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Hoping for a Split-Decision
Nothing about the last four years has convinced me that either party deserves vindication for their present trajectories.
Welcome to the Self-Evident newsletter. Today is the long-awaited Georgia run-off election. I doubt we’ll know who’s won anything by the end of the day, and I’m pretty confident that we’re about to experience a repeat of the Red Mirage followed by a Blue Shift that we saw last November. The question’s going to be if the Blue Shift ends the Senate careers of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler like it ended Donald Trump’s presidency or if they can perform better than he did absent his presence on the ticket.
For my newsletter today, I’m going to discuss my hopes for a split-decision and talk a little bit about the legacy media and whether or not they can reclaim legitimacy and integrity in the coming years.
And, as always, please consider subscribing.
Hoping For a Split-Decision
As a conservative, the last thing I want to see is a Democratic Party with unified control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress. If you consider yourself conservative but can’t see that no good can come from Schumer rubber-stamping a Pelosi agenda with Biden smiling awkwardly at bill-signing ceremonies, I really don’t know what to say to you but to turn in your conservative bona fides and be honest with the political evolution you’ve experienced in the age of Trump.
However, I don’t know if there’s a phrase appropriate to describe what is happening in the right-wing world. We’ve reached a whole new level of bat-shit crazy. Donald Trump continues to push his baseless claims of massive voter fraud, and Republican leaders and politicians continue to fan the flames of conspiracy.
The claims of massive fraud have gone nowhere in the courts, with even Trump-appointed judges dismissing the cases with powerful language that underlies the insanity of the claims brought before them. More and more Republicans, whose careers are built on the notion that they are constitutionalists, are throwing everything they claim to believe in about federalism and responsible governance out the window in order to play to the Trump-loving crowd.
I’ve said before that Trump and Trumpism have poisoned the well of political dialogue in our country. But now, this movement is poisoning our fundamental commitment to our system of government and is casting aspersions on the efficacy of how we choose our leaders. The last thing this country needs is for this banana republic circus act to be vindicated.
Donald Trump has already been defeated, but in a way that denied a mandate to the Democratic Party, a miracle I continue to be thankful for. Today, I pray for another miracle. I hope that somehow, Georgia sends a message to everyone who’s lost themselves in histrionics. I hope they give us a split-verdict.
Give the GOP just one Senator so that the Democrats don’t run amok claiming a mandate they don’t have. But only one. The GOP needs to feel the sting of losing a safe seat in the deep South, so they can start to wake up to what Trump and Trumpism have done to the party that’s supposed to stand for constitutional and conservative values.
Can the Media Reclaim Its Non-partisan Integrity?
The credibility of legacy media is at an all-time low. Across the entire political spectrum, an astonishingly few seek out nuanced and objective reporting. Instead, most gravitate to whichever outlet confirms their biases…or they shun legacy media entirely, turning to increasingly outrageous alternative sources. It’s gotten to the point that a story is embraced or dismissed simply based on which news outlet it came from.
There are plenty of things to point to as a cause for all of this: political balkanization, negative partisanship, grift and fearmongering, political nihilism. But there’s also a lot to be said about legacy media’s own role in how this has all played out.
While there has actually been a lot of good, responsible reporting over the last twenty years, at the end of the day, far too many outlets have failed to stay above the fray. During the Bush years, I could turn on NBC and CNN if I wanted to hear negative news about President Bush, and I could turn on Fox News or listen to talk radio if I wanted to hear positive news about President Bush. This dynamic flipped in the Obama years and flipped again, with increasing intensity, during the Trump presidency.
But the end of the Trump presidency and the beginning of the Biden presidency presents an opportunity. Joe Biden has neither the charisma nor solid following that Barack Obama had. Neither does Joe Biden have the capacity nor the mandate to craft a progressive vision like Obama could. Media outlets, of all biases, could quite possibly find it in themselves to return to a more responsible approach to the news under this presidency.
If outlets like NBC and CNN stopped pulling their punches for a Democratic President and if outlets like Fox News dropped their “the sky is falling” histrionics over a Democratic President, it could go a long way toward restoring faith in legacy media.
I’m not holding my breath or anything, but the possibility is there.
Democracy Dies in Numbness
Speaking of the legacy media, I’ve often thought about the Washington Post’s little ditty, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” I get what they’re trying to say. They’re trying to embrace their role as a free press by shining a light on the workings of the government and trying to hold up the truth (as they see it) for all to see.
But the problem is, by shining a light on every single Trump indiscretion over the last four years, far too many Americans have stopped paying attention. When everything’s a crisis, nothing’s a crisis. We’ve grown numb to it all.
So, while the latest Trump revelation is shocking and really should shine a light on just how uncommitted he is to republican values and the principles of a free society, everyone’s just shrugging their shoulders.
It’s not so much a boy who cried wolf thing (though there is some of that), but more of a constant inundation of alarms with the volume dialed up to ten, day in and day out, to the point that a pretty big segment of Americans has come to reflexively dismiss even the most credible of warnings.
Donald Trump has been and always will be a troll who will manufacture a crisis to ensure he stays the center of attention. Maybe, part of Trump’s mercurial rise and Teflon-like ability to survive scandal is that the media has played right into his strategy?
But then again, it’s not like anyone’s wrote the book on what to do if the American people elevate a troll to the White House. Hopefully, after four years of learning what not to do, that book just might get written. It sure needs to be written.
In last week’s newsletter, I attempted to define a republic.
Over at The Liberty Hawk, I talked about White Nationalism and how conservatives must recognize and reject it.
(BTW, I got some flak for using a Proud Boys pic for the story on White Nationalism. What do you think? Does the presence of POCs in an organization make it any less a sounding board for a pernicious ideology?)
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Alright, you Georgia voters. Get out there and split one for the Gipper! (and maybe subscribe too)
Stay Free My Friends,
-Justin (whoever I am)