What is among the things most shameful about the media coverage of Donald Trump’s rapid public descent to sub-humanity is that their commentators remark that the only thing that matters about what he’s saying and doing is the extent to which likely Republican voters embrace it or not.
As he’s now used the “schlonged” term against Hillary Clinton, it is only relevant, in the media’s eyes, delighting in this latest vulgar excess, if it causes his polling numbers to go up or down. We all can’t wait to find out!
You see, no one is going to jump on a bandwagon to smash into smithereens basic notions of civility and decorum more than the media. If a presidential campaign descends toward mud wrestling and cage fighting, the major media are thrilled to elbow their way ahead of their competition to be there to report it, even if in the height of hypocrisy, they dutifully avoid repeating certain terms on the air, even as they can barely constrain their excitement (and as they and most viewers know they can readily be found on the Internet).
On the civility question, Donald Trump is now sinking lower, given the high level of the office that he’s aspiring for, than even the late and most regrettable Morton Downey Jr. (1932-2001), who late in his pathetic life decided he could hold onto a TV show by being more rude, more foul mouthed and more violent than anyone else.
The more salacious the better in his book, and he had the audacity to contend that there was socially redeeming value in what he was doing. If you don’t remember his show, you’re lucky.
But this is Donald Trump now, and if he or anyone else thinks that this can translate into a serious presidential campaign, well, let the fantasy continue. In fact, Trump himself let his Achilles heel be known when he boasted in a Michigan rally this week about not having to spend any of his own money on his campaign, except for some radio ads in Iowa.
This means, in fact, that he has no “ground game” going into the early primaries, beginning on Feb. 1 with the Iowa caucuses. That’s when reality is first going to smack him in the puss. Iowa is a very tough state for doing politics; just ask Howard Dean in 2004.
If your campaign doesn’t have a tough-it-out ground game that can turn and hold onto hardened political grass roots activists to represent you, then you should avoid it altogether and go for states that have open primary elections, but not caucuses.
It still remains, however, that the GOP presidential clown bus does not have anything much better to offer than Donald Trump, since he has succeeded in dragging the rest of them down to his level.
An interesting report on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on CNN Sunday dealt with the fact that Trump’s base appears to be that segment of the U.S. white male population that is actually dying at a higher rate than ever.
These white males, ages 40 – 60, are committing suicide, dying of drug overdoses or other lifestyle-related ailments such as sclerosis of the liver at an alarming rate that actually constitutes a decline in their overall population.
This is Trump’s base, obviously troubled by any number of things that no one seems to know how they relate for sure: poor employment, troubled households, a decline in the quality of their favorite sports teams.
One factor not usually discussed is the extent to which they are suffering from the effects of wives no longer willing to stay and be subjected to spousal abuse.
The statistics show that until recently, wives would stay with their husbands through an average of seven seriously abusive incidents. But with more attention being given and access to the Internet, this number is now plunging.
So, Trump is willing to show just how insensitive he is to this reality when he talks about being “schlonged” as if it was something his white male middle aged base would cheer. Go ahead Donald, keep it up, and watch your constituents’ death rate grow even faster.