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The progressive Left’s collective freak-out about Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States is entering the embarrassing stage. An emotional reckoning during the first few days post-election was understandable. The Impossible Thing had happened. People needed to express their rage.
Fine. That’s allowed — even encouraged. Picket Trump Tower if you must. Boo the vice president-elect all you want. It’s a free country. Be forewarned, though: Rage is hard to sustain. After a few days, it begins to distort your thinking. It keeps you up at night — makes you crazy. Rage plus time equals madness. “Do I really hate $1 trillion national infrastructure spending projects?” you might find yourself wondering. “Or do I just hate Trump?”
Trump won. Sixty-one million Americans voted for him, despite — or maybe because of — the Left’s efforts to declare his candidacy out of bounds. It was a confusing defeat for progressives. Something — someone — had to be to blamed.
The search for a scapegoat first settled on the “normalizers” — anyone who didn’t lay down on the tracks in order to stop the Trump train. That included CNN and the rest of the cable news industrial complex who milked Trump’s candidacy for ratings and advertising dollars. It included media figures like Jimmy Fallon and Matt Lauer who allowed Trump to pass through the membrane protecting real journalism from “fake news.” And it included regular Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell who didn’t bow to calls to condemn or abandon Trump.
Even post-election, apparently, the normalization goes on. This weekend, the New York Times Magazine accused Republican National Committee chairman and soon-to-be White House chief of staff Reince Priebus of being the “normalizer in chief.” He is, they say, making the president-elect seem less a dangerous monster than he actually is.
Sometimes, words enter the political vocabulary of the nation organically: brinkmanship, stagflation, Lewinsky. Other times, they are jammed into our mouths by pundits and members of the professional political class bent on shaping a particular narrative. All year we’ve listened to jargoneers tell us that Trump was being “normalized” by this or that cultural institution.
I’m sorry, when 61 million Americans vote for you, that’s just about as normal as you can be.
The idea that “fake news” swung the election is a comforting thought to the progressive Left. It pairs nicely with that other unchallenged assumption among the urbane, self-satisfied, media elite: that the center of the country is an intellectual black hole where ideas, complexities, and comprehension go to die.
That the Left controls the commanding heights of the culture though its domination of Hollywood, the mainstream media, the government bureaucracy, elementary education, and academia, makes the “fake news” meme all the more embarrassing.
It doesn’t occur to the New York Times that they may have contributed to the erosion of their own legitimacy by running opinion pieces dressed up as news on the front page. They presumed that the American people were such rubes that they would buy their slanted version of reality.
The middle of the country got tired of the lies, the smears, and the constant condescension. So they voted for the man they saw as the only one willing to take the fight to the enemy. They voted for Trump, who is like kryptonite to the mainstream media, robbing them of their superpowers.
And wha tis Superman without the ability to outrun a speeding bullet or leap tall buildings in a single bound? A little bit embarrassing, that’s what he is.
Trump won’t take the oath office for another eight weeks. He has implemented no policy, exercised no power, and forced no issue. It isn’t anything concrete that has caused the Left to freak-out; it’s Trump’s words, his tweets, his rhetoric, and the very thought of him sitting in the Oval Office.
A Trump Presidency, at this stage, is still just an idea. Yet, the Left has surrendered itself to an unbecoming paranoia. “Normalizers repent! Turn your backs on fake news before it’s too late,” they thunder like apocalyptic street preachers. “The end of the world is nigh!”