Donald Trump has lost his bid for re-election and it’s his own fault.
A few months ago, I posted about Milo Yiannopoulos effectively destroying his own career through bombastic vitriol. Needless to say, actions and words have consequences.
From 2015-2020, the conservative movement in America hurt itself with its overt trollish approach to rhetoric and discourse.
“Blacks are responsible for most of the crime. Muslims are responsible for the majority of terrorist acts,” they’ve said with shrugging bluntness.
“We can’t solve problems without talking about them,” they’ve said with pithy certainty.
To be clear, I do NOT endorse political correctness. It obfuscates relevant issues and even blames the so-called “forces at work” for one’s oppression.
Further, most issues whether personal or societal, have to be solved within.
Not getting the job you wanted? Fix your resume, and sharpen your interview skills.
Don’t have enough friends? Go out and join a club.
All issues are solved internally, not externally.
I don’t want to waste too much time tackling PC culture. Rather, it’s the right wing’s approach to PC culture the last few years that warrants a self-assessment.
(Soon-to-be-Former) President Trump
Donald Trump just lost his bid for re-election. He lost to Joe Biden, of all people. The same Joe Biden that is pushing 80 and appeared like a decrepit old man during this entire pandemic.
Trump lost to the same Joe Biden that authored an anti-Black crime bill and said Blacks that vote for Trump “ain’t Black.”
What Happened: Trump Edition
Trump had everything going for him this election cycle. He had this thing in the bag when 2020 came around. The economy was booming. We had the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, under 4%.
Trump was making progress with North Korea, and every President since Ronald Reagan was too chicken to do it. Clinton, Bush, and Obama assumed the problem would take care of itself by simply ignoring it.
The last communist bastion from the Cold War seemed on the verge of gracefully surrendering to the 21st century.
In terms of optics, Trump created a far more effective convention speech than Biden could ever dream of. Hell, Trump even appeared more powerful and authoritative in front of the camera, something the voters intrinsically need to see from their commander-in-chief.
Biden looked like a stuttering, nervous wreck in comparison.
And, by the way? Seeing a respirator mask on a 77 year-old man doesn’t beget much confidence.
So how did Trump lose?
Two words: his mouth.
(And his thumbs)
It goes without saying that Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large are pretty liberal. Look at late-night show hosts, they’re constantly vilifying Trump behind the thin veil of comedy.
Look at Film Award shows, the speeches that involve jokes about Trump and the state of healthcare in America get the most laughs. The speeches where actors praise America are met with silence.
It wasn’t the industry per se that terminated the Trump presidency, rather it was the President’s response to it.
Trump slammed “Crazy Mika” Brzezinski of MSNBC and said he saw her “bleeding badly from a facelift” on New Year’s Eve. The backlash was swift and came from both sides, including Republicans.
He’s attacked CNN for being “fake news,” though wasn’t necessarily wrong about that. 😉
I mean, let’s be real. Every news network is “fake news.” In case you didn’t know, news corporations have the legal right to lie and distort the news as per the First Amendment (see: Fox News vs. Jane Akre).
It’s perfectly fine to follow a network religiously as long as you’re aware of the bent going on. Pick your poison, as I always say.
Anyway, back to Trump and his apoplectic bashing of celebrities.
Sour Lemon, Sour Lebron
We know about Trump’s war against CNN and Jim Acosta. If you don’t, subscribe to a paper or get a social media account.
Trump has openly sparred with Don Lemon, calling him the “dumbest man on television” and even said that LeBron James makes him look smart.
Look, I understand that LeBron doesn’t come across as…shall we say, educated? I mean, the guy only has a high school diploma to his name. The public school system of Akron didn’t benefit him, if his broken grammar is any indication.
Sure, I’ll watch LeBron shoot hoops any day of the week. What I will NOT do is listen to political opinions from LeBron James.
ANOTHER thing I won’t do is openly disparage an African-American icon if I’m running for public office.
Forget it, a celebrity of LeBron’s stature is too risky to clash with. African-Americans from the inner cities see him as an inspiration. Remember that this election saw the highest voter turnout in American history. That means the urbanites voted in droves.
The African-American urbanites took full advantage of the mail-in voting system, so much so that the Democrats in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia managed to flip the entire state blue!
Georgia, of all states! How in the world did that happen? 😮
It’s a bad idea to clash with influential celebrities, even if they publicly call you a “bum.”
Another bad idea is publicly condemning figures from your own political party, especially if you’re supposed to be on the same team.
After announcing his candidacy in 2015, Trump locked horns with John McCain, US Senator from Arizona and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee. The public feud was concomitant of the present-GOP’s split with its own past.
Trump’s rise was symbolic of a dramatic shift in party politics. The Republicans were done being the nice guys. They were done playing games. Our country was spiraling into debt and our culture was no longer fostering personal responsibility.
Some context to this is probably in order.
McCain effectively started the feud by accusing Trump of “firing up the crazies” with his rallies against illegal immigration.
Trump responded by calling McCain a “dummy” and referenced his poor academic standing at Annapolis.
He took it even further with his now-infamous diatribe about McCain being a war hero “because he was captured”, and Trump “liking people that weren’t captured.”
(To his credit, Trump quickly relented to Frank Luntz and corrected himself mere seconds after his ill-advised comment)
Despite the media backlash, Trump’s poll numbers surprisingly shot up and he commanded the entire primary race without looking back. The GOP base seemed to embrace their candidate’s unorthodox, opinionated style.
Conservatives finally had someone who wasn’t afraid to say what needed to be said. They finally had someone striving to return America to her former glory.
But the Trump/McCain feud didn’t end there. McCain ultimately refused to endorse Trump, calling his conduct unbecoming of the presidency. Instead, he submitted an unnamed write-in.
Senator McCain also cast the deciding downvote for the ObamaCare repeal, despite campaigning against it 10 years prior.
He actually saved his rival’s signature piece of legislation, and why? To spite Trump, of course.🤷♂️
McCain later lamented the rise of “spurious nationalism” in America before succumbing to cancer in 2018. Now, do you think that was the end of the feud? Was it over, once and for all?
President Trump went so far as to actually attack McCain after his death. Needless to say, attacking someone who isn’t physically there to defend themselves is…in poor taste, to put it mildly.
Trump ended up losing Arizona to Biden, and it’s easy to see the McCain effect in play here. Hell, McCain’s wife and daughter made sure that Trump’s attacks wouldn’t go unanswered.
Trump lost another Republican stronghold because of…you guessed it, his mouth. And dare I say, his schizophrenia.
Adding Insult to Injury
Trump is no stranger to name-calling. Who can forget “Low-Energy Jeb,” “Little Marco,” and the classic “Lyin’ Ted”?
And “Crooked Hillary!”
It all seemed juvenile because it probably was.
But it was effective.
If you can make the insult compact, easy to remember, and pack it with enough punch, you got yourself a helluva marketing maneuver.
Unfortunately (depending on who you ask), Trump only had one person to slander this time around.
“Sleepy, Creepy Joe!”
Biden was shown to be a listless octogenarian who spent too much time in his basement.
And who sniffs baby hair. (maybe a more sane alternative would be to buy the shampoo and, I don’t know, try it on yourself? Just a suggestion, Mr. President-elect 🙄)
Anyway, the voters were already desensitized over the elementary school insults. They probably never had a problem with any of them to begin with. The insults were catchy and fun! But it wasn’t the petty insults that cost Trump the election.
No, it was Trump’s performance in the debates, specifically the first one.
“Will You Shut Up, Man?”
We all watched the fiasco that was the first debate, moderated by Chris Wallace. Everyone had a problem with it. Everyone.
Republican voters hated how biased Wallace was against Trump. Wallace even openly debated him without asking questions (and the questions he did ask were obviously loaded).
Democrats and Independents were united on their distaste for one thing in particular.
Yeah, you guessed it again, genius.
Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden during the debate and put himself at risk of extra scrutiny. See, Biden is an older man who sometimes struggles with putting sentences together. He stammers a lot, too, and has been openly vocal about it.
All Trump had to do was keep his mouth shut for once. All he had to do was let the fool talk. Let Biden talk himself into a hole that he couldn’t dig out of.
I believe Napoleon once said something to the effect of, “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.”
(That sounds more like Sun Tzu, but whatever)
Sure, it was the first, and not last, Presidential debate. BUT…remember this election heavily used mail-in ballots because of the pandemic.
Traditionally, voters made up their minds AFTER every Presidential debate was aired. But this time, they had ample time to cast their ballots at a moment’s notice if they so desired.
I’m willing to bet that a crapload of independents had cast their votes for Biden after the first debate. Trump lost the independent vote because…
Yeeeaaahhh, because of his mouth. 😃
End of Trumpism
Now the Trump Administration is approaching a premature end. What happened to Milo has happened to Trump.
If you coast on being a troll, guess what? You’re going to have a very short career. There will come a time where you cross the line and people will get sick of hearing you.
Trump did not keep his mouth shut when he needed to.
Sure, his bluster and self-bloviating were amusing at first, and probably won him the Presidency.
And now, it has cost him the Presidency.
The Age of Trumpism is coming to an end. Where can we, conservative Republicans, go from here?
The Big Bens: The Road Ahead
Back in 2015, when Milo Yiannopoulos was a conservative rockstar, his polar opposite was seen to be Ben Shapiro.
Shapiro is Co-Founder of The Daily Wire and host of the Ben Shapiro Show.
Shapiro has gotten a reputation for being politically incorrect, a staunch conservative, and more importantly, a fierce debater.
Here’s the thing, though, he has never gotten himself in trouble. He’s never had a controversy that brought his career to a screeching halt.
When Shapiro debates, he strictly stays within the lines of acceptable norms and behavior. He does not personally attack others on Twitter nor encourage his followers to go after somebody. That just isn’t what he does. Ben Shapiro follows proper etiquette.
Another unapologetic conservative that comes to mind, and I hope will be a strong contender for the 2024 election, is Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
I think Sasse will easily attract young voters due to his relatively young age. He can also draw in older voters with his conservative leanings and praxis.
Sasse has three kids who are all home-schooled. He also wrote a book detailing the decline of adulthood and the rise of failure-to-launch syndrome in America.
He understands the importance of the family unit and why properly raising kids is crucial to a healthy and strong society. Our children are the future.
And you know something even better?
Senator Sasse has openly sparred with Trump on the latter’s decorum (or lack thereof). Sasse can be trusted to not be dictated by bombastic rhetoric nor use it to gain support in the short run.
(Plus he’s poised, Harvard-educated, and practices what he preaches. Not a bad combination, that)
Party of Shapiro. Party of Sasse
We, the Right, have already experimented with flagrant misuse of rhetoric. Our figures have gotten de-platformed. They’ve lost elections for relying on ephemeral amusement without regard for the long-term consequences.
The above scenario has defined our movement for the last five years. We can do better.
Here’s my suggestion: instead of being the party of Trump and Milo, let’s be the party of Shapiro and Sasse.
What do we have to lose except our civility?