He's Just the Bigining

By Mark Latham 

One of the funniest things about the American presidential election is the reaction of the media elites to Donald Trump.


Their televised psychobabble usually runs along the lines of: “He’s a shockingly racist and sexist candidate, temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.  But the good news is his campaign is now imploding because of (insert title of that day’s anti-Trump controversy/allegation).


Then a confused look comes across the commentator’s face, realising that they have made the same “imploding” prediction each day for the past 16 months – through the Republican primaries and into the general election against Hillary Clinton.


At this point, the Trump critic usually giggles or shrugs their shoulders before concluding with a confessionary caveat: “But I’ve been wrong about him right through this process, so who knows.”


Anyone watching US politics closely will have seen this soliloquy hundreds of times.


Never have so many paid political “experts” been so wrong so often about a political candidate.


To listen to their partisan bluster, Trump should be 30-40 points behind Clinton in the polls. 


After all, this is a man whose campaign has collapsed every day for the past 500.


In the latest melodrama, from a private conversation in 2005, The Donald brags of his horny pursuit of beautiful women, telling his mate Billy Bush (a cousin of George and Jeb Bush), “When you’re a star, they let you do it”.


The fact Trump is still on his feet, competitive in key battleground states, is in itself remarkable.


No candidate in American history has been subject to more media sensationalism and bias than the Republican nominee.


Comparisons to Hitler and Mussolini have become commonplace, as has the promotion of anti-Trump violence.


The Clinton campaign and Leftist media have perfected the art of the politics of personal destruction, turning private indiscretions into public issues – something Bill Clinton himself railed against in his 1998 defence of the Monica Lewinsky affair.


Trump’s decision yesterday, prior to the second presidential debate, to hold a press conference with three women allegedly sexually abused by Mr Clinton, was an amazing moment.


The evidence suggests Mrs Clinton ran a protection racket for her husband against these allegations – hence her hypocrisy when speaking on “women’s issues”.


Despite the biased moderators, Trump wiped Clinton in the debate, proving he’s a more formidable figure that his critics are willing to concede.


The question remains: why has The Donald, from day one, provoked so much animosity?


His foreign policy stance is actually straight from the Left’s playbook, something they have been calling for since Vietnam: to end America’s role as a self-appointed global policeman, needlessly invading nations.


But this counts for nothing compared to Trump’s main offence.


His first campaign announcement was to build a wall on the Mexican border, closing down illegal immigration.


This contradicted the bedrock belief of the modern, gentrified Left: to create a world without borders, where people can move seamlessly between nations, no matter their impact on those nations.


As Mrs Clinton has told her Wall Street backers, countries need to create “open borders” for an unlimited number of economic refugees.


In the eyes of the Left, the wall means Trump can never be forgiven.


His other major offence has been in his unconventional media management.


Traditionally, candidates for high office have played the media game.


They form a symbiotic relationship with selected journalists and editors, feeding them confidential information in return for favourable coverage.


In our country, Kevin Rudd was a master of this approach, with veteran reporters playing along.


Even when they knew Rudd was peddling untruths, the press gallery covered up for him, for fear of losing a valuable source.


Here and in the US, the symbiotic media model is ethically unsustainable.


It undermines the first duty of good journalism: to find and publish the truth in all circumstances.


It’s part of the artificiality of machine politics, whereby candidates lie, spin and manipulate their way to the top.


Clinton embodies this approach, telling her corporate donors, “you need both a public and a private position (on issues)”.


By contrast, Trump refuses to play the politicians’ game.


He detests the mainstream media and says so at his rallies, describing journalists as “the lowest form of humanity”.


In the past, any candidate saying these things would have been crushed by the weight of media retaliation.


The stunning thing about Trump is not his brazen personality, man-in-the-street language or his inability to turn the other cheek when under attack (breaching another basic rule of machine politics).


Rather, it’s the way in which he has survived so far into the election year.


The more the media attack him, the more his supporters dig in to vote for him.


This says something the commentariat rarely acknowledges: in the Information Age, where people are better educated and more widely informed, the public is less trusting of big, concentrated centres of power – big government, big business, big unions and big media.


In the United States, trust in the media has collapsed over the past 40 years, falling from 72 to 32 percent.


Why wouldn’t people be cynical about so-called newsmakers?


For decades journalists have complained that politicians are too artificial – dominated by spin and choreographed campaigns.


Yet when a non-politician like Trump comes along, they attack him more than ever.


In the late 1970s, post-Watergate, the media became a participant in political events, rather than an independent observer/reporter.


Instead of openly telling the public about this new biased role, journalists tried to hide behind their old reputation for objectivity.


Large parts of the US electorate have now seen through this fraud, assuming that when the media says something, the opposite is true.


When historians come to write the story of the 2016 presidential election, they will note something special about Trump.


He is the first viable candidate for high office who is institution-free.


The Donald is un-beholden to the conventional institutions and pressure groups of politics: his party, the media, the PC-outrage industry, big business and the foreign policy/defence establishment.


He’s the ultimate free agent.


In this campaign, the elites think that if they can defeat Trump, it will destroy his kind forever.


But once more, their predictions are skewwhiff.


Win, lose or draw, Trump is not the end of a new style of politics.


He’s just the beginning.