Welcome to the Friday LinkSwarm! The first week of President Trump’s administration has been incredibly active and consequential! Not everything will be covered here (and I have a few posts on various issues and executive orders at various stages of assembly), but it touches on a lot.
Mr. Trump’s version of stray voltage has a number of effects beyond just causing chaos and distracting his opponents. When everything is an outrage, nothing is an outrage. And when everything is an outrage, you expose yourself as a purely partisan actor, turning off large swaths of the American public.
Trump’s lack of fear of touching politically incorrect third rails that millions of Americans felt, but which had not been articulated so bluntly by a national politician, served him well. Incidentally, it also allowed him to shift the Overton Window on critical issues like immigration and Islamic supremacism.
When attacked for taking these positions, unlike those to come before him, Trump did not avoid the fray. Rather, he jumped into it, counterpunching.
Lulled into a false sense of security by Republicans who fought with their hands tied behind their backs, constrained by suicidal rules of political engagement for decades, the Left did not know how to react when hit.
Leftists could not believe that a political opponent had the gall to actually fight tooth and nail.
Trump does not give an inch to his critics, and neither should any other Republican. He defines the rules of engagement, and so should all on the Right.
Watching the confirmation hearings to date, we see many on the Left jabbing as if we are in a pre-Trump world. Their questions all hew to the same old narrative that if you are not a racist, sexist, or bigot, then you are an out-of-touch plutocrat or a shill for some special interest or other.
Like Trump, Republicans should challenge these charges head on. They should take issue with the Left’s premises from the start, showing that it is the Left who is projecting when it tries to discredit those who believe in capitalism, the power of the individual, and the sanctity of the individual’s rights, the rule of law, national sovereignty, federalism, and the Judeo-Christian morality on which the country is based.
Donald Trump isn’t the bully; he only insults and abuses people in power who have attacked him. They’re the fucking bullies. The left, with their smears, their witch hunts, their slanders, their insults and their weaponizing of the federal bureaucracy.
There aren’t any rules anymore because the left only applies them one way. And in doing so, they’ve left what once was a civil compact between the two parties in smoldering ruins.
I have no personal investment in Donald Trump. He is a tool to punish the left and roll back their ill-gotten gains, no more and no less. If he succeeds even partially in those two things, then I’ll consider his election a win.
Further, I no longer have any investment in any particular political values, save one: The rules created by the left will be applied to the left as equally and punitively as they have applied them to the right. And when they beg for mercy, I’ll begin to reconsider. Or maybe not. Because fuck these people.
This new philosophy has freed me of more emotional angst that I can describe. Literally nothing the left says or does matters to me anymore. I don’t care about their tantrums. I don’t care about their accusations. I don’t care if they say Trump is lying. I don’t care if Trump is lying.
They created this Frankenstein. They own it. I am free of all obligation. I will never play defense again. I will attack, attack, attack, attack using their own tactics against them until they learn their lesson.
What I will not do is let them play my values against me ever again. I don’t need to prove that I’m better than them. I already know it.
- “I think they thought the liberal elite was looking down on them, and I guess, in some ways, we were.”
- “They got this picture that we’re all country bumpkins, the locals are, that we’re not educated. The people who move in talk down to the natives. I don’t know how you want to word that, but that’s the persona given off.”
- “I didn’t want to deal with these people. I didn’t want to be a part of what they were a part of. You’re talking about people from the Cities who are very progressive. I call them tree-huggers, a bunch of tree-huggers. They referred to us, meaning the people who’ve lived here and worked here all our lives, as a bunch of hicks. They just think they’re a little bit better than everybody else, and that we’re not as smart.” (And that’s from a former Democratic Party county chairman who switched to the Republicans.)
- “The bastards out here in the country are sick of the bullshit.”
Alas, it also includes that sturdy modern liberal journalism cliche, The Single Confederate Flag Mentioned To Suggest All Trump Voters Are Secret Racists.
Why are the relations between Donald Trump and the press so bad? There are two reasons. One is that Trump is a Republican, and the press consists overwhelmingly of Democrats. But the other reason is that Trump likes it this way, because when the press is constantly attacking him over trivialities, it strengthens his position and weakens the press. Trump’s “outrageous” statements and tweets aren’t the product of impulsiveness, but part of a carefully maintained strategy that the press is too impulsive to resist.
The killer counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging. The counter-move is to bolster its own trustworthiness by acting (and being) more neutral and sober, and by being more trustworthy. If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.
If it comes to the press reforming to ensure their own institutional survival, or clinging to their liberal bias, my guess is that the current press will choose the way of the dodo…
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call. “I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”
“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.) “That’s why you have no power,” Mr. Bannon added. “You were humiliated.”
“You’re the opposition party,” Mr. Bannon said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
I will be making my Supreme Court pick on Thursday of next week.Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
🆘‼️👮😂 USA: Police in Portland (Oregon) responded very quickly to a traffic blockade of protestors. The wind has turned: Go Mr. President! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/lwTL0EYGML
— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) January 26, 2017
— Mode France 24 (@ModeF24) January 22, 2017
"I am Prince Emo of the Royal Cubist Guard! You shall bow before my non-Euclidean business suit!" @Daddy_Warpig
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) January 23, 2017