“No matter what”
Throughout Donald Trump’s time in office, I said that he would lose reelection by too big of a margin to succeed at overturning the results, and then he would end up criminally indicted and in prison. I took a lot of heat for this from large chunks of the media and pundit class, and to this day I’m still taking heat for it. Which is odd, considering that thus far things have been playing out pretty much as I said they would.
Of course the heat I’ve been taking for this hasn’t been based any belief or expectation that I was wrong. It was really about my unwillingness to play the game. You see, the way you get ahead in the media and pundit industry is to predict doom and declare defeat at every turn, in order to pander to those on your side who are so addicted to getting to feel outrage, they’re only willing to hear about how they’re supposedly going to lose. It doesn’t matter how often these kinds of doomsday predictions turn out to be wrong. It only matters that they’re steeped in fear and outrage, so as to drive maximum ratings, page views, and retweets. Oh, and it also matters that these narratives are unanimous.
Back when the rest of the media and pundit class was spending Trump’s time in office insisting that he was going to remain in office no matter what, I was busy factually explaining how his approval rating was never even close to being high enough to get him (legitimately or illegitimately) reelected. Sure enough, he lost. And he lost by far too big of a margin for anyone – not even this corrupt Supreme Court – to be able to pull off handing it to him.
But when Trump lost badly, missed by a million miles in his efforts to overturn the results in court, and even missed by a million miles in his pathetically weak effort to violently overthrow the government, the media and pundit class didn’t miss a beat. They immediately jumped to the new narrative that Trump was somehow magically going to win in 2024. This allowed them to distract everyone from the fact that they were so wildly wrong about 2020, and it allowed them to tap into a new fear-and-outrage driven narrative that they were able to milk throughout 2021 and much of 2022.
It took Trump’s candidates getting wiped out in the 2022 midterms – something that anyone could have seen coming a mile away – for the media and pundit class to finally begin admitting that Trump isn’t some lock for 2024. But even with that minor concession in the direction of the truth, the media has still been clinging as loudly as possible to the notion that Trump is going to get away with it all no matter what.
Of course now even that narrative is finally being exposed for the ratings-driven fraud that it always been. It’s been obvious since mid 2021 that thee Department of Justice and the Fulton County District Attorney had each committed themselves to criminally indicting Trump. The timing has always been anybody’s guess, but it was always going to happen. And just based on his prospects for reelection, it’s been clear from day one that the Manhattan District Attorney was eventually going to end up indicting Trump for something.
Now everyone out there can finally see that Trump is indeed mere days away from being indicted in Fulton County, and also weeks or months from being indicted by the DOJ and in Manhattan. Trump is about to get hit with a smorgasbord of felony charges that’ll collectively come with several decades of prison time attached to them. And given Trump’s age and physical condition, he’ll only need to be convicted on a fraction of those charges in order to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
This was always very likely to end up being the case, and anyone paying close attention to these developments could always see that it was always steadily headed in this direction. But now it’s suddenly becoming more obvious, for all to see, by the day. The odds of Trump beating the rap in any one of these three jurisdictions? Rather small. The odds of Trump beating the rap on all of the charges in all of these jurisdictions? Infinitesimally small
That’s a problem for the media and pundit class, who sold audiences a defeatist bill of goods about how Trump was going to get away with it all no matter what. Audiences are starting to see that this was never the case. Once the indictments start dropping, the media will have to cover its tracks for having been full of it yet again. And it’ll need a new outrage-inducing narrative.
Now we’re starting to see that narrative cropping up on social media already: even if Donald Trump is indicted, convicted, and spends the rest of his life in prison, he still “got away with it all” because of how long it took those indictments and convictions to happen. There’s also a new catch phrase in play that I suspect the media and pundit class will try to drill into you ad nauseum: “too little too late.”
That’s right, we’re now supposed to believe that even if Trump goes to prison and never gets out, this is still something we should be pissed off about. When Trump is in prison we should still feel pure rage coursing through our veins, every minute of every day, by the fact that it took awhile to put him there. And we should be so paralyzed with rage over this, all we can do is stare at our screens all day and continue boosting the ratings of the same pundits who incorrectly insisted Trump would get away with it all. Wait, that can’t be right.
And yet as absurd as it sounds, consider this: Donald Trump was removed from power two years ago, and has since become a broken pathetic figure who wastes his days staring at the walls and pretending he’s still important. We should all be spending every day celebrating the fact that he’s gone from power – that we removed him from power by putting in the work required to beat him. Instead the media and pundit class has brainwashed the majority of the folks on our side into being more obsessively outraged over Trump than ever, to the point that you’d think he was still in office all this time.
If the media can take Trump’s ouster and removal and spin that into a defeatist narrative where he won and we lost, it can spin anything into anything. All it takes is a narrative carefully crafted for maximum outrage, daily repetition of that narrative until it “rings true” no matter how absurd it is, and a willing desire on the part of audiences to accept that getting to feel outrage is the only goal that matters.
So of course the media and pundit class now thinks it can spin the fact that Donald Trump is going to prison as some kind of outrage-inducing defeatist narrative. Trump still got away with it all, they’ll say. It won’t matter that he’ll spend the rest of his life rotting in a cell. He still got away with it all. No matter what. And the outrage addicts on our side will go along with that notion, no matter how clinically insane it may be, because it’s the narrative that allows them to feel the most outrage possible. Which, for a tragically large number of people on our side, is the only thing that has ever mattered.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report