We bite, the lot of us. We have the whole time. President Donald Trump says something and an unending assortment of articles come spewing out. From The New York Times to The Atlantic to me here at The Daily Beacon. But I’m left wondering: without his indignant audience, would Trump continue to espouse such absurdities?
After all, the man is an entertainer. That’s what he’s most known for.
Sure, he was a businessman first — at least, some semblance of a businessman. But he’s not really known for his multiple bankruptcies or fake college or bogus steaks. He’s known as a television host. That’s what he’s doing, isn’t he? He’s hosting the biggest show in history: The United States of America.
Much like an entertainer, he’s desperate for headlines. He certainly gets them, and he’s good at getting them. Look at any news website and he’s likely to be involved in the headlines in one way or another.
But if the only people listening are his increasingly shrinking followers, that probably wouldn’t be enough to satiate his appetite. Does he somehow double down even further? Or does he call it a day and let the sand of his presidential tenure slip through the hourglass?
Let’s hypothesize about Trump’s need to be liked, his barrage of social media output and his failure to the Republican party.
I suppose there is a more nefarious outcome which could be catalyzed by the media’s refusal to acknowledge him: his actions go unchecked. The media’s job is to stand up to corrupt practices and to inform the people of what’s going on. So, if they stop reporting on Trump, will he then have free reign? Is that what he actually wants, or does he just want likes, retweets and airtime?
If it’s the latter, maybe we should all unplug from the Trump train. Many of us don’t like its destination. In fact, I might argue that his remaining fan-base has become more enamored by him simply because they view the media’s portrayal as a direct and unsubstantiated attack on the president.
Regardless of the news outlet, the initial coverage of a Trump story goes something like this: “Here’s what the president said today.” Then, depending on its preferred bias, either offers commendations for the president, or showers him with insults about how detestable he is.
Like a reality television show, Trump is making decisions largely based on ratings. Unlike a reality show, real lives are at stake; real peoples’ finances are at stake; real global implications are in play. I should note that this isn’t a partisan derision of Trump. Personally, I have no political allegiance.
My seeming contempt in this article is due to Trump’s relentless and incessant need for attention and his continued malpractice regarding our country – independent of alleged political affiliation.
Though Trump’s name will have an “R” beside it on the November ballot, he’s no Republican. For starters, he’s significantly increased the federal deficit. Republicans often use the deficit as the boogeyman for why certain legislative actions can’t be taken. They tell us to look at the deficit and then they ask the rhetorical question of “who’s going to pay for that?” Fair enough.
But in a Forbes article published on Feb. 1, 2020, the author notes that Trump has significantly increased the deficit, saying, “… his first year in office the deficit grew to $666 billion, was $984 billion last year and is projected to be over $1 trillion in 2020 at $1.02 trillion. This would be a 74% increase in just four years.” All this, remember, is before the pandemic truly hit the US.
This isn’t a piece dedicated to pitting President Trump against President Obama, either, but if it were, I would note that Obama came into office during the Great Recession. In 2009, the deficit had risen $1.4 trillion. But under Obama, “as the economy recovered, the deficits shrank to a low of $442 billion in 2015 and was $585 billion his last year in office.”
I don’t slight the Republican party for financial prudence – I slight the party when Republican members of Congress allow the president to forego the principles of the party.
That’s not all: The crux of the Republican party is limited governmental overreach. But Trump has failed to fulfill that duty to the party. Not only does it appear that the federal government wants its hands in everyone’s business, but if you’ll recall, Trump has said that he has “total” power and “the ultimate authority.”
These unconstitutional declarations should make Republicans shift in their seats and grow uncomfortable. Yet, the president persists – detractors abound, certainly, but obsequious lackeys always find an escape hatch to rationalize the president’s words.
When Trump wants to appear to have taken a hardline stance, the words he uses are power, authority and dominate.
That is, until he doesn’t want to take responsibility and then relies on the invocation of “federalism,” like in the case of the ongoing pandemic where it’s the responsibility of states to take care of themselves. While states are left to figure it out, much of the rest of the world has greatly curbed the spread of the virus. A partisan response has left Americans in harm’s way.
Finally, Trump serves only to divide the nation further. General Jim Mattis – one of Trump’s best hires to whom he’s now vehemently opposed – said, “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.”
Trump had much of the blind support from Republicans throughout his presidency, but those days seem to be fleeting. A new faction of Republicans have emerged who allege to be in direct opposition to Trump and “Trumpism,” The Lincoln Project – and they aren’t alone. An increasingly disillusioned Republican party seems to be emerging with each passing day.
I should also say that President Trump has made some inroads on Republican issues: The nominations of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; tax cuts that ostensibly benefited the wealthy and middle classes; and a spewing of buzzwords meant to rally his base. Some that are included: huge, believe me, stupid, loser, moron, great, incredible, fake news, winning and you’ll find out.
Maybe a lessening of the coverage and focus could change all of that. Or maybe we’re doing exactly as we should and noting everything that happens for posterity. Then, in the end, historians can pinpoint what went wrong, and perhaps figure out what led to the country’s unraveling, and, if we aren’t careful, the world’s unraveling.
Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.