I must admit that it has been a contradictory experience watching, in frustration and amusement, the Washington, D.C. punditocracy scramble from one week to the next making doomsday predictions about the “inevitable” collapse of Donald Trump and the return to “normal” American politics. The very fact that the D.C. press believes the last several decades of American politics can pass for “normal” should be indication enough of just how delusional so many people in this country are when it comes to comprehending the reality of American political life. The press is in such a state of denial that one wonders just what could possibly wake them from it. They have spent the entirety of the last several decades ignoring, dispelling, equivocating, eschewing, and covering up one atrocity after another committed by the Cult of Conservatism. From the Southern Strategy, to undermining peace talks in Vietnam, to undermining hostage negotiations with Iran, and then selling arms to said country’s hostage-taking government, to stealing elections, to illegally suppressing and purging voters, to fabricating evidence to start a war, to sabotaging the economy for political gain; there is no crime this horde of cultists, kooks, paranoiacs, bigots, and religious fundamentalists will not support as long as it is done in maintaining the traditional American white male supremacist power structure, and their control over it.
Since the time of Richard Nixon these people have been slowly bred, through the use of right wing talk radio, Fox News, and now online conservative media, into a swarm of unthinking zombies. Any time the kingpins of right wing media point their fingers at a target, the horde immediately, and with a zeal akin only to the zombie impulse to cannibalize human brains, engulfs and consumes them. The Conservative Cult has been deliberately molded over decades into an unrestrained Id. And now there is no way to stop it, for the moment any so called “conservative” figure, no matter how genuine their practice within the cult, will be immediately labeled a traitor to the cause and exiled like a “suppressive person” in Scientology, cut off from any future influence in the cult. The result of this dynamic is for the cult to become increasingly inward thinking whereby the only way to get noticed inside the cult is to espouse ever more radically reactionary and extremist viewpoints. Such a cycle of inward thinking inevitably produces a logical self-reinforcement of the cult’s ideas, for when their ideas seep out into the mainstream, unfiltered by public relations and marketing gimmicks, the confused and disturbed reaction by people unfamiliar with the cult’s tautology only acts to further reinforce the validity of the belief.
The Washington press is so utterly unaware of this entire process that each time conservatives explode with rage in response to the confusion, disbelief, or questioning of the media, the pundit, rather than investigate the truth of the cult’s claims, and then discredit and disassociate the cult members from access to public platforms wherein they would be further able to indoctrinate, obfuscate and misinform an unsuspecting audience, either offers no opinion on the matter or explains it away by fabricating, or wildly exaggerating, a corresponding example on the liberal side of the political spectrum. So ingrained is this mechanism of denial that every time a pundit on television, radio, or in print is forced by circumstances to chastise some conservative for whatever atrocity they recently committed they immediately, and reflexively, point to some imaginary liberal crime to provide balance. They are like a family member of an abuser who, while admitting to themselves that one of the abuser’s victims should certainly not have been beaten with a tire iron, believes the victim of the physical abuse shares in the culpability because dinner was late or their homework unfinished. They spend all their energy trying to mollify the abuser and convince the victim of the need for them to further compromise to the abuser demands, all the while ignoring the myriad ways in which they are also subject to abuse.
The Democratic Party, many journalists, political scientists, authors, thinkers, etc., clearly all of whom are victims, along with the press and the populace, has failed to make the case to the public, and to the wider media establishment, the nature of this dysfunctional dynamic. In fact, any time a long established member of the Washington elite comes around to the views expressed in this post, and then communicates it to the rest of the Washington elite, they suddenly find themselves ostracized, unable to find outlets for their previously heralded and widely published work. Honestly, I do not know how to break this cycle. When it occurs within the context of a family the cycle can be broken, for example, by escaping the situation. But how does one do that when such a cycle plays out on a national level? Some argue that we must destroy the Republican Party, an idea I do support, while others argue for targeting the enablers within the media establishment who provide platforms to serial liars, another strategy I support. Unfortunately, it does not seem like these views ever make it to there intended audience. Donald Trump has repeatedly outlasted the apocalyptic professions of the mainstream pundit class. And yet, each time he does so, the pundits never re-examine their basic assumptions about the underlying conditions within conservatism.
To anyone with a clear understanding of just what modern conservatism is it will be obvious that Donald Trump is going to have a great deal of support from the conservative base for the foreseeable future. His sway is so strong now that the other candidates considered by the mainstream press to be the “fringe” candidates in this election are beginning to perform better than the more establishment candidates that the mainstream press considers to be “moderate”; despite the fact of course that there is no real distinction between any of these candidates in terms of the policy implications of their ideas. Not that any of these candidates really have any concrete policy prescriptions. They just leap from one issue to another as they come up, or rather as Donald Trump happens to introduce them into the conversation by opening his mouth and emitting sounds. Then the other candidates, asked by reporters to comment on whatever problem Trump has addressed, are forced to chase the constantly changing news cycle. This is how conservatives have controlled the national dialogue in this country for years. They use their tremendous resources to force a legitimate issue weighed down with lies, or an imaginary problem they have concocted, or some other non-issue they have suddenly, and usually hypocritically, turned into a national news story.
They spent the entirety of the Clinton and Obama presidencies using their control over the legislative branch of government to investigate, sabotage, take hostage, destroy, obstruct, or otherwise subject the people of this country to their paranoid fantasies in order to obliterate their opponents and increase their control over government. They are happy to burn the country and its government to the ground in order to acquire political power. Until these people are forbidden from engagement in civic life by a series of firewalls, enforced by every aspect of political society, then the aforementioned problems will go unsolved, and will likely get worse, as the conservative cult takes ever more drastic, and destructive, measures to ensure their hold on political power in a country where demographics are against them in the long term. God help us all.