Yesterday morning I wrote that all the recent doomsday hysteria about Donald Trump’s criminal trials being pushed until after the election was based on nothing at all. The media was merely taking advantage of the fact that the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling hadn’t come down yet, and was using the resulting vacuum as an opportunity to sell you on a baseless worst case scenario, so you’d stay glued to your screen.
Sure enough, a few hours after I published that article, the U.S. Court of Appeals did indeed rule against Donald Trump. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, as if this development were some big surprise. We were totally doomed, and then at the last minute the courts issued a surprise ruling that saved us from total destruction!
But that’s not what happened at all. And in moments like this I think it’s important to go back and remind ourselves that the version of events we’re being fed is indeed not at all what happened. For starters, the Court of Appeals always had a roughly 100% chance of ruling against Trump in this matter. No one even disagreed with this expectation.
In addition, there was always a roughly 100% chance that the ruling was going to come down pretty quickly. Not quickly by DoorDash standards, but quickly by legal standards. When the ruling didn’t come down last week, it was nearly a lock to come down this week. Again, there was no one who disagreed with this expectation. There wasn’t one legal expert who expected Trump to win this ruling. There wasn’t one legal expert who expected the Court of Appeals to drag this out endlessly. There wasn’t any basis whatsoever for expecting a negative outcome here. So what was all that back there?
So many folks on our side got so wrapped up in a wave of doomsday hysteria over this Court of Appeals ruling that was based on… nothing. Literally nothing. This doomsday hype was all based on the premise that February plus two weeks equals 2025. But no one who’s in their right mind and thinking clearly actually believes that. So again, what was all this doomsday hysteria about? More importantly, why does this keep happening? And why does it always seem to happen specifically with matters where we know we’re definitely going to win?
Whenever one of these doomsday hysteria cycles is playing out, and I push back against it by offering a factual explanation for why it’s not even a real thing, I’m often dismissed as being an “optimist.” That always gets my gourd a little bit, because I am absolutely not an optimist when it comes to politics. Optimists presume a good outcome in every scenario, even when the odds and the facts are against them. That’s not me. I’m the first one to point out that we’re not going to win a House race in a far right district, no matter how much rah rah optimism might get put into it.
When I say that something is probably going to go our way, I say it because the facts and odds say that it’s probably going to go our way. And when I say that something is absolutely going to go our way, it’s because the facts and odds say that it’s absolutely going to go our way. This U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in the Trump case was absolutely going to go our way, both in terms of the ruling and the timing. There wasn’t going to be a different outcome.
Moreover, no one in the entire industry – not one reporter, not one talking head on TV, not one political analyst on Twitter – believed that this Court of Appeals ruling was going to play out in Trump’s favor. None of those folks even tried to make a specific argument or lay out a specific scenario about how it was going to play out in Trump’s favor, because were no such scenarios. Instead, the talking heads who hyped this in doomsday fashion were just trying to get you to lose your minds, so you’d forget that there was no scenario that would work in Trump’s favor. So you’d start panicking in a generic sense. So you’d start playing the “what if” game and talk yourself into believing that we’re doomed. So that you’d sit there and stare helplessly at your screen until the ruling came down.
Of course now that the ruling has come down against Trump, and has come down in pretty much the timeframe one would have expected, we’re being told that this is a “stunning” ruling and an unprecedented development. No it’s not. It’s a huge deal, to be sure. But it’s something that had basically 100% chance of playing out like this, and that everyone who covers this stuff for a living knew it had basically 100% chance of playing out like this. So again, what was all that doomsday hysteria for?
I’m more concerned than ever about these baseless doomsday hysteria cycles that the political media and pundit class whips up every time there’s a lull in the action. I’m concerned about the debilitating psychological impact that this kind of endless doomsday hype can have on those of you who consume political news on a daily basis. I’m also concerned that this kind of fictional doomsday hysteria will continue to distract us from the actual threats and dangers we’re facing.
The media and pundit class won’t stop trying to play you like this, until you push back and force them to stop playing you like this. If you’ve spent the past week or two worried that Donald Trump’s Washington DC criminal trial was somehow never going to happen, it’s important to take a moment now and let it sink in that this was never a scenario. You can see that now in hindsight. So take a moment to identify who was feeding you this crap, and maybe consider not letting those people play you anymore. This is all too important for those kinds of games. This is a time for serious people – not for people who think their job is to make up imaginary doomsday scenarios to keep you glued to your screen.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report