This is a contest. About destroying Brand Trump, but first this brief declaration:
Journalists generally aren’t supposed to publicly stake out political positions, declare party affiliations or take sides in an election, lest they be taken less seriously as disinterested observers of events.
For several reasons, the practice is illogical. For one thing, either you are professionally capable of separating your own views from your reporting of facts or you are not. The only thing achieved by hiding your personal politics is opacity. Secondly, since we all have personal politics, being transparent about them gives the audience a chance to evaluate the intellectual honesty in any given piece of reportage.
Thirdly, and most significantly, the cult of neutrality suppresses good journalism, such as vetting campaign claims for plausibility and campaign statements for factuality. Only by the most tortured linguistic contortions does a news story ever call out liars on their lies.
I might add, fourthly, since surveys confirm what we all feel in our bones -- that most journalists reside left of center -- no amount of bending over backwards stops right-of-center politicians (and readers) from shouting “bias!” Indeed, they easily use it as an inoculation against their own outrageous positions.
So with that as a preamble, let me declare this: I am politically left of center. I’m not a Democrat (don’t get me started) but am increasingly repulsed and enraged at how reactionary, anti-intellectual, dishonest and hateful the GOP has become. Climate denial, anti-vaccine ideology, disregard for the Bill of Rights, xenophobic demagoguery, anti-tax and anti-regulation rhetoric, gun nuttery -- all of it playing to the fears and prejudices of a sadly ill-informed and vulnerable electorate, yet all easily debunked by science, economics, census data, crime data and centuries of history. Some of the culprits are pinheads. Some are tinfoil hats. Some are religious nuts. Some are merely cynics. They all make me sad for our nation.
But it’s a game of whack-a-mole. Gingrich. Inhofe. Santorum, Palin. Bachmann. Huckabee. Jindal. Walker. Cheney. Cruz. Not to mention their confederates: Limbaugh, Hannity, Drudge, O’Reilly, Coulter, Jones and the rest of the vast conservative propaganda industry. Whenever you pound one down, three others pop up in your face. And now: Trump.
He is a liar. Bigot. Bully. Fearmonger. Ignoramus. Misogynist. Philistine. He is emotionally stunted at about the age of 8. He is Constitutionally illiterate and tragic-comically vain. Plus he calls people names.
How lovely would it be to see this preening, fascist hairball utterly ruined?
Oh, not in the presidential campaign. I doubt he will win a single caucus or primary; he is a political asteroid that will burn up before collision. But what next? Nothing would be more poetic than the destruction of his business empire. And here’s the beauty part: it will all be of his own doing.
Trump’s seminal insight, or maybe accidental discovery, was that money does not necessarily buy sophistication. There is a very large universe of high rollers who seem to believe, as Trump himself apparently does, that that gilded faucets and plush wall-to-wall-carpet and teenage arm candy reflect success and power. His product has never been actual accomplishment or even elegance. It is simply packaged vulgarity for those who use the word “swanky” without irony. They are arrivistes. New money. Whales. Or those who aspire to be.
Now, some or all of these people may be politically sympathetic to Trump. But nobody, nobody aspires to be a globally despised ass clown. Now, Trump’s rhetoric has already resulted in some principled severing of ties. NBC Universal dropped Trump‘s Miss USA pageant, and based on his anti-Muslim tirades, Dubai’s Landmark Group dropped Trump products from its chain of Lifestyle stores.
But a few ad hoc defections will not do. This has to be a grassroots operation, a groundswell of contempt for the very name upon which he built his business and political fortunes. The problem is, how to reach the Trump Demographic? How to make the plumbing-supply millionaire and ambitious young stockbroker feel shame for patronizing the hotels, golf courses and casinos that license his name?
We need a slogan. We need a hashtag, to crystallize the poison that being his customer endorses.
Comment here and tweet your entries. We need to build a wall of shame, and let the creep try to get over it.