More than a few eyebrows were raised last week when former President Donald Trump took a thinly veiled shot at popular Florida Governor (and potential 2024 rival) Republican Ron DeSantis. In an interview with One America News, Trump called lawmakers who refuse to confirm if they have received a COVID vaccine booster, "gutless" – a remark interpreted widely as a direct shot at DeSantis, who has been noncommittal on the issue.
For his part, DeSantis returned the barb by telling the "Ruthless" podcast last Thursday that he wishes he would have spoken out "much louder" against Trump's strategy of shutting down the economy in the early days of the pandemic.
It seems clear that a Trump/DeSantis showdown is in the offing for Republicans, no matter how much they don't want that to happen.
It is also just as clear that as Trump predictably attempts to smear and destroy DeSantis, he will have a major (if unlikely by conventional wisdom) ally. It's as predictable as the sun rising in the east. No matter how many times they pretend that *this guy* is as bad as it can get, he will always be outdone in their eyes by the *next guy.*
I'm speaking about the mainstream media's treatment of whoever the leading Republican figure is at any given moment in history. Whoever it is, that person unquestionably embodies the most radical, dangerous, frightening, cold, and reactionary political agenda that any American politician has ever dared to advance in our nation's beleaguered history.
It may seem crazy to think that the same mainstream press that despised, vilified, and hated Trump with such red-hot passion for the last 6 years will suddenly become his useful idiots as he seeks a return to office, but it's a foregone conclusion. As much as they loathe the former president, they perceive Governor DeSantis as the next Republican standard bearer, and so they will treat him as even worse.
If that seems impossible to you, that's likely because you haven't been paying attention to this cycle for very long. For those operating with a stunted memory, here's a brief reminder of the driving media narrative in this century:
- In 2004, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush was a "war criminal." He was nothing like his amiable, respectable father.
- In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain was "reckless," "dangerous," and a "modern day George Wallace." He was nothing like the affable and genuine George W. Bush.
- In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a misogynistic ageist who actually killed people. He was nothing like the bipartisan and honorable war hero John McCain.
- In 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was a racist, sociopathic rapist. He was nothing like the gentlemanly statesman Mitt Romney.
And with 2024 on the horizon, guess what's already taking shape:
You can set your watches by it. I suppose part of me should gloat and point out how I wrote quite a long time ago that this was coming:
It was never difficult to predict that once 2024 arrived, if Trump wasn't the nominee, progressive media types would be pining away for the days of The Donald, claiming ridiculous things like, "At least with Trump you knew what you were getting." They will be lamenting the caustic state of our politics and without a hint of irony suggest that "at least during the Trump years, there was some civility."
But there's really no fun in boasting about knowing the tricks of an old dog.
It's what they do, and one of the primary reasons why the progressive mainstream media is so distrusted and despised by objective-minded Americans. The overwhelming preponderance of newsrooms around the country are occupied by activists whose primary loyalty rests with ideology, not the solemn responsibilities of their occupation.
They are advocates, then journalists. In other words, what they report is first channeled through the funnel of things they believe philosophically. It's why so many in the media have a galling and almost unimaginable blind spot to their own hypocrisy, inconsistency, and malpractice.
It's why even though this type of thing is grating and obnoxious, it's best to remember it remains the final spasms of irrelevancy for an entire industry that has chosen to commit suicide on the altar of politics.