What the Press Still Doesn't Understand About Its Latest Trump Hysteria

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Following Trump’s latest rally, we were all transported back to 2016, a time when the press would routinely take the now-former president’s words out of context to paint a picture of a coming fascist state. Call it “bloodbath-gate,” which sounds kind of hardcore, but the long and short of it is that Trump was talking about how the automotive industry and the economy as a whole would do if Joe Biden were to win in November. 

As RedState reported, the press went wild, claiming that he was calling for violence. There’s nothing especially surprising about that. As I warned several times during the primary, the calm before the storm was always going to dissipate, and this is just a preview. Things are going to get much, much worse so if “bloodbath-gate” has your blood boiling, don’t expect any relief in the future.

Whether a general turning of attention toward Trump helps or hurts the former president will be debated until the last vote is counted this Fall, which means three weeks after the election for California. I tend to think the more Biden is the centerpiece, the better Trump will do. With that said, I’m fairly confident that one not-so-new attack is already falling flat, and Politico provided a perfect example for discussion. 

What does the article say? I don’t know, and I don’t think it matters. Very few people are going to click the link to read it. Politico knows that, which is why the headline is the point. It is there to proclaim to the masses that Trump is an “autocrat” biding his time until he can become dictator for life, a prediction Rachel Maddow has made because she’s an insane person. 

Is that an effective narrative these days, though? I’d suggest not. For one, Americans look at Trump and remember his presidency. They remember that he didn’t become a dictator, and as I’ve said before, the suggestion that he’d want to become one is a fundamental misread of the former president’s motivations. Trump wants the spotlight. He wants to be loved, including by his enemies. He wants to win to stick his finger in the eyes of those who doubted him. He doesn’t want to lead a military coup and become dictator until death, and those who suggest that are laughably stupid.

In other words, no normal person is sitting around fearing Trump the “autocrat.” That accusation has been made so many times that it no longer packs any punch. Maybe it was viable in 2020, but at this point, no one cares, and that’s the big issue for Democrats. 

By continuing to push this “threat to democracy” nonsense, they are telegraphing to Americans that their problems don’t matter. High prices? High interest rates? Rising crime? Illegal immigration? Democrats are too busy breathlessly shouting yet again about how Trump is Hitler to care about any of that stuff. That leaves them looking completely tone-deaf and out-of-touch. It’s a well they’ve gone to one too many times, and it’s all dried up. 

That’s not to say the election is over. As I said at the beginning of this piece, I do not think a renewed focus on Trump will help him in November. The less he says and the more he hangs out at Mar-a-Lago, the more the election will be a referendum on the current president. That’s a clear path to victory given Trump’s current polling lead was built not on rally speeches and going viral (good or bad) but on an avalanche of terrible news cycles for Biden. Let that continue to be the story. 

Regardless, if the Democrat plan is to recycle old headlines from 2016/2020 about how Trump is Mussolini with a red hat, it’s going to fall flat. Americans want to talk about real problems, not made-up hysterics that only appeal to people who have a subscription to The Atlantic.

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