Which Hand Holds the Whip?

Here’s a surprising report: President Trump’s support is actually rising after his attack on “The Squad.”

The rise in support isn’t the surprising part.  The surprising part is that the Media still find this surprising.

Not to toot my own horn too much here, but I’ve been writing about this since 2015 (seriously – check the archives!).  “Make America Great Again” was the Trump campaign’s official slogan, but unofficially — and much, much more effectively — it was: “Fuck the Media.”  The 2016 election is known far and wide as “The Great Fuck You,” but somehow, some way, almost everyone still fails to grasp that it wasn’t the Democrats who got told to fuck off.  It wasn’t even the “Progressives.”  It was The Media.  The Great Fuck You was aimed entirely at the Media.

The reason is, back in 1968 the Media convinced themselves they held the whip.  Between the “Chicago Police Riot” (in reality a bunch of SDS goons finally goading the cops into cracking down) and the Tet Offensive (in reality, a communist catastrophe that all but destroyed the Viet Cong as a fighting force), the Media convinced themselves they truly were the shapers of the nation’s hearts and minds.  From then on out, the Media assumed their primary job was not to report the news, but to instruct us how to feel about the news.  They anointed themselves as a secular priesthood, and from that moment forward, people went into “journalism” specifically to change the world.

That suited the Democrats’ short-term interests just fine.  Then as now, the Democrats were a bunch of fellow-traveling wannabe-totalitarians.  The difference, though, is that in 1968 grownups were still in charge of the party.  Being intimately familiar with the concept of “useful idiots,” the grownup Dems were happy to encourage the journo-kids’ delusions of grandeur.  The kids might not have been able to stir up enough shit to get Hubert Humphrey elected — that would’ve been a tough sell for Josef Goebbels — but they could make life hot for Richard Nixon.  In other words, the Democrats thought they held the whip.

1972 should’ve been a wakeup call, but to be fair, all the campaign wonks were still reeling from The Great Magic Party Switch of 1964.  Both halves of the failed Democratic ticket from 1968 ran in the 1972 primaries, and so did George Wallace (who actually won more primaries than either Humphrey or Muskie — 6 to 5 and 4, respectively).  Which left George McGovern, a goofy hippie from a nothing state who was so bad at politics that he got outflanked as a peacenik by Richard Nixon, the man who was right at that moment actually running the goddamn war.  How did he ever end up at the head of a major party ticket?  Well, here’s Wiki:

During his primary victories, McGovern used an approach that stressed grassroots-level organization while bypassing conventional campaign techniques and traditional party power centers.  He capitalized on support from antiwar activists and reform liberals; thousands of students engaged in door-to-door campaigning for him.  He benefited by the eight primaries he won being those the press focused on the most

Uh huh.  Emphasis mine, but it doesn’t really need emphasizing.  Especially when you add in this:

McGovern ran on a platform that advocated withdrawal from the Vietnam War in exchange for the return of American prisoners of war and amnesty for draft evaders who had left the country.  McGovern’s platform also included an across-the-board 37-percent reduction in defense spending over three years.  He proposed a “demogrant” program that would give a $1,000 payment to every citizen in America.  Based around existing ideas such as the negative income tax and intended to replace the welfare bureaucracy and complicated maze of existing public-assistance programs, it nonetheless garnered considerable derision as a poorly thought-out “liberal giveaway” and was dropped from the platform in August.

Or, in short, “amnesty, abortion, and acid,” a Donald Trump-level linguistic killshot if ever there was one.

The point isn’t that McGovern was a goofy hippie.  The point is that McGovern was The Media’s fair-haired boy.  Hubert Humphrey was no one’s idea of a steely-eyed realist, but he was a grown-up.  When he attacked McGovern as too radical during their primary debates, he was expressing America’s frustration with bratty, coddled, know-nothing college kids and their bong-addled, patchouli-soaked nonsense.  But since it was the aforesaid spoiled, stoned college kids who wrote the election coverage….

Viewed from this perspective, Democratic Party politics up to now can be seen as the increasingly desperate attempts of the few remaining grownups to fend off The Media’s increasingly frantic grabs for the whip.  Take a gander at these goofballs from 1976.  Remember the “Scoop Jackson Democrats” all the National Review types kept gushing about when they needed some Democratic cover for W’s imperial misadventures?  “Scoop” Jackson was a real guy, and probably the only adult in the room in 1976.  Jimmy Carter, the eventual nominee, could at least fake being a serious, mature human being when he wasn’t being chased by enraged, swimming bunnies.  The Jerry Brown of 1976 is the very same Jerry Brown who is putting the finishing touches on the shitholization of California here in 2019, and guess who The Media just loooooooved back in the ’76 primaries?

See also: Every other election through 2016.  Sometimes The Media and the Party moved in tandem — e.g. Bill Clinton  — but more often it played out like 1988, when the Party had to drag a bland nonentity (Mike Dukakis) over the finish line in the face of a Media darling (Jesse Jackson).  This dynamic also explains the weird “enthusiasm gap” of Democratic voters starting in 2000 — nobody actually liked Al Gore or John Kerry, but since W. made The Media lose their tiny little minds, they went all-in on painting those two human toothaches as The Saviors of Mankind.   We’ve covered 2008 before, and that’s where the split between Party and Media really became obvious — the Party desperately wanted the only “adult” (by 21st century Democratic Party standards) in the room to be the nominee, but The Media wouldn’t hear of it.  It seemed as though the struggle for the whip hand was finally over…

But then Donald Trump happened, as my students would’ve written.  Though it’s only a few years in the past, we’ve already forgotten just how much The Media loved Bernie Sanders when the Republican nomination was still in doubt.  Trump, of course, made The Media lose their shit so egregiously that what they did to W. looked like the happy ending to an Oriental massage, but virtually nobody was cheerleading for Hillary qua Hillary.  It took the specter of The Donald as president to get them all on the same page.

Which brings us to now.  The Democratic Party can read a poli-sci textbook.  They know how difficult it is to beat an incumbent president in a good economy.  Hell, it’s almost impossible to beat an incumbent president in a bad economy — see 2004 and 2012.  It takes a major systemic shock to turf out an incumbent in the modern era — a catastrophe on the magnitude of a serious third party challenge (Ross Perot in ’92), or the incumbent being Jimmy Carter.  The poli-sci textbooks say that the Dems’ only hope is to run the closest thing to the Antimatter Donald Trump they can find.  That is to say:  the blandest, SWPL-iest Goodwhite on their roster.

Alas for them, The Media will be having none of that.  Trump somehow triggers them even more than he did in 2016 — don’t ask me how; it violates several important laws of thermodynamics — so they’re going all-in on goofballs like AOC and her “Squad.”  The Media loves “the Squad,” and since The Media have convinced themselves that theirs is the whip hand, they’re ordering us to love “the Squad” too.  To which Trump replies with a version of “lol get fucked,” and since “you’re free to leave this country if you hate it so much” seems forehead-slappingly obvious to anyone without a journalism degree, Trump’s poll numbers rise.  Which prompts another stern lecture from The Media, which receives another “lol get fucked,” and around and around and around we go…..

But here’s the thing: The battle for the whip is a battle royale.  There are more than just two combatants.  The Party still thinks it’s in charge.  The Media, with 2008, 2012, and 2016 in its pocket, think they’re in charge.  Nobody bothered to ask “the Squad,” though, and that’s the truly terrifying thing: “The Squad” thinks they’re in charge, and they might actually be right.

We’ve already got Congress voting to condemn Trump’s tweets.  Set aside how brain-bogglingly infantile that is — and how petty and retarded it appears to the American public.  Consider just how badly Nancy Pelosi et al, aka The Party, had to screw up to find themselves in this situation.  Then consider that some idiot named Al Green (warning: autoplay video), riding “The Squad’s” coattails, has just filed a motion to impeach Trump, which will require a floor vote.  It doesn’t matter which way that vote goes.  If it happens at all — and given the “condemn the tweets” vote, Pelosi may not have the juice left to stop it — that’s pretty much game over.  There are few faster ways to get to an actual shooting civil war than by impeaching Trump, because no matter how it goes, someone goes to the gun….

…with the full, active connivance of “The Squad.”  Do you think those fools are going to somehow keep their mouths shut during impeachment?  Will theirs be the voices of moderation, urging us to respect the Constitutional processes, however they turn out?

Or will they be inciting people to flip cars and throw molotovs in the street?  People who suddenly find themselves holding the whip in their hands aren’t known for their restraint.

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9 thoughts on “Which Hand Holds the Whip?

  1. WOPR

    I actually went to see a Jesse Jackson campaign rally on campus in 1988. Let’s just say the Rainbow Coalition was pretty much all one color. Myself and a couple of friends definitely stood out. It was an enjoyable rally.

    Carter only got elected because Ford, in a typical GOPe move, granted amnesty to draft dodgers. Healing, blah, blah, blah.

    I figure the Dems are hell bent on getting us into a shooting war.

  2. MBlanc46

    Impeaching Trump and removing him from office would result in street demonstrations and violence. How much violence? I don’t have a clue. Impeaching him but failing to remove him from office would very likely get him back into the White House with good majorities and probably both houses of Congress as well. I would hope that someone would be organizing some pro-Trump rallies during the process. Getting into the streets and beginning to meet each other face-to-face would do wonders for us. Get those Patriots caps and Gadsden-flag shirts ready, guys. I don’t see a failed impeachment bill having much effect, beyond boosting Trump’s support a bit. Perhaps we shall soon see.

  3. ganderson

    Good post. I’d like to see the Squad sent out to sea in a garbage scow. Wouldn’t mind sending AOC back to tend bar- at least she’s cute.
    And as for the press, bleep ‘em. We were all better off when reporters were called, errr… reporters, and were semi literate drunks like Amy Klobuchar’s dad.
    One thing I’d say about George McGovern (and full disclosure, I was one of those scruffy 18 year olds who went door to door for the senator) is he was an honorable man. A man who did his duty during WW II, and, at least as I remember was unwilling to trade on that to get elected. He was wrong about a lot, but he wasn’t the piece of merde that so many Senators are today.

    1. MBlanc46

      George McGovern was a pretty honorable guy. For a politician. We never heard about the illegitimate child that he fathered in his youth, but it was a youthful indiscretion. He had the good fortune of coming from South Dakota. In Illinois, New York, California, and a lot of other states, it’s impossible to get into the Congress without being corrupt.

      1. Severian Post author

        I’m a little too hard on McGovern, I know. He’d be Solon himself compared to pretty much any Dem elected after 1980. But he did get outflanked as a peacenik by Richard Nixon, which means he was a goof. And the hippies did love him….

        …. and oh God how I hate hippies.

        1. MBlanc46

          A couple of years ago I worked on the first volume of a two-volume biography of McGovern (up to 1972). The author (a history prof at SMU) was clearly an acolyte, but even factoring that out, McG came across as a decent Heartland guy, always sticking up for the little guy. The Eagleton VP nomination did him in; he was never able to recover from it. He probably couldn’t have won in any case; people were pretty tired of the pie-in-the sky social programs after Johnson. And the Dems have never really recovered from kicking out conservative delegations at the 1972 convention, such as the real Mayor Daley’s Chicago delegation. Clinton was able to pull back some of the white working class, but it’s probably mostly lost forever now.

          1. Severian Post author

            And, being liberals — so, you know, incapable of learning from history — they’ll never figure it out. Instead, they crap out stuff like What’s the Matter with Kansas? Union folk (from anything other than the Teacher’s Union) have been personae non gratae in the Democratic Party for almost 50 years, and by the turn of the century it had dawned on even the dumbest Polack on the one remaining assembly line* that the Party leadership hated heartland union guys and all they stood for. That keeps showing up again and again in election analyses — the “Reagan Democrats,” the “Blue Dog Democrats,” the “Scoop Jackson Democrats,” “Democrats for Trump”, whatever — all just racists, according to the Party apparatchiks.

            But apparently, “Vote for us, you idiot inbred racist shitkickers” was a good enough message to get 40-50% of the White vote, year after year after year, so what the hell do I know? Throw in the dumbass Krauts back on the farm** who still somehow think it’s 1932 and that nice Mr. Roosevelt is the only thing keeping the bank from foreclosing, and despair.

            *who, before anyone is tempted to hold down that caps lock key, was my Dad
            ** aka my Mom’s people; see above

    2. Severian Post author

      Ah, the follies of youth. I was apolitical for most of my young adulthood — I grew up in a one-party town in a one-party county in a one-party state, so there was little point. But then I figured I’d do my civic duty, so I cast my first presidential primary vote…

      ….for John McCain. Not the stupidest thing I’ve ever done by a long shot, but it definitely makes the top five for “I was old enough to know better.”

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