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The crazy is bottom up, not top down

Charlotte Observer

I have no idea what Fox-watchers and Limbaugh listeners are being told — probably the usual stuff about Benghazi and whatever it takes at the moment to keep Republicans angry, disinformed, and motivated to vote. But it’s pretty clear now that the mainstream media have fully realized that Donald Trump is a dangerous madman and that the possibility of his being elected president is an existential threat to the United States (if not to the world, if Trump gets his hand on the button).

All that is true. But there is one very important thing that the mainstream media and its pundits still are not acknowledging. That is that Donald Trump is not the source of the political insanity that has long been evident in this country, not just during this campaign. The political insanity is in the Republican Party itself and in the media that feed, inflame, and constantly deceive Republican voters. When you understand that this is bottom up, not top down, then it’s clear that only a crazy man like Trump could have gotten the Republican nomination in the first place. It’s also clear that the implosion of Trump’s campaign, though it will head off the present emergency, will not solve the problem that makes this country half insane and almost ungovernable.

We might hope that the younger sons of Rupert Murdoch might have plans for Fox News that would bring an end to the 24/7 paranoia and deception that has been fed to Republican voters for the past 18 years under Roger Ailes and which has made many, if not most, Republican voters delusional and driven by rage and paranoia. But we can’t count on it. Rush Limbaugh’s career will eventually end. But we have no idea when.

With the Dumpster fire of Donald Trump’s campaign safely behind us, we might imagine that we’d be out of the woods. But we would not be out of the woods. Nothing but the destruction of the Republican Party as it is today, a total reform of its pundits, mass firings at right wing “think tanks,” and calling out the meanness of some churches and theologies would ensure that we’re really out of the woods.

Below: Just one day’s worth of Trump headlines from the Washington Post.




Update 6:30 p.m. Aug. 4:

For some graphic evidence that the crazy is bottom up, have a look at this New York Times video from Trump rallies. If you’ve ever been verbally assaulted by a right-winger, you know that they get their words from the right-wing media, because they don’t have the knowledge or intellect to come up with their own. But the crazy, and the hatred, were already there before someone like Trump or Limbaugh put words in their mouths.



  1. Dan wrote:

    A few months ago, I think I tried to convince you in rather blunt terms that we mustn’t give up on the working class right-wing. After careful consideration, I have changed my position on the matter.

    Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    I’m sorry to hear that, Dan. I would be curious to hear what factors made the difference.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    The intellect of Americans has just been defeated. There’s no convincing them not to be hateful. Race, religion, “free market” economics, gun rights, whatever the phrase of the day is they latch on and won’t let go.

    Specifically though, and I’m only sharing since you asked, I shared your blog post to a social network of mine and was laughed at by one of my first cousins. I tried to shrug it off, but she insisted on pushing the issue, asking me what I see in Clinton compared to Trump, what I want out of this election, etc. I said I’m down the middle politically, I don’t buy into mainstream media, and I think most people are more susceptible to propaganda than me. But because I knew she was so adamantly pro-Trump, I could not resist the urge to let her know exactly how I felt about Trump. Then, she went on this diatribe about how Clinton will be worse than Trump and something about “not cowering to bullies.” I explained that I think Trump is the ultimate bully because he preys on thoughtless fears of race and religion, and she said something implying our differences even though we’re family, then that she has a hard line on race and religion – which is something I never thought I would read from anyone claiming to defend the Constitution.

    That encounter brought home to me that we’re in deep with this hatefulness that exists on the Right, and I didn’t think that people, in today’s world, could be so openly and radically hateful with their politics. I mean, it’s the Republicans, the other half of the two party system. I know the Tea Party infiltrated it back in 2010, but this has gotten out of hand. Trump can’t get through a speech without stuttering through it. And his supporters believe he manages a billion dollar business and that qualifies him to be president!

    Just what you wrote way back about the lower class on the Right, I’m finally there. I thought, “You know, I can help them, I can get them to see that they benefit from the government, and they don’t need to carry an AR-15 to McDonald’s. I can get them to see the light.” Nah, I’m done.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  4. daltoni wrote:

    We have to hope for a resounding, landslide defeat in November to convince them that they have no future in this country. The Republican Party created this monster and lost control of it. We must never forget that. I want nothing less than a stake through the heart of the Republican Party, now that a majority can see why that is necessary.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

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