misinformation. The more the lies are voiced, and the longer they’re voiced, the greater the chance that they’ll become the believed version of reality.
Such is the world of Trump and those who support Trump’s attempts to dismantle our democratic institutions. Trump’s assertion that the only truth comes from him and that everything else is fake news should send shock waves through the media. His assertion that he actually won the popular vote, if you discount the illegals who voted for Clinton, should seal the deal on Trump being a seriously delusional individual who shouldn’t be President.
This isn’t a plea to support a 21st-century version of McCarthyism. It’s a plea to state the fact that rocks are hard and water is wet.