Saturday, July 16, 2016

No, The New Yorker and its Audience are not Serious About Trump's Threat, Why do you Ask?

As I read Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker it occurs to me there are three types of responses to Trump: 1) There are those who are confident Hillary will win, and believe the whole Trump phenomenon is a big joke; 2) there are those who are scared stiff; and 3) there are those whose judgment is that Trump will be no worse than Hillary. I think 50 million voters for Trump is no joke, we should be scared stiff, and those who believe it's all the same are making a huge error in judgment.

Adam Gopnik sounds the alarm about fascism coming to America:
What all forms of fascism have in common is the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; the worship of power wherever it appears and whoever holds it; contempt for the rule of law and for reason; unashamed employment of repeated lies as a rhetorical strategy; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. It promises to turn back time and take no prisoners.
People are not taking the threat sufficiently seriously, he warns.  Trump is beyond the pale of our normal politics and yet we treat him as a normal candidate.  We do so at our peril, he says. "In every historical situation where a leader of Trump’s kind comes to power, " he warns, "normal safeguards collapse."

I think he is right.

But we're not treating Trump as beyond the pale. Witness Ruth Bader Ginsburg who briefly tried. She departed from judicial decorum and called out Trump for the extremist that he is. She was quickly forced to apologize in light of an outpouring of condemnation from both left and right. [For my favorite take on this see Mary Dudziak who is lovingly tolerant of the Notorious RBG's misbehaving HERE.]

Gopnik, I fear, will not make a difference; no more than the New Yorker's stance against George W. Bush made a difference in 2004 [see, e.g.,  HERE]. The New Yorker has lost it's gravitas. They are preaching to a liberal choir and their choir does not take them seriously. Certainly Trump voters on the fence in red swing states, i.e. those who really matter, aren't listening to this.

To get a sense of how inconsequential the New Yorker is in this discussion, take a look at the panel discussion hosted by David Remnick, appended to the Gopnik article (embedded below). "Today we're going to discuss our ongoing national catastrophe known as the national election process...,"  Remnick starts to great laughter.  Oh, it's all just so entertaining, isn't it? Not. And he proceeds to lead a lightweight panel discussion that thoroughly treats Trump like a normal candidate. "I do wonder if this isn't a little bit the new normal...." says staff writer Kaleefa Sanneh. Nate Silver, the sports statistician come election numbers crunching pop idol talks about the GOP's "five ring circus" to Amy Davidson's evident amusement. Yes, it's very amusing, isn't it? Not. Hillary will run to the center and win by 8 or 9 points, says Silver. Normal election talk.

No these people are not serious about the fascist threat. And the New Yorker's target audience thinks it's all a big hoot.

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