In less than 24 hours, Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign will come to an end. He’ll stay in the race because it’s too early to close things down. But effectively he won’t be playing any real role in what happens to the GOP next year.
It won’t be the indictment that’s going to do him in, although at the very least all the experts and pundits who have been telling us that he either can beat the rap or will get convicted will finally learn what the case against him is all about.
What I am referring to is the gag order which Judge Juan Merchan will issue during tomorrow’s court event, which will cover everyone and anyone connected in any way to the case but will basically be aimed at one man.
What’s Trump going to rant about on his Truth Social website if he can’t mention the New York indictment? He can’t actually believe that what he says about anything else will be even of remote concern.
And if he’s indicted in Georgia there will no doubt be a gag order issued by the court in Georgia where that trial will be held. Ditto if the DOJ investigations being run by Jack Smith yields an indictable offense.
What all of this reflects, of course, is the degree to which Trump’s entire presidential behavior was based not on anything he actually did, but what he said. He said it on Twitter, he said it on his own social media network when Twitter told him to get lost, he said it on all those phony videos he made inside the White House video studio which made it look like he was walking across the South Lawn grass. Of course. he said it on the endless phone-ins he made to Hannity on Fox, he screamed it at those hundreds of mass rallies he did up to last week.
But if you read Michael Schmidt’s clever book, Donald Trump V. The United States, what comes out from the almost daily, in-your-face account by the Pulitzer-prize winning correspondent from The (failing) New York Times, is that Trump seems to have done nothing else, or at least nothing else which ever prevented him from shooting off his mouth.
And what all of Trump’s yelling and complaining and kvetching has done, and this is a point which Schmidt doesn’t consider in his book, is to remake the definition of the word ‘news,’ or at least political news.
Consider, for example, the comments made yesterday by Marjorie Taylor Greene when she was interviewed by Lesley Stahl. Here we have a Member of the United States Congress who goes on a national network – CBS – and calls Joe Biden a ‘pedophile.’
This wasn’t some quickie video on one of those stupid, alt-right social media websites which are basically advertising vehicles for Mike Lindell’s two-for-one pillow deals. This was a national TV network whose news shows have featured the likes of Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards, and Walter Cronkite. You didn’t go on one of those shows, call someone else a pedophile, and ever expect to be invited back.
What has replaced news is outrageous, insulting commentary which was and is the handiwork of Donald Trump. I love how we are told that current politics have broken down into angry, non-compromising rhetorical camps when these awful narratives have not been the stock in trade on the Democrat(ic) side.
When Lesley Stahl asked MTG how she could justify using such language to describe members of the opposition party, she claimed that she had been called worse names and attacked with more anger and hatred from the day she first showed up on Capitol Hill.
That’s simply not true, and if there’s one thing more than anything else which pisses me off about CNN and MS-NBC, it’s how their talking heads always seem to adopt a measured tone when criticizing the political vagaries of the other side.
When was the last time that any member of the blue team referred to someone as ‘scum?’ Trump has used this sobriquet multiple times when referring to agents of the FBI.
Is there any chance that the mainline news organizations (NBC, CBS, ABC) which together get 20 million viewers for the evening news could stop thinking of themselves as electronic sluices for the noise made by the alt-right?