Donald Trump has been president for the better part of a year and many Trumpist pundits still can’t accept that some of us haven’t joined their cult. Some of them didn’t join it themselves until after the election and as with most things, the recently converted make the most zealous (and annoying) evangelists.
There’s still no shortage of columns bashing #NeverTrump—or at least their authors’ lame caricatures of the classification that really has no significance anymore. It makes for easy work on their part. They just need to rewrite their last column and switch out the lame insults for different lame insults. Telling the #MAGA red cappers what they want to hear is probably lucrative and #NeverTrump makes a good enough Emmanuel Goldstein.
If it’s about anything more than just mining rage clicks from the faithful, it’s really an irrational obsession. It’s not as if any of them are against being critical of Republicans in general. They and their grand vizier badmouth fellow GOPers with relish. For some reason though, they believe one Republican is above criticism and worthy of unquestioning loyalty. Their limited, binary view of the political landscape seems to equate criticism of Trump with support for the dead wood Republicans in Congress or even the Democrats. That the whole thing is a train wreck isn’t on their list of possibilities.
The idea that everyone in Washington is worthy of our skepticism and most are worthy of our outright disdain is somehow foreign to them. This is why I can’t take the anti-anti-Trumpers seriously. Democrats spinning wild conspiracy theories and accusations isn’t proof that Trump (or any other Republican) does everything right. The left-wing media being inordinately negative in their coverage of Trump doesn’t mean fair coverage must necessarily be positive.
I have no illusions that anything I write is going to change the course of a presidency. Trump is president and he’s going to be Trump. There’s nothing I can do to change that or him, but I write what I think and I don’t really care who it triggers. At this point though, my problem with politics isn’t even Trump himself. Like Obama before him, Trump is just a symptom, not the underlying pathology which is, in part, the human tendency to outsource their thinking to the loudest person in the room.
The resulting double standards and logical anomalies only make left and right into mirror images of the same malignancy. Those who attack/defend Trump for the same things they defended/attacked Obama are not serious people. They’re not thinkers. They are simply fans of a particular color jersey.
I suspect that those pundits hostile to Trump critics live under the illusion that they actually are highly influential. If they think they’re tangibly helping Trump by being his cheerleaders, they must necessarily think those among their peers who aren’t cheering are actually doing Trump real damage. That would explain their insistence that they’re fighting in a literal civil war and their insistence that some of us are AWOL.
To people who think this way, I say: Calm down, Sparky, you write for a website most of America doesn’t read, or you talk on a radio show most of America doesn’t listen to. And that applies to even the top people in the political commentary business. We work in a bubble for people who are entertained by political discussion. It’s not a large bubble. Get over yourselves.
Obama’s flubs and gaffes were daily fodder for right-wing talk shows and social media for years after the fact while Trump’s are explained away as no big deal.
When Obama claimed success based on the performance of the stock market, analysts on the right explained how that wasn’t a good measure of overall economic health. Trump routinely touts the stock market as an indicator of his success and the same pundits applaud.
Unemployment numbers under Obama were always rightly treated with skepticism by conservatives because of the terrible state of the overall labor participation rate. The labor force hasn’t grown significantly since Trump’s inauguration but pundits on the right seldom mention it when Trump claims responsibility for reducing the unemployment rate.
There’s nothing wrong with calling out false media or lying Democrats. We should do so at every opportunity. Assuming that the target of their attacks is justified in all things simply because of who is attacking him is not logical. It’s the same silly emotionalism for which we’ve long ridiculed the left. It’s tiresome.
For me—and maybe some of you—being #NeverTrump during the election was just part of my rejection of team politics in general. Both sides need to be held accountable all the time. I may agree with one side far more often than the other on policies, but not a single politician deserves my absolute trust nor yours. If you’re employing double standards to defend your tribe, you don’t deserve my trust either—or my attention.