“The side I’m on is that of America. And for very, very positive reasons.” – Minta Marie Morze
A couple weeks ago my 10 year old granddaughter, a very bright student enrolled in the gifted program at her public school, mentioned something she learned at school, which I told her is not correct and what she learned really plays into the problems plaguing America and it also speaks to our future. My granddaughter said, “America is a democracy.” Reflexively, I corrected her and said, “No, America is a republic!” Thus began a stream of back and forth, because as of yesterday she told me that her teacher still says, “America is a democracy.” I told her again that her teacher is mistaken, because assuredly, America is a republic, set up as a constitutional federal republic. However, watching the demise of federalism and the reliance on pop culture and public opinion polls to silence dissenting opinion, I’m wondering if America has descended into that hellish, brutish state where on the whims of ginning up anger and use of slick mass media manipulation (propaganda) to sway the mob, the only thing that matters is the “majority rules”.
On polar ends of the American electorate, this fraying of trust or even understanding of this basic fact crops up in ever disturbing ways. On the political left, they’ve got angry mobs taking to the streets to compel justice by force and college bullies silencing opposing views with rules imposed by fiat, “I disagree, so you can’t speak!”. In the Presidential run they’re wading in a shallow geriatric pool with a dyed-in-the-wool socialist resonating with disenfranchised Democrats and a pathological liar, riding on her gender and spewing paranoid vitriol about some imaginary dangerous right-wing conspiracy out to do her in, and by extension do in the American people too. She sees a vast right-wing conspiracy around every corner. Her answer to every problem in America is another federal program, to encroach evermore deeply into the lives of American citizens.
Freedom for local communities and states to manage their own affairs falls to the ever-expanding beast that crushed the very breath of liberty out of not only local and state governments, but out of individual American citizens. We’ve become a people conditioned to bow to the popular opinion poll on issues, as manipulated by mass media propaganda. When the left wants to sway Americans to a particular view – big bucks go to various activists and groups (many Soros funded) and the propaganda blitz ensues – Hollywood makes movies and TV shows promoting that view and mainstreaming it into the culture, “experts” hit the airwaves extolling it, and then the media reinforces the idea with polling data, much of it dubious, selling this view as popular and reporters will grill the outliers, who dare speak up against that view, lecturing that the majority of Americans believe the now carefully manufactured and manipulated view. It’s a type of insidious brainwashing and peals the death of liberty and The Constitution.
Now, on the political right, the use of mass media manipulation has rarely been understood, let alone used, that is until the Trump campaign, which is using the Carville/Begala playbook, as I’ve stated repeatedly. That’s what I see – Bill Clinton’s perfect triangulation lining up, if Hillary can avoid an indictment. This post is not going to be a regurgitation of my own conspiracy theory, but here’s the link to my thoughts on that. Assuredly, as I’ve stated many times, I will not ever vote for Donald Trump, because his campaign highlights the capitulation on the right to accepting manufactured hype about polls over principles. The heart of conservatism, weak though it beats, will not survive if it succumbs to the reality TV culture and slick mass media manipulation of Donald Trump, who rambles on about his poll numbers endlessly, but does not hold to conservative principles or even basic civility.
On the right then who, well, Ted Cruz promised to be a principled conservative who would take on Washington and he has stood up against the Washington insiders, but in the process his personal style engendered absolute loathing among his fellow senators, on both sides of the aisle (read Charles Krauthammer’s very astute assessment). Do I agree with Cruz on the issues? Absolutely, but here again we get to reports, many which Trump helped spread, that Cruz is so despised that many GOP establishment people would rather support Trump, whom they know is not conservative, to destroy Cruz, who is. In a less polarized era and where pop culture celebrity didn’t carry more credence than ideas and republican principles, most of the other GOP candidates, admittedly with both pluses and minuses in my view, would still be able to gain some traction. Every single GOP candidate running against Trump offers more coherent policy, offers complete sentences and thoughts, and from this Mom and grandmother, displays better manners. Trump may be mega-rich, but he behaves like a boorish jerk!
With Trump monopolizing the media cycle, with the aid of the mainstream media selling people on polls over principles, none of their messages even get noticed as the GOP’s Paris Hilton spews mostly incomprehensible gibberish. In fact, Paris Hilton actually marketed a clearer campaign message in her cute video (see above) with easily understandable policy positions, but disgruntled GOP base voters project their hopes and beliefs onto the blank canvas that is Trump’s “making America great again”, because assuredly if you write out Trump’s rambling speeches and comments, there’s a lot less there than you’d imagine and a whole lot of conflicting ideas, beliefs, proposals, all overshadowed by the relentless repetition that he is winning in the polls (popular). He’s created this aura of “inevitability”, which now is reaping a snowball effect, as more and more GOP kingmakers are weighing their options and opting to throw in with Trump, despite reservations that Trump is even loyal to the Republican party – they are willing to toss the reins of their party to a man who converted less than a year ago and has spouted conflicting gibberish, all based on he’s a winner and great at making deals. Trump is already working out deals with those despised GOP establishment folks his supporters want destroyed. Trump admitted he talked to Mitch McConnell last month – so yes, the backroom cronyism moves full-speed ahead.
That’s the gist of Trump’s campaign, because I dare anyone to actually make lists of Trump’s statements on various topics to include the incomplete sentences too, compare how they line up for consistency, try to discern core principles, then look at what he said with whom he was speaking (he’s a chameleon and can cozy up to Bill Clinton as easily as Rush Limbaugh on the golf course). Finally, when you’ve done that honest assessment, devoid of how you feel, analyze how many times he repeated his poll numbers and stated he is winning and look at how many times he said that to divert attention from an issue or question he did not answer. It’s a deliberate media manipulation tactic and it’s one perfected by the American political left, not GOP political operatives.
Here are a a few other oddities with the Trump campaign, from someone who has followed presidential campaigns since I was 8 years old in 1968. Trump wrote about not liking to shake hands in one of his books – he has a germ thing and doesn’t want dirty people touching him. Has he ever done the usual shaking hands that’s par for the course in politics? From what I have seen he flies in, does his rallies and flies back out, then does his “connecting” with voters via late night Twitter attacks and the cable news circuit, not up close and personal. His campaign started with Roger Stone as his campaign manager. Stone quit or was fired in August, when the Trump/Megyn Kelly dust-up happened. Oddly enough, Stone is still out there speaking for Trump and no other visible campaign advisers or spokespeople emerged until November, when this former Tea Party activist, Kat Pierson, started hitting the airwaves as the Trump spokesperson. Stone, according to Wikipedia, has a book due out January 26, 2016 – “Jeb! And the Bush Crime Family”. Note that since Stone quit or was fired he seems uneasy and nervous whenever he appears on TV defending Trump – something smells off to me, but hey I’m a woman and we roll with that female intuition thing.
Another thing I noticed is that the Trump camp sure compiled massive opposition research, which Trump and his campaign advisers (whomever they really are) dump these nasty stink bombs at the most strategically brilliant times. For a novice politician, who can’t even spit out coherent political policies, the political astuteness of both content and timing of these attacks seems quite incredible. Any GOP competitor rises in the polls – boom, the Trump campaign dumps a full payload. The Trump campaign even seems to be feeding opposition research to The Last Refuge blog, which has become Trump Polling Update Central, and when Mark Levin came out criticizing Trump for attacking Cruz, yesterday that blog ran this hit piece of opposition research asserting the son of Levin’s fianceé works on the Cruz campaign. For Trump, who isn’t much on the details, his campaign is more effective than the Dem operatives who launched that Bush DWI stink bomb years ago. The irony of The Last Refuge blog is they no longer welcome opposing opinions from actual conservatives. It’s Trump or the road, and they ran this hit piece on Levin, which appears to be opposition research (sleaze to damage Levin’s credibility) provided to them by the Trump campaign. If Trump ends up exposed as a fraud, there will be a lot of very angry populist mobs, with so many conservatives investing so much hope and belief in Trump, so hope I am wrong about Trump being a fraud, as this could get very ugly, very quickly.
National Review orchestrated a “Stop Trump” campaign, ostensibly to save conservatism. My friend, Minta, sent me an email last night stating:
“This new issue of National Review is a big problem, but not for the reasons someone might think. The general view around here is that instead of the authors writing a manifesto about what Conservatism is, and what it means, they look as though they are attacking one person. They could have achieved the better result by supporting someone like Cruz. I love the authors of the Nat’l Review this time, but they are risking looking like elitist snobs. Where were these manifestos when Lois Lerner wasn’t indicted, when the IRS was going after the Tea Parties, when the military was being dismantled, when the VA was shown to be anti-military?”
Minta got it exactly right, the Trump supporters get angry when other conservatives disagree and conservative stalwarts like George Will end up screamed at by populist pundits like Bill O’Reilly, another speaker for the little people, who also is a friend of Trump’s, so when Trump doesn’t articulate his positions clearly, O’Reilly helpfully fills in the blanks on what Trump meant and does character references for Trump too. In this environment, Trump’s supporters are emotionally invested in Trump, in the same way Obama supporters became cultish in their belief that one man could singlehandedly transform America. They want a Messiah or a strongman, not a President, with clear CONSTITUTIONAL checks on his/her power. I want less government control and less power in Washington’s hands, especially after President Obama’s imperial presidency. Herein is why I don’t think Cruz will ever gain much traction – his fellow GOP establishment peers in Washington want him annihilated and Cruz talks like an elitist Harvard lawyer. Cruz has nowhere to go to attract voters, if he moves to the middle he loses the conservative base voters who stuck with him, the GOP establishment is throwing in with Trump and moderates will never gravitate to Cruz, with his hardline conservative record and on top of that he comes across as an elitist Harvard lawyer who talks down to the little people. He is not someone your average Joe would want to have a beer with. Rubio, Christie, Kasich all have more personal appeal frankly. They come across as nice people. Jeb is doomed by his last name, Carson hasn’t been able to convey he’s a viable Presidential choice and Fiorina, smart, does her homework, but she always comes across too scripted and worse than that she usually seems angry and uppity. She does not convey much personal warmth.
Trump has severely damaged the entire GOP field with his scorched earth campaign style, so it’s hard for me to envision any of them being able to repair that damage by November, but this is the season where anything is possible. And on the bright side, for this conservative, at least the Democrats have an even worse mess on their hands. Whatever happens, the larger question of, “Are we a democracy, where angry mobs silence dissent and popularity polls rule over principles or are we a republic grounded in The Constitution?” may become the defining issue of the 2016 campaign. In the meantime I am looking for some good books or sources to explain Our Republic to my 10 year-old granddaughter, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know.