Over the past week various judges in various jurisdictions ruled that Donald Trump and his family must testify in the New York probe into the Trump Organization, that Allen Weisselberg must testify in the Washington DC probe into the Trump inaugural, and that Trump can be held personally liable for harm caused by the January 6th attack.
This swarm of devastating rulings against Donald Trump has finally convinced a lot of you that his future really does consist of bankruptcy and prison, not some kind of mythical comeback. It’s good to see some of the defeatist fretting finally subside, and give way to positive momentum. When defeatism rules the day, it’s difficult to organize and put in the work and win any upcoming battles. But when your side has momentum and is able to see what a win looks like, it becomes a whole lot easier to organize and win tough battles such as, say, the 2022 midterms.
It now feels like this is a starting point. For us to win anything going forward, we had to move beyond the narrative that Trump was somehow going to circle back and defeat us no matter what. No one is going to be willing or able to put in that kind of work if they think they’re going to lose anyway. But now we can actually fight and win, because we finally believe that we can fight and win.
However, before we embark on the constructive hard work of winning upcoming political battles, we should take a moment to think about how we got to this point – because it’s not pretty. If you look at what transpired in court this week (particularly in New York), and you work backwards, you realize that this was always going to be the outcome. It’s been clear since late 2019 that if Trump lost the 2020 election, New York would take his assets and put in him in prison. Once he did lose the election, there was never any doubt that we’d end up where we’re at now. Trump was always going down.
Yet for the past year, nearly everyone in the mainstream media – left, right, or center – and nearly all of the most prominent social media pundits, have been insisting that Donald Trump would get away with it all and somehow retake control of the country. Since literally the minute Trump was declared the loser, the media and the pundits have been insisting nonstop that Trump in 2024 was inevitable. Not only was he going to automatically win the Republican nomination, he was somehow magically going to steal the general election as well – and then we’d all be doomed.
There was never anything to support this narrative. Within days of leaving office, polling showed that only about half of Republican voters even wanted Trump to be their 2024 presidential nominee. There was no consensus on an alternative candidate; Republican voters were simply making clear that they knew Trump was washed up, damaged goods, someone who had no future and certainly wouldn’t be competitive if he were the 2024 Republican nominee.
Yet even as the facts have made clear for the past year that the Republican electorate had already moved beyond Trump, and that New York was going to put Trump in prison long before 2024 anyway, the media has almost unanimously spent the past year feeding us a fictional story instead. The media simply ignored every single thing that was happening, and instead fed us baseless “Trump 2024” hype. And if anything, media outlets that lean liberal were more guilty of promoting this narrative.
How could the entire media have spent an entire year getting the entire narrative about Donald Trump entirely wrong? That kind of industry-wide ineptness isn’t possible, of course, unless it was done on purpose. And let’s not mince words: it was in fact done on purpose.
Every single person in the mainstream media, and every prominent political pundit, has known all along that things in New York would inevitably end up where they are now. The New York Attorney General would not only dismantle the Trump Organization, but do it in way that would feed the related criminal case against Donald Trump and his family. Trump was always heading for bankruptcy and prison in New York – and nothing was going to cause that path to deviate.
But it was going to take time for things to progress to this point – an unknown amount of time. And that was the problem. The media and the pundits didn’t want to have to spend every day of the past year factually pointing out that at some unknown future time, Trump would be ripped limb from proverbial limb by New York prosecutors. The media didn’t want to have to keep covering a story that was moving at a snail’s pace and didn’t produce any publicly visible results most days. More specifically, the media didn’t want to annoy audiences by repeatedly pointing out that Trump was going to be indicted and put in prison, without being able to specify when this would actually end up happening.
I know this for a fact, because I’m the dummy who’s spent every day of the past year factually pointing out that Trump was on track for bankruptcy and prison, only to face endless blowback from increasingly annoyed audiences who’ve wanted to know when it would happen. I’m the dummy, I suppose, because I’ve been dumb enough to keep speaking the actual truth about where things are headed – even as everyone kept yelling “are we there yet” at me – while the entire rest of the media industry cashed in with easy ratings and page views by pushing the fictional “Trump 2024” narrative instead.
But I digress. This isn’t about me. I’m just the dummy who’s always willing to go against the media’s prevailing narratives, when those narratives are incompatible with the facts and the truth. This is about the rest of the industry’s willingness to almost uniformly rally around these ratings-driven prevailing narratives, no matter how false they are, how absurd they are, how damaging they are to the public discourse, and how demotivating they are for would-be activists who are inaccurately being told daily that they’re going to lose no matter what.
The entire mainstream media and pundit class has known for the past year that we were heading toward Donald Trump’s total dismantling at the hands of New York prosecutors, and instead of admitting as much, the entire mainstream media and pundit class has spent the past year chasing ratings by pretending that we were heading toward Trump taking over in 2024. You should be so outraged by this industry-wide deception, there should be steam coming out of your ears. You’ve been lied to.
Not only have you been lied to, you’ve been lied to in an injurious manner. Many of you have spent the past year scared to death that Trump was going to “get away with it all” and take over the country in 2024. Many of you have been too scared, too paralyzed with fear, too demotivated, to be able to focus on fighting the political battles that have needed to be fought. Our side collectively put almost zero effort into the race for Governor of Virginia, and we ended up losing by just two points. If we’d actually bothered to fight and win, Virginia would be under Democratic control right now instead of Republican control. The first step in fighting and winning any given battle is understanding that you can actually fight and win that battle.
So as we move forward into this new era where most of us now understand that Donald Trump really is going down, and that we really can win upcoming elections if we simply decide to put in the work that always decides elections, let’s decide that we deserve better than what the media has given us these past twelve months. The media effectively cost us a year by spending every day of it insisting that we weren’t going to be able to win anything no matter what we did. We must pressure the media to be more honest with us going forward. Otherwise the cost is simply too high.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report