After George W. Bush was elected, something dramatically changed in the media. The news media had always been Left-wing, but with the explosion of social media in the early 2000’s, that Left-wing bias suddenly had a much bigger echo that never diminished. In fact, social media reverberated back into the news media, which reverberated back into social media, creating a never-ending echo trapped in a self-made chamber. This echo chamber generated so much power that it could fuel anything, like political comedy shows that savaged the political Right. Anything on The Daily Show that made Republicans look foolish was instantly trimmed into a bite-sized, shareable clip of Jon Stewart “destroying” the Conservative target of the week. The media didn’t stop there.
It wasn’t enough that social media was another outlet to “boost the signal” of Leftist media; the Left needed groups to aggregate, focus, and curate Leftist media so that the messaging could be distilled into its most pure and motivating form. Sites like Upworthy polluted social media with videos and articles that drove traffic back to the Upworthy site where marketing automation could take over and begin the lead generation process. If you “liked” one of the more mainline pieces of content on their site, then they would ask if they could email you more content that you might like. It’s easy to see how a moderate person might be slowly shifted to the Left as the messaging ratched in that direction with each step in the campaign automation. The political Right had no similar apparatus. To this day it still doesn’t.
What the Right should have learned from the Left is that ridicule and emotion are two very powerful tools, and the Left wields both masterfully. But even though the Left is really good at playing this game, the reality is that it takes two players, and, unfortunately, the Right has been playing by the Left’s rules for too long. The Left weaponized comedy to savage political opponents, and when the victims complained, they were accused of “not being able to take a joke”. And the Right played along, accepted the judgment, and backed down.
So the Right, in my opinion, has been in dire straits for almost two decades. Not only was the Right not as skilled at manipulating public opinion as the Left, but the Right also had no installed apparatus to disseminate their message, and if they began to build one, it was ridiculed as not having a sense of humor. Without public opinion on their side, the Right would be doomed to play defense going forward into perpetuity. But all of this could have been turned around if the Right simply said, “I don’t care what the Left says, I’m going to fight back.”
And that’s precisely why I’ve always backed Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential Nominee. His personality and rough behavior makes him the only suitable candidate on the Right that can survive in the gauntlet that the Left has installed in the political arena. Offensively, he rates very highly, ready to pick apart perceived weaknesses in opponents and keep them on their heels. Sure, sometimes Trump is too offensive and people around him end up as friendly fire, but no one’s perfect. What makes him very valuable as a candidate, however, is well he rates defensively. In that regard, Trump actually benefits from some of the same gimmies that Liberals get. For instance, Vice President Joe Biden says a lot of stupid stuff, but is always forgiven because “that’s just Joe!”
The same concession has been extended to Donald Trump because he is so consistent in his persona. His frequent impolitic statements actually boost his trustworthiness because people feel like he’s actually saying what’s on his mind. So it’s difficult for the Left to ridicule something he says when his supporters have already decided to accept his personality and behavior. Furthermore, the Left can’t paint him as a closet anything when Trump is so forthcoming with his opinions. Finally, I’ll be the first to admit that Donald Trump has some optics issues with his visual presentation. His orange skin. His hairstyle. His corpulence. But once again, Trump owns these facets of himself and he is not afraid to show them. As a result, if my Facebook feed is a good sample, there are no effective memes about Trump that mock his looks. And just to further disarm the Left, Trump shows just how un-sensitive he is about his hair:
And this is why I don’t think any of the other candidates would have stood a chance against Hillary. Not when the media controls the election. Only Donald Trump knows how to handle the media, whether it’s social media, entertainment media, or the news media. He proved yesterday that the news media will never cover the Right fairly unless they’re tricked into doing so. For instance, they’re not going to show off the sizes of Trump’s rallies — especially compared to Hillary Clinton’s. They’re not going to show the vile behavior of protesters at Trump rallies or ask those protesters if they’re Hillary supporters. And they’re not going to show Trump being endorsed by decorated Veterans…unless there’s a bigger “get” for doing so. Trump and his team understands this, which is why his “birther” press conference was such a masterful stroke!
The video above is just the press conference, but Trump actually tricked the media into covering a tour of his new hotel in addition to what we see above, which is Veterans who have received the highest honors extolling Donald Trump’s virtues, before Trump finally states that President Obama was born in the United States. BUT! Trump maximizes his effort by reminding the public that Hillary Clinton and her 2008 campaign were the originators of the “birther” controversy, which is not widely known. So Trump actually got a lot out of this little stunt: free promotion of his hotel, free good press, and once again putting the media and opposition on the defensive as they scramble to defend Hillary Clinton and try to pin “birtherism” on Trump.
Thankfully, we have something called the internet now:
Obviously, Hillary Clinton was already defending herself against “birther” charges as early as 2008. Donald Trump was nowhere near this issue back then. And now journalists are coming out describing Sidney Blumenthal, a key member of Clinton’s campaign in 2008, was circulating the “birther” angle back then.
Just when I thought Donald Trump was going to have to untangle a bad appearance at a church in Michigan, he gives the media a much shinier object to fetch. It was a masterful move, and I don’t think any of the other candidates would have had the balls to pull something like this.