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"Giving a narcissist like Trump that kind of coverage is like feeding a malignancy."(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

"Giving a narcissist like Trump that kind of coverage is like feeding a malignancy."(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

We Get It — Trump Is Awful

Now what?

John Atcheson

Every morning the news is full of Trump’s latest antics, and the Republican Party’s complete surrender to his insanity, and the liberal and progressive outlets are the worst offenders.  They just can’t seem to tell us enough, what an idiot the man is.

Here’s the thing.  Those of us who know that Trump is completely unfit for the job, don’t need an endless stream of examples, we need an alternative. And those who don’t, aren’t reading, watching or listening to the news – they’re tuned into Fox, which is not news -- it’s Trump’s version of Pravda, and it’s busy trying to instill fear and create conspiracies. Or maybe they’re listening to Clear Channel or Sinclair, which are even less about the news and more about propaganda.

The constant bombardment of Trumpian tweets and other daily bits of foolishness is basically useless.So the constant bombardment of Trumpian tweets and other daily bits of foolishness is basically useless.  It amounts to a steady stream of singing to the choir. And giving a narcissist like Trump that kind of coverage is like feeding a malignancy.

Meanwhile, the news that matters – the Democrats’ abandonment of the middle class, and their sell-out to corporations and fat cats -- goes virtually unreported in the mainstream media, and grossly underreported in the progressive press.

Now, with the release of the FBI’s Inspector General’s report, we’re also getting a steady diet of “the Russians made her lose,” non-news.  Look, let’s say it together, one more time: It was the content of the emails – the clear evidence that she’d supported the interests of Wall Street and big banks, over those of the people at a time when she was posing as a people’s progressive – that hurt her. They merely confirmed a duplicity that many saw or suspected all along, one that is hardwired into the party. People wanted a real progressive then and they still do, but the Democrats seem loth to give them one.

The mainstream media regularly treats us to opinion pieces by pundits who say the Democratic party is going too far to the left, and that this supposed drift will hurt them in the midterm elections. This, at a time when polls show that support for progressive issues like health care (especially single payer), social security, sane gun laws, stronger regulation of Wall Street and big banks, a living minimum wage, a commitment to get the money out of politics, and stronger environmental and climate policies, combined with a commitment to reverse the Republican’s tax cuts for the rich, would give Democrats an overwhelming advantage in the midterms and in 2020.

The neoliberal establishment that runs the party holds fast to the very policies that are making it shrink into oblivion.

But the neoliberal establishment that runs the party holds fast to the very policies that are making it shrink into oblivion.  For example, the DCCC and DNC tried to get progressives out of primary races; they urged candidates to avoid specifics about gun control; and they endorsed center right candidates.  At the same time, Pelosi and Schumer’s big idea for the Party’s midterm run is a PayGo bill – a bow to austerity that is strictly center right.

The problem is, historically, Democrats were shaped by polls, while Republicans shaped them.  Democrats saw polls as a command; Republicans responded to them by plotting how to change opinions or distract folks from seeing they were representing the interests of corporations and the rich, at the expense of the rest of us. As a result, the whole country was dragged to the right. But the Occupy movement combined people’s increasingly grim economic reality to reveal the rotten, greedy core of modern conservatism and its pale doppelganger, neoliberalism. And now the people have moved to the left of center, but the Democratic leadership remains firmly in the center right because it gives them cover to continue representing their true constituents: corporations and rich campaign donors.

It’s this sellout by the Democratic party, and the collapse of any faith in government it has created, that allows a small minority of rabidly enraged voters to win elections.

If you examine the numbers, what you find is that the Republicans – still a minority party – consistently win with a minority of the eligible voters supporting them. With Trump in 2016, it was a mere 27 percent against Hillary’s 28 percent, with none-of-the-above the clear winner at just under 45 percent.

The evidence that people are fed up with politicians and parties is overwhelming.  Only 35 percent think the Democrats believe in anything.  And the Smith Project found that nearly 80 percent believe that both political parties “…are too beholden to special interests to create any meaningful change.”

But this kind of alienation goes virtually unreported.

Credible studies like the one conducted by Gilens and Page show that democracy is dead in the US and the country is effectively an oligarchy.

Meanwhile, credible studies like the one conducted by Gilens and Page show that democracy is dead in the US and the country is effectively an oligarchy. This startling but well documented conclusion generated a round of consternation among the usual suspects in the MSM, but it quickly dropped off the media’s radar, replaced by the political horserace and Trump’s reality show Presidency.

But many people know it in their hearts.  That’s why too many stay home, ceding the election to an enraged, but uninformed minority that is calling the shots in America today.  And it doesn’t do much good for Democrats to scream at those who don’t vote, if they won’t run candidates worth voting for.

And for progressives to break though the din and win in numbers representative of the people’s preferences, the Democratic party has to adopt a national platform that both responds to and shapes what people want.

Meanwhile, the MSM gives us a steady diet of Trump’s latest brush with insanity, his latest distract and divide tweet, or the latest in the never-ending “Russia did it” non-news. Oh, of course we should do what we can to prevent meddling in elections, and we should prosecute Trump for his crimes – but he’s a symptom. 

The daily din should pale in comparison to the fact that the US has become an oligarchy, that neither party is representing the people’s interests, and that an equitable, just, free and prosperous society would be well within our grasp if the people were offered candidates who represented them, not the oligarchy.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
John Atcheson

John Atcheson

John Atcheson, 1948-2020, was a long-time Common Dreams contributor, climate activist and author of, "A Being Darkly Wise, and a book on our fractured political landscape entitled, "WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track". Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson. John was tragically killed in a California car accident in January 2020.

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