Finishing off Donald Trump

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This article isn’t about Ron DeSantis, but it’s where I’m going to start. Throughout 2021, 2022, and early 2023, the entire national political media unanimously hyped DeSantis as this extremely savvy politician who was three steps ahead of everyone and was inevitably going to make a major splash on the national stage. Every major news outlet on all sides took this same position that DeSantis was an unstoppable political genius. The only difference was that outlets on the right painted this as a good thing, and outlets on the left painted it as a bad thing. But they were all 100% certain DeSantis would take over, or so they told us.

Looking back, none of these people could possibly have honestly believed this, unless they were incredibly inept at their jobs. All you had to do was look at the moves DeSantis was making in Florida, and you could see all along that he was in way over his head. He was trying to use the “Trump playbook” without understanding any of it. DeSantis would pick fights with Disney, the one entity a Florida politician can’t afford to feud with. DeSantis would position himself to the right of his own Republican Party on social issues, which is never a recipe that translates to the national political stage. And DeSantis was the kind of undisciplined oaf who could get easily baited into feuds that made him look like an idiot, whereas Trump at least had the sense to mostly start feuds that he thought would benefit him politically.

It was just obvious all along that once DeSantis was on the national stage, he would immediately trip over his own dick and flop badly. The guy simply had zero political savvy, and zero sense of what he was trying to do. His willingness to pick big ugly fights didn’t mean he was savvy, or fearless, or any of those things. Given the he picked the stupidest fights possible, it just meant he was an idiot.

Sure enough, DeSantis flopped within proverbial minutes of stepping onto the national political stage in the spring of 2023. The guy fell so hard and fast that by the time people were actually casting primary votes, no one remembered he existed. At this point he’s thought of mostly as a punchline. And recent developments suggest that he’s now even falling apart in Florida, where some of the biggest fights he picked within the state are (predictably) turning into losses for him.

But as I said at the top, this article isn’t about Ron DeSantis. It’s about the fact that DeSantis was able to thrive for a few years, despite being an idiot who had no idea what he was doing, simply because everyone kept portraying him as being a savvy political genius. Every time DeSantis made yet another dumb mistake that was obviously going to play out poorly for him, the entire media (on the left and right) would instead portray it as yet more proof that DeSantis was invincible – and national audiences bought it, because it’s all they kept hearing. Why would the public have questioned it? It’s not as if the general public pays close enough attention to day to day politics to know that someone like DeSantis was actually making nothing but stupid self-defeating moves.

Yet that false narrative, that Ron DeSantis was some kind of political genius, was solely responsible for keeping him on the mountaintop for as long it lasted. No matter how bad you are at something, no matter how badly you keep stepping in it, it’s hard to fail when you’re being carried by nonstop headlines from both sides about how much you’re succeeding.

The national political media, on both sides, kept DeSantis alive on the national political stage for years because it wanted to benefit from the ratings that it would ultimately get from him being there. Of course DeSantis was such an inept idiot, he eventually managed to crash and burn even while the entire media was still trying to prop him up. He didn’t make it to the heart of primary season, which means the national media – again, on BOTH SIDES – falsely built up DeSantis for nothing. All that the media (including your “friends” at MSNBC) did was to goad that sicko into continuing his perverted right wing agenda against Florida’s children. For that matter, the media’s hype – once again, on BOTH SIDES – was probably the only reason DeSantis was reelected in 2022 to begin with. The media did that much damage.

But again, this article isn’t about DeSantis. I know I’m still saying this seven hundred words into the article, so let me get to what this is really about. Unlike DeSantis, Donald Trump came into politics with at least some savvy. Trump has always been very much a one-note con artist. He’ll take a position and just beat it to death on repeat, whether it’s getting him anywhere or not. Sometimes he guesses right, but more often he guesses wrong, which is why he lost in 2020 by seven million votes. And unfortunately for him, he’s since begun to suffer from worsening dementia that has him almost exclusively firing political blanks. At this point he’s too far gone to even know what he’s talking about, let alone work out any semblance of a political strategy.

More to the point, a feeble and broken Trump is now just two weeks away from the start of his first criminal trial. Remember when the entire media (on both sides) spent all that time insisting that Trump would be able to push all of his criminal trials until after the election? Those were the same people (on both sides) who insisted that Ron DeSantis was going to do big things on the national stage ¬ but I digress.

The point is that Trump is, very obviously, at his weakest and most helpless point to date. He’s scraping the bottom of the financial barrel. He’s too deep into dementia to remain on the campaign trail. And he’s failed to stop his criminal trials from getting underway.

All that Trump has left at this point – and I mean literally all that he has left – is his ability to goad everyone into believing that he’s still running the show. Why do you think that he used the word “bloodbath” in his final rally speech before his dementia took him off the road? It was so that the headlines would be about his dangerously powerful rhetoric, instead of how he was weakly giving up the campaign trail.

Why do you think that after Trump got hit with a gag order in his upcoming criminal trial, he made a social media post about President Biden being kidnapped in the back of a pickup truck? It was so the headlines would once again be about his dangerously powerful rhetoric, instead of being about how he’s so powerless that his life is now controlled by criminal trial gag orders.

Ron DeSantis’ power was derived solely from the media’s willingness (once again, on BOTH SIDES) to falsely portray him as having been savvy and powerful when he was actually weak and helpless. At this point Donald Trump’s remaining power is also derived solely from the media’s willingness to falsely portray him as savvy and powerful when he is in fact at the weakest point of his life to date.

Trump is too addled to remain on the campaign trail, yet the headlines are about how his campaign trail rhetoric makes him more powerful than ever (with no mention of the fact that he’s basically quit the campaign trail). Trump is so boxed in that his life is now governed by gag orders, yet the headlines are about how he’s violating the gag order and getting away with it all (when in fact his post didn’t even violate the gag order).

At a time when Donald Trump is falling to pieces, we’re now being fed endless headlines (from both sides) about how Trump is invincible, and those headlines are the only thing still keeping him afloat at all. Just as a hapless Ron DeSantis was kept afloat solely by all the false headlines about how he was invincible, the same thing is now happening with a hapless Trump.

The solution to all of this is what it’s always been: we have to stop letting the media portray failing political villains as invincible. When you overstate your opponent’s power, you’re not being vigilant. All we’re doing is unwittingly propping them up. The only thing it took for DeSantis to collapse was for everyone to finally start acknowledging that he was clueless to begin with. All it’ll take for us to finish off Trump is for us to acknowledge that he’s just about finished off. Let’s stop propping him up and start knocking him down.

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