Partisanship Trumps Leadership

Published: August 22, 2023

By Jim Lichtman
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While Donald Trump’s death march on American democracy continues, the media has dutifully followed the former president’s every twitch.

Despite four indictments, and irrefutable evidence from Trump himself where he is alleged to have willfully retained top secret documents and allegedly attempted to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election, Trump’s messianic hold over the Republican Party is alarming.

In a CBS News/YouGov poll, Trump supporters trust him to tell them the truth more than their families.

How about Republican leadership in Congress?

The pollsters break down Trump supporters into several segments, but essentially, there are two groups: the hard right who vocally stands behind everything he says and does; and the others in both houses who remain cravenly silent.

Where were those same Republican members of Congress during the January 6 attack on the Capitol?

Anyone? Congressman Jordan? Congresswoman Taylor-Greene? Congressman Gaetz? Anyone at all?

Who inspired that attack?

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”

That was hypocrite-in-chief, and current lapdog, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

History will likely record this time as the most shameful and existentially dangerous era of the Republican Party in the history of the Republic.

But while this commentary is calling out the obsequious supporters of a bully, the real point I want to make is this:

Unless something truly cataclysmic occurs regarding Mr. Trump, you won’t be reading anything about the former president on this site.

Why?

His poison constantly feeds every news cycle.

The man who continues to be the chief accelerant of hate and violence; the whinny, racist, misogynistic, unstable, lying, man-child is only interested in putting himself first in the news as well as the hearts and minds of his most urgent followers. That and the fact that his chief goal is to tear apart the fabric of America: every institution and everyone who stands in his way. . . . that man will no longer appear in future commentaries.

Look at the current state of news around the world: the war in Ukraine; the unsettling test missile launches by Kim Jong Un; the continuous tensions in US-China relations; the growing problem of homelessness; affordable healthcare; illegal immigration.

The biggest story of all must be climate change and the tragic trail of raging wildfires, hurricanes, floods, massive heat cycles, rising oceans, melting glaciers, and the bleaching of the world’s coral systems that are vital to the ecosystem. What more can science tell us? How can we prevent further damage to the planet? Which companies and communities are doing their best to combat it? This should be a story on news programs every week.

However, those stories pale to the volume of coverage on the Trump du jour.

With recent charges filed in Georgia regarding Trump and his allies’ attempts to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 election, the media has offered a Trump-a-thon of panels with political analysts, pollsters, and others from all sides of the political spectrum relentlessly dissecting every detail of each Trump charge over and over: what’s in the agreement between state prosecutors and Trump attorneys; what day will Trump arrive for his arraignment; and on and on.

The more media coverage he receives, the greater his importance in the hearts and minds of supporters.

What can the media do? How about this:

Cover his arraignment. Describe the charges. Hear from one or two attorneys for comments. Move on.

Wouldn’t that make us all a little more clear-headed about many of the issues we face today?

Therefore, unless something cataclysmic happens that dramatically alters Trump’s Death March on American Democracy, count me out.

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