The true danger to democracy is cynicism, not anger … “The most amazing thing about the 2016 elections,” Roger Porter of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government told me, “is that we are likely to elect someone who close to two-thirds of the country does not trust.” The choice offered to Americans this November is the largest failure of the two-party system since (at least) the democratization of the primary process in 1968. –Washington Post
Now the outlines of the presidential election are coming clear. Not only is this Hillary’s race to lose, it is also going to be defined what by what she does or doesn’t do.
The nation, we are learning, is afflicted with terrible cynicism – much of it as a result of Hillary’s actions.
If she is to win the election, she will have to turn the tide of cynicism with personal actions. This is what the mainstream media is announcing now – in waves, like troops coming ashore.
Every day we cover elite memes and we watch for them on the Internet and in the press, where they often hatched.
This is what we see. Two types of articles. One kind of article, like this one at the Washington Post, reports on electoral “cynicism” and the danger it poses to the Republic.
There are other effects as the toxic cloud of cynicism settles over American politics. No matter who wins, the other side will view the victor as illegitimate — an unindicted criminal or a loopy bigot. The winner will find that a cynical public coheres like dry sand.
It will be accordingly difficult to rally the whole country around hard or dangerous national goals. And a great country will continue to be crippled by its politics.
Crippled, perhaps, but that won’t stop the press from covering scrutinizing every move Hillary makes.
They will cover it all in meticulous detail. Every scripted campaign stop will be assessed. If she does by some chance have a press conference, all seven questions and answers will be analyzed for days, weeks.
Bill will get coverage, too, as the wonky, happy-go-lucky partner of the president-to-be.
This will suck up most of the mainstream oxygen. If Trump gets coverage, it will be of the negative kind – as it is now.
Trump is going to be a media afterthought – because the mainstream is in the process of defining the election narrative.
Trump is a bigot, a racist and a buffoon. When the media does give him coverage, it will be mostly to reinforce those messages.
Hillary is going to provide the drama. Will the nation fall in love with her again or will it continue to mistrust her.
If she cannot woo the nation and win, it is going to be her fault. She will have failed. She is in charge of her own fate. She will rise or fall based on how well she communicates her competence, empathy and expertise.
This meme has not yet converged, but watch for it. If it becomes the major – defining – narrative, then thousands of articles will be written about her trust gap and whether it is closing or not.
There will be talk shows devoted to the topic. Mainstream newscasters will lead with the story.
Here’s how it is being covered currently by the NY Times:
A More Personal Hillary Clinton Tries to Erase a Trust Deficit … For most of her presidential campaign, whenever Hillary Clinton has been confronted with polls showing that a majority of voters do not trust her, she has attributed the problem to decades of wild Republican attacks and right-wing conspiracy theories.
Last week, speaking to a sympathetic crowd in Chicago, she also pointed a finger in a surprising new direction: at herself … “It is certainly true I have made mistakes … “So I understand people having questions.”
The questions grew far more intense after the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey Jr., on Tuesday bluntly contradicted numerous statements Mrs. Clinton and her aides had made over the past year in defending her email practices as secretary of state.
Though Mr. Comey’s stark critique of her actions as “extremely careless” came after he recommended that she not be criminally charged, it cast a harsh light on perhaps the central challenge to Mrs. Clinton and her campaign: how to get skeptical voters to trust her.
You see. This is the crux of the campaign. This is the narrative the largest media may create.
There will be little or no coverage of what IS the central theme of this election – which is how much war Clinton intends to wage (if she wins) and whom she intends to aim it at.
If she is good at her job, she probably will have a war with Russia brewing inside of a year.
That’s what her military-industrial backers probably want.
At this point, it seems, they care little about Trump except as a convenient figure of mockery.
They want to mock him to ensure he is no threat to Hillary and also because he has already announced his skepticism of the only thing that really matter to the ruling elite – which is war and more war.
So get ready for a campaign filled with intimate notions about how Hillary is relating to her fellow Americans.
She will be rediscovered as someone quick to anger but just as quick to forgive. A loyal supporter of the little people (the ones she avoids whenever she can).
The Times again:
Mrs. Clinton will not bluntly ask voters to trust her, aides said. Instead, she will try to own up to the fact that many voters do not, and will discuss this in more personal terms, depending on the setting and audience.
At the same time, aides said, Mrs. Clinton will try to build, or rebuild, trust with voters by demonstrating competence and a devotion to policies that are important to them, like making college more affordable, achieving equal pay for women, and enacting paid family and medical leave.
The narrative seems set now. The media is getting ready for five months of character assassination (Trump) and over-the-top emotional content. It could be worse than any soap opera. You’ll know everything about Hillary, including what kind of condiments she carries in her bag.
What you won’t know is which wars she will start next, as president, which terrible weapons she will unleash and how much closer to igniting a world war she wishes to go.
Conclusion: Perhaps, she will merely start by declaring war on the American people. Or certain people. If she does, the media will inform us that it is necessary because the American climate has simply grown too hateful and free speech much be repressed in favor of civil comity. After all, it Takes a Village.