Illustration by Sal Polcino
This is not my America.
The world’s greatest conman has just pulled the wool over the eyes of an entire nation. The greatest country in the world has become the laughing stock of the planet.
This is a man who has failed in almost every business venture he has ever begun, a supposed self-made billionaire who actually started with a so-called loan from his rich father that he quickly squandered and had to borrow more.
That was back when a million dollars was worth 10 times more than it is now. When his father died, he inherited millions more. He is the epitome of white privilege and part of the hated one percent – a cheater, a scam artist and misogynist, racist pig.
So how did this orange shark appeal to the masses from lower to upper classes? From the uneducated to college graduates? Why does the religious right support a man who has two divorces and has cheated on all three of his wives? How do conservatives accept an alleged high-priced call girl who has posed nude when they hated Michelle Obama for wearing a sleeveless dress?
I blame the media. Fox News, owned by conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, began pandering to right wing Republicans years ago. Unfortunately, this led to one-sided stories. Its claim of “fair and balanced news” was, quite frankly, anything but. Fox News ratings hit the ceiling, causing more respectable cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC to compete with similar programming with more of a liberal slant.
Sensationalism became the path to ratings and Donald Trump was fodder for the networks. Conservative or liberal, it didn’t matter. In the last year and a half, Trump received an estimated $3 billion in free advertising.
His campaign began with a plan to increase his brand recognition.
NBC was disappointed in the ratings of Celebrity Apprentice, Trump’s one successful business enterprise, and was about to cancel the show. In his bombastic, belligerent and braggadocious style, he began to spew contentious remarks off the top of his head, which always seemed to offend some and resonate with others.
Like any snake oil salesman, Trump knows how to work a crowd. As the campaign moved across the land, he became bolder, adjusting to his audience. In the Bible Belt, professing to be a Christian and a fervent pro-life supporter. In the Southwest he was anti-immigration, insulting Latinos, calling them rapists and criminals. In big cities, he disparaged crimes in the “ghettoes,” and in the Deep South he brought out the racist hate in the uneducated bigots.
His disgusting antics at rallies were beyond the pale. Hissy fits when protesters appeared. “Get him out of here.”
Making fun of a disabled journalist’s handicap with a ridiculous face and twisting his hands – a gesture I remember from grade school when bullies picked on the mentally disabled.
Then he hit social media. A Tweet can reach 10 million followers in minutes. Trump stepped up his game – mostly with lies. According to Trump climate change is a myth created by the Chinese, Hillary Clinton is a crook.
Conservative blogs and fake news sites reposted his rants, sometimes rewriting or misquoting to serve their own agendas. Tens of millions of right wing crazies began to believe Trump and his “Make America Great Again” slogan was their personal savior.
Algorithms were created on Facebook and Twitter that assess your political interests and deluge your page with blogs, websites and news outlets that cater to your predilections.
This election season has seen some of the most biased information ever presented to the public. Even once-trusted news sources like CNN jumped on the bandwagon, opting for ratings over reality, giving Mr. Trump millions of dollars in free advertising and only mentioning Clinton when the information was negative.
Benghazi and emails were mentioned over and over again. Her popularity dropped drastically since she announced her candidacy. According to Politifact.com, Clinton’s approval rating went from 66 percent in 2012 down to 41 percent in 2015. RealClearPolitics gave Trump an average approval rating of 38.4 as of Monday, compiled from 100 recent polls, yet he still managed to pull off this giant scam.
Trump is only out for himself. Why so many people couldn’t see that is an enigma. The Great America he wants to return to is the late Reagan era when billionaires and corporations paid little taxes and his companies were at their best earning levels. He doesn’t care about the little guy. He doesn’t care about you and if you voted for this swindler, I don’t either.