Election 2016: It's a Sad, Sad World

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Election 2016: It's a Sad, Sad World

With apologies for ranting...

Pennsylvania delegates Amanda McIllmurray and Katherine Sayder cry after Former Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke to delegations during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo: AP/Carolyn Kaster)

I‘ve been interviewed 5 or 6 times here in Sweden over the last 24 hours about Trump, which has given me time to think over what all of this means. My only firm conclusion is that regardless of who wins on November 8, the US has lost. And this is probably the clearest case of a national self-inflicted wound one could ever find. No-one is blameless. The Republicans sold their soul to the devil, then sat by and gave their pathetic blessing to a half-wit spouting bile. Whatever regrets that came were far too little, far too late.

And the “liberal media”? Oh, it was a prime-time shit-show that they couldn’t have scripted better if they tried. It was ratings gold, Jerry. Gold. What we got was the mainstreaming of the politics of hate, ignorance, racism and misogyny. Not that this wasn’t present in the GOP before Trump. We know it was. But it is the mainstreaming of a language (both body and verbal) of hate that far more easily spills over into physical violence. We can smell what might happen at polling stations on November 8: anyone non-white being insulted, asked for ID, religion questioned…or worse. It’s disgusting.

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And the Democrats? Our virtuous Democrats? Well, it took a raging fascist like Trump to make them look even quasi-progressive after their clear rightward drift over the past 25 years. Remember a million years ago when we were told the unthinkable Bernie Sanders run would pull Hillary to the left? Well, I must have missed that. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want Trump in power. But let’s not pretend the Democrats and Clinton ever seized the mantle of real (or even pretend) progressive politics. They were too busy with Wall St. donors. And the chasm that grew between the Democratic party and working/middle-class Americans is, at least in part, one of the reasons for the rise of Trump.

And, while on the progressive rant, let’s also remember the relative silence of large portions of the Democratic community (political, media and citizens) when it came to slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Muslims after 9/11, only to then hand-wring over Trump’s viscous Islamophobia. Well, the Trump dehumanization of Syrian refugees didn’t grow in a vacuum. Nor did his misogyny, also promoted by mainstream media in their management, on-screen talent and advertising. Again, spare me their hand-wringing over Trump and Billy Bush when Channel 6 will air more sexist programming and beer ads right after the break.

I hope Trump loses. It does matter. But the whole thing is sad.

Christian Christensen

Christian Christensen, American in Sweden, is Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrChristensen

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