A Corrupt Establishment, Lies and Resistance in the Time of Trump

Photo by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

Donald Trump is a pathological liar, who often covers up his own lies with more lies, or deliberately exaggerates or makes sarcastic comments to lead the mainstream media off into a tangential frenzy. In each instance, mainstream media journalists react with outrage, “how can a President say such a thing?” This media cycle repeated itself throughout on a loop throughout the presidential election. From Trump’s announcement of his presidential bid, the media feigned shock and outrage at the audacity of his presidential ambitions. Then his commentary, from campaign promises to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, to attacks on how awful and corrupt the current political system is elicited responses from clueless Republican establishment candidates like Jeb Bush, to gleeful opportunism from Hillary Clinton, who was presumed to be the 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee as early as 2008. The focal point of the Republican Primaries quickly became Donald Trump, and resentment toward the mainstream media and this disdain coming from the left and right political establishment toward Trump’s candidacy elevated his candidacy to the front runner of a large field of Republican candidates.

It became an opportunistic outlet for any fringe politician, B-list celebrity, or anyone in desperate need of boosting their career with positive publicity to attack Donald Trump, no matter how vague or generalized of an attack, to garner media attention. Social media posts directed at criticizing Trump provide opportunities for people, who would otherwise get little attention, to trend. Hating Trump has become a national pastime and a pop culture novelty, championed by Republican rejects like Evan McMullin, Glenn Beck, or any Republican elected official dissenting from Trump on any issue, even if their opposition is based on a more conservative stance.

The resistance or challenge to Trump’s candidacy and now his presidency is based on preserving the elitist status quo, and reasserting the establishment’s control. Trump facilitates this with overtly false statements from his administration, enacting an unpopular Muslim travel ban, and provoking such a strong reaction from the media, instigated by his disdain for them, that millions of Americans tune out both sides, accepting that both are awful, self-serving apparatuses with no sincere interest to help the working class, middle class, and poor in this country. Opportunism and political manipulation are the only two constants from Trump and the mainstream media, both favoring corporate and wealthy interests over public interests.

In the context of policy and expression of everything Trump stands for, Hillary Clinton’s egregious mistakes during her campaign and career appear frivolous to the mainstream media, who strongly advocated for her candidacy before she even formally announced her campaign. In the end, the relentless cynicism millions of Americans felt toward the political and media establishment won out against the relentless outrage provoked by Trump on a seemingly daily basis.

The resistance toward Trump’s presidency has produced several positive movements and induced a moral clarity among millions on the left that has been virtually non-existent before as the mainstream media, for the most party covered the Bush and Obama Administration, and their most abhorrent policies, with a favorable decree of consent. But at the same time, some of the resistance being manufactured in response to Trump is doubling down on the same tone deaf, novelty act based on fear mongering Trump that helped elevate him to the presidency, rather than focusing on opposition to his policies, or often lack thereof. The resistance focuses too much and far too often on Trump the person rather than his actions and policies, and pushing for systemic change needed to restore the Democratic party to fighting for working, middle class, and low income voters, not the top 1 percent.

Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1