When Donald Trump declared his bid to presidency, liberal bloggers and reports got really excited. Finally somebody from the Republican party that was so obviously insane that they could destroy him with wit and power. Trump’s presidential bid offers something that no other candidates have. Unlike Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush, Trump is not a politician and has no real way to win the presidency. It is fun to make fun of him.
But liberals need to avoid the temptation to light up the internet with Donald Trump hit pieces. Every time I check news sources, I see countless articles talking about dumb things that Trump says, companies dropping him, Twitter mishaps, etc. It is like shooting fish in the barrel. Unfortunately though, liberal writers are actually doing themselves a disservice by spending so much time talking about Donald Trump. They hurt themselves in two ways:
1) It ends up making liberal media sources seem cheap and simple-minded. Donald Trump may be a Republican who is shockingly gaining steam among his party, but nobody believes that he will win and his madness is not characteristic of every Republican. There is a simple truth in any sort of news reporting: people do not want to hear about the moderate or normal side of a position or party. Two examples:
- Instead of reporting on the multitude of peaceful Baltimore protests earlier this year, the media on both sides focused on the looting and destruction. Especially for conservative news outlets, it is easier and more exciting for their audience to hear about the destructive African-Americans who were destroying their town than hearing about the peaceful and organized protests that were actually trying to discuss police brutality.
- Most people’s perception of feminism is based on the crazy fringe movements that occur within feminism. For instance, the group that wants to change the US currency to remove Andrew Jackson. Maybe not crazy, but they are on the fringe of what feminism actually is, which is working to make women equal, both in work and in society. Feminism is not really about changing the $20 bill. But for most people that sort of fringe is what defines feminism.
When writers talk about Donald Trump like he is what defines the Republican party, they are inoculating the public against legitimate Republican ideas. Just as the Baltimore riot coverage inoculated Americans against ever listening to the concerns of African-Americans, Donald Trump coverage inoculates Americans against actually listening to conservative ideals. And this is what the writers intend to do. But they need to stop, simply because it does not allow the public to have a legitimate discussion about the Republican party. As an identifying liberal, I do not think that we need to play dirty like that. The public needs to be able to see the Republican platform and decided that it will or will not work on their own accord, without being swayed in their opinion by liberal media coverage of the conservative sideshow Donald Trump.
2) The other way that talking about Donald Trump hurts liberals is by easing the public into accepting a level of crazy. Donald Trump is the extreme and illogical side of the Republican party and spouts off nonsense on a daily basis. By reporting on every single crazy thing he says, the public starts to feel better about the other candidates in the Republican party. For examples, even though Rand Paul and Jeb Bush have said some pretty odd and ignorant things, but compared to Donald Trump their statements are Pulitzer prize winners. Ted Cruz might have some interesting ideas about the role of NASA but that seems at least more reasonable than Donald Trump calling all Mexicans rapists. What we need is the public to start on a level playing field. By showing them every single Donald Trump action, the public ends up (at least subconsciously) not being able to recognize the failings of other Republican ideologies, because they are comparing them to the extreme.
Anybody who has read my blog probably is aware that I fall more on the liberal side of issues (but I do not agree with some of the stances of the Democrat party, I would consider my ideology progressive, anti-totalitarianism) but I think that even discussing Donald Trump hurts the liberal cause and the country. We can do better than perpetuate a conservative side-show.